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Game Design

Balancing Multiplayer Games – Opportunity, Power and Relativity

Overview This article covers three balance design concepts. The application of these concepts is geared towards improving a game’s decision quality and variety. Balance and Fun Balance is an important part of the design effort as it ensures a number of compelling options are always made available to the player. Ideally, the player is always put in a position where they must weigh the consequences of their actio
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Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Design Techniques

Overview I want to go over some of my thoughts on symmetric and asymmetric design. I have come to conceptualize these two terms very differently than their traditional use would otherwise prescribe. Symmetric design seeks to create a system of consistency and relativity within a game. It is sometimes viewed a bit more narrowly, understood as simply applying mimicry within a game’s design. For example, it might
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The Significance of Design Intent on Process

Overview I wanted to write this article largely because this has been something I have been more mindful of recently, its has really changed how I approach design. I am not sure whether this will be clearly transferable to all designers, whether this is dependent on some level of experience for example. I recently subscribed to a new youtube channel, Game Whispering, by Alexandre Mandryka, which really started to mak
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Balancing Multiplayer Games – Identifying Bad Gameplay

Overview The method discussed in Balancing Multiplayer Games – Intuition, Iteration and Numbers provides a framework that allow you as a designer to create a structure to measure and compare units relative to one another. This represents the first step towards achieving balance, as it creates a very clean baseline which allows you to measure and track a units performance relative to other units. This method has
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The Value of Challenge in Games

Challenge in Games Challenge stimulates our mind resulting in discovering, learning, and the development of schemas. Whether it be learning to better aim, learning to make smarter decisions, or learning to stay calm and collected when under pressure, we seek out these type of experiences as a form of mental stimulation. I believe there are a number of instinctual process that drive this desire. Our minds seek knowled
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Balancing Multiplayer Games – Intuition, Iteration and Numbers

Overview As games become far more complex, so does the task of balance. This article explores a number of methods used to obtain balance within complex games, concluding by offering some techniques to aid in the process. The Process of Balance During my time at Relic Entertainment, we have tested out a number of methods in our attempt to establish balance within our games. The first method is what I believe to be a v
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Defining Game Balance

Overview I’ve spent the last year and a half working as a balance designer on Company of Heroes 2 at Relic Entertainment. My job has focused specifically on balancing the multiplayer experience; including, tuning, iterating, and designing core gameplay features and mechanics. I want to take the opportunity to share some of my experiences as a balance designer, as an exercise of self reflection and in an effort
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Compelling Game Design

Recently, I was asked to give my opinion on what makes a game compelling. There was a good amount of variety in the responses that followed, below are my own thoughts on the subject. Evolution of the Mind This is more from my background in psychology, so bear with me; at a very fundamental level, I believe games need to encourage your mind to think differently, to learn, to grow. They need to stimulate the player. I
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