It has several enemy encampments to teach you about combat, different climates that introduce you to stat-boosting food and clothing, and four shrines that mirror the four divine beast dungeons, which provide the main body of the challenge later on. "One of my favourite things about BotW is how totally and gleefully free the experience is," says Joel Burgess, lead level designer at Bethesda, whose past work includes Fallout 4 and Skyrim. The Korok seed puzzles teach players to study the landscape, to discover the supernatural within the natural – just as we notice standing stones or crop circles when we go out walking in the countryside. "If you can read the air in BotW, you'll find that the order of the divine beast is subtly signposted: seemingly non-essential yet critical side-quests, recommendations and hearsay from travellers, the location of certain NPCs (the Goron merchant in Lanayru, for example): all these hints are there for you to pick up.
Working in the world of video games is a true dream job, and Bugi Kaigwa, a technical artist at Visual Concepts, is living the dream as a video game designer. Kaigwa, who works on developing the immensely popular NBA 2K basketball games, including this year's NBA 2K17 game, chatted with USA TODAY College about vanilla lattes, hard work and, well, of course video games. My dad is an amazing, amazing artist and I look up to him. My heart, though, was in the animation; I love video games, and I came to California and enrolled in Cogswell.
In the world of science fiction, artists and storytellers tackle the wildest "what if" conversations and breathe life to them. In EA Games' latest installment of the Mass Effect series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, for example, a veritable universe of possibility becomes reality through stunningly designed gameplay. "People working in science fiction are curious, and generally tend to be dreamers. They take what is known and use it as a jumping-off point to play in the unknown," says Colin Campbell, a game designer at BioWare and lead level designer on Mass Effect: Andromeda.
What we do as product managers, designers, producers, UX professionals, and community managers all ties back to this core idea of game design – the art of facilitating interactions between people. So why not write a design doc or plan specifically defining community mechanics? Take our friends at Hyper Hippo Games, who work as an agile game design studio, continually testing new game ideas and measuring to learn what's working. Just as a game designer would more likely use Unity or Lumberyard to build a game, an engineer would likely use Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform for data infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Andrew Stern, a programmer and designer at a now-defunct video-game studio, was building artificially intelligent(ish) virtual pets. As Stern worked on making the virtual creatures emotionally appealing and realistic to play with, he began giving them artificial minds: goals, personalities, memories. Not long after Petz debuted, Stern began attending some of the same conferences on artificial intelligence that Mateas haunted. It was probably inevitable that Stern, presenting his intelligent(ish) virtual pets, would run into Mateas, presenting his intelligent(ish) robot plant.
The lead writer of "Mafia III," Bill Harms, and its creative director, Haden Blackman, thought hard about how to let players roam free through the streets of their New Orleans-inspired city New Bordeaux -- without losing the plot. Haden Blackman, creative director: When we first started working on "Mafia III," we tried to look at what was the franchise known for. Bill Harms, lead writer: Fictionally the thing about the mob that helps us is that it's a very rigid hierarchy. Harms: It's about freedom and not being confined to a specific game space.
Unlike many classic board games, Pandemic requires cooperation, tasking two to four players to work together to halt the spread of deadly diseases. How have sites like Kickstarter helped independent game makers find an audience to back their projects? That's right, I do a lot of beta testing and usability testing, play testing, whatever you want to call it, prior to publication. Is there a sentiment among independent board game designers that mass-market games are inferior?
Players of the developers' online game Thoughts & Prayers are invited to try and stop a sequence of mass shootings popping up around the country by either pressing "T" to think or "P" to pray. Politicians are skirting taking action," explains Brian Moore, who created the game with Mike Lacher and Will Herring. Thoughts & Prayers is one of several games that Moore, Lacher and Herring have created under the banner of GOP Arcade, described as "an on-going series of lightweight games, designed to make all the hoopla surrounding the election slightly more enjoyable". Other games include Trump Toss, where you fling Mexicans over a wall to "make America great again"', and Good Guy With a Gun, where you sell guns to "good guys" while trying to avoid selling them to "bad guys".
Although, much less discussed, a similar process happens with narrative video games. In the Uncharted titles, Nathan places great strains on his romantic relationship with his partner Elena, and I found myself actively worrying about them. At the very best of moments, video game cinematic sequences can have the power, not just of movies, but of theatre – that spark of humanity that actors share when allowed to riff off each other. But I miss Nathan, Elena and Sully already; they were all so gorgeous together.
The design team behind Firaxis' turn-based, alien-themed combat tactics game "XCOM 2" recently did something that might surprise most people. Even before Firaxis made its game mod-friendly, players were finding ways to alter the title in significant ways. One particularly prominent mod is called The Long War, which significantly extended, revamped and rebalanced both "XCOM: Enemy Unknown" and "XCOM: Enemy Within." Rather than see mods as criticism of the work his team put into the game, Solomon sees it as a labor of love from its biggest fans.