#186 Looking forward and back, 2017 to 2018

#186 Looking forward and back, 2017 to 2018

Description

In this final episode of 2017, David, Dirk and Kathryn get together to review 2017 and look forward to 2018.

David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, artana.com, dirk@artana.com
Kathryn Hymes – @chicalashaw, thornygames.com

Episode Outline

  • 00:41 2017 for David – Big changes, moved back to Toronto and different companies
  • 02:17 Changes in the Boston area in terms of the game design community
  • 03:25 Boston vs Toronto
  • 05:17 Kathryn’s job movements … in 2016. How is it at Slack?
  • 06:49 What about Slack as a game design tool?
  • 09:41 Dirk’s 2017 and his introspection on making more games
  • 11:39 2018 plans for Dirk
  • 13:55 2017 for Kathryn and lessons learned with Kickstarter projects and getting a project brought to life.
  • 17:12 2018 plans for Kathryn
  • 20:46 How David’s side project fared as well as a new studio space in Toronto
  • 23:23 David’s 2018 plans for an RPG game to be released
  • 26:00 Dirk’s 2018 plans include the release of two games
  • 28:48 Kathryn is looking to make small games in 2018 to stretch her design muscles
  • 30:44 Happy New Year!
#185: Game Designer Cole Wehrle

#185: Game Designer Cole Wehrle

Description

In this episode, David and Dirk speak with game designer Cole Wehrle. They discuss Cole’s work and how to find balance designing games with deep historical and cultural context.

Cole Wehrle – @colewehrle , www.boardgamegeek.com
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 00:07 Welcome Cole
  • 00:40 Sierra Madre Games
  • 02:46 Appreciating Games even if not completely enjoying them
  • 03:37 How Cole got his first game published
  • 06:39 Information about the game John Company
  • 09:00 John Company vs Greed
  • 10:23 Challenge vs Academic and how it manifests in Coles new game
  • 16:37 Are these post-colonial games?
  • 18:16 When you find the gap, how do you map the act of playing the game that can close the gap?
  • 23:04 What is the impact of Cole’s games within the gaming community?
  • 29:23 Specificity and a players experience with the content
  • 35:01 Cole’s Kickstarter
#184: Narrative Designer Edwin McRae

#184: Narrative Designer Edwin McRae

Description

In this episode, Harrison and Dirk speak with Edwin McRae, a narrative designer. They discuss the importance of the narrative line in game design and how it can keep game players engaged throughout a game with immersive details.

Edwin McRae – www.edmcrae.com, edwin@edmcrae.com
Harrison Pink – @gilespink, harrisonpink@gmail.com
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, dirk@artana.com, www.artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 00:14 Welcome Edwin
  • 00:17 Edwin’s background
  • 03:34 What is a narrative designer?
  • 05:48 What processes or tools does Edwin use?
  • 07:04 What is jigsaw storytelling?
  • 08:26 What is Harrison’s background in narrative storytelling?
  • 10:54 Information on Edwin’s work on Path of Exile
  • 13:40 Edwin’s background in school and professionally
  • 17:01 Edwin’s book writing on narrative design for indies
  • 20:07 Advice to indies on hiring a narrative designer
  • 23:09 What if someone is part way through developing and feels like the narrative is not right
  • 27:27 How would a young writer get experience in game design?

 

#183: Listener Questions with David, Dirk and Rob

#183: Listener Questions with David, Dirk and Rob

Description

In this episode, David, Dirk and Rob finally get back together to catch up on each other’s projects and answer listener questions.

Rob Daviau – @robdaviau
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 00:11 The group is back together again – it’s been a while. David, Dirk and Rob catch up with what they’ve all been up to.
  • 07:55 Listener Questions
  • 08:12 Opinions on the rise of game engine marketplaces.
  • 11:49 What is the ideal listener profile where a game engine would be useful?
  • 13:48 Any particular game design books that are recommended?
  • 20:34 David takes the question back to design, in general, and think of philosophy of design.
  • 23:19 Math models and how they are created.
#182: Game Designer Mike Bithell – Thomas Was Alone

#182: Game Designer Mike Bithell – Thomas Was Alone

Description

In this episode, Dirk and Harrison have a chat with Mike Bithell, designer of games such as Thomas Was Alone, Volume, EarthShape, and Subsurface Circular. They discuss Mike’s path to success and how he’s been able to make such a variety of games.

Mike Bithell – @mikebithell, mikebithellgames.com
Harrison Pink – @GilesPink, harrisonpink.com, harrisonpink@gmail.com
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:17 Background on Mike
  • 1:23 How did Mike get into games?
  • 3:43 To what does Mike attribute his success?
  • 5:55 Was it really all luck? How about the marketing side? – How Mike ended up on Steam
  • 7:49 For the game, Thomas is Alone, how did narration get added to the game?
  • 11:54 What about games more recent than Thomas is Alone and their great reviews?
  • 15:24 What makes a game, an Bithell company game?
  • 18:46 What’s next?
  • 21:11 Did lack of marketing actually help?
  • 22:59 How do you balance making customers happy against sales volume?
  • 25:01 Design process
  • 27:47 Advice for aspiring indie game designers
#181: Listener Questions with David and Dirk

#181: Listener Questions with David and Dirk

Description

David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:13 Listener Questions
  • 0:33 What are the most common mistakes new designers make with blind playtesting?
  • 6:55 What is the current state in board game printing?
  • 8:44 How does it work with games with lots of mini’s?
  • 10:56 Will 3D printing change how mini’s are handled?
  • 11:46 When you start designing a game, how much research do you do in the genre?
  • 15:00 What are the pros and cons of physical cards vs digital?
  • 21:21 Any advice on identifying broken strategies before taking a game to external testers?
  • 27:03 On a desert island, what games do David and Dirk pick?
#180: Spy Club from Foxtrot Games; How Collaboration helped deliver results.

#180: Spy Club from Foxtrot Games; How Collaboration helped deliver results.

Description

In this episode, Dirk is joined by John Schulter, Sarah Graybill and Randy Hoyt to discuss their work on their new game, Spy Club from Foxtrot Games. They describe how their collaboration works and how Foxtrot Games and Black Straw Games fit into this relationship.

John Schulter & Sarah Graybill – @BlackStrawGames, blackstrawgames.com
Randy Hoyt – @Randyhoyt, @foxtrotgames, foxtrotgames.com
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:11 Welcome John, Sarah and Randy – Background
  • 0:35 Discuss the new game, Spy Club, and how they all started on the team
  • 1:18 It is based on another game by Jason D. Kingsley
  • 2:18 These games have a long and intensive development process
  • 3:05 How did it get from Jason to Foxtrot Games
  • 3:53 How did playtesting turn into participation in the dev process?
  • 6:34 Spy Club – what type of game is it?
  • 7:58 John and Sarah have experience in designing games for children
  • 9:54 Is Foxtrot Games making a directed effort into family friendly games?
  • 11:12 Is this collaboration going into more projects?
  • 13:32 This shows how relationships can pay off
  • 14:53 Sarah and Black Straw Games
  • 16:44 How does the collaboration work between the two companies?
  • 19:35 How would people who are interested in working together do so?
  • 22:44 Foxtrot, is the pace of releases increasing?
  • 26:49 Spy Club the campaign aspect
  • 34:07 What are some challenges of collaboration?

 

#179: Elizabeth LaPensée, indigenous self-determination in game development.

#179: Elizabeth LaPensée, indigenous self-determination in game development.

Description

In this episode, Elizabeth LaPensée joins Kathryn and Dirk and they discuss indigenous self-determination in game development and how a destructive pattern of colonialism is being addressed.

Elizabeth LaPensée – elizabethlapensee@gmail.com, elizabethlapensee.com
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com
Kathryn Hymes – @chicalashaw, thornygames.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:11 Welcome Elizabeth – Background
  • 1:35 Elizabeth’s voice and perspective as a game designer
  • 3:07 Themes of culture; How does this impact Elizabeth’s making of games
  • 7:46 In the game Invaders, can a player win? Or is it inevitable that they will die?
  • 9:09 How do Grandmother-mechanics fit into a game like Invaders with indigenous game mechanics?
  • 11:42 Is there a larger message that is being told with these games?
  • 12:36 Why might the holocaust in WWII Europe be see differently than the holocaust that was perpetuated on the native American peoples?
  • 17:45 While there a lot of patterns of colonialism in games today, are there any positive themes to be found?
  • 19:15 Serious Games – What is this about?
  • 22:59 Game development as a form of self determination
  • 27:52 Will games of assassination be seen in the future as smoking on planes is seen today?
#178: Niki Crisci, Will Glow the Wisp

#178: Niki Crisci, Will Glow the Wisp

Description

In this episode, Niki Crisci calls in from Germany and chats with David and Dirk about his recently release game, Will Glow the Wisp. They discuss his inspiration for the game and how he’s found the time to work on it.

Niki Crisci – @KeyboardSamuray , parttimeindie.com, store.steampowered.com/app/640890/Will_Glow_the_Wisp/
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:16 Welcome Niki- Background
  • 0:50 Overview of Niki’s new game, Will Glow the Wisp
  • 2:59 Niki’s day-job
  • 3:26 Nike’s art background and his relationship to making games
  • 6:57 When did Niki get started on Will Glow the Wisp?
  • 14:13 What is the indie game scene like in Germany?
  • 15:58 How has Niki dealt with a smaller supporting community during development?
  • 19:09 Working alone vs working with a team
  • 22:24 What is the hope for this or future games for Niki?
  • 24:02 Advice for beginners

 

 

#177: Tomer Perry, Ethics and Political Theory

#177: Tomer Perry, Ethics and Political Theory

Description

In this episode, Tomer Perry, political theorists, avid board and table gamer from Harvard University joins David and Dirk. They discuss how games are used to teach ethics and political theory.

Tommer Perry – @Perrytom6, ethics.harvard.edu, politicalgamer.com
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:14 Welcome Tomer – Background
  • 2:45 What impact, is what you’re doing, having for people who are teaching?
  • 3:53 Are great opportunity to also explore questions of ethics
  • 7:44 Book: The Art of Losing
  • 10:37 What can be learned from traditional game design?
  • 12:13 What is the innovation that is breaking new ground?
  • 15:31 Are there other fields besides IR that could benefit?
  • 16:52 Tabletop games are easier to reproduce
  • 19:37 Where does this all go moving forward?