background preloader


Facebook Twitter

Practical design knowledge from experts in UX, Data, IoT - Free Ebooks. 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. "That was when the APRG was kind of born" 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. The idea of returning to Diablo began to creep into the discussions, and after a couple of months of recuperation, we suddenly realized we weren't burned out on Diablo anymore.

Diablo II never had an official, complete design document. Blizzard North started out as Condor Games in September 1993. 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.

We've taken the liberty of excerpting a page from Brevik's (brief) Diablo pitch below, and the full document can be found over on his blog. 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. At first, Game analytics can appear a little pointless and leave you feeling snowed under, but if you direct your attention to the right type of analytics, your game and its players will thank you for it.

Vanity-Analytics provide that feel-good factor. Collecting This Data Using this Data in your Game Conclusion. 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.

The trio had been recording for about an hour when a park ranger crashed their session. Kowalski, his co-workers and their swords were asked to leave. That marked the only time Kowalski has ever been kicked out while on a job. Sound design in practice is a bizarre job. "We're like mad scientists," Kowalski says. Weird science "Dude. "I'm like, 'What? 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.” Lebbos has spent nearly 20 years with the company and now oversees a team of over 150 people who coordinate technology use at Ubisoft studios (“we work on the engines, but the engines are not our responsibility”) so he’s understandably enmeshed in big-budget game development culture. "We make sure that we aren't using the other studios as plain outsourcers. We try to give them ownership of a part of a game, pure ownership. " “It's hectic but fun,” says Lebbos. Boat stuff. Fabian Fischer's Blog - Why We Need Challenge. 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.

These days quite a few games boast about their difficulty in their product descriptions. Subset Games for example promotes their indie hit FTL with the "constant threat of defeat". Cellar Door Games let us know that their platformer Rogue Legacy is "HARD" in mighty capital letters. Gameplay Games The following article is primarily concerned with games which, in trying to deliver value to their audience, rely on interactivity first and foremost. The article is not concerned with this kind of "gameplay". However, the bulk of the industry and especially modern AAA titles typically rely on game mechanics. Asset Tourism On rails through the content museum. Those on the other hand who manage to get to the end, will often find pseudo replay value in the form of a "New Game Plus" mode.

Why Challenge? 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 In a newly translated 1985 interview, Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatai reflects on his struggles to get the game, released in 1980, made at all -- something that seems almost funny, in retrospect, given its massive success. But his words will feel familiar to anyone who's pushed to do something new in the game industry. "When you’re trying to bring a new idea to life, you often encounter the following problem: even though you may convince your bosses of the basic idea quickly enough, it can take a long time to convince them of the parts they’ve deemed 'extraneous.'

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. That's a sentiment most developers can empathize with: the innate urge to sit down and just make that game. It's partly why he'll be taking a break from directing the University of Texas at Austin's Denius-Sams Gaming Academy this year to join OtherSide Entertainment full-time, and assemble a new studio to work on System Shock 3. But another big reason he's returning to game development -- and to the influential franchise whose progenitor, the 1994 Looking Glass game System Shock, he helped produce -- is pressure to be engaged, active and relevant in a game industry that seems to undergo seismic shifts on a regular basis.

"The business and the world of game development has changed so radically, even since I started teaching," Spector told Gamasutra via phone last week. Why go back to full-time game development? There are a bunch of reasons. I don't understand why. 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? Game designers too often think about only the next technology cycle. Find out at GDC 2016, where on Wednesday, March 16th game designer, NYU professor and GameLab co-founder Eric ZImmerman will once again serve as MC for the hour-long Game Design Challenge on the Design track of GDC talks.

And of course there are lots of other great Design track talks at GDC 2016, including great sessions like "Beat It. What's more, new sessions will continue to be announced for GDC 2016 in the coming weeks. Bloodborne: You are the experience points. Tim Rogers is a game developer and writer. His next game is Videoball for PS4, Xbox One, and Steam. Do the Souls games have a Secret Design Formula? Well, yes. As far as I can tell, here it is: 1. Have good taste 2. Now that I've used up my "say something snippy" quota for the week, I want to be serious about Bloodborne and the Souls games: I like them a lot.

I like them because they have great action design, they have great level design, and they have great experience design. Controlling a humanoid character in a game has always been, for me, a mildly body-horrible experience. This is part of the reason why I like games about simple polygons. The Souls games, meanwhile, perform a civilized fancy dance (maybe a waltz) with the body-horror of using a video game controller to remote-control a humanlike character inside a television. Your character's attacks all have warm-ups and cool-downs. The warm-up into the attack is the same length every time. Rushing kills you. I just got hit. ... 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. Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech. 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.

She'll also illuminate important, even surprising connections between games like FoldIt and The Witness (pictured), and speak to how it's more important than ever for designers to be aware of how games can influence society and affect social change -- even if they aren't explicitly designed to do so. And that's not all. Classic Postmortem: People Can Fly's Bulletstorm.

On the fifth anniversary of the release of this unique and underappreciated shooter, Here's an in-depth postmortem that first ran in Game Developer magazine in 2011. It was written by Adrian Chmielarz, who was creative director of People Can Fly. What could go wrong if your first project is an unassuming old-school PC shooter, and your second project is a big, multiplatform AAA title?

Why would things be different if you grew from 15 to 70 employees in a couple of years? How does it feel to go from e-mail interviews to standing in front of the entire world as it watches your live E3 presentation? Yeah, this could be a book. Ten thousand things went right and ten thousand things went wrong during the production of Bulletstorm. 1) Focus on core combat loop ///Our philosophy is that it’s better to have a great game that’s just about spitting than a mediocre game about spitting, screaming, and playing the banjo.

Also, stop thinking about that banjo game. 2) Pacing and balancing pass /// Ha! 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. He has a ton of insight into Blizzard's wildly popular digital card game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Press play below to hear what Phil learned when Blizzard searched for brutal honesty by asking fans about Hearthstone's future. Links to subscribe to Minimap in iTunes, your podcast player of choice or to download an MP3 are all a click away, tucked inside the buttons below today's episode. Hearthstone and community: Inside Blizzard's radical new approach to working with players. 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. 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.

Video game players become less competitive with age, study shows. Fabian Fischer's Blog - What do you mean, losing is fun? Introduction to Facebook APIs. Facebook API | ProgrammableWeb. Mobile User Acquisition: How the most successful developers get better users for less money | Insight | VentureBeat. Player-acquisition costs rise on mobile even as revenues-per-gamer holds steady | GamesBeat | Games | by Jeff Grubb.