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Subject: Podcast, articles, etc about tension and pacing? rss

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Ed Chen

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I've been trying to expand my design thinking by listening to various podcasts, reading stuff, and such about various facets of design.

In evaluating the progress on my own game, I think one of the things I need to take a hard look at is the tension, and to a lesser extent, pacing, in the game and throughout the game.

Does anyone know of a good resource to learn more about tension and/or pacing?

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Jozsh J.
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I'm a newbie designer and I've been doing the same thing; a lot of research, so maybe I could link you to something I might have come across. But I sort of don't know what you mean by "tension" and "pacing". Do you mean the like, the length of the game? How long it will take to play? And what do you mean by tension?
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Nate K
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Not every episode will be specifically about those two topics, but I'm a big fan of:

Three Moves Ahead (focuses on strategy computer games, but the design lessons are applicable across many genres)

Plaid Hat Podcast (Colby Dauch, Isaac Vega, and the other designers and playtesters of Plaid Hat Games discuss various topics in game design and publishing)

Writing Excuses (a podcast for writers, but the discussions on narrative arcs and creating tension will be extremely useful to you {check out this episode and this one in particular})

On Board Games (lots of good interviews with designers and publishers and plenty of discussion about topics within the hobby industry)
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Ed Chen

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Thanks I'll check those out.

To me tension is the thing that changes a mechanical and analytic experience into an exciting one, which isn't just theme.

But I'm open to other interpretations as well.

Someone else defined tension as risk x time (source: http://flywheel.gizmet.com/2009/05/13/tension/) which I like but I think may be an incomplete definition.

In any event, still looking for anything else anyone might have run across!
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Jozsh J.
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I was going to say that, "isn't the 'tension' and 'pacing' of the game sort of depend on the theme of/type of game"?

You're saying not always, and I definitely wouldn't fully know.

I mean, I would think that the tension is created by what the players would have to do in the game too. This could be drawn out from players, the tension and pacing, if there is a story behind the game. Some type of story based element could give gamers some form of excitement. It could create that tension...like a movie perhaps. They know what it's about, what might happen, and how to stop it. It could also be implemented if your game is meant to be played competitively. As far as pacing, whatever type of game it is, the game would take as long it should take. Right? Look at the classic game of Life and Monopoly...those games can take a while...but they are designed to be that way, and for a lot of people, it's an enjoyable experience.....I don't like long games though.......well, it depends.
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