Exploit: Zero Day - Headless Swarm, the first season

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Tag archives: design

Setting Rewards for Player-Created Puzzles

Our browser-based puzzle game about hacktivism, Exploit: Zero Day, has two major components: Jobs and player-created puzzles. Jobs are what a traditional MMO would call PVE challenges; they're story crafted by us, which you play through alone. Player-created puzzles, on the other hand, are currently the closest thing we have to PVP challenges, although in our case the goal isn't really to defeat the other player but to give them an interesting challenge.

We're currently developing currency mechanics that will serve as an extra incentive for players to create puzzles and solve other players' puzzles (we call puzzles "systems," since they represent computer systems in the game's fiction). Players will be able to earn "scryp" by solving puzzles or having puzzles in their home cluster solved, which they can spend to make their home cluster more attractive and challenging. A big question arises, however. How do we set these rewards to encourage people make the best systems they can?

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Puzzle Design Tips for Exploit: Zero Day

Puzzle Design Tips for Exploit: Zero Day

I've just finished creating puzzles for the latest piece of free content in Exploit: Zero Day, and it was my first time doing a considered design of puzzles. I wanted a few levels of difficulty, but for puzzles to not just become obnoxious as the difficulty increased.

The puzzles I've designed will be going live later this week, and hopefully folks will like them. I iterated quite a bit on some of them as I tried out different tactics, especially the puzzle pictured with this post.

When it was all said and done—which took a while, since I was new to it—I was able to distill the tactics I used into this handy-dandy list.

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Storytelling in Exploit: Zero Day

Storytelling in Exploit: Zero Day

Our work-in-progress Exploit: Zero Day is heavy in story. It's a social, cyberpunk puzzle game that explores conspiracies and oppression and questions who you can trust. The browser-based, intermittent format of the game makes it impractical to use traditional narration to tell our story, so we've employed a ...

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Consent In Roleplaying

Consent In Roleplaying

How much control do you have over what happens to your character in a tabletop RPG? Can people do things to your character without your permission? Do you want them to?

In most mainstream tabletop roleplaying games, you control your character's actions but not what happens to them. You choose how they feel about events, but not the other effects. A combination of the rules and the game master's judgment decides whether your character gets scared, hurt, or killed.

There's a different way.

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Gaming with an Immobilized Shoulder

I've spent the last six weeks with my left arm in an immobilizer sling. Six weeks of southern United States summer, of being a day-and-night software developer, of being a gamer, all rocking a sling that straps my left arm to a pillow that is in turn strapped to my torso and neck.

After the first 11 days, I've had some use of my left hand for things like typing, but I have limited wrist mobility and can't reach for things or hold/lift more than about two pounds. I'm in this sling 24/7 until some time after August 4.

Plenty of computer and gaming things become difficult in this situation, and I've been exploring some new configurations to get my gaming in. What's come out of this are some good practices I can take away for basic accessibility in developing games.

What's Normal?

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Designing a Game - Concept to Polish

In April, Gregory gave a presentation for the local Charlotte GameDev Meetup group. The talk was called "Designing a Game - Concept to Polish," and it goes through the process of designing a game. No programming, no technologies discussed: just how to turn an idea into mechanics, rules, and challenges.

We ...

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