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Tyler Sigman's Blog   Expert Blogs


Tyler Sigman (@tylersigman) is a videogame and boardgame designer and executive credited on more than 15 published games. He recently co-founded Red Hook Studios with artist Chris Bourassa. The studio's first project is "Darkest Dungeon", a gothic horror roguelike RPG about the psychological stresses of adventuring. 

Aside from Darkest Dungeon, Tyler is best known as the creator and designer of the original strategy arcade game HOARD (PC/PS3/PSP), which was honored with a "Best of 2010" award from IGN.  He was also the lead designer on Age of Empires: The Age of Kings (DS, BAFTA nomination)Sonic Rivals (PSP)Sky Pirates of Neo Terra (DS, unreleased), and more.  He executive produced Nitro (iOS), which earned an "Editor's Choice" nod from Apple in 2013.  

In addition to videogames, Tyler enjoys boardgame design--his game Crows was released by Valley Games in 2010.  He is currently looking for a publisher for his latest design, Longship: Viking Raiders.  Other published paper games include Night of the Ill-Tempered SquirrelHexenhammer, and more..

Tyler has written numerous game design articles on Gamasutra, including "Probability for Game Designers", "Anatomy of a Game Mechanic", "Siren Song of the Paper Cutter", and more.

He has an MBA from Colorado State University and a B.S. In Aeronautical Engineering from Cal Poly, SLO.

To reach Tyler: tyler dot sigman at gmail.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Tyler Sigman on Thu, 03 Nov 2016 04:42:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Indie
With our recent launch on PlayStation 4 and PS VITA, Darkest dungeon has now sold more than one million copies. We wanted to share some of our stats on the road there, as well as what's to come from Red Hook Studios.

Posted by Tyler Sigman on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 02:01:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Production, Indie
Part 2 of the Darkest Dungeon Kickstarter Post-Mortem covers the second half of our successful campaign, plus preparing for fulfillment and logistics. There will eventually be a part 3, after Darkest Dungeon ships!

Posted by Tyler Sigman on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 02:06:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Indie
The "Darkest Dungeon" Kickstarter has grossed $240k through the first 21 days. In this article (Part 1 of 2), Tyler discusses some of the strategies that Red Hook has used in the campaign, along with things that have gone right and wrong so far.

Posted by Tyler Sigman on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 08:00:00 EDT in Design
One of the most useful game theory concepts for designers is EV, or Expected Value. Widely used in poker and investments, it's also a critical tool for game balance. In this post, the basics are explained, along with some game design uses.

Posted by Tyler Sigman on Sat, 27 Mar 2010 07:17:00 EDT in Design
Another vital consideration when designing and balancing a system is what I call the Spread. The spread represents the overall difference in capability between the BASE value of a mechanic and the UPGRADED or FINAL value of the mechanic.

Posted by Tyler Sigman on Tue, 16 Mar 2010 11:43:00 EDT in Design
Game balancing and tuning are some of the most difficult parts of game design. Thankfully(for me anyway), they are also some of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts. I consistently rely on 3 rules to help me navigate the minefields.

Tyler Sigman's Comments

Comment In: [News - 05/28/2015 - 03:57]

Yes--an abusive team member will ...

Yes--an abusive team member will definitely stress out their allies

Comment In: [Blog - 03/05/2014 - 02:06]

Thanks for the nice comments, ...

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone. Yes, Chris Bourassa, my partner and the creative director/artist on the game really did something special with the trailers, and I 'm lucky to work with him. r n r [email protected] Thanks for the feedback--stretch goals have been an interesting topic and will no ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/06/2013 - 08:00]

@Maxim - excellent points. In ...

@Maxim - excellent points. In fact, an upcoming post will be touching on some of this, although not in as much hard detail. But essentially the concept of Focused Fire can trump a strict isolationist EV approach. As you 've noted, the EVs would have to be adjusted for the ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/16/2010 - 11:43]

Thanks for the comments Jimmy: ...

Thanks for the comments Jimmy: When you have to tune/balance something that was designed entirely by someone else, it's a matter of making do with what you have and doing your best. You can still kind of use the three rules, in the sense that you look for things that ...

Comment In: [Feature - 07/29/2009 - 08:20]

Thanks for the comments. I'm ...

Thanks for the comments. I'm always looking for new article ideas that people might enjoy, so I'll try to continue with some practical examples in the near future. I love the chase involved with trying out new mechanics, and there are plenty of examples I can draw from. For example, ...

Comment In: [News - 10/03/2008 - 01:04]

The credibility observations are very ...

The credibility observations are very real. It's something we have to deal with on a regular basis, and as soon as the team starts doubting the designers then the project is in for major hurt. The long term solution is to try to ensure more competence through good hiring, so ...