• Game Reviews,  The Lazy Designer,  Video Game Design

    Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition

    As many of you have probably already heard, Beamdog is on the verge of releasing an enhanced edition for Planescape: Torment. I started in the games industry at BioWare, working on Baldur’s Gate 2. During that time Planescape: Torment was released — the first game that licensed the Infinity Engine from BioWare. It immediately drew well deserved praise for its story and characters. I’m very pleased to have had the chance, many years later, to finally be involved with the Planescape franchise. This enhanced edition is fun to play. I thoroughly enjoyed the playthrus I made of the game during our testing phase. Improvements like being able to zoom the…

  • Game Reviews,  The Lazy Designer

    Minecraft? Microsoft? (The Builder Generation?)

    As I write this it is still only rumor that Minecraft may be sold to Microsoft, so my rambling here might be completely irrelevant (but what is the Internet for anyways, if not to host my rambles?) Minecraft is a valuable product. I think in more ways than any other game, it has really infiltrated culture. Yes, games like Mario and Pokemon and the like are huge, but I don’t recall them having quite such a hold on kids (that said, I was not a parent during the rise of those franchises, so I may be mistaken). My sons and their friends play Minecraft-themed games all the time. By this,…

  • Game Reviews,  The Lazy Designer

    Game: Hauler Version 0 (Part 1)

    As I mentioned I have started to work on an almost-game. I said I would start releasing prior milestones and discussing them and so this is the first of those discussions. THE IDEA Up until Spring 2014 I had been tinkering with a couple different prototypes, including one that I had put a lot of time into and really enjoyed (developing and playing). But I came to the realization that these games were too complicated for me to pull off on my own (at least for now). I need to expand my working knowledge of Unity first. I decided instead to work on a simpler game and push it all…

  • Game Reviews,  The Lazy Designer

    Minecraft – Everything a RPG Should Not Be

    While RPGs seldom are on the cutting edge of visual quality (unlike shooters) there’s always been a continual player expectation for improved graphics. Over the past decade or so there’s been a push towards realism and a higher visual fidelity — resulting in an escalation of costs to develop large-scale RPG projects. And then a game like Minecraft comes along. Minecraft has dreadful graphics. I know several people who won’t play the game because of the low fidelity ‘art’. Yet clearly, given its impressive sales, there are many more who do not care what the game looks like (or possibly they even play it *because* of the way it looks).…

  • eBook,  Game Reviews,  The Lazy Designer

    Fun With Unity

    I’ve had some time to work with Unity the past couple weeks but instead of applying that (entirely) towards the prototype, I’ve been building a kid’s game instead. This is not a commercial thing, just something fun for me to sit with my kids and work out the design for. I like to think I’m being somewhat smart about this though because some of the code systems *will* be useful for the prototype work I’m doing. What I find advantageous about focusing on the kid’s game instead of the prototypes, is that it is smaller. Being smaller in scope means I’m less intimidated by the amount of work necessary to…

  • Game Reviews

    Learning Blender

    When I take a rare break from summer vacation fun and writing novel #6, I’ve been continuing work on my game prototype or, to be entirely accurate, I’m learning modeling/texturing and animating and other art details. Basically I need to generate placeholder models in my prototypes and I figured I’d dive into the whole art creation aspect. It has been interesting so far. I don’t plan to do the art for the game myself (if I take the prototype past prototyping), but I think it’s important for me to better understand all the performance implications of different modeling and texturing solutions. This is all beyond any of my experience with…

  • Game Reviews,  The Lazy Designer

    Tackle Your Bigs Risks… Prototyping

    In my spare hours, in between writing and family obligations, I’m continuing with my unity prototype. I’ve been having fun with it but today I had to take a step back. I really want to dive into AI and combat, but I realize that these, while complicated system, are ones I’m confident I can get working properly. What I’m more concerned about is my ability to generate environments. So, this means diving into the technical details of creating the necessary environments — and abandoning the simplistic testing environment I’ve been using — but also figuring out how to make “worthy” environments for the concept. Part of the challenge here is…

  • Game Reviews,  The Lazy Designer

    When Brent Does Not Write… He Prototypes

    So, what have I been up to recently? Well, I’m well into writing novel #6 and planning novel #7 and planning the remainder of the Lazy Designer series. As well I recently released my open source writing organizer. So, I’ve been busy. I’ve also resumed playing around with the Unity game engine and am making good progress on a prototype. I have a working conversation system and am in a position to experiment with various character and camera controls. Mostly I am doing this just for experimentation purposes. Having lots of fun with it though, and it is a nice distraction from writing. p.s. Just in case anybody thinks I…

  • Game Reviews,  The Lazy Designer

    Table of Contents: Lazy Designer Book 3 – Exploration and Gameplay

    I’m sure the crafty reader has figured out my plan, in regards to releasing the Table of Contents for the past books and there is no surprise that today, I reveal the contents of the third book in the Lazy Designer series. Here’s the blurb: Brent Knowles continues his Lazy Designer series with a look at exploration and gameplay. This book covers exploration, environment design, creatures, items, economies, rule system design, and progression systems. Table of Contents Chapter 9 Exploration Exploring Environments Game Types Summary Chapter 10 Creatures Exploring Creatures Game Types Summary Chapter 11 Items Items Finding Items Crafting Improving Items Item Descriptions Extending the Item System Game Types…

  • Game Reviews


    A car combat skirmish game played at a fast and furious pace. Loaded with sweet customizable high quality miniatures. My former BioWare colleague has a Kickstarter for his tabletop car combat game! Check out his Kickstarter page!