Skip to content

A theory: Timed Sandbox Narrative

Sandbox time

One of the great conundrums for storytelling in games lies in trying to provide enough of an outline of a game narrative to ensure it is semi-directed enough to go somewhere compelling, while also providing an open sandbox experience for promoting player driven stories. I would like to propose that bringing time itself more prominently into the storytelling process may allow both player and developer to take turns at the wheel to drive stories harmoniously in sandbox games. Read more…

Finding Core Experiences


So let’s say you start building something without serious fore-thought, basically, without a core experience in mind. Unless you’re on a mission of pure discovery and experimentation, it will be highly advantageous to start identifying a focused set of experiences to deliver upon before you just blue sky aimlessly for too long.

It is important to note that this process outlined below is for cases where you have a prototype that you feel shows some promise. If your prototype is just a mess, and you don’t have any other things planned to add to it or fix, then you should probably just put that down to a failed experiment. Maybe consider actually Forming Core Experiences first – Don’t aimlessly waste time trying to polish a turd. Read more…

Forming Core Experiences

Framing the Initial Thought

My last post on Top-Down and Bottom-Up game design may have left a few folks still wondering about how to get that concise message about what your game is about, and define your core experiences. This is an uncomplicated yet vital step in the process of establishing some focus for your project. Read more…

Top-Down and Bottom-Up


Good game design is iterative – This is something that is not under debate or scrutiny, and with good reason… Anyone who thinks that they’ll get it right first time is kidding themselves. However, there are serious limitations with treating simple iteration in one direction as your be-all-end-all approach. Where are you headed? Are you just going to stop iterating when you think it’s a lot more fun than it was? Of course it’s not wrong at all to let yourself stumble into a great game experience that winds up defining itself clearly – And when that happens, that’s fantastic. Unfortunately though, great games rarely happen by accident – More often than not, it requires being able to design from multiple perspectives. Read more…

Life experience – Why it matters for crafting games

Have you ever been to a foreign country, where things work very differently to where you grew up, and customs and expectations are unfamiliar to you? If not how do you expect to be able to create the  experience of being in a strange new land well in a game?

‘Well’ is the operative word there. You can learn from other games, but guessing at sensations is a very poor substitute from drawing on reality, because when you have real experience with something, you can actually tell when you’re successfully recreating the experiences that have an effect on us. Read more…

Figuring out my M.O.

With a truckload of things to say and share, straight away I found myself belting out over four thousand words in the last couple of days. While that sort of prolific pumping out of stuff seems ideal for maintaining a blog, it instantly made me realise that I may need to preface how I operate and think for others to both understand where I’m coming from, and also what it is they can hope to get out of visiting my site. Read more…

And so it begins…

After months of hand-wringing and wondering what I should do about making a website, I decided that I should simply go about getting one and start work on filling it with my theories and thoughts on game design.

Having recently moved into education, and being close friends with the likes of Epona Schweer, who hosts the outstanding indie-dev site Indiebits, I figured I should start contributing something to the scene myself, rather than just drive my close friends insane with all my ideas before I turn them loose on the world.

At present, this site bares all the hallmarks of a bog-standard WordPress site. I will endeavour to de-ugly it very soon.

Hopefully you will find my ramblings and offerings both enjoyable, and of use.


Dan Toose