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June 20, 2018
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Jeff Vogel's Blog   Expert Blogs

 

Jeff Vogel founded tiny, adorable indie game company Spiderweb Software in 1994. Since then, he has written many fantasy RPGs, including the Exile, Geneforge, Avadon, and Avernum series and Nethergate: Resurrection. Has also done much writing, including the Grumpy Gamer series for Computer Games Magazine, the View From the Bottom series for IGN, and the book The Poo Bomb: True Tales of Parental Terror. He is currently a long-winded blowhard at the Bottom Feeder blog and a terse blowhard on Twitter.

 

Expert Blogs

Posted by Jeff Vogel on Wed, 31 Jan 2018 09:09:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Indie
A breakdown of the many different ways Cuphead uses randomness to create unpredictable exciting fights. This and other example show how randomness, unpredictability, and unfairness can make a game very tempting to a certain (large) class of gamer.


Posted by Jeff Vogel on Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:30:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online
In this article, I settle all debates regarding game reviews: How good should a reviewer be at a game? What topics are a reviewer allowed to bring up when doing a review? Are review scores and review aggregators good? Does anyone still care about them?


Posted by Jeff Vogel on Fri, 13 Oct 2017 10:24:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Console/PC, Indie
We are currently remastering our most popular game. For the second time. We talk about ancient indie game history, the pros and cons of doing remasters, and one of the greatest things about being an independent creator: Owning and controlling your work


Posted by Jeff Vogel on Thu, 14 Sep 2017 10:39:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Console/PC, Indie, VR
Brave game designers are never satisfied with the mere perfection of the game console controller. They're always coming up with new, weird fad controllers to tempt us. This article will describe the lifespan of this process. Spoiler: Nothing ever changes.


Posted by Jeff Vogel on Fri, 04 Aug 2017 09:10:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Indie
The JRPG Persona 5 is critically acclaimed, selling extremely well for its genre, and is generally loved by the people who play it. Yet, it contains incredibly dark and difficult material by any standards, let alone video games. It still works. Why?


Posted by Jeff Vogel on Fri, 16 Jun 2017 09:40:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Console/PC, Indie
A step-by-step design analysis of the very long, long introduction to a recent popular game. The goal: To show how it could be shortened to make a more effective game and a less grueling experience for the player.



Jeff Vogel's Comments

Comment In: [News - 03/09/2018 - 03:42]

I 've been selling indie ...

I 've been selling indie games since 1995. There was a pre-Steam time when I had to do all the hard stuff Steam makes frictionless file hosting, web page, forums, credit card processing, secure online store . I had to hire full time employees for that stuff. I know how ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/31/2018 - 09:09]

Exactly. Poker is really random, ...

Exactly. Poker is really random, but you still need to learn how to play. What I liked about Darkest Dungeon is understanding that even the best plan can go south and figuring out how to tell when things have gone wrong so you can escape. r n r nCuphead frequently ...

Comment In: [News - 01/26/2018 - 06:11]

I 'd hardly say I ...

I 'd hardly say I 'm the most qualified, but I certainly have opinions in the area. r n r nIf you spend 4 years writing a game, you 'll spend roughly four times as much money on it as someone who spends one year. Which means that you have ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/17/2017 - 10:30]

Sometimes a valid debate gets ...

Sometimes a valid debate gets hijacked by Mad Online types who want to turn every possible dispute into a proxy battle for the presidential election or Brexit or whatever. It 's still a valid debate. r n r nThere should be reviewers bad/inexperienced at games because a difficult game can ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/04/2017 - 09:10]

Normally, I like making characters ...

Normally, I like making characters more 3-dimensional, but I think that the villains in Persona 5 are handled just fine. I feel that art these days really overuses giving a character some sort of backstory to add depth. Like giving Willy Wonka a past in the recent movie. Ugh. Who ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/16/2017 - 09:40]

I would love more gritty ...

I would love more gritty step by step analyses of games and what they do right and wrong. If you 're interested, I recommend the excellent indie game Quadrilateral Cowboy. After you win, you unlock a director 's cut playthrough, and the comments are super-informative.