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October 23, 2017
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Gamasutra - Game Design Deep Dives
Game Design Deep Dive: Managing randomization, frustration in Everspace 3
by Hans-Christian Kühl [10.03.17]
Hans-Christian Kühl of Rockfish Games on dealing with randomization and frustration in Everspace, a 3D sci-fi shooter with roguelike elements.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Maintaining tension in Nex Machina  
by Henri Mustonen [09.22.17]
"We needed to cut as much of excess fat as possible and figure out what was really necessary to get the feeling you are on the "knife's edge"." - Henri Mustonen, Senior Level Designer at Housemarque.
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Mixing VR and non-VR in Lola and the Giant 1
by Matt Duff [09.19.17]
"VR, especially mobile VR, can be an isolating experience. We decided to try and create some way that the adventure could be enjoyed by both the player using the VR device and by everyone else in the room."
VR, Smartphone/Tablet, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: The asymmetric multiplayer of Rising Storm 2: Vietnam 2
by Jack Hackett [09.13.17]
"Whilst the first game had been asymmetric in the tools given to each soldier, Rising Storm 2’s asymmetry was tactical and strategic, reflecting the differences in how each army fought the war."
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Making Spartaga, a VR twin-stick shooter 1
by Russ McMackin [08.31.17]
"Spartaga set out to translate the staples of the twin-stick/bullet hell shooter genre into VR. Here's the 3 goals that we set at the beginning on how we'd do it, and how they went."
VR, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: How Spy Fight uses hidden rarity to keep things balanced 1
by Charlie Silver [08.28.17]
Cards for Gamers lead designer Charlie Silver explores how the studio created a tuning system designed to keep games fast-paced without sacrificing balance or strategic play.
Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating a new language for Planet Coaster  
by James Stant [07.13.17]
"When guests are happy, their language can sound smooth and spritely, yet as they become unhappy, their lexicon is characterised by heavier and harsher staccato sounds." - James Stant, Senior Audio Designer at Frontier Developments
Console/PC, Indie, Audio, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Visualizing Cryptark's 2D sci-fi world  
by Jesse McGibney [06.27.17]
"Rather than looking back at the past with retro pixel-art styles, I want to apply modern techniques and technology and see what new visuals can be made." - Jesse McGibney, Creative Director at Alientrap
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating the striking pixel art of Crawl 4
by Barney Cumming [06.15.17]
"Seeing such modern high-fidelity animation applied to such low-resolution art was a pretty bold look to my eye, and not one I’d seen anywhere else."- Barney Cumming, artist on Powerhoof's Crawl
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating tension in Card Thief 4
by Arnold Rauers [05.25.17]
"In order to create what I think is most important in a stealth or heist game, I designed several game systems that all feed into the idea of creating a high tension experience."
Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating a one-touch platformer in ZIP ZAP 2
by Philipp Stollenmayer [05.08.17]
"I began to strip everything away that could lead to a problem, and ended up with the bare movement of the muscles" - Philipp Stollenmayer, creator of ZIP ZAP.
Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Tech Deep Dive: Reworking the Unreal Engine for racing 1
by Ivan Del Duca and Stefano Lecchi [05.01.17]
Milestone duo Ivan Del Duca and Stefano Lecchi discuss how the racing specialist transitioned from its in-house game engine to Unreal, breaking down the technical tweaks implemented along the way
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: VR cockpit audio in Gunjack 2: End of Shift 1
by Alex Riviere [04.13.17]
"A great deal of realistic audio is incorporated in the player�s cockpit; various alarms, diverse weapon sounds, dialogues, cockpit physical audio representation, and enemy fire impacts on the turret."
VR, Smartphone/Tablet, Audio, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Watch Dogs 2's Invasion of Privacy missions 1
by Christopher Dragert [04.03.17]
"IOP missions let players hack cameras, computers, and electronics. NPCs react in a way that expresses a narrative. Our aim was to deliver these missions fully motion captured, with seamless branching."
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Production, Deep Dive

Level Design Deep Dive: Dishonored 2's Clockwork Mansion 2
by Christophe Carrier [03.15.17]
"Having the walls move in an elegant and credible way is very difficult in itself, but making sure the player wouldn't be lost was one of the biggest challenges for us." - Christophe Carrier, Level Design Director at Arkane Studios
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Decisions that matter in Orwell 2
by Daniel Marx [03.06.17]
"In this article I will describe the iterations and considerations during the development process that shaped the choice-based mechanic and the feeling of impactfulness of decisions in the final game."
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Hand-based VR movement in Lucid Trips  
by Sara Vogl [03.01.17]
"The concept of locomotion IN Lucid Trips has similarities with the movement of astronauts in outer space who have jetpacks attached to their wrists."
VR, Indie, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Dynamic detection in Shadow Tactics 4
by Moritz Wagner [02.13.17]
"We analyzed how Viewcones were used in the old games and decided on where we wanted to improve it. This also lead us to re-thinking some aspects of player detection in the genre."
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Constant VR movement in Eagle Flight  
by Olivier Palmieri [02.06.17]
"We found out that the TILT control was very natural to actual plane pilots who played Eagle Flight, as it's a natural way to control a plane in real life too." - Olivier Palmieri, Game Director at Ubisoft Montreal
VR, Console/PC, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Dynamic audio in destructible levels in Rainbow Six: Siege 5
by Louis Philippe Dion [01.18.17]
"By using a series of strategically placed points in the map, called Propagation Nodes, we are able to calculate the lower cost paths of a sound between the listener and the source." - Louis Philippe Dion, Audio Director on Rainbow Six: Siege
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating believable crowds in Planet Coaster 3
by Owen McCarthy [01.04.17]
"10,000 guests was what we targeted, and simulating each seemed like a challenge. This was where using flow/potential fields became very appealing." - Owen McCarthy, principal programmer at Frontier.
Console/PC, Programming, Art, Audio, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Using vision as cursor in Tethered 1
by Ian Moran [01.03.17]
"VR offers new ways of interacting that allow us to get much closer to that mouse and pointer functionality by turning your face into a mouse pointer," says Ian Moran, technical director of Tethered.
VR, Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Rethinking adventure games to create empathy 6
by Chris Kerr [12.22.16]
We set out to create an adventure game that had the soul of a '90s LucasArts title but felt a more contemporary. So, we ended up making a point and click, just without the pointing and clicking.
Console/PC, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Controlling two things at once in Soft Body 9
by Zeke Virant [12.05.16]
"The act of controlling two snakes at once seems like a impossible task the first time you experience it – like your brain is resisting what you want it to do." - Zeke Virant, creator of Soft Body
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Graphics Deep Dive: Cascaded voxel cone tracing in The Tomorrow Children 8
by James McLaren [11.28.16]
"Rather than a traditional forward or deferred lighting system, we created a system that lit everything by tracing cones through voxels," explains James McLaren, director of engine technology at Q-Games.
Console/PC, Programming, Art, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Forza Horizon 3's online co-op multiplayer 2
by Grant Orban [11.16.16]
Playground Games designer Grant Orban describes the challenges in designing Forza Horizon 3's smooth-as-silk online co-op multiplayer campaign.
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: The folktale structure of Burly Men at Sea 2
by Brooke Condolora [11.14.16]
"Of the many elements that helped establish what we describe as a “folktale adventure,” three contributed most to our design: length, tone, and moral." - Brooke Condolora, co-founder of Brain&Brain
Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Bringing the FPS to VR in Space Pirate Trainer  
by Dirk Van Welden [11.04.16]
"Best practices and established mechanics were useless or sometimes actively misleading, so we had to search for an optimal way to transfer the FPS experience into VR." -Dirk Van Welden, project lead on Space Pirate Trainer
VR, Indie, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Turning Bloodline Champions into Battlerite 1
by Peter Ilves [10.27.16]
"Instead of investing resources into trying out new game mode ideas, we took the best pieces from Bloodines Champions and iterated, iterated and iterated." - Peter Ilves, co-founder of Stunlock Studios.
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Production, Business/Marketing, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Making debugging into a mechanic in Beglitched 1
by AP Thompson [10.14.16]
"While debugging is considered to be one of the more odious aspects of programming, I felt that under the right circumstances, it could actually be exhilarating," says AP Thompson, designer of Beglitched.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: How dark themes and bright art collide in Severed  
by Augusto Quijano [10.10.16]
"We didn't want to dilute the gravity of the situation Sasha is dealing with, but our aim was to portray the weight of the situation, not the gore of it," says Augusto Quijano, concept lead on Severed
Smartphone/Tablet, Art, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Audio Design Deep Dive: Using a human skull to create the sounds of Inside 8
by Martin Stig Andersen [10.06.16]
The composer & sound designer on Playdead's Inside takes us on a deep dive into why and how he used a human skull to create the unique aural soundscape of this atmospheric puzzle game.
Console/PC, Indie, Audio, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Realistic chat in Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n 3
by Adam Hines & Kevin Riach [09.20.16]
Adam Hines, co-founder of Night School Studio and game director, and Kevin Riach, game designer/producer, talk about creating the free-flowing real time text conversations in Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n
Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Relaying asymmetric info in Eon Altar 1
by Joey Wiggs [09.07.16]
Designing a game around a single screen can be hard enough--what about multiple screens in local space? This mobile/PC hybrid tries to do just that, using players' phones or tablets as controllers.
Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Building truly cooperative play in Overcooked 6
by Phil Duncan [08.26.16]
"With Overcooked, we wanted to make a game which was much more focused on how a team works together rather than simply adding more players to a single player experience."
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Color as identity in Push Me Pull You 8
by Michael McMaster, Jacob Strasser [08.12.16]
"In a frantic local-multiplayer game, readability is hugely important. In our case, where there are two teams of two players on-screen at all time, it can be tricky to keep track of your character."
Indie, Art, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Dying Light's Natural Movement system 3
by Maciej Binkowski, Bartosz Kulon, Paul Milewski [06.02.16]
"So many of the established smoke and mirrors techniques you use in level design just didn’t work for us. We actually had to put full environments behind the curtain, so to speak."
Console/PC, Programming, Art, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Dead Star's capital ship invasions 2
by Tom Ivey [05.31.16]
"We were really interested in creating a game that had a heavily asymmetrical element to the competing teams. Central to this idea was an episode of the TV show Battlestar Galactica titled '33.'"
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Situational awareness and player frustration in GRIP 2
by David Perryman [05.04.16]
The blinding speed of the Rollcage racing franchise left some players feeling disoriented or frustrated by unexpected crashes. Caged Element vowed to fix these issues in their spiritual successor GRIP.
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Business/Marketing, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Power-ups in Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime 1
by Matt Hammill [11.17.15]
"If there’s one takeaway from this piece, it’s that every decision we made was massively influenced by playtesting. I can’t stress enough how important this was for ending up with clear, understandable game systems."
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Undertale's action-based RPG battles Exclusive 3
by Toby Fox [10.30.15]
Undertale developer Toby Fox shares the thinking that went into the much-praised and highly unusual battle system in his popular indie RPG.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Exclusive, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Controlling space and sound in Panoramical 1
by Fernando Ramallo, David Kanaga [10.16.15]
Panoramical developers Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga take a deep dive into a simple question: How do you design and tune player input for a game that's also a music visualizer?
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Audio, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Art Design Deep Dive: The hand-drawn art and animation of Jotun 3
by Jo-Annie Gauthier, Alexandre Boyer [10.07.15]
The art director and lead animator on Thunder Lotus Games' Jotun take a deep dive into the choices and challenges behind the game's unique art design and animation.
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Rocking the Wii U GamePad with Runbow Exclusive  
by Alex Rushdy, Thomas McCall [08.28.15]
13AM Games explains how it got the most out of the much-maligned GamePad with new Wii U-exclusive indie game Runbow -- and made the game more fun for everybody in the room.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Exclusive, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Rocket jumping in Rocket League Exclusive 8
by Dave Hagewood [08.19.15]
Psyonix founder Dave Hagewood explains how Rocket League's "rocket boost" mechanic started as a simple nitro button and wound up becoming a critical part of the game's acrobatic high-level play.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Production, Exclusive, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Alarm systems in Klei's Invisible, Inc. Exclusive 4
by James Lantz [06.01.15]
Technical designer James Lantz breaks down Klei's iterative approach to designing the alarm systems in Invisible, Inc. so they consistently create a tense, high-pressure environment.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Exclusive, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Darkest Dungeon's Affliction System Exclusive 3
by Tyler Sigman, Chris Bourassa [05.28.15]
Chris Bourassa & Tyler Sigman of Red Hook Studios: "We wanted to capture the human response to stress. Any person can break under pressure, and people break in different ways."
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Exclusive, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: One-hit kills in Titan Souls Exclusive 6
by Mark Foster [05.07.15]
Mark Foster, lead designer and programmer: "We gave the player a one-hit death; when I added in the fights, I just left them as single-hit kills, too. I felt like this just made sense in terms of gameplay."
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Exclusive, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Making babies in Hero Generations Exclusive 2
by Scott Brodie [04.14.15]
Heart Shaped Games founder Scott Brodie digs into the prototyping and fine-tuning that went into the design of the hereditary traits and genealogy systems at play in his game Hero Generations.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Exclusive, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Tapping to control musical monkeys in Jungle Rumble 2
by Trevor Stricker [04.01.15]
How do you make a musical action game that isn't simply monkey-see, monkey do? This Deep Dive takes you into the design of Jungle Rumble, a rhythm game that isn't typical.
Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Audio, Design, Production, Deep Dive