Every serious game developer knows that world building is an integral part of the process that creates a truly immersive experience. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to achieve this: from presenting the backstory of your player with a wall of text, to clever level design tricks known as environmental storytelling. The latter is often preferred. Unravelling the lore of your world from a few hints scattered across the levels is, de-facto, a game within the game. And while most players might just ignore them, others could find great pleasure in resolving this meta-puzzle.
Games like Dark Souls are notorious for their rich—and somewhat obscure—lore, which can be pieced together through the strong environmental storytelling and the various hints hidden in the item descriptions. Other games go even deeper than that, and create entire new languages for their fictional civilisations.
This is not something so uncommon, and many other media before games have long relied on fictional languages to create a much deeper sense of immersion. The entire world of The Lord of the Rings was built around a series of languages that J. R. R. Tolkien himself created before writing the books.
🇷🇺 A Russian version of this article is available here.
This is the complementary article to the short documentary about Conway’s Game of Life. Join me, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of its original publication in the October 1970 issues of Scientific American.
If there’s a genre that has been abused way too much, it has to be sport games. Nintendo WiiU, PS Move, Kinekt, VR… what happened to the good, old keyboard? Triband finally put a twist on sport games with Keyboard Sports.
Of the reasons why there are so many platform games out there, is because making them has been pretty much standardised. There are hundreds of tutorials on how to clone Super Mario; but there’s no tutorial on how to create a game like Tiny Bubbles. Developer Stu Denman has crafted his own bubble simulation, giving life to something truly unique. Pressure, surface tension and even curved reflections: all those features that you would expect are perfectly captured in Tiny Bubbles. Stu has been very open about the development of the game; if you’re interested in knowing more about the techniques used to create bubbles, you can check here, here and here.
It’s no mystery that Fantastic Arcade showcases some of the best, small indie titles out there. And NIUM looks definitely one of them. The game is created by the developer who’s best known for Downwell. For this new project, however, Moppin has decided for a completely different aesthetic and gameplay. NIUM, together with other intriguing games, can be bought on itch.io to support Austin’s independent game collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS.
Let’s be honest: saying that Astroneer is going to be huge is unnecessary. The game has attracted a large audience already, and there is no doubt is going to be a commercial success. Incidentally, this ambitious indie title effortlessly delivers most of features that are missing from No Man’s Sky. Multiplayer and terrain deformations are not just some minor cosmetics decoration: they are deeply woven in the fabric of Astroneer. The game is about surviving, exploring and building bases on alien planets. All aspects that Astroneer implements with an immersive, diegetic interface. From the music the to user experience, every aspect of Astroneer is crafted with love.
Mysterious and stylish. Those are probably the two adjectives that best describe forma.8. When Mauro and Andrea of Mixed Bag showed me the game for the first time, I was simply in awe. If you like puzzle games and environmental story telling, you should definitely check this out. forma.8 is, indeed, “a story of hope, deceiving, mystery and war“.
Canabalt, Panoramical, Feist, Night In the Woods. There’s one thing that those games have in common: Finji. After having produced so many interesting products, it’s understandable to be overly-excited for their new project, Overland. The clean aesthetic of the game is coupled with an exceptionally designed interface. Overland is a survival game with procedural generated levels, set in a post-apocalyptic North America. Among its’ many features, it promises emergent narrative; something I am very fan on. Finji plans to release the game in 2017, even though they offer First Access on itch.io.