For those of you who haven't played The Witcher 3, it entails exploring a fantasy world to collect cards for Gwent, a game-in-the-game that features dozens of beautiful illustrations and about thirty seconds of music.
The system relies on artificial scarcity to escalate the tension. For instance, I cannot find the Scorch card anywhere, yet every Tom, Dick, and Gunther has three of them in each deck.
As an added bonus, here's a speed paint I did while playing through Bioshock Infinite several years ago. Both drawings were crafted with PaintTool SAI, which is a fun escape when I tire of Photoshop's notorious brush lag.
I was surprised to learn that eating spaghetti from lavatory garbage bins restores health. I wonder how much those game designers drew from their personal experience.
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with San Francisco startup Sifteo on their cube gaming platform. Instead of relying on a traditional controller or a D-Pad, players interacted by shaking, tilting, pressing, and neighboring the cubes. As a result, the hardware led to some interesting design challenges.
The flagship game was a Zelda-style adventure that featured a princess searching for ingredients to build a magical sandwich and fulfill a universal lunchtime prophesy. Due to the platform's unique inputs, the game eschewed combat in favor of exploration and Sobokan puzzles. The game's colorful graphics, sprawling levels, and epic story made it a hit with kids, even those too young to read the humorous dialogue. In fact, when we showcased the game at Indiecade East 2013, we witnessed many kids return for the second day of the event to continue their playthroughs.
With additional cubes, the player can see more of the map at once. Did I mention that the small LCD screens on top of the cubes were perfect for pixel art?
Here is some of my favorite artwork I created for the game.
The venom-spitting camel spider didn't make it into the game. I sure wish I could keep one as a pet.
A sample level made with the tileset from the starting world.
In-game cutscenes featured these portraits to accompany dialogue text.
Positive response to Sandwich Kingdom prompted the creation of a sequel: Ice Palace. This installment introduced new puzzle elements like ice slides and fierce owlbears.
Sifteo was acquired by 3D Robotics in 2014. The cube platform is defunct.