• Video Game Design

    Game Hauler Version 4 (Part 5 / ?)

    If you want to play the latest build before reading the commentary then scroll down to the end of this post. PROTOTYPE 4 (BUILD# 0.0.5.0) This time around I’m lumping a couple releases and discussing them together. In the previous post I highlighted a few issues that I wanted to address next. These included a better feedback system for picking up and depositing energy and improved level design. However, as I hinted in that post, I changed my mind (though I partly address the latter issue still). Mainly, I ended up increasing the number of players from two to four and putting in the rudiments of a proper “player/control” selection…

  • My Life

    Evil Snow

    We survived our first major snowfall with the only major casualty in our household being our garage door opener, so now I thought I’d give another brief update. Yes, I’m still preparing another post, which will give you more of a glimpse into some new opportunities I am considering, but it is not ready yet. This November I competed in my second Nanowrimo. If you aren’t familiar with it, Nanowrimo requires participants to write 50K words in November. I participated a couple years ago and managed it, but I wasn’t able to make my schedule work in subsequent years. This year, even though I still wasn’t finished another novel, I…

  • My Life

    Rewards and Incentives…

    When I left BioWare, several years ago, I thought my time best spent pursuing a writing career and so most of my “deliverables” were writing related. Each year end I planned what projects I wanted to work on over the course of the next year. For the most part I exceeded my productivity goals. I wrote dozens of stories and several novels. But I did not hit my milestones however. Time and again I failed to sell the number of stories I needed to. After winning a place in the Writers of the Future Contest I became even more aggressive with the milestones I wanted to achieve but after the…

  • The Lazy Designer

    Designer Checklists

    Ages ago I bought a book called “The Writer’s Book of Checklists” by Scott Edelstein. This was a reference manual for aspiring writers, with everything they needed to know summarized in handy checklists. For whatever reason the checklist format has always been appealing to me. As part of my efforts to create secondary, bonus content to encourage readers to consider purchasing the Lazy Designer directly from me, I decided it would be [fun|exciting|worthwhile] to create my own set of checklists for the Lazy Designer. At the end of this point is the first third of the list. I’ll add the others in later posts. If you would like the full…

  • The Lazy Designer,  Writing Resources

    The OTHER Solution in Game Design

    The Other Solution For the most part throughout my Lazy Designer series I focus on what I believe is the right way to implement particular design tasks. Based on my experience I have a recipe book, so to speak, of design solutions to specific problems. Throughout the books I make reference to these. The other day I was wondering if there was a different way to go about solving problems. What if you selected a random, or rather bizarre, solution? (Admittedly I hadn’t slept much the night before). Low Morale Some early RPG games (including Baldur’s Gate 1) allowed enemies to flee once their morale broke. The players basically kick…

  • My Life

    Game Design Thoughts

    Those following the site probably noticed that the other day I posted a… thingy. (I don’t want to quite call it a game). Anyways, if you follow this link you’ll seen one area (in unity) for a very simple kid’s spelling game. And by very simple, I mean VERY SIMPLE. (If you want to read the ‘instructions’, do so here). I’m sure some of you might be thinking. “Holy !*@*, is this all Brent has got done since leaving BioWare?” Yes. Yes it is. Well, more specifically, this is what I managed to cobble together from some of the prototyping stuff I’ve been doing. It is very primitive and my…

  • The Lazy Designer

    Update on the Prototype

    Well I suggested a couple days ago that I would stick to a schedule, for my blog postings and I don’t want to disappoint in the first week. That said, I’m quite far behind for today’s work, so a short update must suffice: I’m only spending a couple hours a week (at best) on the game prototype and primarily, for the last month or so, I’ve been researching various art solutions and doing some on-the-job training. Which basically means I’ve been creating ugly art for various prototyping ideas — primarily on the level design front. I’ve got some ideas to rapidly — and procedurally — generate some of what I…

  • The Lazy Designer

    Exploration and Gameplay

    As was probably obvious given the posts earlier in the month, the third book in the Lazy Designer series is now available for Kindle. I was a bit distracted with talking about a couple stories I’ve had published recently — which, if you have not read my story ‘Slaying Dragons’ in Plasma Frequency Magazine, you still can — and vote for it, if you enjoy it! Anyways, here’s a link to the table of Contents. And here’s the blurb: Brent Knowles continues his Lazy Designer series with a look at exploration and gameplay. From environment design to combat to building rule systems, Brent examines how to craft quality design. And…

  • 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…

  • My Life,  The Lazy Designer,  Writing Resources

    Lazy Designer Book 3 Exploration and Gameplay Is…

    Not finished yet. I am working on it. It is just that it has so much more content than the previous two volume combined, that it’s more akin to finishing one of my novels. Which means, it takes time. That said, I have finally finished my giant grammar pass through all the sections and have trimmed several thousand words. What remains is a reread of the entire thing and I have to create some of the images needed to accompany the text (and the cover). Then I’ll start preparing it for publication. There’s no legitimate reason for me not to have it online before end of May. Part of the…