Posts Tagged design language

design language: chandler’s law

"When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."

Raymond Chandler

A concise but evocative piece of advice for writers who have somehow painted themselves into a corner, plotwise. The addition of a new opponent or complication, usually amidst a burst of violence, can free a protagonist from where he has become mired in the current plot.



Leave a Comment

design language: chekhov’s gun

"Chekhov’s gun" is often used as an example of foreshadowing, with the sight of the gun preparing the audience for its eventual use. But the primary point of Chekhov’s advice was to caution against including unnecessary elements in a story or its staging.

Comments (1)

design language : tea party

A more approachable, social and less intense version of a guild.

“I don’t think it’s as much that you invent the next ‘what’s after guilds?’, but I think it’s more how do you take something like guilds and make that something that isn’t called guilds, that’s more like a tea party that your mom can get into.”

Leave a Comment

design language: ultimatum game


The Ultimatum Game: 2 players – 1 proposes a split or deal, if the 2nd player accepts it then the deal goes through, if the 2nd refuses the deal is off and both parties gain nothing.

“The Ultimatum Game has been pointed to as a way of showing that humans are economically irrational. Why do people reject an offer of 25% of the total pot? If the pot is $100 then they are choosing between getting $25 or nothing at all. So why do they choose nothing at all?

The answer seems to be that people generally find offers below 30% to be insulting. It’s insulting that the other person should suggest such a derisory sum, even when it’s free money. So they prefer to have nothing and punish the other person’s greed. And remember the other person is losing $75 in this case whereas I’m only losing $25.”

“"Cutting off the nose to spite the face" is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem: "Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face" is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one’s anger.

In isolation this mechanic is of limited play value. If there is an opportunity to build up a picture of a player’s personality, then the Ultimatum Game could be more interesting. E.g. in games of ongoing negotiation and diplomacy.

Leave a Comment

design language: press your luck

A simple escalating risk and reward mechanic designed to draw you in, challenge you to know when to stop or lose all in a final ‘step too far’.

Leave a Comment

design language: appointment mechanic


A game feature, carefully designed to bring the player back to the game on a regular or agreed cadence over and over.

Leave a Comment

are there only 8 kinds of fun in games?

Sensation – as sense-pleasure

Fantasy – as make-believe

Narrative – as unfolding story

Challenge – as obstacle course

Fellowship – as social framework

Discovery – as uncharted territory

Expression – as soap box

Submission – as mindless pastime

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »