Game Design Zen
By Curtiss Murphy: Speaker, Consultant, and Game Designer
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What happens at the intersection of game design, life, and the pursuit of excellence? Game Design Zen is your #1 resource for the science, art, and business of developing better games. Whether you are just getting started in this crazy business, or have the wisdom that comes from weathering the storms, there is always room to level up. Curtiss Murphy : Your host is a seasoned veteran with over 12 years in the gaming industry, spanning AAA, Indy, and military training games. He is an award winning speaker, author, and game designer. He presents with a unique blend of energy, science, and stories that have earned him invitations to conferences across the country. He gives the yearly keynote at the National Science Foundation Edugaming workshop, has decades of development experience, and is widely recognized as a thought leader in serious games. He is a speaker, consultant, and game designer. Join the conversation as we travel the path of game design, life, and the pursuit of excellence! http://www.gamedesignzen.com Topics : Game Design, Flow, Paradox of Choice, Simplicity, User Interface Design, Player Perspective, Goals, Feedback, Monetization, Free to Play, Premium, Team Dynamics, Communication, Mindset, Software Engineering, AAA, Indy, Serious Games, Retention, Addiction, Game Loops, Mechanics, Getting a Job, Story, and Mystery Box.
||021 : To Purple Cow or Not to Purple Cow? That is the Question||(Some information was lost. Someone keeps hacking the site. Apologies, I think) So he asked, “Are you still a fan of the Purple Cow?” Game dev students were asking the same question, from Virginia to Detroit. It’s a simple question, … Continue r||2/27/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||020 : How Do You Do It? Three Tips for Getting Things Done||(Why do people hack educational podcasts? I cannot imagine) Years ago, my boss asked, “How do you get all that stuff done?” Then, last week, my friend asked a similar question. And I realized, I didn’t have an answer. So … Continue reading →||2/22/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||19 : Breaking My Own Rule! On Steam, Greenlight, and Overcoming Fear||I broke my own rule! A few weeks ago, I shared a project I was working on, before it was really ready. And after that, I kept putting off creating the video that I needed to get my project on … Continue reading →||2/13/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||18 : Becoming Indie – On Starting A Business||What about the business? Kenzai asked what it meant to start a business. So, this episode goes zen – covering everything from becoming an indie, to money, to products. It even discusses why you need a Purple Cow. NOW AVAILABLE ON YouTube!||2/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||017 : Three Things You Need To Know!||What must you know? At a recent game challenge, I met Matt Trobbiani, the creator of HackNet. After I got to know him, I thought it’d be fun to invite him on as a guest. To ensure that Game Design Zen … Continue reading →||1/25/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||16 : Season 2 – Battle Royale – Jonathan Blow vs Brett Victor||Ready for SEASON TWO?!? It’s a new year, with exciting changes in the works. To kick it off, let’s start with two giants! They’re at odds. The Indie giant, Jonathan Blow, argues that simpler is better, in almost all cases. Design … Continue rea||1/17/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||015 : Failure, Taste, and the Closet Star Wars Geek – the Season 1 Finale||What about failure? Your greatest ideas don’t live up to your expectations. You haven’t conquered the world. And yet, as Ira Glass says, your taste is killer. This is the season one finale of Game Design Zen – you won’t … Continue reading →||12/15/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||014 : Because … Fallout 4!||Game Design Zen : Episode 014 Fallout 4?! Some predicted – game of the century. Some predicted – not my cup of tea. And for some, like me, it was our first exposure to the Fallout franchise. I didn’t know what to … Continue reading →||12/7/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||013 : Her Unexpected Gift! A Father’s Path To Gratitude – Happy Thanksgiving!||Game Design Zen : Episode 013 I’ve been struggling to tell a story. Weeks of nights staring at the ceiling with ideas swirling in my head. It demanded to be told. Until finally, today, I did the whole thing in … Continue reading →||11/19/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||012 : A Recipe for Simplicity? Rock Band 4, Civilization, and Bushnell’s Law||Game Design Zen : Episode 012 I’d waited months for Rock Band 4 to arrive. And when it did, the guitar didn’t work! Find out what happens as we explore the recipe for Simplicity in games. Rock Band 4 (01:00) … Continue reading →||11/8/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||011 : League of Legends vs Heroes of the Storm!||Game Design Zen : Episode 011 Who will win? We’re just days away from seeing if SKT will once away be crowned champs as they take on new comers, Koo Tigers. So with eyes turned toward Korea, let’s have our own battle – League of … Continue||10/28/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||010 : “Truly Unique” – An Open Response to a Crazy Letter||Game Design Zen : Episode 010 It never fails. I’m chatting with friends when I stumble across the Newbie Letter. It’s full of wild ideas, crazy ambitions, and most telling, the 5-year plan for a game that is ‘truly unique’. This … Continue re||10/25/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||009 : What Is A Game? I’ve Got The Story – Not Sure What’s Next||Game Design Zen : Episode 009 What Now? I’ve got a great story, set in a far-distant future. Not sure what to do next. As crazy as it sounds, this happens sometimes. This episode explores what a game is to … Continue reading →||10/13/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||008 : Total Biscuit, Motivation, and the Indiepocalypse – The Experience||Game Design Zen : Episode 008 What do Total Biscuit, Motivation, and the Indiepocalypse have in common? Even after 2 years, I hadn’t picked up a next gen console. Until this one, specific game was announced. $750 later it was … Continue reading →||10/9/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||007 : Not Your Average Joe – Difficulty, Engagement, and Cookie Clicker||Game Design Zen : Episode 007 Joe challenged me, “balanced difficulty is missing the mark.” And then, he pointed to games like Farmville, city simulators, and Cookie Clicker. He had some good points. He is not your average Joe. Joe’s … Continue||9/28/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||006 : Dropping The Gauntlet! Build Your First Game||Game Design Zen : Episode 006 My wife dropped the gauntlet – “6 episodes by Christmas!” This episode explore the gauntlet that leads to building your first game, with some inspiration, practical advice, and real life stories.||9/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||005 : By Request! The Game Design of Squares, Circles, and Triangles||Game Design Zen : Episode 005 What should I talk about? When I asked my friend, there was no hesitation – “Squares, Circles, and Triangles.” I asked, “Really?” And he answered, “It was my favorite! You said it would change … Continue readi||8/30/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||GDZ 004 : The Most Important Skill? The Rocket Surgery of Story, Yes And, and Charisma||Game Design Zen : Episode 004 What is our most important skill? Though we need creativity, logic, and business, the path to excellence is the rocket surgery of Story, Yes And, and Charisma. This episode tackles practical ways to communicate … Continue||8/23/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||GDZ 003 : Level Up! Portfolios, Finishing, and Next Steps||Game Design Zen : Episode 003 How can you level up? Whether breaking in, or looking for the next opportunity, we pursue excellence through deliberate practice – building a portfolio of finished projects. Stand apart, improve, and level up.||8/16/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||GDZ 002 : Flow – The one design idea you must know||Game Design Zen : Episode 002 What is the one thing you must know? When we play games, we become so involved in the activity that nothing else seems to matter. Minutes can be so intense they feel like an hour, … Continue reading →||8/9/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||GDZ 001 : How much is enough? The Paradox of Choice for Game Design||Game Design Zen : Episode 001 How much is enough? With Sid Meier defining games as a series of interesting and meaningful choices, we often stuff in as many choices as possible! In this episode we explore World of Warcraft … Continue reading →||8/9/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
Excellent approach to teaching game design
As an active member of the Unity3D forums, I was already familiar with Curtiss Murphy as an expert in the game design and development field and knew him as a helpful person who gave kind, friendly, and most importantly, useful advice.
Despite this, I wasn’t initially sold on Game Design Zen. Curtiss’s softly purring voice felt almost like a caricature of talk radio, and the first episode presented viewpoints that conflicted with how I felt about choices.
Somewhere in the middle of Episode 3, however, I realized I was hooked. The voice that initially seemed silly to me now felt like liquid wisdom being poured into my ear, and I realized that questioning my own thoughts on game design was the whole POINT of the series.
There have only been 5 episodes released so far, but GDZ is quickly becoming a must-listen for any aspiring game designers. The principles presented will serve as a solid foundation to build your own journey of exploration and learning. If this series continues and gains a wide audience, I fully expect the quality of indie games to increase dramatically in the coming years.
Missing Something Important?
I just listened to your Heroes of the Storm vs LoL podcast and I'm a bit surprised on such a glaring oversight. One of them has been out for 6 years (League of Legends) and the other has only been out of beta since June.
I found it hilarious that you kept saying stuff like, "why is one dominating the other?" Uh...seriously? How on earth can you talk about something in such depth and not talk about how one was literally just released and the other has had 6 years to build up a fanbase?
Really uninformed man. And it put a really bad taste in my mouth to want to listen to another podcast about a topic I am not familiar with.
Specifically as you describe the game of Heroes, you were off base on so many levels. "You can turn of chat." Really? Sure if you jump into a casual Quick Match game or you want to hover around the low ranks of Hero League but there is no way you can do that in the higher ranks.
And "no skill"? Really? I'd like to know what rank you are man. You sound like someone who just picked up the game. So many uninformed things. And to my original point: how the hell can you not mention the 5 months vs 6 years. Really bad and biased podcast.
Very thoughtful advice
I just discovered this podcast. I find the style easy to listen to, yet very thoughtful in the lessons taught. Truly Mr. Murphy has been around the “around the block” in the game design world. His experience in the Corporate world combined with his own indy company make for a unique combination of experience and insight. I’ve only done a view episodes but I’m hooked.