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Episodes

#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?

 

 

#176: Methodology and Management

#176: Methodology and Management

Description

David and Dirk catch up and talk about David’s new work. They discuss some of the different ways he’s found this new studio operates organizationally and how he thinks it may be a growing trend across the industry.

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

Episode Outline

  • 0:38 What is David doing now in terms of job roles and companies? It’s not quite what he expected
  • 3:29 What is David’s new project?
  • 5:14 David discusses that this is the first time he’s run a project from the very beginning.
  • 7:32 Lean Engineering
  • 9:13 How decisions are distributed across a team
  • 12:14 How are the new ideas of developing a game applied in his new environment?
  • 14:42 Where is the design happening?
  • 18:02 What does the team look like?
  • 20:50 What is the impressive part of the way this team is assembled and the game is being developed?
  • 27:07 Is this new way of team design unique to the new company or is it something that is happening across the industry?

 

#175: Listener Mail August 2017

#175: Listener Mail August 2017

Description
David, Dirk, and Kathryn dive into the digital mailbag and take a shot at some listener questions.

Topics include Kickstarter Cancellations, design organization and ways to pitch a game.

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

Episode Outline

  • 0:20 Everyone thinks it has been a good week.
  • 0:26 Some listener comments
  • 0:36 Listener Michael Hopkins – Kickstarter Cancellations
  • 3:18 Q: Glen Slagel – Do you go back through old notes?
  • 7:17 Q: Tristen Angeles & Ryan Sumo – How do you organize your design?
  • 15:02 Q: Aaron Wilson & Trevor Willis – Pitching a game by video vs. at a convention?
  • 18:15 Q: Tristen & Ryan – How do you organize play tests?
  • 22:53 Art Quality of prototypes – How does high vs. low fidelity impact testing?
  • 26:06 Events for designers
  • 27:00 Q: Derek Tocaz – Score keeping mechanisms – what do you like?
  • 34:23 Kathryn got some cool games while in Japan

 

#174: Mo Turkington and LARPs

#174: Mo Turkington and LARPs

Description

In this episode, Mo Turkington from Unruly Designs joins Dirk and Kathryn to discuss LARPs and specifically chamber LARPs focused on women in WWII. The conversation also touches on the roles LARPs can have in understanding social privilege.

Mo Turkington – unrulydesigns.com, moyra@unrulydesigns.com
Kathryn Hymes – @chicalashaw, thornygames.com
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:14 – Mo introduced and background
  • 0:49 – What is a LARP?
  • 2:02 – How does the idea of a LARP fit into Nightingales?
  • 4:18 – What attracts Mo to the subject of historical LARP?
  • 8:53 – As a designer how do you approach the historical details?
  • 11:43 – What are the concrete goals a LARP player has?
  • 17:20 – Are LARP games meant to be replayed?
  • 19:51 – Differences between LARP and tabletop games
  • 20:40 – Onboarding and Offboarding mechanics
  • 25:54 – Privilege Lines
  • 29:51 – Debriefs
  • 35:12 – The changing narratives of LARP, RPG and tabletop games
  • 40:17 – What’s the right way to play a LARP for the uninitiated?
  • 44:00 – Wrap up and contact information
#173: Game Design Axioms

#173: Game Design Axioms

Description
Dirk, Kathryn, and Rob get together for the much anticipated game design axioms episode. Listen as they share their their top design principles.

Kathryn Hymes – @chicalashaw, thornygames.com
Rob Daviau – @robdaviau
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:06 – Greetings
  • 0:22 – Rob has a sultry voice
  • 0:41 – Kathryn and Rob are on the show together for the first time
  • 0:57 – Game design axioms
  • 1:23 – Axiom – Rob – Never make a person lose a turn
  • 5:26 – How Rob’s experience at Hasbro contributed
  • 6:45 – Axiom – Kathryn – Design for the Human Animal
  • 8:20 – Heuristics – Group info and decisions in 3’s
  • 8:58 – What are humans great at?
  • 10:47 – Insight – The Friction Is The Game
  • 11:57 – Flout Axioms with purpose
  • 12:19 – Kathryn background for her axiom
  • 13:01 – Axiom – Dirk – Know who you are designing for
  • 16:29 – User testing is core to knowing your audience
  • 17:59 – Tips for getting the right play testers
  • 20:37 – Axiom – Rob – Experience is more important than the rules
  • 24:17 – Rule design – people will do what they will do
  • 25:19 – Axiom – Kathryn – Rules relate to emotion
  • 28:11 – How to draw an emotional map
  • 29:22 – Axiom – Dirk – If you want them to like it, make sure they succeed.
  • 34:12 – Design Nuggets from the internet
  • 34:37 – Nugget – Design to guide for the right use
  • 35:27 – Nugget – Your politics or someone else’s
  • 35:52 – Nugget – Be specific
  • 36:21 – Nugget – Tell me why to play your game
  • 36:48 – Nugget – Prioritize projects that are exciting to you
  • 37:38 – Nugget – People value what you make them work for
#172: Mode 7’s Paul Kilduff-Taylor

#172: Mode 7’s Paul Kilduff-Taylor

Description
Paul Kilduff-Taylor from Mode 7, join David and Dirk for a discussion about the games Tokyo 42 and Frozen Synapse. They dive deep into some of the key decision drivers for these games as well as some history of the game industry since 2005, and where it is headed. They also touch on Paul’s thought provoking article on Medium, “Playing With Toys While People are Dying”

Paul Kilduff-Taylor – @mode7games, www.mode7games.com
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:17 – Paul’s Background in the games industry
  • 1:14 – What is the game Tokyo 42 about?
  • 2:26 – Is the amount of killing in the game intentional?
  • 3:48 – Frozen Synapse has a smaller scope, why?
  • 5:55 – Discussion on the ‘Charm’ between Tokyo 42 and Frozen Synapse
  • 8:13 – Is frustration and simultaneous turn design a conscious decision in your games?
  • 10:21 – Frozen Synapse 2; why make another?
  • 12:55 – Buy a game, get a give away; how does that work?
  • 15:30 – What are the challenges with indie develops getting visibility
  • 18:56 – What was going on in 2005 that brought the company together?
  • 19:59 – Torque game engine history
  • 21:48 – Introversion as a factor
  • 22:44 – British game industry; how has the scene changed?
  • 24:58 – Larger North American studios shutting down and its impact
  • 26:44 – Procedural content generation
  • 28:07 – Article in Medium “Playing With Toys While People are Dying”
  • 31:19 – Any new projects coming?
#171: Gunpoint’s Tom Francis

#171: Gunpoint’s Tom Francis

Description
This week Tom Francis, creator of the game Gunpoint, joins Harrison and Dirk to discuss the state of games journalism, how Gunpoint came about and what to expect next.

Tom Francis – @pentadact, www.spaceships.cool
Harrison Pink – harrisonpink.com, harrisonpink@gmail.com
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:16- Tom’s Background
  • 1:29 – What Motivated Tom to make his own games?
  • 3:13 – Tom’s programming background
  • 4:15 – What brought Tom into the gaming industry
  • 6:42 – Is games journalism shrinking?
  • 11:51 – What drives games journalism traffic?
  • 12:50 – What inspired the format of Gunpoint?
  • 14:49 – Gunpoint did well especially for a first release.
  • 17:35- Why the name Gunpoint?
  • 21:41 – Blogging during the development of Gunpoint.
  • 28:42 – How do you stay motivated during the dark times?
#170: Ross Cowman

#170: Ross Cowman

Description
This week, Dirk and Kathryn talk with Ross Cowman, owner of game design studio Heart of the Deernicorn. They discuss the game Fall of Magic

Ross Cowman – @rosscowman, www.heartofthedeernicorn.com
Kathryn Hymes – @chicalashaw, thornygames.com
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, dirk@artana.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:00:19 – Ross’ background
  • 0:01.08 – Origin of company name
  • 0:02:22 – company name SEO
  • 0:02:57 – Origin of Fall of Magic
  • 0:10:40 – Talking about a turn of the game
  • 0:22:37 – What opportunities and difficulties have come from the game?
  • 0:27:16 – What’s next?
  • 0:29:16 – Overseas reception of the game
  • 0:33:22 – Translation of the game