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#206 Jon Shafer of Conifer Games – At the Gates

#206 Jon Shafer of Conifer Games – At the Gates


Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign, atthegatesgame.com, forum.conifergames.com
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, artana.com, dirk@artana.com

00:05 Welcome Jon Shafer of Conifer Games
01:31 At the Gates in out and has some cool features
01:51 At the Gates elevator pitch
03:08 Jon has worked on this since 2012, how was it working on it that long?
05:05 David’s memories of his perspective of Jon starting the game
06:16 Where did the motivation come from?
06:47 The source for the clan feature
09:32 First drafts sometimes start as ‘a pile of mechanics’
10:48 Iteration is essential
11:51 How was the game steered away from micromanagement?
16:39 What are the systems that allow players to develop high level strategies in a short, repeatable time frame?
18:53 What are some indicators that would show a player they’re on the right track for their approach to play?
20:38 How do seasons play into the game play?
23:36 Are there any systems where Jon is unsure about because he’s breaking new ground?
29:30 What’s next for Jon Shafer?
30:28 Where can listeners follow the development of At the Gates?
31:26 How has it worked out, deciding to provide transparency to the design process?
33:44 What games might be next for Jon?

Episode #121: At the Gates Update with Jon Shafer

Episode #121: At the Gates Update with Jon Shafer

Description

Former host and Game Design Roundtable co-founder Jon Shafer stops in to talk about At the Gates. Jon’s been hard at work adding features, taking out features, and polishing the game. Progress moves ever forward as the game becomes the game that Jon set out to make.

Contact Information

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Jon Shafer – www.atthegatesgame.com, @jonshaferdesign, jonshaferondesign.com, jon.shafer@conifergames.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:01:58 – Making changes in development

  • 0:06:56 – Clans

  • 0:11:57 – Developing the clan mechanic

  • 0:14:36 – Other changes to the game’s original design

  • 0:19:44 – Storytelling

  • 0:22:57 – Diplomacy

  • 0:26:46 – Romanization

  • 0:36:08 – Test groups

  • 0:39:51 – Food and player pressure

Episode #91: At The Gates Progress Report with Jon Shafer

Episode #91: At The Gates Progress Report with Jon Shafer

Description

Friend and co-founder of The Game Design Roundtable Jon Shafer stops by to talk about the status of his game At the Gates. Learn about the importance of tribes, one of Jon’s new features that adds replayability and personality to the game. Dirk, David, and Jon talk about how far the game has come and what’s coming up in the future.

 

Contact Information

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

David Heron – @DavidVHeron

Jon Shafer – atthegatesgame.com, contact@conifergames.com, @jonshaferdesign

Episode Outline

  • 0:01:15 – Impressions of At the Gates

  • 0:03:58 – Recent changes

  • 0:17:16 – Player choice and game duration

  • 0:21:16 – Clans

  • 0:34:44 – Unit health and healing

  • 0:43:01 – Personality

  • 0:50:23 – Migration

Episode #70: A Roman Farewell

Episode #70: A Roman Farewell

Contact Information

Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign,www.JonShaferOnDesign.com, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:01:10 – Jon’s Last Ride

  • 0:03:52 – Work Patterns

  • 0:09:42 – Splitting Attention

  • 0:22:32 – The Impact of Art

  • 0:30:21 – Future of At the Gates

  • 0:41:15 – Travel & Convention Plans

  • 0:45:24 – Marketing

  • 0:51:43 – The Future of the Podcast
Episode #69: Players as Designers

Episode #69: Players as Designers

Contact Information

Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign,www.JonShaferOnDesign.com, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

David Heron – @DavidVHeron

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:00:38 – House Rules

  • 0:07:20 – Modding

  • 0:17:48 – Tabletop Games

  • 0:30:30 – Optional Rules

  • 0:38:55 – Our House Rules

  • 0:43:58 – Allowing for Player Creativity

  • 0:55:40 – Opening Up the Design Process

  • 1:03:35 – From Modder to Designer
Episode #68: Transparency

Episode #68: Transparency

Contact Information

Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign,www.JonShaferOnDesign.com, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

Soren Johnson – @SorenJohnson, www.Designer-Notes.com, www.MohawkGames.com

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:00:24 – What IS Transparency?

  • 0:13:50 – Deckbuilders

  • 0:18:02 – Fog of War

  • 0:26:12 – Dirk’s Games

  • 0:31:15 – Replayability

  • 0:38:18 – Memory

  • 0:45:35 – The Designer’s Preference

  • 0:50:04 – Out of the Park Baseball

  • 1:12:00 – Designing Our Baseball Sim
Episode #46: Theme, Mechanics & Fun

Episode #46: Theme, Mechanics & Fun

 

Contact Information

Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign,www.JonShaferOnDesign.com, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

David Heron – @DavidVHeron

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:01:08 – Definitions

  • 0:05:15 – Business considerations

  • 0:16:00 – Favoring one over the other

  • 0:22:08 – What is ‘fun’?

  • 0:31:50 – Theme vs mechanics

  • 0:43:30 – Can you omit one?

  • 0:53:00 – Jon’s approach in At the Gates

  • 1:00:40 – Dirk’s approach

  • 1:02:17 – David’s approach

Episode #41: Paradox Games, Poker and AI

Episode #41: Paradox Games, Poker and AI

 

Contact Information

Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign,www.JonShaferOnDesign.com, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:01:15 – Europa Universalis 4 and Hearts of Iron 3

  • 0:07:30 – The problem with automation

  • 0:14:29 – UI in Paradox games

  • 0:27:50 – Poker

  • 0:42:05 – The problems with poker

  • 0:52:22 – Poker and money

  • 0:58:41 – At the Gates – Map Objects

  • 1:05:45 – At the Gates – AI

  • 1:13:36 – Dirk’s brief project update