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  • Pseudobread

    We attended two pannels about Blizzard's hit collectible card game (CCG) Hearthstone at GDC 2014, and got to see some of Blizzard's finest share some of their design secrets.

    The first talk, Ben Thompson's The Art of Hearthstone: Playing the Cards you're Dealt, focused primarily on the game's art design, which Ben was responsible for. The team had four main values for Hearthstone during its creation:

    • Create the sensation that the cards are a valuable collectible
    • Keep the design simple and clean
    • Make sure the cards feel real and physical
    • Keep the charming and whimsical feel of other Warcraft games



    One of the main problems the team encountered was that a digital CCG lacks the physical sensation one gets from playing a traditional card game. The fee…



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  • Pseudobread

    Klei Entertainment Devloper Kevin Forbes recently gave a talk about indie hit Don’t Starve, detailing the game’s roots as a free to play prototype, and the huge impact the community had on bringing it to fruition.

    The concept for Don’t Starve actually stemmed from a game jam where a 16 bit Link asset from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was surrounded by an increasing number of pigmen that did damage to you. It took 2 days to make, and had the same nighttime proximity lighting effects and isometric view as Don’t Starve would, but that was pretty much it. A simple start to be sure, but it served as the ground work for an experimental Free to Play(F2P) game that Klei was interested in pursuing.

    The original game prototype was called the …

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  • TheBlueRogue


    Bungie's exciting new sci-fi first-person shooter, Destiny, will have a heavy focus on player customization. The customization system is highly ambitious and unlike anything seen in a first-person shooter thus far. Scott Shepherd, 3D Technical Art Lead, shed some light on the tools and process Bungie built to create a large variety of high-quality character content. The customization system truly makes the most out of the world art created and allows for continued growth and expandability over the lifetime of the Destiny franchise.


    Hunters: The hunters are the frontier scouts. They carry themselves with style, and their look reflects a mixing and matching vibe. The class is dressed in heavy cloaks and various types of masks. They wear lightw…



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  • TheBlueRogue

    Behind the critical success of BioShock Infinite is the game's heart and soul, Elizabeth. Not only did Elizabeth carry the narrative weight of BioShock Infinite on her shoulders, she was also a robust AI that allowed for many systemic interactions. The creation of Elizabeth was an organic process that evolved over time and included members from every department at Irrational. Shawn Robertson, Animation Director of Irrational Games, broke down the complex nature of bringing Elizabeth to life, from an AI perspective as well as an animating perspective.


    The BioShock series had little player-to-human reactions throughout the first two games. All major character interactions in the first game occurred through radio sequences or heavily scripted …


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  • TheBlueRogue

    Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time was a serious undertaking for PopCap Games. The original Plants vs. Zombies created a large following, and a true sequel had to do much more than recreate the magic from the first game. Mark Bennett, an artist for PopCap, revealed the creative, crazy, and oftentimes unholy processes endured in the making of Plants vs. Zombies 2. From humble beginnings on a farm, to a road trip across the nation, and finally a journey through time.


    Many of the members of PopCap games who created the first Plants vs. Zombies were interested in moving on to new projects. A newer and less experienced team was brought in to create a new concept for a game. The mission was to reinvent the classic: to make a sequel that could l…


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  • JAlbor


    League of Legends is a hardcore competitive multiplayer game, but it also has a rich back story and 118 unique characters, all with their own lore. How does Riot Games manage to walk the fine line between fierce competition and enriching narrative? At a recent GDC talk, Christina Norman, Game Designer and Writer for Riot, revealed various lessons and techniques about embedding a strong narrative into multiplayer competitive games.


    Before establishing her techniques and tips, Norman made sure to clarify two common misconceptions: story does not have to disrupt gameplay, and players will care about stories if you tell the rights ones. To achieve this goal, writers must follow four ground rules:

    • Story should never be irritating. Players need to …


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  • Pseudobread

    Chances are, that if you’re a gamer of a certain age, you’ve heard of Shenmue. Yu Suzuki’s 2000 Dreamcast game was considered a watershed moment on one of the most critically beloved systems of all time. It redefined the action RPG and what gamers could expect from a game’s world, story, and characters.

    A sweeping, dramatic tale of revenge that also simulated what would be considered at the time very mundane aspects of real life, Shenmue was a cornerstone for all future sandbox games, inspiring the Yakuza series, the GTA series, and many others. It was one of the first games to create a living, breathing city that felt like you were a part of it, and the little touches were revolutionary for their time. Ever-changing weather effects, NPCs t…

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  • TheBlueRogue

    The history and development behind Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV, and subsequently Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, was detailed at length by Naoki Yoshida at Game Developer's Conference 2014. Final Fantasy XIV, when released in September 2010, was considered a critical and commercial flop. Square Enix did not abandon the project, and instead hired Yoshida to take the helm to retool and rework the game. This was rare for an MMO to completely retool and relaunch itself, and Yoshida discussed the reasons behind the failure of FFXIV and the alterations and approaches his team followed to mold A Realm Reborn out of its ashes.


    Final Fantasy XIV suffered from a wide variety of issues, including unstable servers (with upwards of 400 of crashes a…


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  • Matt Hadick


    Rosie Rappaport, lead designer on the EverQuest Next team, told convention attendees about how her team looked to Lego bricks for inspiration when building the prototype for EverQuest Next: Landmark while comprehensively detailing the process that brought about the standalone level editor. Landmark started out as merely a tool for the development team but proved so fun that they made it into a game. Sony Online Entertainment tasked the team with building something that was, like the original EverQuest before it, Revolutionary, as opposed to Evolutionary. Because the market is inundated with MMOs, they wanted the team to develop something that truly blew people away. They decided it was a good idea to build a revolutionary prototype to do …

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  • TheBlueRogue


    Animal Crossing: New Leaf has been a major success in the Animal Crossing franchise. At Game Developer's Conference 2014, Katsuya Eguchi, producer and manager of Software Development Group 2 at Nintendo EAD and Aya Kyogoku, the director of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, spoke at length about the history of Animal Crossing and their approaches to bringing the franchise to the 3DS.

    The New Leaf development team had many challenges, including how to improve upon a set game formula and how to eliminate the creeping 'series fatigue' in the minds of players.


    Aya Kyogoku, the director of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, provided insight into the team's development process. The talk began as a postmortem of Animal Crossing: City Folk. City Folk was released o…



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