The importance of abstraction

From the late 90s to the present day, many commercial games have been focused on some sort of realism – graphical photorealism, real-world physics, etc. Certainly when you look at the man-hours spent on most game software you’ll see far more of it invested in features that further the simulation aspects: eg. the creation of…


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I play a lot of Football Manager 2005. On this game I bought a lesser-known player from Norway whose position is marked as a “Defender/Forward Left/Centre/Right”. So he seemed adaptable, but I never got good results, no matter where I played him on the pitch, so I turned to Google to get more information – maybe other FM2005 players had…


Understanding what facilitates meaningful strategy in games

Often we invent games by taking an existing game that works and adding a twist to it, or changing some aspect of its behaviour or theme to something different. But how would we create a game from nothing, without using an existing game as a framework? In particular, how do we make the game complex…


Crossover games and explaining them to the audience

There’s a post on Penny Arcade from a few weeks back which is complaining that a certain game Brütal Legend seems to masquerade as one type of game (ie. a Real Time Strategy game) while actually being something else (a third person action-RPG). The tone of the article is that games shouldn’t be mixing one…


Code archaeology

Something interesting happened today. For a couple of years, myself and colleagues had mulled over a certain ‘killer feature’ that we wished our networking layer had, as it would have made our time implementing gameplay features much easier. Today, while doing some long awaited R+D work on said layer, I found that feature. The sheer…