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category archives: design

boundaries of play: game design and kink

here’s a talk i gave at qgcon today: In game design, there’s a concept that game designers sometimes call “the magic circle.” The idea is that the magic circle is a space created by the rules of a game, and within which the normal rules and imbalances that define social interaction do not apply. A […]

diy’s game designer skill

diy is a rad site that encourages kids to make stuff by offering a loose curriculum in various skills and incentives to document and share the things they create while completing the site’s challenges. there’s an “animator” skill, a “historian” skill, an “interior decorator” skill. there are lots and lots of skills. each skill is […]

dys4ia post-partum

after friday’s romero’s wives reading, i unwound by delivering a post-partum of my game dys4ia with liz. parham gholami was gracious enough to not only record the thing, but to edit it – my slides weren’t quite working, so there was a little fumbling. you can download the audio recording right here, and the transcript is below. […]

make your first game in twine

being the author of a book about digital game-making for non-coders and a hopeful ambassador for game creation, i figured i should have some link on the front of my site where someone with no game-making experience can click and learn how to make her first videogame. naturally, i picked the simplest, most non-coder-friendly, and […]

knytt syndromes

knytt stories is an amazing introduction to level design. it attracts a lot of amateur designers, which is rad. but i also see lots of amateur designers make the same mistakes, and it’s frustrating. there’s a zzt game called zzt syndromes that tries to identify common design errors in zzt worlds, created in the hope […]

make friends hurt each other

my friend james invited me to speak in front of his class at san jose state university – a class that he’s hoping to expand into a full program eventually. standing in front of this room of bright young authors / the next generation of game creators, i told them what i wanted to see […]

game design lesson: courage, cunning and three arrows

cloudy mountain (aka “ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS cartridge”) for the intellivision is a pack of neat little ideas. today an ad&d-licensed game would probably involve talking to bartenders in rural towns to take quests to go investigate a cave and kill blork the orc and bring back his stolen magic sigil, bringing you one half-step […]

a place to download game maker 8

game maker is an incredibly valuable tool for non-programmers and non-professionals who want to explore game-making. discovering it in 2004 was life-changing. in 2011 there are other easy-to-use game making tools, but game maker still occupies an intersection of versatility and transparency that few other tools can lay claim to. unfortunately, yoyo games, the company […]

constructing the martian pleasure palace

i’ve written about what a level of lesbian spider-queens from mars looks like in the game’s language – not the layout of the halls and walls, but the script that dictates which enemies appear, and when, and what timing each level moves to. these level scripts and the rooms’ actual layouts are seperate – a […]

anatomy of a martian slave revolt

a year ago i posted about what a level of letters from beneath looks like on the inside, but a level from that game is a simple grid with walls and triggers. what does a level look like in a game like lesbian spider-queens of mars, where a level’s contents aren’t tied to what it […]