Category Archives: Game Design

Ludonarrative Dissonance Re-Examined

I assume you know the term. Here’s a relatively recent review of the concept if you needed. As much as I’ve mostly enjoyed the online discussion, I think we’ve failed to examine the simple reason why narratives can fail in games. As a result, we’ve missed why things are unlikely to change. The issue may […]

Cooldowns: Worth Using?

Today, game designers rely on reuse timers as the means to control the moment-to-moment economy. The economy of core gameplay such as combat — not gold or XP. In essence, game designers use cooldowns to create a limited resource, and thus apply a cost, on ability or item use.  Why have cooldowns become common? They’re […]

Who Made Mass Effect 2, Really?

Though I used to work for Electronic Arts, and I have friends and colleagues at Bioware, I never made inquiries into the odd dissonance within the Mass Effect series. So instead I ask here: Was each Mass Effect game designed by a different Bioware team? Actually, was was ME2 secretly written by another studio – say, […]

The Best GDC Session You (Probably) Didn’t Attend

My MVP session this year was Jason Scott’s exploration of “Studio Design Groups.” For good or ill, my own history as a designer has been working for bigger studios and publishers. Each of those had a wealth of design talent, but the talent that was divided and naturally enough focused on individual projects. Internal division […]