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November 28, 2021
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Gamasutra - Game Design Deep Dives
Deep Dive: Evolving the UX/UI of A Total War Saga: Troy using player feedback 1
by Alex Tokmakchiev [11.20.20]
With the latest content drop for A Total War Saga: Troy, I figured it was a good time to talk about how user testing and community feedback have helped us evolve the UI/UX of Troy both pre- and post-release.
Console/PC, Art, Production, Deep Dive

Deep Dive: Making a cozy, therapeutic experience in Coffee Talk 2
by Coffee Talk Team [03.26.20]
The developers behind Coffee Talk go deep on explaining the cozy, welcoming ambience of their "heart-to-heart talking simulator."
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: The 26 verbs of 'Henry VIII sim' Fit for a King 2
by Brent Ellison and Tanya Short [01.14.20]
Fit for a King is a comedic side project from Kitfox's Tanya Short and Nvizzio Creations' Brent Ellison. Here they explain how they assigned a verb to every letter of the alphabet in this game inspired by classic RPGs.
Indie, Design, Deep Dive

Deep Dive: Making the 2D action game tool Pixel Game Maker MV  
by Takuya Hatakeyama [12.11.19]
Takuya Hatakeyama, director on Kadokawa's Pixel Game Maker MV, goes in-depth on the creation of the recently-released 2D action game tool.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Production, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Crafting mystery through gameplay in Nauticrawl  
by Andrea Interguglielmi [11.13.19]
In this thorough Deep Dive, Nauticrawl dev Andrea Interguglielmi walks through his process of designing this atmospheric puzzle game to evoke feelings of genuine mystery and wonder.
Indie, Design, Deep Dive

Deep Dive: Horror enemy design in Tonight it Follows  
by Jordan King [10.31.19]
Indie game dev Jordan King breaks down design of several key monsters in his uniquely unnerving pixelated horror games.
Design, Deep Dive

Deep Dive: Inside the narrative design and 'multiple middles' of Mutazione 1
by Hannah Nicklin [10.30.19]
In this nuanced look at game storytelling Die Gute Fabrik's Hannah Nicklin walks you through how she joined up with the Mutazione crew to flesh out and build the narratives of this mutant soap opera.
Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design, Deep Dive

Deep Dive: Telling Lies - Making a mechanic out of scrubbing video 1
by Sam Barlow [10.08.19]
Sam Barlow, writer and director of FMV game Her Story, offers a fantastic breakdown of the video scrubbing mechanic of Her Story follow-up Telling Lies.
Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design, Deep Dive

Deep Dive: Burdening players with the power of the system in Legal Dungeon 4
by Joel Couture [07.24.19]
Korean game developer Somi's latest game Legal Dungeon has players organizing police investigation documents - and having to decide whether to indict the accused criminals or not. Here's how Somi did it.
Indie, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Making the 100(!) endings of Reventure 2
by Javi Cepa [06.26.19]
Javi Cepa explains the design challenges in making Reventure, a Steam success that has 100 different endings.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Frenetic local multiplayer in Emergency Water Landing 2
by Johnathon Moss and Timothy Neville [05.31.19]
Emergency Water Landing is a local multiplayer game where players control high powered rescue rafts and fight to save the most passengers, and this is how we designed it.
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Re-imagining the double-jump in The Messenger  
by Thierry Boulanger [05.23.19]
Thierry Boulanger at Quebec-based studio Sabotage goes in-depth on the design of the "Cloudstep" -- the core gameplay mechanic of standout platformer, The Messenger.
Indie, Design, Deep Dive

Game Tech Deep Dive: A window into Playground Games' latest shader development 2
by Gareth Harwood [12.10.18]
Gareth Harwood, technical art director at Playground Games, offers an in-depth run-down of the shaders used to give buildings realistic rooms in the fast and beautiful Forza Horizon 4.
Console/PC, Art, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Dandara's unique jump-only movement mechanic 2
by João Brant [04.20.18]
"By designing natively for different input methods, you can bring life to a completely new game design," writes Dandara dev João Brant in this Deep Dive into the game's unique movement system.
Indie, Design, Deep Dive

Art Design Deep Dive: Giving back colors to cryptic worlds in Dead Cells 5
by Gwenaël Massé [04.03.18]
"Despite featuring zombies and developing a game where the foreboding sense of danger never leaves you, we choose not to mimic the artistic direction of similar titles." - Gwenaël Massé, artist on Dead Cells.
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Production, Deep Dive

Art Design Deep Dive: Crossing Souls' striking '80s-infused pixel art  
by Juan Gabriel Jaén and Daniel Benitez [03.29.18]
Fourattic cofounders Juan Gabriel Jaén and Daniel Benitez write in some detail about how they implemented the striking art design of Crossing Souls, in which modern pixel art meets '80s pop culture.
Indie, Art, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating comfortable UI for VR strategy in Skyworld 2
by Paul van der Meer [01.31.18]
"Although there is a strong urge to use as many real-life interactions as possible, this gets physically tiresome quickly. Make sure you require the least amount of strain to play." - Paul van der Meer, VR game designer at Vertigo Games,
VR, Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Art Design Deep Dive: Using a 3D pipeline for 2D animation in Dead Cells 8
by Thomas Vasseur [01.25.18]
"To make up for the lack of bandwidth and still deliver on quality, we had to find a pipeline that could give us great looking pixel art, without having to hand draw each and every retake," writes Dead Cells artist Thomas Vasseur.
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating the 'spherical narrative' in The Invisible Hours 3
by Rob Yescombe [01.15.18]
"VR feels like a mansion full of unopened doors. And behind one of those doors is an undiscovered language of storytelling; an entirely new narrative structure specific to VR."
VR, Console/PC, Indie, Design, Production, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Bringing Arizona Sunshine to the PSVR Aim 1
by Trevor Blom [01.04.18]
Trevor Blom, technical lead at Vertigo Games details the development challenges of introducing an entire campaign mode focused around the PlayStation VR Aim controller for Arizona Sunshine.
VR, Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Level Design Deep Dive: Making an I Expect You To Die VR puzzle level on a budget  
by Shawn Patton [01.01.18]
"The expensive part of creating levels was iteration time. Finding the puzzle difficulty balance while keeping things interesting requires lots of tweaking. Could we do it with a smaller team on a tighter timeline?"
VR, Console/PC, Indie, Design, Production, Business/Marketing, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: The Spinning Plates approach of Bomber Crew 1
by Dave Miller [11.28.17]
"The intention was to keep the focus on the decisions made by the player both before and during the missions, rather than simply relying on the player’s skill in a particular mechanic."
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Managing randomization, frustration in Everspace 3
by Hans-Christian Kühl [10.03.17]
Hans-Christian Kühl of Rockfish Games on dealing with randomization and frustration in Everspace, a 3D sci-fi shooter with roguelike elements.
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Maintaining tension in Nex Machina 2
by Henri Mustonen [09.22.17]
"We needed to cut as much of excess fat as possible and figure out what was really necessary to get the feeling you are on the "knife's edge"." - Henri Mustonen, Senior Level Designer at Housemarque.
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Mixing VR and non-VR in Lola and the Giant 1
by Matt Duff [09.19.17]
"VR, especially mobile VR, can be an isolating experience. We decided to try and create some way that the adventure could be enjoyed by both the player using the VR device and by everyone else in the room."
VR, Smartphone/Tablet, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: The asymmetric multiplayer of Rising Storm 2: Vietnam 2
by Jack Hackett [09.13.17]
"Whilst the first game had been asymmetric in the tools given to each soldier, Rising Storm 2’s asymmetry was tactical and strategic, reflecting the differences in how each army fought the war."
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Making Spartaga, a VR twin-stick shooter 1
by Russ McMackin [08.31.17]
"Spartaga set out to translate the staples of the twin-stick/bullet hell shooter genre into VR. Here's the 3 goals that we set at the beginning on how we'd do it, and how they went."
VR, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: How Spy Fight uses hidden rarity to keep things balanced 1
by Charlie Silver [08.28.17]
Cards for Gamers lead designer Charlie Silver explores how the studio created a tuning system designed to keep games fast-paced without sacrificing balance or strategic play.
Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating a new language for Planet Coaster  
by James Stant [07.13.17]
"When guests are happy, their language can sound smooth and spritely, yet as they become unhappy, their lexicon is characterised by heavier and harsher staccato sounds." - James Stant, Senior Audio Designer at Frontier Developments
Console/PC, Indie, Audio, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Visualizing Cryptark's 2D sci-fi world  
by Jesse McGibney [06.27.17]
"Rather than looking back at the past with retro pixel-art styles, I want to apply modern techniques and technology and see what new visuals can be made." - Jesse McGibney, Creative Director at Alientrap
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating the striking pixel art of Crawl 4
by Barney Cumming [06.15.17]
"Seeing such modern high-fidelity animation applied to such low-resolution art was a pretty bold look to my eye, and not one I’d seen anywhere else."- Barney Cumming, artist on Powerhoof's Crawl
Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating tension in Card Thief 4
by Arnold Rauers [05.25.17]
"In order to create what I think is most important in a stealth or heist game, I designed several game systems that all feed into the idea of creating a high tension experience."
Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating a one-touch platformer in ZIP ZAP 2
by Philipp Stollenmayer [05.08.17]
"I began to strip everything away that could lead to a problem, and ended up with the bare movement of the muscles" - Philipp Stollenmayer, creator of ZIP ZAP.
Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Tech Deep Dive: Reworking the Unreal Engine for racing 1
by Ivan Del Duca and Stefano Lecchi [05.01.17]
Milestone duo Ivan Del Duca and Stefano Lecchi discuss how the racing specialist transitioned from its in-house game engine to Unreal, breaking down the technical tweaks implemented along the way
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: VR cockpit audio in Gunjack 2: End of Shift 1
by Alex Riviere [04.13.17]
"A great deal of realistic audio is incorporated in the player�s cockpit; various alarms, diverse weapon sounds, dialogues, cockpit physical audio representation, and enemy fire impacts on the turret."
VR, Smartphone/Tablet, Audio, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Watch Dogs 2's Invasion of Privacy missions 1
by Christopher Dragert [04.03.17]
"IOP missions let players hack cameras, computers, and electronics. NPCs react in a way that expresses a narrative. Our aim was to deliver these missions fully motion captured, with seamless branching."
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Production, Deep Dive

Level Design Deep Dive: Dishonored 2's Clockwork Mansion 2
by Christophe Carrier [03.15.17]
"Having the walls move in an elegant and credible way is very difficult in itself, but making sure the player wouldn't be lost was one of the biggest challenges for us." - Christophe Carrier, Level Design Director at Arkane Studios
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Decisions that matter in Orwell 2
by Daniel Marx [03.06.17]
"In this article I will describe the iterations and considerations during the development process that shaped the choice-based mechanic and the feeling of impactfulness of decisions in the final game."
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Hand-based VR movement in Lucid Trips  
by Sara Vogl [03.01.17]
"The concept of locomotion IN Lucid Trips has similarities with the movement of astronauts in outer space who have jetpacks attached to their wrists."
VR, Indie, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Dynamic detection in Shadow Tactics 4
by Moritz Wagner [02.13.17]
"We analyzed how Viewcones were used in the old games and decided on where we wanted to improve it. This also lead us to re-thinking some aspects of player detection in the genre."
Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Production, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Constant VR movement in Eagle Flight  
by Olivier Palmieri [02.06.17]
"We found out that the TILT control was very natural to actual plane pilots who played Eagle Flight, as it's a natural way to control a plane in real life too." - Olivier Palmieri, Game Director at Ubisoft Montreal
VR, Console/PC, Programming, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Dynamic audio in destructible levels in Rainbow Six: Siege 5
by Louis Philippe Dion [01.18.17]
"By using a series of strategically placed points in the map, called Propagation Nodes, we are able to calculate the lower cost paths of a sound between the listener and the source." - Louis Philippe Dion, Audio Director on Rainbow Six: Siege
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating believable crowds in Planet Coaster 3
by Owen McCarthy [01.04.17]
"10,000 guests was what we targeted, and simulating each seemed like a challenge. This was where using flow/potential fields became very appealing." - Owen McCarthy, principal programmer at Frontier.
Console/PC, Programming, Art, Audio, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Using vision as cursor in Tethered 1
by Ian Moran [01.03.17]
"VR offers new ways of interacting that allow us to get much closer to that mouse and pointer functionality by turning your face into a mouse pointer," says Ian Moran, technical director of Tethered.
VR, Console/PC, Indie, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Rethinking adventure games to create empathy 6
by Chris Kerr [12.22.16]
We set out to create an adventure game that had the soul of a '90s LucasArts title but felt a more contemporary. So, we ended up making a point and click, just without the pointing and clicking.
Console/PC, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Controlling two things at once in Soft Body 9
by Zeke Virant [12.05.16]
"The act of controlling two snakes at once seems like a impossible task the first time you experience it – like your brain is resisting what you want it to do." - Zeke Virant, creator of Soft Body
Console/PC, Indie, Design, Video, Deep Dive

Graphics Deep Dive: Cascaded voxel cone tracing in The Tomorrow Children 8
by James McLaren [11.28.16]
"Rather than a traditional forward or deferred lighting system, we created a system that lit everything by tracing cones through voxels," explains James McLaren, director of engine technology at Q-Games.
Console/PC, Programming, Art, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Forza Horizon 3's online co-op multiplayer 2
by Grant Orban [11.16.16]
Playground Games designer Grant Orban describes the challenges in designing Forza Horizon 3's smooth-as-silk online co-op multiplayer campaign.
Console/PC, Programming, Design, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: The folktale structure of Burly Men at Sea 2
by Brooke Condolora [11.14.16]
"Of the many elements that helped establish what we describe as a “folktale adventure,” three contributed most to our design: length, tone, and moral." - Brooke Condolora, co-founder of Brain&Brain
Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Video, Deep Dive

Game Design Deep Dive: Bringing the FPS to VR in Space Pirate Trainer  
by Dirk Van Welden [11.04.16]
"Best practices and established mechanics were useless or sometimes actively misleading, so we had to search for an optimal way to transfer the FPS experience into VR." -Dirk Van Welden, project lead on Space Pirate Trainer
VR, Indie, Programming, Design, Deep Dive