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 58: Rob Daviau - Part 2 In this episode, Soren interviews board game designer Rob Daviau, best known for his work on Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy. They discuss the criteria for a good Legacy game, how to put just a little PvP in a game without overdoing it, and why he removed his phone number from his website. Games discussed: Risk: Legacy, Pandemic: Legacy, XCOM 2, Seafall, Conspiracy, Stop Thief Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  2. Designer Notes 57: Rob Daviau - Part 1 In this episode, Soren interviews board game designer Rob Daviau, best known for his work on Risk: Legacy and Pandemic: Legacy. They discuss bluffing his way through his first game job interview, how he designed Betrayal at House on the Hill without either starting or finishing it, and why Risk Legacy bombed in Germany. Games discussed: Candy Land, Impossible Mission, Dungeons and Dragons, Trivial Pursuit, Scruples, Atlantis: Pathways to the Deep, Mountains of Madness, Pandemic: Legacy, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Risk 2210, Risk: Black Ops, Risk: Legacy Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  3. Designer Notes 56: David Dunham In this episode, Soren interviews independent game designer David Dunham, best known for his work on the narrative strategy games King of Dragon Pass and Six Ages. They are joined by writer and designer Meg Jayanth, best known for her work on 80 Days. The three discuss whether the advisors in Dragon Pass lie to the player, what Six Ages and 80 Days have in common, and whether the anthropomorphic ducks are ducks with human-level intelligence or humans who have been turned into ducks. Games Discussed: King of Dragon Pass, Pendragon, Fallen London, 80 Days, Six Ages, Sunless Sea, Castles, Hearthstone, Battle of the Bulge, Really Bad Chess, Drive on Moscow Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  4. Designer Notes 55: Meg Jayanth In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Meg Jayanth, the writer on 80 Days. They discuss how fan fiction is similar to modding, if 80 Days is a criticism of the Bioware companion system, and why it’s important to do your work. Games discussed: SimTower, Grand Theft Auto, Savoir-Faire, All Roads, Choice Of Games, Samsara, 80 Days, Sunless Seas, Sunless Skies, Horizon Zero Dawn Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  5. Designer Notes 54: Jon Ingold - Part 2 In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Jon Ingold, who co-founded inkle and is best known for his work in interactive fiction, including All Roads, 80 Days, and the Sorcery! series. They discuss how to get the player to trust the designer, why pursuing fairness can take away what is special about a game, and whether packing should be done in real-time. Games discussed: Creature of Havoc, The Sorcery! series, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, 80 Days, Heaven’s Vault, The Last Express Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  6. Designer Notes 53: Jon Ingold - Part 1 In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Jon Ingold, who co-founded inkle and is best known for his work in interactive fiction, including All Roads, 80 Days, and the Sorcery! series. They discuss why Plundered Hearts is his favorite Infocom game, how being a maths teacher is like being a level designer, and when he realized that parsers were a commercial dead-end. Games discussed: Psi-5 Trading Company, Rogue, Out There, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Deadline, The Witness, Plundered Hearts, Starcross, Blade Runner, Curses!, The Mulldoon Legacy, All Roads, Make It Good, Heavy Rain, Frankenstein, the Sorcery! series Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  7. Designer Notes 52: Roger Keating In this episode, Bruce Geryk interviews veteran game developer Roger Keating, co-founder of Strategic Studies Group (SSG). Roger is best known for his work on the Warlord series as well as many digital wargames. They discuss what it was like to do pathfinding before A*, how SSG worked from home before it was cool, and how to determine who is a game designer. Games discussed: Conflict, Operation Apocalypse, Reach for the Stars, Carriers at War, Europe Ablaze, Gold of the Americas, the Warlords series, Ardennes Offensive Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  8. Designer Notes 51: Michał Drozdowski and Przemysław Marszał In this episode, Soren and Leyla Johnson interview Creative Director Michał Drozdowski and Art Director Przemysław Marszał of 11 Bit Studios, best known for their work on This War Of Mine and Frostpunk. They discuss why This War of Mine does not judge the player and why Frostpunk does. Games discussed: Anomaly, Anomaly: Korea, Anomaly 2, Funky Smugglers, Sleepwalker’s Journey, This War of Mine, Frostpunk Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  9. Designer Notes 50: Designer Notes 50: Alex Hutchinson In this episode, Soren interviews game designer Alex Hutchinson, Creative Director at Typhoon Studios and best known for his work on Spore, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Far Cry 4. They discuss how they both would have screwed up SimCity, how working at Ubisoft is like Brewster’s Millions, and what happened with Spore. Games discussed: Pepper 2, Sensible Soccer, SimCity, The Urbz, The Sims 2, Spore, Army of Two: The 40th Day, Assassin’s Creed 3, Far Cry 4, Journey to the Savage Planet Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  10. Designer Notes 49: Adam Saltsman - Part 2 In this episode, Soren interviews game developer Adam Saltsman, who co-founded indie publisher Finji and is best known for his work on Gravity Hook, Canabalt, Hundreds, Capsule, and Overland. They discuss how Mario speed runs are the original infinite runners, why Canabalt is in 6 shades of grey, and when does Permadeath make sense for a game Games discussed: Canabalt, Captain Forever, Jetpack Joyride, Alone, Hundreds, Portico, Overland, 868-HACK, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 Games discussed: Canabalt, Captain Forever, Jetpack Joyride, Alone, Hundreds, Portico, Overland, 868-HACK, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  11. Designer Notes 48: Adam Saltsman - Part 1 In this episode, Soren interviews game developer Adam Saltsman, who co-founded indie publisher Finji and is best known for his work on Gravity Hook, Canabalt, Hundreds, Capsule, and Overland. They discuss how Cave Story showed him that he could make games on his own, why he thought he worked with the guy who invented Boggle, and his many failed attempts to join the video games industry. Games discussed: Super Mario Bros. 2, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Cave Story, Tower Blocks, Boggle, Gravity Hook, ThrustBurst Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  12. Designer Notes 47: Brendon Chung - Part 2 In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Brendon Chung, best known for his work on Atom Zombie Smasher, Thirty Flights of Loving, and Quadrilateral Cowboy. They discuss why Xbox Live Indie Games didn’t take off, what exactly happens at the end of Atom Zombie Smasher, and how streaming game development made him work harder than ever before. Games discussed: Flotilla, Air Forte, Atom Zombie Smasher, XCOM, Thirty Flights of Loving, Quadrilateral Cowboy, Cursor 10 Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  13. Designer Notes 46: Brendon Chung - Part 1 In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Brendon Chung, best known for his work on Atom Zombie Smasher, Thirty Flights of Loving, and Quadrilateral Cowboy. They discuss how to make an adventure game inside of Doom, why he won’t read text popups but will read the back of cereal boxes, and what does the ending of Gravity Bone mean. Games discussed: Sierra Adventure Games, Doom, XCOM, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Planescape: Torment, Hexen 2, Strife, Thief, Company of Heroes, Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers, The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, Gravity Bone Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  14. Designer Notes 45: Rami Ismail In this episode, Soren and Leyla Johnson interview independent game developer Rami Ismail of Vlambeer, best known for his work on Super Crate Box, Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers, and Nuclear Throne. They discuss why he started a company with someone he couldn’t stand, how to make games in a place without electricity, and why the world “inclusivity” can still be exclusionary. Games discussed: StarCraft, Urban Assault, Final Fantasy XV, Nier: Automata, Star Wraith, Evochron, Super Crate Box, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers, Nuclear Throne Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  15. Designer Notes 44: Clint Hocking - Part 2 In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer Clint Hocking, who started his career working on the original Splinter Cell and was also the Creative Director of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Far Cry 2. They discuss why games always need three months at the end, how he feels about his crunch on Chaos Theory, and how they choose Africa for Far Cry 2. Games discussed: Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, Far Cry 2 Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes