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Updates » Design
This Week in Video Game Blogging: Getting closer  
by Critical Distance [04.15.16]
Games are often about traversal, metaphorically or literally. Many mechanics are, at their core, about closing the gap between self and other, between the familiar and the unfamiliar, and critical writing on games often walks the same ground.
Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design

The story behind NetHack's long-awaited update--the first since 2003  
by John Bridgman [04.15.16]
Meet the team behind the 3.6.0 update of the venerable NetHack--the first update since 2003. Some are former fans. Others have been involved with the game since it first debuted in the summer of 1987.
Indie, Programming, Design, Production, History

Don't Miss: The strange, unresolved conflict of Animal Crossing 7
by Ian Bogost [04.14.16]
In this classic piece, game designer Ian Bogost turns a critical eye on the design of Nintendo's popular Animal Crossing franchise and its unresolved conflict between consumption and naturalism.
Console/PC, Design

What it means to grow up under the influence of Minecraft 2
by Alex Wawro [04.14.16]
"They think they’re just playing a game, but they have to solve some of the hardest problems facing humanity," a social scientist told the New York Times. "They have to solve the tragedy of the commons."
Console/PC, Social/Online, Indie, Design

Registration is now open for GDC Europe 2016!  
by Staff [04.14.16]
Game makers, take note: You can now register early at a discounted rate to attend this year's GDC Europe, which will once again be held in Cologne, Germany August 15th and 16th.
VR, Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Serious, Programming, Art, Audio, Design, Production, Business/Marketing, GDC Europe

Rust dev Garry Newman defends game's randomly assigned race and gender 18
by Christian Nutt [04.13.16]
"Ultimately the decision comes down to gameplay. We don’t believe that letting you choose your race and gender would improve the game." - Rust dev Garry Newman
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Production

Don't Miss: Understanding the appeal of Dark Souls 28
by Christian Nutt [04.13.16]
In this classic feature, we reflect on what sets the franchise apart -- and, ahead of Dark Souls II, spoke to Namco Bandai to find out how the publisher's approach led to Dark Souls' success.
Console/PC, Design

Video: The psychology of doing VR game design right  
by Staff [04.13.16]
Game dev and cognitive scientist Kimberly Voll takes the stage at GDC 2016 to share what game designers need to know about the brain in order to create VR games that feel truly immersive.
VR, Art, Audio, Design, Video, Vault

The practical challenges of designing a political game about Africa  
by Alex Wawro [04.13.16]
"We are very conscious of the fact that it’s basically two middle class white guys, neither of which have been to Africa, making a game about Africa," Democracy 3: Africa dev Cliff Harris told Zam.
Console/PC, Indie, Design

Shedding light in the dark tunnel of game innovation  
by Gamasutra Community [04.13.16]
"If we look to games that have done something new, at the system level, we can draw lessons that help us approach this difficult challenge. Following is a rubric of four questions that can provide a framework for creating new games."
VR, Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Serious, Design

Rubber bands and chewing gum: How practical effects shaped Doom 1
by Chris Kerr [04.13.16]
"It was what I like to call a little bit rubber band and chewing gum effects. The spider creature was made out of parts I had literally just found at hardware and hobby stores, pieces of tupperware and PVC pipes."
Console/PC, Art, Design

Diablo III designer and Fallout art director Leonard Boyarsky joins Obsidian  
by Chris Kerr [04.13.16]
Veteran game designer and artist Leonard Boyarsky has left Blizzard to take on an unspecified role at Fallout: New Vegas and Alpha Protocol developer, Obsidian.
Console/PC, Design, Business/Marketing

Making a battle royale for players and viewers alike in The Culling 4
by Joel Couture [04.13.16]
"Games have always been watchable--not just playable--entertainment," says Josh Van Veld of Xaviant Games. "Twitch and YouTube capture that same vibe of sleepovers with friends, up late playing video games."
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Video

Get a job: Be a Level Designer at Runic Games  
by Staff [04.12.16]
Torchlight series developer Runic Games seeks an experienced level designer to work alongside the rest of the team at its Seattle, WA HQ on its current project, the action-adventure game Hob.
Console/PC, Design, Recruitment

Don't Miss: 7 ways game designers break their own hearts 33
by Gamasutra Community [04.12.16]
"It’s a cliche to say designers are 'passionate' about games. It’s fun, at first. The honeymoon period is wonderful, and we try to stretch it out as long as possible. And then the work begins."
VR, Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design

The history of the quest compass and its dreadful convenience 21
by Gamasutra Community [04.12.16]
"Dark Souls is name-dropped a lot these days. But part of its novelty came precisely from abandoning all this hand-holding and convenience. 'There are two bells somewhere, go ring them.'"
Console/PC, Design, History

The Division, the Dark Zone, and the Prisoner's Dilemma 8
by Gamasutra Community [04.12.16]
The design problems with a problematic mode: "There is no incentive to go rogue. Yes, you can kill a player and steal their loot. But even if you do, you have no idea what they have on them until they drop it."
Console/PC, Design

Postmortem: Bringing Camouflaj's République to PlayStation 4  
by Paul Alexander [04.12.16]
The curious story of how Camouflaj's episodic game République made its way from iOS in 2013 to Steam and then onto PlayStation 4 involves an engine overhaul, a port house and a tricky overseas deal.
Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Programming, Art, Audio, Design, Production, Business/Marketing

The game developer's toolbox (for students) 6
by Gamasutra Community [04.12.16]
A good list of basics -- for novices and anybody else: "This is a list of things that will hopefully stop budding game developers from reinventing the wheel and tumble into pitfalls that others have already been in."
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Production, Business/Marketing

Reminder: Even Nintendo ships games with jury-rigged features  
by Alex Wawro [04.11.16]
Fresh appreciation for Nintendo game design is spreading today after a pair of images were published to a Mario blog that seem to show how Super Mario Galaxy designers jury-rigged a readable door.
Console/PC, Design