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June 16, 2019
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Jon Shafer's Blog   Expert Blogs


President of Conifer Games.

Game designer currently developing At the Gates, a historical empire builder where players command a barbarian kingdom during the fall of the Roman Empire.

Co-host of The Game Design Round Table podcast, and author of articles on game design, project management and the business as a whole.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Jon Shafer on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 01:19:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design
Let's discuss why this is such an important topic, and what a developer's responsibilities are.

Posted by Jon Shafer on Thu, 28 Mar 2013 11:11:00 EDT in Design
We examine the role of fairness and discovery with the help of the amazing platformer Spelunky.

Posted by Jon Shafer on Wed, 06 Mar 2013 01:01:00 EST in Design
One of At the Gates' features that I was most excited about turned out to be a dud. Okay, what now?

Posted by Jon Shafer on Tue, 05 Mar 2013 06:39:00 EST in Design
The Romans aren't playable in AtG, but instead fill a more important role: providing pacing and structure.

Posted by Jon Shafer on Mon, 04 Mar 2013 02:59:00 EST in Business/Marketing
Ever wonder how a game company gets made? I tell the story of the ups and downs of Conifer's birth.

Posted by Jon Shafer on Fri, 22 Feb 2013 02:40:00 EST in Design
I share a brainstorming doc I used to help establish pacing in my new strategy game, 'At the Gates'.

Jon Shafer's Comments

Comment In: [News - 11/05/2013 - 10:53]

It 's a good time ...

It 's a good time to be a PC strategy player or designer . r n r n- Jon

Comment In: [Blog - 07/17/2013 - 01:19]

Thanks for your thoughts Axel ...

Thanks for your thoughts Axel r n r nYou 're correct that considering ALL possible consequences, at least in detail, is probably not helpful. However, it 's better to err to that end of the spectrum than the opposite. It 's improbable that your game leads to a return of ...

Comment In: [News - 05/16/2013 - 04:05]

Nearly every time I swung ...

Nearly every time I swung by the office during the weekend Sid would be there plugging away. He works as much as anyone in the business. He really is one of a kind. r n r n- Jon

Comment In: [Blog - 03/04/2013 - 02:59]

Conifer has no outside investment, ...

Conifer has no outside investment, and I paid the initial startup costs out-of-pocket. At least in the US, you can expect these expenses to be in the low thousands of dollars. r n r n- Jon

Comment In: [Blog - 11/28/2012 - 01:37]

Any time I say flaw ...

Any time I say flaw or bad I 'm simply referring to my tastes and preferences. There 's obviously no universal definition for adjectives as subjective as good or fun r n r nI do feel the early pacing could be improved while still delivering on the same story though. ...

Comment In: [Blog - 09/24/2012 - 06:13]

Some good points everyone, and ...

Some good points everyone, and I can 't say I disagree. Looking back on it now, the point I made is not really what I 'd intended. r n r nWhile I prefer the OOTP12 version because of its readability, I wouldn 't actually call it GOOD. The OOTP13 version ...