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How to Make a Board Game, from Ideation to Design to Distribution

How to Make a Board Game

So you want to make a board game. For the sake of this post, let’s assume that’s all you know. You aren’t sure how to design around your idea, or how to turn a finished design into a real, physical game. All you have is a blank slate of personal experiences and preferences and you need […]

How Does Video Game Physics Work

video game physics

The word physics can either paralyze or thrill the aspiring game designer. As a player, you might take it for granted that video games come with a physics engine, but this is a relatively new phenomenon. This will not be a technical guide to game physics, but instead an introduction to physics from a game design […]

How Video Game Math Works in Game Development

GDS video game math

A lot of people entering video game design are paralyzed with fear by the M word: math. While I’m a systems designer and use quite a bit of math myself, in truth, most of the math in video game design is either simple algebra or vector multiplication. And even if those terms still cause your […]

Game Designer or Game Producer: Which Career Path is Right for You?

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Over the last twenty-five years, I’ve been fortunate enough to tackle both design and production roles. Both are important to the success of a game, but they are very different from each other. It’s easy to explain what artists and programmers do on a project. Their work is front and center in the game itself. […]

What are Game Design Pillars? How to Apply It Without The Downside?

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In the past, game design documents would spiral out of control and no one would read them. As a result, all the different people involved in development would have their own vision of the game, making conflicting choices about how to implement different parts. Modern AAA Games tend to solve this problem by following an approach […]

Best Game Engines for Beginner Game Developers in 2024

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In game development, choosing a game engine that matches your project, team, and scope is vital. Using an incompatible game engine can cause hiccups resulting in a delayed release (or even shelving the project indefinitely).  The problem is that there are so many types of games, programming languages, and platforms that it can take time […]

How to Adapt to a Game Dev Leadership Role | Nathan Tiras | #12

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Funsmith Fireside Chats Episode #12 Guest: Nathan Tiras We had the honor of speaking with Nathan Tiras, a unique and thoughtful game tester and manager with one fantastic career! His lessons from past work and insights on being the best manager are priceless for anyone trying to succeed in the video game industry.  Starting at […]

How to Be a Video Game Tester in the Game Dev Industry | Rian Trost | #11

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Funsmith Fireside Chats Episode #11 Guest: Rian Trost Rian Trost is a veteran of video game QA from Sony to Blizzard, he’s helped make some of your favorite games work. If you ever wanted to build a career in testing and QA, you don’t want to miss this! Rian offers great insight for anyone interested […]

How to Remake A Nintendo Classic Better? | Milton Guasti | #7

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The Funsmith Fireside Chats #7 Guest: Milton Guasti You might know him as Doctor M64 or as the creator of “Another Metroid 2 Remake.” – Milton Guasti (Currently at Moon Studios) gives us a play by play of the process of redesigning one of Nintendo’s classics, from changing the map and character art to fit […]

How to Effectively Lead a AAA Game Development Team | Barry Hawkins | #5

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Funsmith Fireside Chats Episode #5 Guest: Barry Hawkins Barry Hawkins is a product development consultant with experience in orchestration at scale for lean, agile teams that practice iterative development. He has done this with software product development companies ranging from 5-person start-ups to hundreds of team members practicing distributed development within loosely-coupled, cross-functional teams. In […]

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EXPERIENCE & BACKGROUND:

[STUDIO] Blizzard Entertainment: Content, mechanics, and systems designer

(Creator of Apex Legends & former Creative Director at Respawn)

[GAME] World of Warcraft: MMORPG with 8.5 million average monthly players, won Gamer’s Choice Award – Fan Favorite MMORPG, VGX Award for Best PC Game, Best RPG, and Most Addictive Video Game.

  • Classic:
    • Designed Cosmos UI
    • Designed part of Raid Team for Naxxramas
  • Burning Crusade:
    • Designed the raid bosses Karazhan, Black Temple, Zul’Aman
    • Designed the Outlands content
    • Designed The Underbog including bosses:
      • Hungarfen, Ghaz’an, Swamplord Musel’ik, and The Black Stalker
    • Designed the Hellfire Ramparts final bosses Nazan & Vazruden
    • Designed the Return to Karazhan bosses: Attumen the Huntsman, Big Bad Wolf, Shades of Aran, Netherspite, Nightbane
  • Wrath of the Lich King:
    • Designed quest content, events and PvP areas of Wintergrasp
    • Designed Vehicle system
    • Designed the Death Knight talent trees
    • Designed the Lord Marrowgar raid
  • Cataclysm:
    • Designed quest content
    • Designed Deathwing Overworld encounters
    • Designed Morchok and Rhyolith raid fights
  • Mists of Pandaria: 
    • Overhauled the entire Warlock class – Best player rated version through all expansion packs
    • Designed pet battle combat engine and scripted client scene

[GAME] StarCraft 2: Playtested and provided design feedback during prototyping and development

[GAME] Diablo 3: Playtested and provided design feedback during prototyping and development

[GAME] Overwatch: Playtested and provided design feedback during prototyping and development

[GAME] Hearthstone: Playtested and provided design feedback during prototyping and development

[STUDIO] Riot Games: Systems designer, in-studio game design instructor

(Former Global Communications Lead for League of Legends)
(Former Technical Game Designer at Riot Games)

[GAME] League of Legends: Team-based strategy MOBA with 152 million average active monthly players, won The Game Award for Best Esports Game and BAFTA Best Persistent Game Award.

  • Redesigned Xerath Champion by interfacing with community
  • Reworked the support income system for season 4
  • Redesigned the Ward system
  • Assisted in development of new trinket system
  • Heavily expanded internal tools and features for design team
  • Improved UI indicators to improve clarity of allied behaviour

[OTHER GAMES] Under NDA: Developed multiple unreleased projects in R&D

Game Design Instructor: Coached and mentored associate designers on gameplay and mechanics

[STUDIO] Moon Studios: Senior game designer

(Former Lead Game Designer at Moon Studios)

[GAME] Ori & The Will of The Wisps: 2m total players (423k people finished it) with average 92.8/100 ratings by 23 top game rating sites (including Steam and Nintendo Switch).

  • Designed the weapon and Shard systems
  • Worked on combat balance
  • Designed most of the User Interface

[GAME] Unreleased RPG project

  • Designed core combat
  • High-level design content planning
  • Game systems design
  • Game design documentation
  • Gameplay systems engineering
  • Tools design
  • Photon Quantum implementation of gameplay

[VC FUNDED STARTUP] SnackPass: Social food ordering platform with 500k active users $400m+ valuation

[PROJECT] Tochi: Creative director (hybrid of game design, production and leading the product team)

  • Lead artists, engineers, and animators on the release the gamification system to incentivize long-term customers with social bonds and a shared experience through the app

[CONSULTING] Atomech: Founder / Game Design Consultant

[STUDIOS] Studio Pixanoh + 13 other indie game studios (under NDA):

  • Helped build, train and establish the design teams
  • Established unique combat niche and overall design philosophy
  • Tracked quality, consistency and feedback methods
  • Established company meeting structure and culture

Game Design Keynotes:

(Former Global Head of HR for Wargaming and Riot Games)
  • Tencent Studio
  • Wargaming
  • USC (University of Southern California)
  • RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • US AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association)
  • UFIEA (University of Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy)
  • West Gaming Foundation
  • Kyoto Computer Gakuin – Kyoto, Japan