Year: 2012

Understanding randomness in terms of mastery

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Instead of categorizing games as either ‘games of skill’ or ‘games of luck’, I see games with randomness as being a subset of ‘games of mastery’. This view helps the designer see randomness in games as the intersection between both the player skill set and the game mechanics. By understanding the underlying skills involved in mastering randomness, we can build more meaningful games. Discerning cause and effect from noise One of the fundamental elements of […]

Building Tight Game Systems of Cause and Effect

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To play a game well, a player must master a mental model of cause and effect.  You learn that pressing a specific button moves you forward.  You figure out that a sequence of controller moves lets you dodge a fired rocket.  You observe a slight pause before an enemy attack and theorize that you could fire off a headshot at that exact moment.  At each stage of learning, you create a hypothesis, test it via […]

Goodbye Realm of the Mad God

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It is hard to let go of something you’ve worked on for such a long time, but such is life. After a rather successful launch of Realm of the Mad God on Steam and Kongregate, our partners at Wild Shadow Studios decided that the best course of action was to sell the game to a larger operator, and we agreed to sell our stake alongside them. Kabam will be operating the game from here on […]

Looking to hire unicorn programmer for Spry Fox

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Hi everyone — my company Spry Fox is looking to hire a senior-level engineer/developer. If you are not this person but have worked with someone you love and trust, let me know! Job titleWe don’t really do titles here. Feel free to call yourself something amusing and/or impressive. What we’re looking for… Senior level engineer (five to ten years of work experience, minimum.) Can program both the front end and back end of an original […]

Prototyping challenge: Make a web-based 3D modeling toy

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I’m rather obsessed with user generated content, particularly art tools.  Recently, I had a wonderful experience with Realm of the Mad God.  Alex Carobus added in a simple pixel editor that allowed anyone to create sprites that might be used in the game.  Very rapidly, players created thousands of truly delightful pieces of art. Inspired by this, I set a design challenge for myself. 3D in a browsers. What is an easy-to-use 3D modeling tool that lives […]

Loops and Arcs

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Here are two tools I’ve been using lately to better understand the functionality of my game designs.  The first is the loop, a structure that should be very familiar to those who have looked into skill atoms.  The second is the arc. Loops The ‘game’ aspect of this beast we call a computer game always involves ‘loops’. The player starts with a mental model that prompts them to… Apply an action to… The game system […]

Giving a talk at plague stricken GDC 2012 on sexy-sexy innovation

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It is that time of year when I bodysurf the sweating developer crowds in San Francisco and inevitably contract to some horrible nerd-specific viral infection. Current theory: Never touch the glasses.  The past three years have resulted in the entire week of GDC being a blur of  fever and fatigue-induced hallucinations interspersed with violently explosive sneezing fits.  Here’s to GDC 2012: Reliving Twelve Monkeys for the fourth year in a row. Somewhere in the midst of all […]

Standing up for ourselves

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Sometimes you need to stand up for yourself, or you’re just begging to be taken advantage of. We (Spry Fox) have filed a copyright infringement suit in federal court against 6Waves LOLAPPS in response to their release of Yeti Town, their blatant copy of Triple Town. This was a difficult decision for David and I. We are not enthusiastic about the prospect of spending our time in court as opposed to making games. And in […]

The Real Triple Town available on iOS and Android

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The holidays were crazy. Instead of opening presents, we were putting the finishing touches on the mobile version of Triple Town. Some late nights all around. Big kudos to Cliff Owen for doing an immense amount of the heavy lifting. Triple Town for iPhone and iPad Triple Town for Android If you love Triple Town, please download it (it is free) and rate it. We are in a bit of a David and Goliath situation […]