Dev Links: Alchemy


Today’s Dev Links include analyses of the design of games including Gratuitous Tank Battles, Lone Survivor, and SpaceChem.

Thoughts on Lone Survivor (In the Games of Madness)
“I just a finished Lone Survivor and because there is so much interesting stuff going on in it, I thought it was worth to write a blog post about it. At first glance Lone Survivor might look like some kind of 2D Silent Hill ripoff*, but there is a lot more to it than what is perceived at first sight.”

Mission Small Business (Mommy’s Best Devlog)
“We’re working towards a grant from Chase bank and Livingsocial for $250,000, but we need your vote of confidence!  In order to be officially considered, we need 250 votes by June 30th. Please do us the honor of voting for Mommy’s Best Games for a chance at this excellent grant funding.”

Put On Your Make-Up In The Dark (Auntie Pixelante)
“klik of the month, the two-hour game-making party that glorious trainwrecks throws every month, is somehow five years old! actually, i don’t think it’s that surprising – i think it speaks to a desire for more spaces where people can dabble in messy, judgement-free game creation. some of my favorite games have come out of this weird experiment – so have, i think, a lot of my own best games. in fact, the game that sparky and i are collaborating on right now began as a klik of the month project.”

Postmortem: Zachtronics Industries’ SpaceChem (Gamasutra)
“Shortly after releasing The Codex of Alchemical Engineering, a Flash game about building machines that create and transform alchemical compounds, I started thinking about a chemistry-themed sequel. Since Codex was already a simplified model of molecular bonding, expanding into chemistry proper would provide more mechanics (such as multiple bonds between atoms) and puzzles (different compounds, from simple ones like water to more complicated ones like benzene). Despite this, making immediate sequels is not in my nature, so I set the idea aside and moved on.”

10 Years of Behavioral Game Design with Bungie’s Research Boss (Gamasutra)
“A lone scientist labors late into the night in his lab, assembling his creation piece by piece, and then releases it to rampage across an unsuspecting world! Muwhahahaha! No, not FrankensteinBehavioral Game Design! When I wrote that article a decade ago, I was a psychology graduate student and amateur game designer who had never worked in the games industry. Since then, the article has run amok, living an almost completely independent existence in the wilds of the internet.”

Dissecting My Own Design. The Gratuitous Tank Battles GUI (
“Nothing in life is perfect. Not even sheldon cooper. So it’s always worth taking a fresh look at stuff you have made and trying to tear it to piece and criticise the hell out of it. Fortunately, the internet is full of people, ‘professional’ or amateur who will tell you your game sucks, but often not in especially helpful ways, so I’m trying to tear my own game to shreds and find everything I can to criticise and improve. So I present to you my initial thoughts on everything that is rubbish about the GTB interface for battles (and obviously this acts as a todo list for the next patch…”

Capy Games: The Indie Survival Guide (Gamesindustry International)
“Capy Games is the independent developer getting it right. At least, that’s what everyone is telling Nathan Vella, the company’s co-founder and president. But as flattering as it must be to hear the words he knows they don’t tell the whole story.”

Mini Mix Mayhem (Auntie Pixelante)
mini mix mayhem reminds me most immediately of gamelab’s “arcadia” (r.i.p. gamelab.) – a game in which there are actually four games playing simultaneously in four small windows, and the player  has to split her focus between all of them. what makes this proposition tenable is that the games tend to all be paced differently: one might be a jumping game, and the player just has to click to jump over a pit every few seconds, while another is a game of connect four with a computer opponent, which can be safely ignored sometimes and demands serious attention at others.”

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