Welcome to What’s in a Game, a website dedicated to the design and development of video games!
Let’s look at some of my favorite games and see why I love them – and even how I wish I could make them better.
As a Senior Software Engineer working on games, I’ve tested out a lot of my own ideas – with a lot of success and failure along the way. By taking patterns from games we love, we can see how to make our own games even better. I’d like to tell you what I’ve learned about making games that reach a wide audience and bring joy to people.
General Game Design
- How the game design of 3D platformers contributed to their downfall.
- Controlling Player Flow, including for multiple levels of player skill.
- Challenge Layering – a powerful tool for controlling flow for different people.
- Summary of all posts related to Breath of the Wild
- What order do people complete the game in and how hard do they find it?
- How BotW uses emergent gameplay to keep the player engaged.
- How Mario Odyssey combined Mario 3D World and Banjo Kazooie
- Unordered optional challenges
- Linear primary objectives
- A fascinating battle system that may be complex, but is extremely rewarding to learn.
- How Xenoblade 2 teaches the player mechanics.
- The interesting decisions from the FFX Chocobo Eater
- Sphere Grid Analysis from FFX
- Great game design decisions in FFXII (Gambits should be in every game with AI)
- The best coding books to change your career
- Avoid inheritance and favor composition
- Readable and extensible code
- Don’t Make Me Think – A summary of usability notes
Let’s make the world a better place together. Support me on Patreon to get content earlier. I also offer access to my game design notebook, which is full of useful tidbits that may never make it to blog posts. Thanks!