GameDev News for 5 September 2020



Hello, everyone! Clean-up work continues on the wiki, now in the way of checking old links. Is it just me, or are people getting better at keeping stuff online in recent times? Speaking of which, the new site is also shaping up, along with the attached Gemini capsule. (You're going to need a client to see the latter, such as Kristall or Geminaut. Enjoy the exclusive content!) Only actual games are still on the back burner. Sorry about that.

Otherwise it's been a slow ten days again in the world of games, which is odd, because you'd expect people to be back from vacation by now. Well, there's always the usual mix of mass firings, company acquisitions, mainstream game delays, and so on. Sorry, but I just can't focus on any of it. Reads like blah, blah, blah to me and nothing else. And it's getting harder by the week to find news outlets that don't ask for permission to spy on you, or put up a paywall, or the like. Luckily there's more to the online world, as you'll see.

In the way of news, at the start of September we have a couple of game design write-ups (about time and space in RPGs and open worlds, respectively), and a rising star in the world of game-making tools just got much better. Enjoy!

Lately some of the best stuff online can only be found off the beaten path, on what we call the Small Web. Especially when it comes to games. Like this long, thoughtful write-up titled RPGs, Time, and Travel. It covers the same issues I had to think about while working on Lost in the Jungle and later Keep of the Mad Wizard, though in much more detail.

That said, I disagree with the author. Far as I'm concerned, travel in fiction should happen at the speed of plot. This is equally true of novels and games, and few can escape this principle: even games that lack a story can't help but have a narrative as a general rule. And this narrative should be relevant. Boring, lengthy travel through repetitive terrain, anyone? Filled with the same few kinds of monsters, too? As for tracking rations, suffice to say there's a reason why adventure games long removed hunger and thirst puzzles.

Besides, it's often hard to measure time and distance with any precision. Lost in the Jungle rationalizes its counters as hours and kilometers, but frankly, how is the hero supposed to know how much distance they covered on any given leg of the journey, with all the different hazards at every step?

How long is a piece of string?

That's why in Keep of the Mad Wizard the progress bar is reduced to a glorified percentile value. The premise simply happens to support that.

Anyway, outside of that, these days we have K.D. explaining why not all games need open worlds, and on a different note, how creating homebrew games for the Nintendo Gameboy has just become much easier. And that's pretty much it I'm afraid.

See you mid-month, and have fun until then!


Tags: meta, business, tabletop, rpg, game design