Clockwork Game Design Book Review

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Finally Someone With Concrete Advice on Game Design

“Clockwork Game Design” is an excellent, detailed book with a strong views expressed concisely. Keith Burgun is one of the only game designers I know that is attempting to offer prescriptive advice on designing “strategy” games (in his own taxonomy defined as “contests of decision making”). Very useful and well thought out. Whether you agree or disagree with any or all of the ideas expressed within this book, I think it is much more useful to have people making bold claims to try to push the craft of game design forward than the wishy-washy stuff that makes up most of the existing literature on the subject.

If you like this one, “Game Design Theory” by the same author is similarly informative and enjoyable.

Elegant Spy Game?

I have a friend (@AncetoDX, the other half of Brain Good Games), who is into the idea of making a Spy Game. However, Spy fiction is inherrently complex and subtle to a certain extent, and relies on more social mechanics like deception and inferrence than more traditionally gameified mechanics like positioning and resource management. Trying to design an elegant Spy Game seems pretty difficult for this reason, but here’s a wild shot:


Player controls a spy on a grid that enemys stalk. You move then enemies move. Enemies move and detect you if you’re within 2 spaces on their turn. Try to not be detected and deduce information from INTEL.

MOVEMENT
Walk: Move 2 spaces.
Run: Move 3 spaces, increase detection range by 1.
Sneak: (Move 1 but only adjacent enemies can see you)

INTERACTION
Percieve: Look at a space within range and gather INTEL if there
Deduce: Wait a turn per intelligence to gain VP
Take Down: Neutralize an enemy if behind it

Blargh, seems like this sort of train of thought would lead to somthing similar to Invisible Inc. Maybe the wrong tack, need to look closer at SpyFall or The: Resistance or Werewolf or something. NOTE TO SELF: Play that game already.

Design Musings about “Stock Shock”

1) Probably should have been obvious from the beginning but people don’t read when they are in a time sensitive situation, so the stock ticker probably can’t provide more than flavor

2) ”Juicy” effects like tweens and screen shaker DO go a long way to making your game enjoyable to play

3) Color certainly makes things visually exciting, but changing a background color can make it difficult to design a UI that works with all possible backgrounds

4) The timer bar communicated effectively as a game over timer, esp with the countdown and screen shake. Most players understood that activity replenished it as well. Don’t think most people understood the transaction cost

5) Big wins are the exciting part of a game like this, nickel and diming your way to success isn’t that fun

6) The best moment stock shock creates is when you buy a lot for $1 and sell for much more. Did a good job of having the achievement text tweens and additional SFX tied to this moment

7) @codemedicine on twitter suggested that it might be better to have the stocks auto scroll. The difficulty here comes from selling. Maybe the ownership buttons are the sell buttons, and the stock window has one big buy button. (see terrible mockup) might be a problem where you just don’t have any good moves most of the time/less frantic

8) Even this fairly simple design might have too many rules for its frantic nature, as it seems to tend towards a bite sized-mobile experience. The title card was good at communicating what was needed, but some nuance was lost in translation. (i.e cost per transaction).