Hero Academy fans rejoice! The turn based tactics game which proved very popular when it launched in early 2012 is set to get its sequel! The original marked Robot Entertainment’s first mobile game and was not only a hit with players but proved critically successful too, winning the “Best Mobile Game” at the DICE 2013 awards. It will soon be time to return to the Academy with Hero Academy 2 which is being developed by BonusXP. Read more
Legendary game designer Bruce Shelley takes to the blog over at BonusXP, the topic at hand is talking about how video game ideas start out in their early stages. The Ensemble philosophy of play testing comes into throw here, even right at the start of a brand new game idea.
The method that we have seen work most successfully, beginning many years ago with board and paper games, is to build a prototype, start pushing around the pieces, and then rely on our instincts as gamers to feel what parts are working, not working, what new idea to try, etc. We call this design by playing. Read more
BonusXP’s upcoming strategy game “Servo” has been in the news over at Gamespot with Kevin VanOrd talking to BonusXP’s Bruce Shelley and Dave Pottinger at last months GDC. The interesting interview gives us some insights on what BonusXP are heading towards with the game. Some interesting tidbits include the play time, with Servo matches taking around 10 minutes a game compared to a longer more drawn out RTS matches such as found in say, Age of Empires. We have seen a smaller game time target with Ensemble’s Halo Wars which typically had matches around 20 minutes. It’s interesting to see that BonusXP are looking at quite a short average game-time with Servo. Dave Pottinger commented: Read more
Legendary game designer Bruce Shelley has taken to the BonusXP blog to summarise some of the most important attributes a game designer should have when working particularly at smaller video game studios. Bruce has long been encouraging of a studio wide playtest, where everyone in the studio regularly takes part in playtesting the game throughout the whole development process. This can be called a design by playing approach. Read more
Its been quite a big year for BonusXP, although you might not think it when noting that the studio hasn’t released any new titles this year. However since Cavemania’s release in 2013, the studio has seen some great accomplishments. BonusXP founder, Dave Pottinger has taken to the studios website to write a blog reflecting on the year, a happy end to 2104.
Today BonusXP, the studio formed out of some Ensemble Studios members headed up by Dave Pottinger, John Evanson and Jason Sallenbach have today announced that they have formed a publishing partnership with Stardock for their next game. In todays press release we learn that BonusXP are working on a PC Game, this follows the studios previous two mobile games, Monster Crew and Cavemania. Remember ES can also advise that their next game will be an RTS, perhaps going back to their core roots from the Ensemble days. Read more
Bruce Shelley talks about the evolution of social gaming. Plus more AOE-O animations and Robot swag!
Recently the legendary Bruce Shelley has been in talks with Gamasutra along with Brian Reynolds another industry veteran about their roles at Zynga in the social gaming space. Brian Reynolds before joining Zynga worked at Big Huge Games which collaborated with Ensemble Studios on the Age of Empires 3 Asian Dynasties expansion. Bruce and Brian had also worked closely with each other in the past on Sid Meier’s civilisation games. Now they are both re-united again at Zynga where is has become clear that the company is hiring industry veterans to push their gaming business forward.
When talking to Gamasutra Bruce detailed how he was recommended to join after the company was looking for designers from the “Sid Meier School of Design” era. Read more
Just when you thought enough ex-Ensemblers have joined Zynga, a press release from the D.I.C.E Summit has revealed that Bruce Shelley is now acting as consultant for Zynga having recently finished a consulting role at UbiSoft studio, Blue Byte where he worked advising the team on the Settlers 7 game. It is currently not known what type of internal studio Bruce is working with at Zynga, however my guesses would be that he is working with Brian Reynolds on the FrontierVille game. Bruce had previously worked with Brian Reynolds at Microprose. Read more
Gamasutra reports that legendary game designer of Ensemble Studios, Bruce Shelley will be taking part in a 50 minute lecture at the Game Developers Conference in Europe (the GDC). The lecture is targeted at developers with any expierence and the summary as per the GDC website is as follows:
Both veteran designers and students of game design sometimes struggle with the challenge of, ‘I have a great idea but I haven’t figured it all out and I don’t really know how to express it on paper.’ In this Game Design session, Bruce Shelley shares five guidelines for the challenge of producing a complete first draft game design proposal, a road map to help designers focus their thoughts and get momentum on the process of ‘getting it down.’ He covers both the game design decisions you need to have made before you’re ready to pitch an idea, and how to make that perilous journey from intuitive idea to the written word.
It is great to see Bruce actively taking part in the games industry. Bruce recently served as design advisor on Ubisoft’s Settlers 7. If you haven’t checked out Settlers 7 it might be worth having a dabble at the game demo. With Bruce Shelley involved you can be sure the first 15 minutes of the game will be very fun and engaging, one of Bruce’s design values is to have the first 15 minutes as fun as possible
The GDC takes place August 16-18th and I expect we shall hear details about what Bruce has to say on or soon after the event.