Designer Notes

A podcast about why we make games

Why do we make games? Every designer has a different and very personal answer to that question. Soren Johnson, founder of Mohawk Games, sits down with noted designers to find out by examining their careers as a whole.


Once per month (Ideally!)

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Episode 70:
Justin Ma

October 9, 2022 In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Justin Ma, co-founder of Subset Games and best known for his work on FTL and Into the Breach. They discuss how he bombed his first game industry interview, why the AI in FTL can’t behave like a human, and whether Into the Breach should have unlimited undo. This episode was recorded on March 24, 2022.

Games discussed: Pitfall, Manhole, StarTropics, Top Sin, FTL, NetHack, Stone Soup, Spelunky, Into the Breach, XCOM series, Wildermyth, Old World

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August 15, 2022 In this episode, Soren and Leyla interview independent game developer Chris DeLay, co-founder of Introversion Software and best known for his work on Uplink, Darwinia, Defcon, and Prison Architect. They discuss how to play Prison Architect without a prison, why the game needed cutscenes, and how to design an economy when the world is ending. This episode was recorded on March 24, 2022.

Games discussed: Prison Architect, Scanner Sombre, The Last Starship, Academia: School Simulator, Road to Ruin, Oxygen Not Included, Dwarf Fortress, Old World

June 27, 2022 In this episode, Soren and Leyla interview independent game developer Chris DeLay, co-founder of Introversion Software and best known for his work on Uplink, Darwinia, Defcon, and Prison Architect. They discuss why they hid the credits screen for Uplink, who Darwinia’s Dr. Sepulveda is based on, and whether you can have too much fun playing Defcon. This episode was recorded on March 22, 2022.

Games discussed: Thundercats, Civilization, Pirates!, Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper, Cannon Fodder, Elite, Chaos, Defcon, Uplink, Darwinia, Geometry Wars, Multiwinia, Subversion, Elite Dangerous, Prison Architect, Invisible Inc, Burgle Bros, Monaco, Gunpoint

May 18, 2022 In this episode, Tom Chick and Bruce Geryk interview Soren and Leyla Johnson about their new historical 4X, Old World. They discuss whether the Old World timeline really makes sense, how they approach Early Access differently, and why Soren didn’t want to give up on the name 10 Crowns.

Games discussed: Old World, Civilization series, FrontierVille, Neptune’s Pride, Crusader Kings series, King of Dragon Pass, XCOM, Empires of the Middle Ages, Alpha Centauri, Seven Cities of Gold, Colonization, Power Grid

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