Category Archives: Game Design

Energy Systems Are Back! Clash Royale

Clash Royale is Supercell’s latest hit and boy is it packing a surprise!  Supercell has invented a brand new kind of energy system that doesn’t punish players like traditional energy systems do.  If you haven’t played Clash Royale, it’s a competitive game where two players go head-to-head in real time using customizable armies.  Winning a match awards a locked chest and opening these chests gives you cards to improve your army.  Chests take at least 3 hours to open, must be opened one at a time, and there’s only room to hold four of them.  This combination has the effect of creating an implicit energy system.  Other deconstructions aren’t going deep enough to study the relevance of this new design so let’s see what we can learn! Continue reading

Steam Refund – Friend or Foe?

On Tuesday Steam added a refund procedure that allows you to get a full refund on any Steam game you’ve purchased in the last 14 days, for any reason, as long as you’ve played the game for less than 2 hours.  On the surface this change brings Steam up to code in many European countries that require this by law.  And it will certainly do right by players in every other country.  But the sudden manner in which the refund program was announced and implemented has many developers asking: “Is this good for me?” Continue reading

Kickstarter, or, Every Publisher’s New Greenlight Process

There’s a hot new Kickstarter game making its way around games media.  Bloodstained is the spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a beloved game from the first PlayStation era.  On the surface this looks like an increasingly familiar Kickstarter success story.  You take a popular game from nearly 20 years ago, have its designer get on camera and tell you they could finally make the sequel of your dreams if they could just, like, get rid of The Man, man, and show some artist’s renditions of a video game (dripping in concept art disclaimers.)

What an exciting recipe!  It’s empowering.  It’s how we want games to be made.  It’s a triumph of games as art made by artists.  It’s an underdog story.

Or is it? Continue reading