Making decisions – Dual-process theory

Hello again, sorry for not releasing an article last week. I was on a last minute trip to Sweden to check out Uppsala, the city I will study next year. So without  further ado, let’s start this article about making decisions. Making decisions is essential to any game, no matter the genre or target audience. To play a game is to make decisions. While there are many different theories that approach decision making from different angles, today I will focus on dual-process thinking proposed by Kahneman (2014). Continue reading Making decisions – Dual-process theory

The striking difference between liking and wanting

There are two different kinds of pleasures we experience every day, we have anticipatory pleasure or ‘wanting’ and consummatory pleasure or ‘liking’. While ‘wanting’ is pleasure for looking forward to future events, ‘liking’ is pleasure for things in the moment.   Continue reading The striking difference between liking and wanting

Why am I writing?

Who am I?
I’ve studied architecture and design for 4 years at the NHTV Breda in the Netherlands. During the first 2 years I did a bit of everything: art, design, programing and management. It was awesome because it allowed me to create my own games from scratch. It also helped me to communicate and understand both programmers and artist. During those years I grew to like design more and more so for my final 2 years I decided to focus on game design only. I did an internship as a game designer at Triumph studios. Here I worked on DLC for Age of Wonders 3, a pretty hardcore game. It was a cool and complex project and I liked it a lot.  Continue reading Why am I writing?

Reactance theory

You can make anything more desirable by forbidding it. That something can be anything: an item, an action, an idea. This is known as the reactance theory. Reactance is the feeling you get when someone limits your freedom or options. Reactance is what happens when you’re not allowed to do something or when you are told you have to do something.  Continue reading Reactance theory

Daisy’s plumber puzzle

You can play the game here: Daisy’s Plumber Puzzle

Daisy’s plumber puzzle was a project I worked on for Tingly Games.  I was responsible for the design of the game from the beginning of the project to the end.

About: Tingly games already made a puzzle game like Daisy’s plumber puzzle before I joined but that game was never finished. In the original version players needed to fist layout the pipes and then click on the tap to let the water flow. I wanted the players so see a direct connection between the water, the solution and the time running out. I proposed to let the water flow automatically so the players immediately see the result of their actions. The color of the water was purposely made the same as the visual timer to create a link between the time running out and the water.

My contribution: I designed new features and mechanics and decided to remove some old mechanics that were frustrating to play with. I also made the level progression my priority, the player is introduced to more time pressure, bigger levels and more complex puzzles over time. The game was very popular once it was released. Originally I designed 36 levels but more levels were added soon after release.

My responsibilities: Core Gameplay design; All additional features; Level progression and design; QA

Emma’s Dress-up Party

Check out the game here: Emma’s dress-up party

About: Emma’s dress-up party is an online dress-up game build in HTML5. Many dress-up games have a high virality but very poor retention. My intention with the design was to find a way to improve retention through design. I designed a system with locked items (and colors), daily challenges and rewarded video ads.

My contribution: I encountered a couple of challenges when designing this dress-up game. At first, I wanted to keep in mind the theory of choice overload (when there is too much to chose from, people don’t chose at all) but still give players enough freedom to keep discovering new combinations. The locked items system countered this problem very well. We unlocked a couple of items from most categories to make sure that a new player could still make lots of interesting combinations. The locked items can be unlocked with coins the player can earn with the daily challenges and rewarded video ads.
A second challenge with designing a dress-up game is overcoming the low retention rate of most dress-up games. My solution was to add different daily challenges and locked items. The player only got one daily dress-up (the daily challenge) every 20 hours. The locked items added to the idea that players would keep coming back if there was something new to discover each time they play.

10×10 Ice cream Adventure

Play the game here: 10×10 Ice cream Adventure

About: 10×10 ice-cream is a web-based game made in HTML5 which I worked on at Tingly games. It was the first Tingly game that featured a world map. Tingly games aspired to expand the game in the future by adding social media so the player can invite friends and track their own progress visually which a world map can support.

My contribution: I proposed to have a different theme for every world (20 levels) and to hide locked worlds with clouds. The clouds were inspired by strategy games (Age of Wonders) which often have a fog of war to encourage exploration. The enjoyment of discovering the world in strategy games by clearing the fog of war is a lot of fun to many people.

My responsibilities: Core game design; Juiciness design (feedback); Level progression; Level design

Age of Wonders 3

I spent my internship at Triumph Studios where I worked on the Necromancer DLC and improvements for the base game. The main feature I was responsible for was the Cosmic Marvels or cosmic happenings.

My contribution:

  • Cosmic Happenings: The Cosmic Marvels are random events that affect the map and the players. I designed a system that allows for more difficult events to happen later in the game. These settings can be ajusted to have a more challenging game. I also designed the individual events and how long they would last. I handled the feedback from the beta testers and looked into ways their feedback could be implemented.
  • Grey Guard and Torchbearer specializations: The inital design was done by Elina Huisman. I gave feedback on how some of the individual skills could be improved.
  • Shadowborn specialization: The inital design was done by Elina Huisman. I gave feedback on how some of the individual skills could be improved.
  • Mythical city upgrades: The initial design for the DLC structures was done by Jimi Hendrix. I designed the mythical city upgrades for some of the structures. An example is Artica’s Embassy; the player can build this structure if he has cleared a hall of forefathers is his domain. Once build, Artica’s Embassy grands the production of Yeties in the city.
  • Scenario map: The scenario map will be part of the new Necromancer DLC and was made together with Elina Huisman. The map features three teams of 2 players and boss fights.