Ars Technica:Charlie Cleveland, design director for Subnautica, goes behind the scenes of the game’s development and explains how they crafted an exciting and dangerous experience without allowing the player to fight back. Charlie shows some early prototypes for Subnautica, and describes why they decided to create a game with primarily non-violent gameplay.
War Stories is a great series from Ars in which different game developers discuss what some of their biggest challenges were.
Gameumentary:Explore the very beginnings of Larian Studios and the Divinity franchise in our feature-length documentary. Discover the struggles the studio faced on their journey to becoming an independent studio, and how each game in the Divinity franchise laid the foundation for what would become, Original Sin.
Whether you’ve heard of Dwarf Fortress or not, i’m here to take you on adventures within it’s infinite worlds! I hope you’re ready to see exotic locations, battle DEADLY beasts and hunt down long forgotten treasures, because all that and MUCH more awaits here, in the world of DWARF FORTRESS!
Kruggsmash is a YouTuber who plays the graphically simple but highly complex sim Dwarf Fortress and illustrates his world and the stories that unfold.
I’ve never played Dwarf Fortress myself, but I admire the scope of the game and I’m a huge fan of creative gamers like Kruggsmash here.
Gaming Historian:In 1984, during the Cold War, a Russian programmer named Alexey Pajitnov created something special: A puzzle game called Tetris. It soon gained a cult following within the Soviet Union. A battle for the rights to publish Tetris erupted when the game crossed the Iron Curtain. Tetris not only took the video game industry by storm, it helped break the boundaries between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The Smash Brothers is a 9-part documentary series about seven of the greatest “smashers” of all time. Through years-long rivalries spanning coasts and countries, discover the passion for a game which started as a casual experience only to become a heart-pounding competitive lifestyle.
GDC:In this 2017 session, Doom composer Mick Gordon provides a detailed look into the compositional process, production techniques and creative philosophies behind the hell-raising soundtrack to the 4th installment of the seminal first-person shooter franchise, Doom.
This is one of the best talks I’ve seen on the GDC YouTube channel! In addition to the new Doom game, Mick Gordon has composed music for the new Wolfenstein games and Prey. In his talk Gordon covers a lot of ground, including how he approached the brief, making satisfying bass come across on unsatisfactory equipment, hiding subliminal messages and courage vs. confidence.
Black MIDI — Have you ever been listening to a normal song and thought, “I really wish this normal song had 280 million notes and took up 1.1 terabytes of data and was literally unplayable on any computer?”
Noclip:In the first video in our three-part series, we tell the story of how the 1.0 version of FINAL FANTASY 14 came to be. How FINAL FANTASY 11 inspired its design, the ways in which the game fell short and how Square-Enix and the development team reacted to its failure.
Wired:Four video game sound designers explain the thinking behind some of the world’s most recognizable video game sounds. Featuring sounds from the Legend of Zelda, Half-Life, The Sims, Minecraft, Dota 2 and more!
Following the success of the London edition, we are delighted to present the next skyline in our range – New York City.
We are funding on Kickstarter to allow us to complete our first production run of sets and packaging – this will allow us to produce the full 32 piece chess set, complete with presentation box and folding board. Each set contains an information sheet with details on each building and how to set up the board.
We’ve chosen a range of buildings from across the city, some of which capture the essence of the early 1900’s construction boom and the growth of skyscraper architecture, through to their more contemporary counterparts, along with some of the city’s most recognisable silhouettes.
We gave careful consideration to selecting each piece on the board, to ensure that it both visually reflected the appropriate chess piece and also reflected the architectural status and scale of that building in the city.
Beautiful and unusual chess sets — Some designs, as with the Communist Propaganda set, arose from ideology. Some were born out of wealth, such as the opulent rock crystal and silver set from 16th-century France. And some were made from necessity, such as the cardboard pieces created during the 900-day siege of Leningrad in World War II.
Chess set architecture — As chess increased in popularity across Europe in the 1800s, the proliferation in the variety of chess sets caused confusion amongst competitors, especially those hailing from different countries.
Skyline Chess is a company founded by two London based architects, Chris and Ian. We take iconic architecture from around the world and reimagine it as pieces on a chessboard, allowing you to play with your favourite cities and pit them against each other.
Game Maker’s Toolkit:When we talk about good AI, we often think about highly efficient and aggressive enemies in shooters like FEAR and Halo. But surely there’s more to good artificial intelligence than this?
You are Narita Boy, a legendary digital hero in an epic quest through simultaneous dimensions. The digital kingdom is under attack and you are called as their last hope of survival. Explore a vast world to find the techno sword, the only effective weapon against the threat.
The aesthetic of the game is inspired by retro pixel adventures (Castlevania, Another World, Double Dragon) with a modern touch (Superbrothers, Sword and Sorcery) and an 80s plot homage (Ready Player One, He-Man, The Last Starfighter), accompanied by the retro synth touch of the old glory days.
FnzzyGoesFast:This is a segmented speedrun of Portal done with 15 Portals in the time of 13:47.640. This is the least amount of Portals that you can finish the game with. No scripts, hacks or cheat protected commands were used in this run.
Stuff like this blows my mind.
Portal: The world between two portals — Crowbcat created a Portal setup that had Chell, the game’s heroine, trapped between two portals that crushed her. The results were an astounding wonderland of psychedelic visuals.
Atlas Obscura:Some designs, as with the Communist Propaganda set, arose from ideology. Some were born out of wealth, such as the opulent rock crystal and silver set from 16th-century France. And some were made from necessity, such as the cardboard pieces created during the 900-day siege of Leningrad in World War II.
A John Company—the informal name for the East India Company—chess set, made in India c. 1830.
A Chinese chess set from the early 18th century. The pieces are depicted as rats, the first animal in the Chinese zodiac. Carved from ivory, the eyes are pieces of ruby and amber.
An improvised Russian chess set, made from bent wire in a gulag in the 1970s.
The set designed for cosmonauts on board the 1970 Soyuz 9 mission.
An insect chess board, created in Italy in the late 18th century.
An ivory and mother-of-pearl chess set created in South Asia. In 1712 it was gifted by the Emir of Bukhara to a Polish prince.
Master Works: Rare and Beautiful Chess Sets of the World — This book brings together some of the most beautiful and unusual chess sets ever made. Over hundreds of years, from five continents, they are culled from private collections and museums, including: 200 year-old sets made by nameless Indian craftsmen; sets by Peter Carl Fabergé; sets from Soviet gulag prisoners; and sets by leading artists of the 20th century, including Max Ernst.
Chess set architecture — Daniel Weil has created a new design for the chess set which is making its debut at the World Chess Candidates Tournament in London.
Archicards — Architectural playing card designs by Italian architect Federico Babina.
Chess, one of the world’s most popular games, has inspired artists for hundreds of years. Though apparently offering a limited canvas – each set has 32 pieces, each board 64 squares – sets have nevertheless been designed in countless ways, using almost every imaginable material: from precious metals, to ivory and rock crystal.
Nintendo:It’s The Legend of Zelda’s 30th anniversary this year, and so we thought you might appreciate a look at some illustrations created during the development of the first The Legend of Zelda game, originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System!
These design docs include a video of the hand drawn overworld map and show how some of the original dungeon sketches translated into the game.
Enderal is a total conversion for TES V: Skyrim: a game modification that is set in its own world with its own landscape, lore and story. It offers an immersive open world, all for the player to explore, overhauled skill systems and gameplay mechanics and a dark, psychological storyline with believable characters.
In Enderal, we have attempted to combine open world gaming with a complex and profound storyline. While the game world of Enderal is smaller than Skyrim´s and the quests are fewer, we believe that the depth of our story and the complexity of our characters both surpass those in recent Elder Scrolls games. Enderal also differs in its game mechanics: While some have been taken over from Skyrim unchanged, others have been refined (for example, some armor sets in Enderal give set bonuses when several pieces are worn), and yet others (such as leveling up and the raising of skills) have been overhauled so greatly that they hardly resemble Skyrim mechanics any more (most noticeably, Skyrim´s “learning by doing” skill-ups have been replaced by experience points and skill books). Finally, a few (such as levelscaling and randomly spawning enemies) have been completely removed. As far as level design is concerned, Enderal spans several climate zones and regions, only some of which share Skyrim´s distinctive Nordic atmosphere and color palette.
Enderal is a total conversion mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A total conversion is a game mod that does not add an island or quest, but instead creates its own world with its own landmass, questlines and characters.
Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega—game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft.
In this graphic novel,New York Times–bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, Tetris: The Games People Play tells the true story of the world’s most popular video game.
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.
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 [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.
“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
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].
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.
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.
You find yourself deserted on an unknown planet, with little indication of how you arrived. Armed with your trusty plasma cutter and your ship’s sentient artificial intelligence computer, you must search for a way home. During your journey you will uncover secrets and challenges beyond your imagination, along with a hidden past that this strange planet holds. As you discover this hidden past, you will ultimately have to confront your own…
Transmission is a hand painted action-adventure game that blends tactical combat, vast exploration, and intricate puzzle solving, along with a rich narrative in the realm of great science fiction cinema.
Sean Murray: With a universe as open as ours – with a near infinite number of planets out there to see – we want players to discover everything on their terms. We don’t have huge cut scenes or a traditional linear story.
There is, however, a real lore in the game. Hopefully everything you find has a reason for existing. When you see a building, we’ve tried to think of who might have built it, and why. It’s something we’re excited to see fans uncover as they play, and put their own interpretations on.
Exploration in games — Exploration appeals to basic human instincts, and the basic joy we get from discovery makes exploration a key element for many games.
The Witness — You wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you.
The Art of Firewatch — Campo Santo artist Jane Ng delves into the process for creating the art of Firewatch!
This 1970 board game, Blacks & Whites: The Role Identity & Neighborhood Action Game, created by the magazine Psychology Today used gameplay to teach adult players about racial privilege and housing.
Slate:The game, a sideways adaptation of Monopoly, allows players to choose white or black identities.”Black” players start the game with $10,000; “white” players with $1,000,000. Rules for each of the game’s four housing zones—in “Estate Zone,” players playing as black could buy “only when they have one million dollars in assets”—are calibrated to make it hard for the “black” players to climb out of their initial cash deficits. “The goal of the game is to achieve economic equality,” writes Swann Auction Galleries’ Wyatt H. Day, “yet the game is strategically designed to make a black win impossible.”
Rules of the New Aristocracy — “Your kids are born with a glass ceiling above which they will almost certainly never have the opportunity to rise. Our kids are born with a marble floor beneath which they will never be allowed to fall.”
This satirical Monopoly-esque board game was made to underscore the socioeconomic disparities between Blacks & Whites. It was “designed for educational use… to give middle-class whites a taste of the helplessness that comes from living against implacable odds.” The game begins when 3 to 9 players select whether to play as white or black. White players are then instructed to begin with $1,000,000; black players begin with just $10,000. The goal of the highly controversial game is to achieve economic equality, yet the game is strategically designed to make a black win impossible. — Swann Auction Galleries
Campo Santo artist Jane Ng delves into the process for creating the art of Firewatch!
How the team at Campo Santo turned Olly Moss’s very graphic 2D art style into a 3D world that can be explored in first-person.
In this video Jane Ng recreates her talk from GDC 2015 in which she breaks down how the visual style of Firewatch was accomplished by looking at three elements in detail: layers of colour, strong shapes and narrative details.