Hey everybody! I’m starting a new twitch stream every Weekday at 9am CST called… BrainGoodBreakfast!
It’s gonna be at twitch.tv/brickroaddx and I’m gonna be playing BrainGoodGames, prototypes, and other decision-makey type things and talking about their design. It won’t be a long show, just 30mins or so to get the day started right :).
If that sounds cool, stop by (or check out the VODs!) Can’t wait to see you there/chat about games (my favorite thing)!
I was watching a Lewis Pulsipher game design video where he talked about players who like to use Logic vs Intuition in games. He broke things down as follows
Logic Players: -Tend to balk at randomness -Tend to like to “figure things out” -Tend to want to come to a definitive conclusion -Tend to like more serious “thinky” games
Intuition Players: -Are okay with randomness -Tend to go with heuristics or instincts -Tend to be OK with fuzzy conclusions that may be incorrect -Tend to prefer “beer n’ pretzel’ style games
I wanted to push back on this a bit an mention that I like to think about this in terms of Keith Burgun’s forms. Kieth defines puzzles as interactive systems that have “correct” solutions and games as those that feature much more ambiguity in terms of your approach. Basically this means that it is not ever confirmed whether your move was “best” or correct in a Burgun game (as it would be when you have solved a puzzle), but you can have some sense of whether it was good, or whether some moves are better than others through a developed intuitive/heuristic sense of the game system.
These Burgun games – systems that rely on heuristics/intuition rather than calculation – are what I am most interested in playing and creating. For starters, you can circumvent the calculation/busywork involved in taking a purely logical/conclusion based approach, and secondly, because your “solutions” are ambiguously correct, there is a lot of room for continual development of your internal heuristic framework as you continue to engage with the game system!
I started BrainGoodGames last year because I felt a certain type of game was missing from the landscape. Over the years I’ve ravenously read watched and played as much varied game design thinking as I could, and I’ve come to some conclusions about the types of games I’ll strive to make. I call these the BrainGoodGames Design Commandments.
I may not meet all of these goals all the time, but they are the target that I’m aiming at. Also keep in mind that these are design guidelines for a specific type of game, and not applicable to all designs.
Been playing a bit of Stardew Valley as a way to unwind from release, and I’ve come to really value the way it provides a relaxing atmosphere.
Like a soothing piece of music, or meditative poetry, I think this chillout vibe is something I want to explore more. Puzzles like Sudoku already demonstrate this kind of thing in a way, and I imagine the decreased rigidity in games may allow for even more of this. I’m curious to see what playing around with winrate %s, rank presentation and a couple other things does to de-emhpasize learning, growth and calculation and emphasize meditation, relaxation and the feeling of things “falling into place”.
I have a couple ideas in the tank for an experience like this, and I’m excited for when I’ll be able to show you guys more!
Today (Aug. 23) SkyBoats is released on Steam! We are super excited for everyone to try it out and can’t wait to see what everyone thinks! If you want to discuss any of the mechanics or strategies in the game feel free to do so here! Happy Sailing!
(The Kickstarter for SkyBoats is live right now, and we just passed 95% funding! We’d love it if you’d check it out and consider backing!)
In SkyBoats there are a number of different upgrades that ships can start with, and that can be purchased at the SkyCities. These upgrades give boats different powers in place of a basic fuel providing cargo hold. The basic cargo hold in SkyBoats provides one fuel if used when empty or it can use the wind creation power of the good inside the hold. Most of the SkyBoats start with one upgrade.
When we were designing the upgrades we wanted to come up with mechanics that could be easily learned, but would provide players with a lot of different ways to use them. A lot of these upgrades are related to movement around the board. For example, the blink upgrade allows you to jump over a space, which can be useful to avoid a wind blowing a direction you do not want to follow. The blink upgrade can also be used to grab goods a little distance away and blow back to where you were, or to get yourself onto a long wind pattern to increase your wind meter! We aimed to create a number of different upgrades which can all be used in a number of different situations.
Finally, we wanted the upgrades to function together to create even more interesting choices. We believe that this system creates a lot of interesting decisions to be made by the players, without adding a ton of complexity to the game. It is always a difficult balance between complexity and depth. I think the upgrades we have created do a great job of using up a small amount of complexity, while creating a lot of strategic depth.
Thanks for reading and as always I encourage anyone to share comments, questions, critiques etc.