On the Shoulders of Giants: Game Maker’s Toolkit

A few months back I wrote this blog post about one of my biggest influences, Egoraptor. And since I’m currently drowning in finals, now feels like a good time for another short shout-out post. This time I wanted to share Mark Brown’s Game Maker’s Toolkit. I’ve mentioned his work a few times before in my rant about Mindtrap and in my blog post on genres, but given how much of an influence his work has been on me I wanted to take the time to give him the attention he deserves.

Game Maker’s Toolkit (GMTK) is a YouTube channel that focuses on game design. Their videos cover a wide range of topics including level design, difficulty, narrative structure, and game mechanics. I’ve watched every video they’ve made, and I find myself revisiting their older videos from time to time. I appreciate how clear and accessible Mark’s videos are, and how you can jump into any of them even if you don’t know anything about the topic he’s discussing. They are all well researched, engaging, and easy to follow. I’ve learned a lot from GMTK and incorporated many of their lessons into my own games. I even cited one of their videos in a paper I wrote for Games in Society last semester (this one if you’re curious). If you’re at all interested in learning more about making games, I highly recommend giving them a try.

This one is the first in a series about designing for disability. It really opened my eyes to how implementing some small adjustments can make your game more fun and accessible for everyone.

This one is part of GMTK’s Boss Keys series, in which Mark breaks down the level design in the Legend of Zelda. He’s also since branched out and started looking at the level design in other franchises, such as Metroid and Castlevania.

And finally, this one is about Roguelikes and progression. While I don’t personally agree with everything he says, the video still offers a really interesting perspective on the genre.

Thanks for reading! After you’re done checking out GMTK make sure to sign up for our newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay lofty!

 

On the Shoulders of Giants: Sequelitis

Now that finals and the holidays are behind me (and I’ve mostly recovered from a nasty cold), it’s time to get back to blogging. I was thinking back to my very first blog post for Cloudfall about inspiration and I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of my biggest influences. So in this series, On the Shoulders of Giants, I’ll be taking just a bit of your time to share some amazing people, games, articles, books, videos, etc. that I think are worth your time.

To kick this series off, I want to shout out Arin Hanson, also known as Egoraptor. Likely best known for Game Grumps, he originally got his start as an animator on Newgrounds making some pretty funny cartoons (like this one). Though I do enjoy and recommend both of those, I mostly want to highlight his Sequelitis series. In this series, Arin blends humour with insight and breaks down what makes a good sequel. This series was a massive influence on me and was the first time I started thinking critically about games. I really responded to its fast, casual style and it really helped make game design feel approachable for me. Sometimes game design can feel like this intimidating thing that only other people can do, but by making it feel like a fun friendly conversation it felt like something anyone (including me!) could do. It also helps that the videos are funny, interesting to watch, and Arin has a great voice. Honestly, if I never watched this series, I don’t think I would be making games today. So if you’re interested in games (and don’t mind some swearing), I highly recommend binging this series.

This one is about Castlevania, and it explains why Simon’s Quest wasn’t such a great sequel. If you like it, he did a follow-up about Super Castlevania 4 here.

This one is about Megaman, and is basically a love letter to Megaman X. It’s my personal favourite one in the series. I especially love the part where it breaks down how the game teaches the player how to play with its level design, as that’s the lesson I’ve tried to keep in the mind the most.

And here’s one about The Legend of Zelda, which is quite the hot-take on Ocarina of Time.

TL;DR: Go watch Sequelitis. :)