Oblivion Analysis: 2015 Update

Oblivion's Opening View


Five years ago I wrote an analysis of the exploration in Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. For those of you who haven’t played it, it’s like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim but not as user-friendly. It’s pretty cool, but hard to read the way I originally wrote it. I vaguely recall I was swamped at the time, so I probably cut some corners.

So now, five years later, I’m updating the article and making it easier to read. Enjoy (again?).


One of the coolest things about Oblivion is how “free form” the game feels. As you wander through the world, attempting … Continue reading

A ‘Madlibs’ Game Design Doc: Part 2

Warning — I didn’t give this post my usual level of editing and scrutiny because I haven’t been feeling too well.

I wanted to post it, even in its raw state. Hopefully you’ll find some use from these rough notes, and when I move on to the later parts I’ll develop them more fully.

Think of this as a chance to peer inside an in-progress design.

In our last adventure, we went through the theme and designed the enemies. Part 2 is about designing player abilities. If you haven’t read the previous article, this one might not make much sense. … Continue reading

Magic: The Warcraftening

I’ve been playing a lot of Blizzard’s new digital-only collectible card game Hearthstone, and I really like a lot of the decisions they made. There are a few things I really miss from
playing Magic: The Gathering, though — and I’d love to give the following “merger” of the two a try some time:

Magic: The Warcraftening

Rules:As Magic: The Gathering, except:

Deck Construction

A ‘Madlibs’ Game Design Doc: Part 1

A quick note. The following work is considered public domain information. Use it however you want. If you’d like to tell me about it afterwards, I promise you it will make me a happy man — but if you don’t I won’t lose any sleep.

On twitter the other day, I decided on a whim that I wanted to create and fill out a madlib and then design a game based on the answers I got.

I’m trying to design a game via ‘madlibs.’ I’ll ask questions, and the first response dictates the answer. I’ll post the design on my … Continue reading

Writing about Game Design is hard

I feel like I have a lot to say about the subject, but that writing it down isn’t the best way to get that across.

Writing about some esoteric point or another requires laying a ton of groundwork just to even have a chance of getting to the point.

It’s exhausting.

I know Vincent Baker at least likes to make little games to get his points across. Maybe I should do the same.

That being said, anyone know any good examples of game designers (or other game makers) with blogs that are GOOD at writing down their thoughts on … Continue reading