Soren Johnson

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About Soren Johnson

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    http://designer-notes.com

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    Silver Spring, MD

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  1. Designer Notes 30: Steve Gaynor - Part 2 In this episode, Soren interviews Steve Gaynor, co-founder of The Fullbright Company and best known for his work on BioShock 2, Minerva’s Den, and Gone Home. They discuss whether audio diaries need to make sense, why the Gone Home family is made up of barefoot vampires who hate showers, and why Fullbright made Tacoma. Games discussed: Minerva’s Den, Bioshock Infinite, Gone Home, Tacoma, Sleep No More, Firewatch, Her Story Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  2. In this episode, Soren interviews Steve Gaynor, co-founder of The Fullbright Company and best known for his work on BioShock 2, Minerva’s Den, and Gone Home. They discuss how bad Sierra adventure design could be, why he decided to make video games instead of comics, and about that time he interviewed Ken Levine and Tim Schafer for his zine. Games discussed: Godzilla, Snarfs, Space Quest 4, Police Quest 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Marc Ecko Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate, Bioshock, System Shock 2, S.W.A.T. 4, Half-Life, Bioshock 2 https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/steve-gaynor-part-1
  3. FWIW, I just reconstructed the GDC talk referenced on this podcast from the slides and the audio because it was never actually filmed. Feel free to argue about whether WoW is a game about evolution again!
  4. In this episode, Soren interviews independent game designer George Fan, who is best known as the creator of Insaniquarium and Plants vs Zombies. They discuss why he learned to program instead of just focusing on art, how most Diablo monster design is a variation of kill-me-first, and why Plants vs. Zombies wasn’t Fish vs. Aliens. Games discussed: Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Are You Dumb?, Wrath of the Gopher, Magic: The Gathering, Bomberman, Risky Planet, Insaniquarium, Diablo 3, Plants vs Zombies, Octogeddon https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/george-fan
  5. In this episode, Adam Saltsman interviews independent game developer Lucas Pope, best known for the immigration officer simulation Papers Please. They discuss how Naughty Dog taught him to mercilessly cut features, why it might be a good thing if Obra Dinn is bad, and how Adam has time to do these interviews. Games discussed: Malice, Gearhead Garage, Papers Please, The Republia Times, Return of the Obra Dinn https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/lucas-pope
  6. In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews legendary game designer Sid Meier, best known for designing Pirates!, Railroad Tycoon, and Civilization. They discuss what game Sid wishes he designed, how to determine if a prototype should be turned into a game, and why we need a Zombie civilization. Games discussed: Civilization Revolution, CivWorld, Ace Patrol, Starships, Tetris, SimCity, Seven Cities of Gold https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/sid-meier-part-4
  7. In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews legendary game designer Sid Meier, best known for designing Pirates!, Railroad Tycoon, and Civilization. They discuss why dinosaurs need to have ranged attacks, how deals go down on the SimGolf course, and if Civ games have an ideal length. Games discussed: CPU Bach, Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, Gettysburg, Dinosaurs, SimGolf, Pirates!, Railroads!, Civilization Revolution https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/sid-meier-part-3
  8. In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews legendary game designer Sid Meier, best known for designing Pirates!, Railroad Tycoon, and Civilization. They discuss how Sid’s stealth fighter was more interesting than the real one, whether XCOM violates the Covert Action rule, and when the world was ready for hexes. Games Discussed: Covert Action, Railroad Tycoon, SimCity, F-19 Stealth Fighter, Civilization, Empire https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/sid-meier-part-2
  9. In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews legendary game designer Sid Meier, best known for designing Pirates!, Railroad Tycoon, and Civilization. They discuss using the Ayatollah Khomeini as an enemy, how Strike Eagle differentiated itself from Flight Simulator, and why the torpedo doesn’t go where the player aims it in Silent Service. Games discussed: Pong, Floyd of the Jungle, Strike Eagle, Silent Service, Seven Cities of Gold, Pirates! https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/sid-meier-part-1
  10. In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer Amy Hennig, best known for her work on the Legacy of Kain and Uncharted series. They discuss what elements from film can’t work in games, how many hours she averaged per week working on the Uncharted series, and how to capture great acting performance for video games. Games Discussed: The Uncharted series, The Last of Us https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/amy-hennig-part-2
  11. Designer Notes 21: Amy Hennig - Part 1

    Is there a video of that? I still don't know what she was talking about!
  12. In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer Amy Hennig, best known for her work on the Legacy of Kain and Uncharted series. They discuss what happened in 1977, how to make a platformer about Michael Jordan, and whether women are now being scared away from game development the way she was from the film industry. In true adventure game fashion, we end on a cliffhanger! Games Discussed: ELIZA, Sea Wolf, Combat, Dungeons and Dragons, Zork, Electrocop, Bard’s Tale 4, Desert Strike, Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, the Legacy of Kain series, Jak 3 https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/amy-hennig
  13. Designer Notes 20: Liz Ryerson

    Yeah, they recorded this session before Adam even knew about the podcast. I think it was originally intended for a book, which might be why it's a little different from the normal format.
  14. In this episode, Adam Saltsman interviews independent game developer Liz Ryerson, known for experimental games like Problem Attic. They discuss whether we should ever make players uncomfortable, why horror games have more freedom to try unconventional design, and whether Twitter is a game. Games discussed: the Civilization series, Overland, Problem Attic, Train, Papers Please, PRY https://www.idlethumbs.net/designernotes/episodes/liz-ryerson
  15. Designer Notes 19: Louis Castle

    I feel bad about that too. Part of the problem is that my group of game dev contacts (not to mention the games I am familiar with so that I can ask good questions about) are on the strategy game side... which is not where female game designers tend to end up. Would like to improve the balance, however!