Articles by Lewis Pulsipher

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Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated September 22, 2016 3200   0
Do Games have Dramatic “Acts”or “Stages” Do games “naturally” fall into three parts as dramas supposedly do? The classic idea of film and stage play plots is that there are naturally three parts (often called simply Act I, Act II, and Act III rather than use descriptive names). These Acts involve first introducing the protagonist, then introducing the problem or antagonist(s), and finally resolving the conflict and sorting out the aftermath. Wikipedia (accessed 20 May 10) describes it this way: ...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 2803   0
[My thanks to “Sagrilarus” of Fortress:AT for the question that stimulated this attempt at classification.] Phases (sometimes called stages) in a game design are important.  These are distinctly different periods of play through the course of a game.  They provide at least a perception, if not an actuality, of change, growth, and learning.  Phases help the feeling that there's more variety in the game, as well.   They help avoid a perception of "sameness" in the gameplay.  A game that is "too long" may feel too long because there are not enough phases, not because any specific amount of...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3119   0
Several years ago I tried to find out as much as I could about the effect on sales of tabletop games when an online version was available for play.  My conclusion was that not many people were likely to pay for the privilege of playing a tabletop game online, so any commercial advantage would come from the publicity and the ability to “try the online version before you buy” to improve sales of the tabletop version.  I have several games myself that I would like to see playable online as a way to generate interest that might help me...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3632   0
(This originally appeared in Against the Odds magazine, #30, January 2011)   Rather than argue definitions at length, I’ll briefly state the difference between designing for cause and designing for effect as I discuss it here.  The idea is that when you design for cause, you find the factors that caused something to occur, and design those factors into your game so that it’s likely to occur.  When you design for effect, you design the game so that the effect, the result, is a recognizable representation of history.  Causes may or may not be reflected,...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3336   0
Thoughts about some game-related topics that are not long enough for separate blog posts. ** Quotation:  "There's an old saying that I love about design, it's about Japanese gardening actually, that 'Your garden is not complete until there is nothing else that you can remove.'"  --Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims, Spore, etc.) ** Is it more fun to be an expert, or to be in the process of becoming an expert, at playing a game? ** I am scheduled to be a speaker at the East Coast Game Conference in Raleigh, NC, April 25 and 26, specific time...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated May 01, 2017 4516   0
Some Game Playing Styles, and How Games Match One Style or Another (Parts of this were originally published in Dragon magazine, September 1982, and in revised form in The Games Journal, February 2005, revised again on GameCareerGuide, 26 November 2009, and yet further revised on GameDev.net in 2010) A big obstacle for beginning game designers is the common assumption that everyone likes the same kinds of games, and plays the same way, that they do.If they love shooters, they think EVERYone loves shooters.If they like strategic games, they assume EVERYone likes them.If they...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 4175   0
One of the first things I do with beginning game design students is give them sets of "Clout Fantasy" pieces and a large vinyl chessboard, in groups, to have them make up games. I have water-soluble markers so that they can draw on the chessboards if they choose.  They enjoy the exercise, they get used to working in groups (which also helps them get to know one another), and ultimately they learn that designing a good game isn't as easy as they thought it would be.  It also teaches them to work under constraints.
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3637   0
(I've had some medical problems that have distracted from writing about games lately, but this should be of interest.) According to tweetdeck, one of the trending:worldwide topics on twitter not so long ago was 6 word stories.  In the past few months I've asked people to say 6 words about game design, programming, wargames, stories in games, casual games, and  innovation (and plagiarism) in games. This time the challenge is this: say six (interesting or amusing) words about zombie games.
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3515   0
According to tweetdeck, one of the trending:worldwide topics on twitter not so long ago was 6 word stories.  In the past few months I've asked people to say 6 words about game design, programming, wargames, stories in games, and casual games. This time the challenge is this: say six words about innovation or plagiarism (or both) in games.
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3530   0
What is a game, what is a puzzle, how is this important for designers (and for players)? [This is another of those “on the edge of understanding” discussions. This is very long compared with the typical articles and comments you see on sites like this. But compared with a book, it's short (6-7% of novel length). This is a fundamental topic in games and game design, and I've found that trying to summarize or briefly explain a sometimes-contentious topic is not sufficient for everyone to understand, so...
68 results - showing 41 - 50
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