20 years later, David Brevik shares the story of making Diablo. David Brevik helped cofound Blizzard North over twenty years ago, and played a pivotal role in the design and development of the studio’s influential hit Diablo.
The game was released at the end of 1996, and to celebrate its 20th anniversary Brevik took the stage at GDC today to deliver a postmortem look back at his work on the game. “The original concept was something I came up with in high school,” said Brevik, who went to school in California’s Bay Area and got the idea for the game’s name from local peak Mt. Diablo. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, make games, and even in high school I was thinking about what kinds of games I could make and what names I could use.” The original concept for Diablo, says Brevik, was more of a traditional party-based RPG, turn-based and heavily influenced by his early love of games like Rogue and Nethack. It was also, as is sometimes rumored, originally designed with a “claymation” art style -- kind of. Postmortem: Blizzard's Diablo II.
The original Diablo went gold on the day after Christmas in 1996, after a grueling four-month crunch period.
We hadn't put any thought into what game to do next, but as most developers can probably relate to, we were pretty certain we weren't ready to return to the Diablo world after such a long development cycle. The only thing we were certain of was that we wanted to avoid another crunch like we had just experienced. Diablo II went gold on June 15, 2000, after a grueling 12-month crunch period. After Diablo shipped, we spent about three months recovering and kicking around game ideas for our next project, but nothing really stuck. Here's a look at the original design pitch document for Diablo. Over the weekend game designer David Brevik published a scan of the original 1994 design proposal Condor, Inc.
(which would later become Blizzard North) used to pitch Diablo to potential publishers. Brevik made a promise to publish the document online after referencing it in his Diablo classic game postmortem at GDC last week, and it's worth perusing to get an understanding of how one of the most influential action-RPGs of the '90s was originally conceived. Note, for example, that in the original pitch Diablo was described as a turn-based role-playing game with randomly-created dungeons at its heart, something Brevik alluded to in his aforementioned postmortem when he noted that the game's design was heavily inspired by his love for games like Nethack and Rogue.
Ellie Lawson's Blog - Actionable vs Vanity Analytics – How to Get Active with Game Analytics. The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. Game analytics is a vital tool set that allows developers to study the behaviours of their players. The more you understand about your audience, the easier it becomes to deliver a tangible game with reachable goals, in a challenging environment that players will want to engage with. Developing a game is a huge time consuming process and people often tend to choose to spend it creating a new game level or boss encounter rather than sifting through an avalanche of numbers and statistics.
The mad scientists of Blizzard. The methods behind sound in video games, explained.
Senior sound designer Chris Kowalski arrived at the Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park with two Blizzard team members and a duffel bag in tow. The bag barely contained its bizarre contents, and it certainly couldn’t conceal them: swords, sticks, tubes and poles jutting out at every angle. The guys would need them all. About a mile into the park, Kowalski and his co-workers found the area they were looking for. Quiet and free from the clutters of traffic noise or people, it offered the kind of big, open space where you could swing a large object — say, a sword — and get a nice "whoosh" sound.
How Ubisoft builds giant games using giant teams. There’s a certain irony to the fact that adding more developers to a game project, past a certain point, makes it harder to get things done.
Few game companies in the world know this better than Ubisoft. “In terms of scale and in terms of challenge, I need to say that productivity is the main challenge, I think, within the company,” says Ubisoft Montreal’s Chadi Lebbos. “And it's something the whole industry deals with, I think. Games are becoming bigger and bigger, more complex to do.” Fabian Fischer's Blog - Why We Need Challenge. The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
Ellie Lawson's Blog - Actionable vs Vanity Analytics How to Get Active with Game Analytics. The mad scientists of Blizzard. 35 years ago, Pac-Man's creator was struggling to realize his vision. "When I made Pac-Man, I strongly believed that the time had come for video games to become more than they were, and I wanted to express that in my new game.
But the newer your ideas, the more work it takes to make others see your vision, and that really took up a lot of my time and energy. " - Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani. The Comeback: Why Warren Spector is making games again. After nearly three years as a full-time educator, veteran game designer Warren Spector is itching to make games again.
GDC 2016's Game Design Challenge: Design a game that takes 30 years to play. As the game industry prepares for GDC 2016 next month, organizers want to remind all attendees that the popular Game Design Challenge returns this year for a special session to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Game Developers Conference.
This year, a panel terrifyingly talented game designers will be challenged to to design a game that is meant to be played across 30 years – that’s 11,000 days, or 250,000 hours, or 15 million minutes... A full human generation. Why 30 years? Bloodborne: You are the experience points. Tim Rogers is a game developer and writer. Video: How Telltale designs narrative-driven games. It's easy to talk about games as "narrative-driven" experiences, but much more challenging to actually design and create one that guides players through a good story while still affording them meaningful choices. Few studios spend more time mulling this problem over, collectively, than Telltale Games. From Jurassic Park to Game of Thrones to Tales From The Borderlands, designers at the studio have learned lessons about good storytelling in games from a wealth of different experiences. At GDC 2015 some of them shared those lessons in a panel moderated by writer Tom Bissell.
It played host to some interesting conversations about creating stories in an environment where the process of writing and game design have increasingly become one, and if you missed it in person you can now watch the entire panel for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel. The Comeback: Why Warren Spector is making games again. GDC 2016: Turn and face the strange in making games for change. GDC 2016 is nearly upon us, and today we'd like to quickly highlight a great talk at the March conference from game designer and educator Colleen Macklin about the new "third wave" of the games for change movement. Macklin's Advocacy track talk "Games for Change: Turn to Face the Strange," is exciting because it's designed to offer game makers from across the industry an insightful look at the history of the games for change movement and community of those dedicated to driving social change through digital games.
Classic Postmortem: People Can Fly's Bulletstorm. Hearthstone and its radical future, explained. Every Friday, Minimap — your daily audio tour through the world of video games, related technologies and pop culture like comics, movies and TV — transforms into Polygon Minimap: Worldmap Edition. In these special episodes, on-staff experts join Dave Tach to talk, analyze and synthesize the biggest most interesting events of the week. Think of Worldmap Edition as the director's commentary for Polygon.
Today, Phil Kollar joins us once again. Watch Hearthstone's lead designer kick ass at Hearthstone. This is my back: Being a game developer is just about the only thing I can do. How Austin Wintory brought 'Journey Live' to life. Video game players become less competitive with age, study shows. A new Quantic Foundry study looking at the gaming motivations of different generations has found that competitive gaming belongs to the young, and strategy games belong to everyone. This is my back: Being a game developer is just about the only thing I can do. Video game players become less competitive with age, study shows. Curtiss Murphy's Blog - Quest Accepted! A Visual Guide for Flow and Simplicity in Games.
Video game players become less competitive with age, study shows. 17 mold-breaking fighting games that all developers should study. What Magic: The Gathering Can Teach Us. In the midst of the collectible card game craze taking over the social space in the success of Cygames' Rage of Bahamut, Will Luton examines the original collectible card game, Magic the Gathering, and the important lessons it has for today's video game designers. Video game players become less competitive with age, study shows. Fabian Fischer's Blog - What do you mean, losing is fun? The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community. Introduction to Facebook APIs. Develop and deploy your nextapp on the IBM Bluemixcloud platform. Start building for free 16 Dec 2010 - Per request of author, refreshed the download file and changed the filename to fb-sampleapp.zip (see Download).
ProgrammableWeb. Mobile User Acquisition: How the most successful developers get better users for less money. Player-acquisition costs rise on mobile even as revenues-per-gamer holds steady. Mobile developers are spending more than ever to acquire new gamers, but those new players aren’t spending any more cash on their games. It cost mobile publishers more than ever to acquire new customers in December.
The cost for a new install (CPI) hit $4.36 last month, according to market analysis firm SuperData Research. That’s up more than 288 percent from January 2012 (the month SuperData started tracking this information), when CPI was only $1.30. For a more direct comparison, in December CPI was $2.23. December’s costs were also three times higher than the monthly average for 2013.