Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Marsh Davies)

Making a puzzle game is certainly no piece of cake! Ha! Ha! Ha! *cuts wrists*

I love puzzle games. But it s not beating them that s the exciting part: it s understanding them.

Whether mulling over a cryptic crossword or somersaulting through Portal s portals, there s a moment of epiphany which, for me, pretty much transcends all other moments in gaming. But how do you design a puzzle to best provoke that eureka moment? What gives a puzzle its aesthetic, its pace and texture? Why does one puzzle feel thrilling while another feels like a flat mental grind?

I ve asked three of my favourite puzzle game designers to demystify their dark magicks: Jonathan Blow, best known for the puzzle-platformer Braid and currently hard at work on firstperson perplexathon, The Witness; Alan “Draknek” Hazelden, creator of Sokoban-inspired sequential-logic games, including Sokobond, Mirror Isles and the forthcoming A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build; and Jonathan Whiting, a programmer on Sportsfriends and collaborator with Hazelden on Traal, whose own games are a regular Ludum Dare highlight.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

This is like my job before I started writing here.

When I spoke to Stephen “increpare” Lavelle last month, the creator of brainy puzzle game English Country Tune described his oeuvre as “pushing stuff around” games. That’s a good genre! It’s in my top ten, alongside “making people fall down” games, “staying inside the lines” games and “steering balls into holes” games.

Now increpare has expanded his work in the field by releasing PuzzleScript, an open-source puzzle game engine that makes it easy to create “pushing stuff around” games and all manner of other puzzles. It’s easy enough that successful indie designers like Terry Cavanagh and Bennett Foddy can make games in it in between the hundreds of other games they’re producing in any given second.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

The eighth Humble Bundle boasts an extraordinary line-up of recent indie royalty. Proteus, Thomas Was Alone, Hotline Miami, Capsized, Awesomenauts, Dear Esther and Little Inferno, plus their soundtracks. It seemed like the best one yet. So naturally they’ve added another four games.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

The eighth Humble Bundle boasts an extraordinary line-up of recent indie royalty. Proteus, Thomas Was Alone, Hotline Miami, Capsized, Awesomenauts, Dear Esther and Little Inferno, plus their soundtracks. It seemed like the best one yet. So naturally they’ve added another four games.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cara Ellison)

Slave of God is a new, free game from Stephen Lavelle, aka Increpare, he of English Country Tune. It is a game about visiting a nightlcub, with all the attendant music, magic and horror. Young Cara paid it a visit.> (more…)

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