Introduction This blog post will be about a new way to approach narrative design in games - the 4 Layers Approach. It is based on a GDC talk I gave in March this year. The approach is primarily meant to suggest a workflow that focuses on the story and makes sure the narrative and gameplay are connected. The end goal is to create games that provide a better interactive narrative. Narrative Basics First off, "narrative" will need to be defined. At its most fundamental level, the narrative is what happens as you play the game over a longer period. It is basically the totality of the experience; something that happens when all elements are taken together: gameplay, dialog, notes, setting, graphics etc.; the player's subjective journey through the game. I know this clashes with other definitions that refer to narrative as a separate aspect of the game, but I think this is the one that's most helpful when discussing game design. It also fits with job titles such as "narrative designer", … [Read more...] about 4-Layers, A Narrative Design Approach
I need a graphic designer
Dear reader, I am not too proud to tell you that I spent a good portion of last night playing Fortnite in the bathtub. This happened due to my purchase of a new phone. I will also ask for your indulgence up front, because I’m about to effusively praise a bit of consumer electronics. It was not provided by the manufacturer, nor did I spend the site’s money. With all that out of the way, I think we can begin. The Galaxy Note 9 is the most obscenely over-the-top smartphone that is currently on the market. It has no new ideas, and it doesn’t feel particularly clever. It just takes everything that exists in current phones and gives you more of it. If anything, this feels like the last hurrah of current phone technology; something is going to have to give if another manufacturer wants to compete in terms of pure specs. I have a theory that many of the design decisions behind it are there just to slight Apple. Do you like big screens? The Note 9 gives you a 6.4-inch … [Read more...] about I bought a huge phone for Fortnite, and now I’m living my best life
It has been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I wanted to return to it with the new year. There are a lot of kinds of designers out there, and one of the most thankless but most important roles is that of the cinematic designer. Others might call them a camera designer, but this job entails the visualizations of how things play out on screen. It’s a younger role in the industry than some others like level design, because the transition from 2 dimensions to 3 dimensions brought about a new concept - what the camera looks at. Previously, 2D games were much simpler, mostly with a mostly fixed camera position and sprite-based graphics. Once 3D became a thing, suddenly an entirely new world opened up, and game designers could start incorporating techniques from film as additional tools to help craft a more directed user experience. This meant that games, especially in 3D, have moved towards a more cinematic experience, which creates a need for designers who specialize in … [Read more...] about What kind of designer should I be? The Cinematic Designer (part 3 of many)
So, you've just about convinced yourself that your old faithful PS4 needs to be upgraded to a PS4 Pro. But you have one, persistent question left to answer: is it worth shelling out £350/$399 for Sony's high-powered console if you don't have a 4K TV? It's difficult to know whether the PS4 Pro will make your favourite games look any different if you're playing on a 1080p TV. Luckily, we've knuckled down and have explored all the options for those of you who are thinking about treating your 1080p TV to a PS4 Pro. Along with the obvious question (i.e. the title to this article), we'll be investigating the PS4 Pro's claims that it runs games at native 4K and in HDR. Should you buy a PS4 Pro if you own a 1080p TV? The quick answer? Probably not. While super-sampling in Rise of the Tomb Raider or slightly speedier framerates in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered are nice features, they’re hardly worth coughing up $399/£350 for a new console. The reality is only … [Read more...] about Should I buy a PS4 Pro if I don’t have a 4K TV?
Not too long ago we warned of a potential impending surge in graphics card prices. Unfortunately for those looking to upgrade graphics cards or buy a new GPU, that prediction has come true, and then some. Right now is the worst time in the history of graphics cards to buy or upgrade this all-important gaming component. I've run through the list of current generation GPUs, and I've even looked at previous generation GPUs. The price changes in the past two weeks are staggering. Here's the full rundown, starting with Nvidia and then moving to AMD, from highest performing to lowest performing parts. Note that many of the cards are only showing prices from third-party resellers, as Amazon and Newegg rapidly sell out of their inventory (often at lower prices). If you're interested in buying a GPU, I'd recommend putting a "notify" alert on it and be ready to order ASAP if it comes back in stock at a reasonable price. All the current Nvidia graphics cards GTX 1080 Ti 11GB: Launched with a … [Read more...] about It’s a terrible time to buy a graphics card