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Lewis Pulsipher's Blog   Expert Blogs

 

Dr. Lew Pulsipher started playing boardgames more than 50 years ago. He designed his own games, then discovered strategic "realistic" gaming with early Avalon Hill wargames, and ultimately earned a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history. His book "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish” was published in July 2012 by McFarland.  http://bit.ly/MSRs8e He contributed to ETC Press' Analog: Tabltop Game Design.  Formerly contributing editor to several role-playing game magazines and author of over a hundred game magazine articles, he is designer of Britannia (UK, US, and Germany in separate editions), Dragon Rage, Valley of the Four Winds, Swords and Wizardry, and Diplomacy Games & Variants. Britannia (2nd edition) appeared in 2006, with foreign editions (German, French, Spanish, Hungarian) in 2008. It was described in an Armchair General review of a 2006 edition as "ready to continue on as one of the great titles in the world of games".

Latest published game, Dragon Rage, 2011.

Latest published book, Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish, 2012.

Online audiovisual courses at https://courses.pulsiphergames.com:

  • Learning Game Design
  • Brief Introduction to Game Design
  • How to Design Levels/Adventures for Video and Tabletop Games
  • Get a Job in the Video Game Industry
  • How to Write Clear Rules (and game design documents)

Current projects are at PulsipherGames.Com.

YouTube "Game Design" channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHWWViIuBsOrSm2HXeBj2kA

Game design blog: http://pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lewpuls

 

Expert Blogs

Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 08:23:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Video: Emergent behavior, behavior unplanned and unanticipated by the designer, is a large part of what you're looking for in playtesting. But depending on who you are, game designer, puzzle designer, game writer, you treat emergence in different ways.


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 30 Jun 2014 06:41:00 EDT in Design
The 140 character maximum of tweets makes Twitter look like a haven for the ADHD and "sound byte"-mesmerized among us. Despite that limitation, it can be useful for certain purposes to a game designer.


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 09 Jun 2014 09:04:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Indie
Video: Especially in video games, many "designers" conceive of themselves as fiction writers rather than game designers. From the player’s viewpoint: experience a story written by the game developers, or “write your own” story.


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 28 Apr 2014 08:20:00 EDT in Design, Production, Console/PC
Big ("AAA") video games continue to become more expensive yet shorter, because 3D/complex "content" costs so much. This is a video/screencast discussion of existing, successful alternative ways to inexpensively provide content.


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 17 Mar 2014 08:30:00 EDT in Design
Is there some kind of "sweet spot" or "magical number" in the number of pieces, and board size, in a game that involves maneuver/placement and geospatial location? Are there similar "magical numbers" in card games? Discussion here, not a pat answer.


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 10 Feb 2014 08:07:00 EST in Design
Categorizing aspects of game design in groups of two or three frequently promotes critical thinking. Here's one attempt (via a short video) to categorize game players by the nature of the games they prefer.



Lewis Pulsipher's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 06/20/2014 - 11:21]

. . . peoples willingness ...

. . . peoples willingness to pay is linked to their perceived value. That doesn 't seem to fit. Go back enough years and if you wanted a particular oldie song you might end up buying a Best Hits CD, or later, perhaps find it on iTunes. But as young ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/09/2014 - 09:04]

By the way: If I ...

By the way: If I regarded myself as a professional story-maker, I certainly wouldn 't use the word narrative to describe what I was doing. Everything humans do has a narrative, an account of what happened, but that narrative is rarely of interest to other people. Driving to the store ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/04/2014 - 03:06]

The hidden assumption in this ...

The hidden assumption in this article is that you re creating a game as an experience, akin to an interactive movie or novel. Here the objective is for the player to succeed often fairly comfortably and a perfect balance , where every choice is a good one in the long ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/17/2014 - 01:30]

Outstanding experience here for aspiring ...

Outstanding experience here for aspiring designers, thank you. I 'll suggest that everyone in my classes read it including the comments . r n r n r nThere are video game people who ignore tabletop as though it doesn 't matter - Greg Costikyan calls them vidiots - and tabletop ...

Comment In: [Blog - 04/26/2014 - 03:58]

I have been giving students ...

I have been giving students this advice for years, but this is the longest, most thorough explanation I 've seen of why video game developers should start with simple projects that they have a decent chance of finishing, rather than shoot for the moon. I 'll refer students to it. ...

Comment In: [Blog - 04/03/2014 - 01:52]

The worst of it is, ...

The worst of it is, if you crunch for more than a couple months, your performance degrades so that you don 't do any more than you would in 40 hours. IGDA itself researched this years ago: r n r nWhy Crunch Modes Doesn 't Work: Six Lessons r nWhy ...