Soren Johnson's Game Design Journal
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Donkeyspace AI Interview

Frank Lantz recently interviewed me on Donkeyspace, his excellent Substack, which generally focuses on the current AI boom but, in reality, is about his ongoing work on the human condition. As my responses would be of interest to readers here, I’ve reposted the interview below. Is there a competitive scene for Civ, with tournaments, ranking,...

Mon Dec 11, 2023 02:17
Designer Notes 80: Jake Solomon – Part 1

In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Jake Solomon, best known for the XCOM reboot and Midnight Suns. They discuss how much money he had to give back to Accenture, how to animate multiple units at the same time, and why Sid suddenly started golfing so much. This episode was recorded on April 25, 2023. Games discussed: Sopwith,...

Tue Dec 5, 2023 22:58
Designer Notes 79: Trent Kusters – Part 2

In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Trent Kusters, co-founder of League of Geeks, best known for the strategy game Armello. They discuss why Armello has so much output randomness, whether they fudge the odds, and how to turn off a Game-as-a- Service. This episode was recorded on September 8, 2023. Games discussed: Armello,...

Mon Oct 9, 2023 20:24
Designer Notes 78: Trent Kusters – Part 1

In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Trent Kusters, co-founder of League of Geeks, best known for the strategy game Armello. They discuss how he faked his way into games journalism, how to sneak risky ideas past licensors, and how to make games feel big. This episode was recorded on September 8, 2023. Games discussed: Pong,...

Mon Sep 25, 2023 21:55
You Have No Idea How Hard It Is To Run A Sweatshop, Part 3

I gave a talk on games and meaning at GDC 2023, which is now available on YouTube: However, I fully scripted the talk ahead of time, so I decided it would be worth taking the time to post the slides online, in three parts to have mercy on your browser. Conflict between designer intent and player behavior actually predates...

Fri Sep 8, 2023 21:02
You Have No Idea How Hard It Is To Run A Sweatshop, Part 2

I gave a talk on games and meaning at GDC 2023, which is now available on YouTube: However, I fully scripted the talk ahead of time, so I decided it would be worth taking the time to post the slides online, in three parts to have mercy on your browser. Besides the question of whether we know what we are doing as designers,...

Thu Sep 7, 2023 20:56

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