Tanya X. Short

#236 Tanya X. Short Makes Game Systems Obvious

Design Axioms


Tanya X. Short talks with Dirk and David about her design axiom: if the player doesn’t see it, it might not exist. They discuss both some of the games Tanya has worked on, as well as other games that contradict or reinforce this rule. One key point of the discussion is how complex (and costly) systems created by the designers might go completely unnoticed by players if the user interface or the game’s objectives don’t align well with the system.  

Episode Outline

01:06 An introduction to Tanya’s axiom: if the player doesn’t see it, it might not exist

04:17 A brief discussion on Tanya’s formal education as a level designer

09:42 David challenges Tanya’s axiom, and Tanya shares how Outer Wilds executes subtle information well

14:29 Talking about how complex game systems that seem clever to designers might not be noticed by players

24:44 One way in which the subtlety of Outer Wilds marred Tanya’s otherwise great experience with the game

29:01 A mistake caught in the development of Moon Hunters that was made more obvious and made the game better

34:10 After the release of Fit for a King, Tanya thinks some hints or clearer objectives would have improved the game

37:48 Tanya shares tips on how designers can better put this axiom into practice

44:49 Final advice for designers on how to grow and improve: get yourself out of your own head and be collaborative

In this Episode

Tanya X. Short - @tanyaxshort
David V. Heron - @davidvheron
Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer

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