Shovel Knight and Nailing Nostalgia

Mark Brown: Some games are all about nostalgia – a reminder of how games used to be. No game nails this sensation quite like Shovel Knight, which expertly picks and chooses the right bits to emulate from old games. Here’s how Yacht Club Games pulled it off.

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Magic: the Gathering: Twenty Years, Twenty Lessons Learned

Magic the Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater shares twenty lessons learned over twenty years of designing one of the world’s most popular collectible card games.

The lessons

Totally Lost

  1. Fighting against human nature is a losing battle
  2. Aesthetics matter
  3. Resonance is important
  4. Make use of piggybacking
  5. Don’t confuse “interesting” with “fun”
  6. Understand what emotion your game is trying to evoke
  7. Allow the player to make the game personal
  8. The details are where the players fall in love with the game
  9. Allow your players to have a sense of ownership
  10. Leave room for the player to explore
  11. If everyone likes your game, but no one loves it, it will fail
  12. Don’t design to prove you can do something
  13. Make the fun part also the correct strategy to win
  14. Don’t be afraid to be blunt
  15. Design the component for the audience it’s intended for
  16. Be more afraid of boring your players than challenging them
  17. You don’t have to change much to change everything
  18. Restrictions breed creativity
  19. Your audience is good at recognising problems and bad at solving them
  20. All the lessons connect

Fblthp

See also

Great Pyramid of Cholula
Humans and other animals

The Great Pyramid of Cholula

BBC: For an obscure temple no one’s heard of, Cholula holds an impressive array of records: it’s the largest pyramid on the planet, with a base four times larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza and nearly twice the volume.

Great Pyramid of Cholula model

Never mind the largest pyramid – it’s the largest monument ever constructed anywhere, by any civilisation, to this day. To locals it’s aptly known as Tlachihualtepetl (“man-made mountain”). Thanks to the church on top, it’s also the oldest continuously occupied building on the continent.

In fact it’s not one pyramid at all, but a great Russian doll of a construction, consisting of no less than six, one on top of the other. It grew in stages, as successive civilisations improved on what had already been built.

“They made a conscious effort to maintain and in some cases display previous construction episodes. This is pretty novel, and shows deliberate efforts to link to the past.”
David Carballo, archaeologist

See also

  • BBC Future: The giant pyramid hidden inside a mountainThis temple at Cholula dwarfs the Great Pyramid at Giza, yet it went unnoticed by Spanish invaders. Why?
  • Wikipedia: The Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl (Nahuatl for “artificial mountain”), is a huge complex located in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. It is the largest archaeological site of a pyramid (temple) in the New World, as well as the largest pyramid known to exist in the world today.
  • Traditions like Thanksgiving aren’t naturalThey’re invented, and at the time of their invention they called to a past that’s not really there. An imagined past; a constructed authenticity that serves the purposes of the present.
  • Mummy Brown and Other Historical Colors — Korwin Briggs looks at the history of some fascinating colours with this ‘digital approximation of paint-blobs-on-paper’.
  • Primitive Technology: Making a bow and arrowI made a bow and arrows in the wild using only natural materials and primitive tools I’d made previously from scratch (as usual). The tools used were a celt stone hatchet, a stone chisel, various stone blades and fire sticks.
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Dyson's Maps & Cartography
Dyson’s Dodecahedron — Dyson Logos is a prolific and talented creator of Dungeons and Dragons maps

The Stone Sinister

The Stone Sinister [Above] — A massive stone hand of a nigh-unbelievable scale, the Stone Sinister appears to be the grasping hand of some massive giant pushing out of the ground. Maybe the result of strange magics (or a titan fumbling a saving throw against a cockatrice), or just as likely a piece of obscure architecture, the Sinister is partially hollow with multiple levels linked together by a ladder that runs up along the inside of the back of the hand in line with the pointer finger.

Kemp's Divide

Kemp’s Divide [Above] — Kemp’s Divide makes for a good interface between the surface and underdark communities – a point of contact and trade between small communities and clans who in turn work with larger factions and can lead to the exploration of whichever realm the players are not currently familiar with.

Various other maps…

Mapper’s Challenge II – The Deep Halls [Below] — This is a monster of a map – a full ledger-sized page of fairly fine graph paper (5 per inch, I think)

Deep Halls

Some isometric maps…

Maps in progress…

(via Boing Boing)

See also

Craft and creativity

Dyson Logos: D&D maps and cartography

“As I practiced the style, I challenged myself to draw a geomorph every other day until I had at least 100 geomorphs. The blog got pretty boring during this stretch, but I learned a lot about mapping and dungeon design, and the blog got a reputation as a mapping blog.” — Dyson Logos

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Quartz: “The Millennial Whoop”: The same annoying whooping sound is showing up in every popular song.

The same exact whooping, melodic sequence has been showing up in a surprisingly high number of recent pop songs. The phenomenon was first noticed by musician and product manager Patrick Metzger. He detailed the trend, dubbing it “The Millennial Whoop,” in a post on his blog, The Patterning. Here’s how Metzger described it:

It’s a sequence of notes that alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth. The rhythm is usually straight 8th-notes, but it may start on the downbeat or on the upbeat in different songs. A singer usually belts these notes with an “Oh” phoneme, often in a “Wa-oh-wa-oh” pattern. And it is in so many pop songs it’s criminal.

See also: This mashup proves that all country music sounds the same

Shape of things to come

Dokki1: The “citizen space” is the library of the future

Quartz: There’s hope for this new era in libraries, encapsulated in Denmark’s vast Dokki1, a mixed-used “citizen space” with meeting rooms, art installations, classrooms, performance stages, makers’ workshops, and playgrounds, in addition to the usual rows of bookshelves.

Dokki1

At 35,000 square meters, Dokki1 is the largest library in Scandinavia

“We aimed for—and have achieved—a cultural meeting place that will change people’s perceptions, not just of the harbourfront where Dokki1 is situated, but the entire city of Aarhus.”

See also

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Secret Hitler box

Secret Hitler

A hidden identity game for 5-10 players by Max Temkin, creator of Cards Against Humanity. The first production run was funded on Kickstarter and the game should be available to all soon.

Secret Hitler is a dramatic game of political intrigue and betrayal set in 1930’s Germany. Players are secretly divided into two teams – liberals and fascists. Known only to each other, the fascists coordinate to sow distrust and install their cold-blooded leader. The liberals must find and stop the Secret Hitler before it’s too late.

We’ve released the entire game as a free print-and-play project – you can download the game [PDF] and the rules [PDF].

See also

Progression and regression

How to play Secret Hitler

In Secret Hitler, each player is randomly assigned to be a liberal or a fascist, and one player is Secret Hitler. The fascists know in advance who Hitler is, but Hitler doesn’t know who his fellow fascists are, and the liberals don’t know who anyone is. Since the liberal team always has a majority, the fascists must play like moles, gaining the trust of the liberals to sabotage their plans and make them suspicious of each other.

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Facebook news
Shape of things to come

What is Facebook doing to our politics?

Essential reading. This is probably the future of news, for the Right at least: Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine

Facebook, in the years leading up to this election, hasn’t just become nearly ubiquitous among American internet users; it has centralized online news consumption in an unprecedented way.

[Facebook’s] algorithms have their pick of text, photos and video produced and posted by established media organizations large and small, local and national, openly partisan or nominally unbiased. But there’s also a new and distinctive sort of operation that has become hard to miss: political news and advocacy pages made specifically for Facebook, uniquely positioned and cleverly engineered to reach audiences exclusively in the context of the news feed. These are news sources that essentially do not exist outside of Facebook, and you’ve probably never heard of them. They have names like Occupy Democrats; The Angry Patriot; US Chronicle; Addicting Info; RightAlerts; Being Liberal; Opposing Views; Fed-Up Americans; American News; and hundreds more. Some of these pages have millions of followers; many have hundreds of thousands.

Individually, these pages have meaningful audiences, but cumulatively, their audience is gigantic: tens of millions of people.

Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine, by John Herrman, New York Times.

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Why Jump Scares Suck

Now You See It: Are jump scares cheap? Should we get rid of them? Short answer: No. They suck, but they have more potential than you may think.

See also

YouTube
Life on the Internet

How does YouTube actually work?

Nat and Lo: After making (and uploading) videos to YouTube for about a year, we finally decided to go behind the scenes of YouTube and ask the YouTube engineers how YouTube actually works.

What does YouTube do to your video after you upload it?

What actually happens when you watch a YouTube video?

See also

  • YouTube compression — Brandon from RocketJump shares the settings he uses to get the best quality and the smallest file-size video possible before uploading to YouTube.
  • YouTube: The Medium Is The MessageThe largest ingredient of online video is the awareness that every consumer is a possible creator.
  • YouTube PoopThe so-called ‘subversive remix’ is not a new phenomenon.
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The Other Side

Three theories of how liberals and conservatives think, compiled by Nicky Case.

I’m posting this in large part because I like the format. It’s more interesting than just a text screenshot or tweetstorm when posted on social media, and it looks good in a blog post. I also appreciate that it’s explicitly public domain to encourage sharing.

It’s not a proper infographic, it’s not an essay and it’s certainly not a comic, but it is a little of all of these things.

See also: other posts tagged ‘politics’.

Humans and other animals

The psychology of liberals and conservatives

“Studies of identical twins have confirmed what we know deep down — it’s not Nurture vs Nature, it’s nurture AND nature.”

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David Lean’s Scene Transitions

Despite whatever presets there are in Premiere, scene transitions are not limited to wipes, fades, or dissolves. Let’s examine the work of David Lean and see what unique ways we can find of cutting picture and sound together to make transitions really shine.

The Royal Ocean Film Society is a video essay series by Andrew Saladino devoted to the style, craft, and analysis of everything film.

Wired: Decoding the Hidden Meanings of Olympic Symbols

The symbols, designed to instantly communicate the essence of a sport, are in some ways quite literal. Cycling features a bicycle, equestrian a horse, basketball, well, a basketball. Yet designers invariably infuse these illustrations with elements that reflect the culture of the host city.

The history of Olympic pictograms

The evolution of ten Olympic event pictographs from 1964 to present

See also

Craft and creativity

The evolution of Olympic pictograms

“Many of the pictograms you see are designed to represent the country or city where the Olympics are happening,” says Joel Grear of Malcolm Grear Designers, who created the pictograms of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. — Wired

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David Braben
Light-based media

David Braben on the science behind Elite Dangerous

David Braben is one of the most influential computer game programmers of all time thanks to his groundbreaking work with the Elite series in the 80’s. While I haven’t played the new Elite Dangerous yet, I really appreciate the thought that has gone into the designs and the respect for science that is evident.

David Braben interview, part 1 & part 2

See also: Audio design in Elite Dangerous

More parts to the David Braben interview →

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Overwatch Animated Short: “The Last Bastion”

Explore the origin story of Overwatch’s inquisitive transforming robot in our fifth animated short: The Last Bastion!

The Giant’s Dream →

The Illusion of Truth

Veritasium: If you repeat something enough times, it comes to feel good and true.

See also

The Refugee Nation flag
Shape of things to come

The Refugee Nation

The Refugee Nation Olympic flag was inspired by a lifejacket: The official flag for The Refugee Nation, a team of ten refugees currently competing in the Rio Olympics, draws its colour scheme and design from lifejackets. Designed by Syrian artist and refugee Yara Said, the flag is a vivid orange with a single black stripe.

“A black and orange (colors of the life vests) is a symbol of solidarity for all those who crossed the sea in search of a new country. I myself wore one, which is why I so identify with these colors—and these people.”
Yara Said

See also The Flag of Planet Earth and other posts tagged ‘vexillology’

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The Art of Security

A postmodern infographic.

The Art of Security

Jack Leonard: The design of this infographic is a tribute to swiss modernism & the postmodern movement. It features Bauhaus style type & distorted illustrations and makes for heavy use of images.

I chose to incorporate pictures of faces and people to play on the stark dissonance between security and people.

See also other posts tagged ‘security’ and ‘infographics’.

Life on the Internet

The Art of Security

“This infographic distills the Art of Security. Dissimilar from the Art of War in the information security world we will never know our enemy and our battle is not one that can be won. So how can we ensure that we don’t lose that battle?”

Image
Shape of things to come

Forte Prenestino: a place of meeting, resistance, research and projects

Forte Prenestino entrance

The entrance, after crossing the drawbridge, to Rome’s Forte Prenestino.

The cutting of the chain that locked the entry gate marked the beginning of thirty years of self-management of this space as a squat.

The biggest social centre in Europe

Abitare: Today, once you pass the drawbridge, you enter into a labyrinth-like structure with the underground and ground floors of the building alternating between multiple spaces dedicated to culture and social activities, while the upper floor is where the homes and dormitories are located.

Here, apart from numerous political and social activities, many artistic events have been organised.

Fortopia

Fortopìa book cover.

Fortopia [free PDF and ebook downloads] tells the story of Forte Prenestino. A self-published book without a sale price, edited by a self-run publisher and with graphics by Valerio Bindi, it is made up of texts and images – some previously seen and some not – that celebrate the three decades of occupation of this place of meeting, resistance, research and projects.

(via ARCHatlas)

See also

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ILM’s Bill George Shares Video of Intricate USS Enterprise Model Repainting Process

Bill George: This is a short film showing the process of the detail paint work on the conservation of the original U.S.S. Enterprise miniature, used in all 79 episodes of the original Star Trek television series. The detail paint work was done between the 11th and the 23rd of April 2016 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The model is now on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.


Bill’s channel also has this fascinating video with the original ‘library shots’ of the Enterprise model.

The Star Trek editors would choose shorter sections of these longer shots to use in the various episodes.

Previously…

Update: In all her glory →

See How an Insane 7-Circle Roundabout Actually Works

Wired: Your first thought upon seeing Swindon’s ‘magic roundabout’ might be: man, the Brits have really lost the plot lately. But this thing—which is actually seven roundabouts in one—has been working for 60 years.

You just point your vehicle towards where you want to go, yeild to cars already in the midst of the ‘magic’, then ‘brexit’ on the other side.

See also: The untold story of the British Rail logo

CASEY NEISTAT: WHAT YOU DON’T SEE

The Nerdwriter on uber-vlogger Casey Neistat.

“Though there are plenty of imitators, I think it’s pretty much impossible to duplicate the style of Casey Neistat.”

If you’ve never watched a Neistat video before, I recommend this recent installment.

It’s a fairly typical episode with an unexpected turn and the subtitles made me laugh out loud.

See also

Map: 20 Ways to Break Europe

A map by Yanko Tsvetkov from the Atlas of Prejudice: The Complete Stereotype Map Collection.

See Also

Humans and other animals

Atlas of Prejudice: Ways to divide Europe

The Atlas of Prejudice is “the official stereotype lab of Yanko Tsvetkov, a bestselling author, prolific cartographer, and leading international bigotry professional with a taste for salacious political incorrectness and unconventional historical studies.”

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