Building Good Cooperative Play

Building a game that encourages players to work together is an interesting challenge for a game developer. There’s much more to it than providing a simple, common goal. Cooperative game design is full of pitfalls and difficulties that overtly competitive games don’t have. Here, I outline why we like cooperative games, give a general overview of what cooperation means, and list a few pitfalls that can plague the cooperative game designer.

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Designing Metagame

Customizable Card Games are a fusion of RPGs and Collectible Card Games. You get a box with all the cards in the game, but instead of just building a deck however you desire, you and a group of friends play the game with the most basic cards. After every game (or mid game, in some cases), you get a number of rewards that you can incorporate into your deck, and your character gets access to new skill cards that can improve his abilities.

There are two very interesting mechanics that I’d like to talk a little about. Those are ‘Metagaming’ and ‘Co-op against the Game’.

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Immersion in Games

Games, for the most part, have a theme. Many games are designed entirely around involving players in their theme. RPGs form the lion’s share of these, and the remainder form a category that is commonly referred to as Ameritrash (this isn’t a derogatory term in most circles, despite the sound of it).

This concept of gamers becoming involved in the world that the game presets is called Immersion. Immersion is brought out by a number of factors in a game, which I’ll briefly take a look at here.

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Game Balance: Five Schools of Thought

What is Balance?

Game Balance is a tricky subject, and just about any developer will tell you that his game is ‘balanced’ by one definition or another. Understanding the schools of thought behind each balance philosophy and what motivates it is a foundation to discussing game balance. In this article, I’ll be considering balance in terms of competitive games–one side against the other, or multiple sides against each other. Everyone has a preference, and there isn’t a ‘right way’ to balance a game, or even a ‘right definition’ of what balance is, as we’ll see below…

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