Darran Jamieson
Games Dev / Scotland
Darran is an indie developer who spends most of his time ranting about games design to anyone within earshot, and cursing at obscure code errors. On occasion, he actually releases games, most of which you can find on his website.
  • Game Development
    4 Ways to Teach Your Players How to Play Your Game4 ways to teach players how to play your game
    If we want to play a game, we first need to learn the rules. But reading tutorials is boring... so how can we make sure we don't scare off the player? In this tutorial, we'll look at how to help your players learn how to play your game—without boring them away!Read More…
  • Game Development
    Making AI Fun: When Good Enough is Good EnoughMaking ai fun
    Making good artificial intelligence for computer opponents is difficult, but it's often difficult for the wrong reasons. What makes an AI fun, and should we be prepared to accept AI that doesn't play well?Read More…
  • Game Development
    Let Them Play: Don’t Lock Your Players Out of PlayingLet them play dont lock players out
    Interactivity is a fundamental aspect of game design. Without it, a game isn't a game: it's a TV show, or a book, or an instance of some other static medium. So why is it so often overlooked?Read More…
  • Game Development
    The Snowball Effect (and How to Avoid It) in Game DesignThe snowball effect game design
    The snowball effect exists in nearly any game where having resources can gain you more resources. It's a type of feedback loop, with effects that can make a multiplayer gaming experience miserable. In this article, we'll look at what causes snowballing, and how best to deal with its potential negative effects.Read More…
  • Game Development
    A Look at Luck in Game DesignA look at luck in game design 400px
    The luck vs. skill aspect of games is one which is fairly central to good design—indeed, it's something we've covered before. But before we worry about trying to balance luck and skill, we really need to ask: what is chance, and to what extent is it necessary in a game?Read More…
  • Game Development
    Don't Frustrate the Player: 3 Rules for Keeping Them InvolvedDont frustrate the player 400px
    It's not enough to just say that a game is simply "bad", and that it has nothing it can teach us: why is it bad? Is there a problem with the level design or the character movement? Is the game not rewarding? Perhaps the game is repetitive and unimaginative, or perhaps the game is targeted towards a demographic other than us. There are many ways to lose a player, but the fastest way is to make your game "not fun" - so how can we avoid this?Read More…
  • Game Development
    Old Game, New Twist: A Great Way to Practice Your Gamedev SkillsOld game new twist hires
    So you're an aspiring new game developer, you've made a few simple programs, and you're itching to make an actual game. You probably have lots of ideas, but making games almost always takes more effort than you think it will, so you need to start off simple. You need a small project to let you test your skills and whet your interest. In which case, what better idea than to remake a classic - but with a twist?Read More…
  • Game Development
    Don't Just Give It Away: Designing Unlocks for Your GamesGame design unlocks 400x400px
    Unlocks (unlockable items) are an important part of modern games. Much like achievements, unlocks can be much more than an easy way to pat the player on the back: in fact, they're basically just achievements with in-game rewards. As with any other aspect of game design, there are good ways and bad ways to design unlocks. Many devs seem to throw them in as an afterthought, even cropping out key aspects of the gameplay apparently at random to have something to offer the player as a reward. But is it possible to make an unlock system which enhances the overall game? Let's take a look at a few possibilities...Read More…
  • Game Development
    Make Them Work for It: Designing Achievements for Your GamesAchievements in games preview
    Gamers love achievements. They're fun, they add an extra layer of content, and they let you show off your gaming skills. It generally doesn't take much extra effort for developers to add them, so it's not surprising that games without achievements are now in the minority. Unfortunately, achievements are still often poorly implemented; whether this is a result of lazy developers, or because achievement design is still a relatively new aspect to game design, we often see achievements which simply aren't fun. In this article, we'll look at how to make the most of achievements and ensure that they don't detract from the game.Read More…
  • Game Development
    When Worlds Collide: Simulating Circle-Circle CollisionsWorldscollide
    Most collision detection in computer games is done using the AABB technique: very simply, if two rectangles intersect, then a collision has occurred. It's fast, efficient, and incredibly effective – for rectangular objects. But what if we wanted to smash circles together? How do we calculate the collision point, and where do the objects go after? It's not as hard as you might think...Read More…
  • Game Development
    When I Win, It's Skill; When You Win, It's LuckSkill vs luck in game design
    Every game must find a balance between the two opposing forces of luck and skill. You might not care, but your players do: if you don't consider this dynamic, then you risk alienating a large portion of your audience. Let's examine why luck vs. skill is important, and why players care.Read More…