Phaedrus' Street Crew
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About Xeneth

  • Rank
    Designer in Exile
  • Birthday 11/07/1981

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Bay Area, CA
  • Interests
    Design, Psycology, All things gaming


  • Biography
    "Wait, how can someone who's dedicated their life to gaming SUCK at them this much?!"
  • Location
    San Francisco
  • Interests
    All things gaming related, Art, Science Fiction, Design, Sociology, Procrastination
  • Occupation
    Game Designer
  • Favorite Games
    Chrono Trigger, Half Life Series, Shadow of the Colossus, League of Legends, Zelda: Link Between Worlds, Doki Doki Panic, Smash Bros., Panel De Pon, Okami, Lumines, SSX 3, Startropics, Spelunky
  1. [RELEASE] The Hypersonic Effect

    So so glad to check in and see that the tradition of making the raddest menus and UI with little to no regard for gameplay continues! If you ever start a jam like I would, (with a boring core design doc) I will alert the authorities that the real 051 has been kidnapped or is being forced to jam against his will somehow.
  2. (I'll just copy-drop this where folks will see it, in case it doesn't get read as a mail, from me, a reader...) I'm lurking around the amazing stuff coming out of Wizard Jam 4, and thought I'd share a story that highlights how this community isn't just making cool shit, but inspiring development. I got laid off after working as a Systems Designer for five years at a medium sized company, and was struggling to re-enter the industry for months. It was a real low point for me, and I was starting to entertain depressing thoughts about a professional life without the games I love. Enter Wizard Jam 3! The little burst of schedule, structure, and encouragement reminded me of why I do this, and how important other people are to the process. The simple personality test I made came together because it was designed to amuse you guys, not to satisfy myself. I really needed that reminder that we make games to share them, not to prove we're hireable. The reason I'm not jamming right now is that I'm busy working alongside a team at our new startup, and if it wasn't for Wizard Jam, I might have taken a different job and missed out on doing what I wanted ever since 8 year old me played Super Mario Bros. for the first time. So, jam on you crazy wizards, and I can't wait to see this year's stream and play the games... (just as soon as this demo is locked!)
  3. Rob's reaction to my mail about Yowamushi Pedal was priceless, ha ha ha! I am indeed just just some actual reader that gets dragged into Anime sidequests by his SO. I guess at some point R&D's only exposure to the series was somehow seeing a shot of "Peak Spider" Makishima's initial character introduction? His "demonic" appearance (including Gene Simmons-esque tongue) is played up initially for impact against the mousy and reserved main character, but it's really not a prominent factor past that; They very quickly humanize him and make it clear that he's a good dood despite his wild look and stand-offish attitude, so it actually took me a while to remember what part of the show Rob and Danielle were even talking about. If you like cycling as a sport though, seriously check Yowamushi Pedal out! It's very grounded compared to a lot of sports anime, (like Haikyuu is to Volleyball) and while many aspects are played up or exaggerated for the sake of character drama, there's some real world mechanics buried in there that make the story more relatable than if... I dunno, their bikes unfolded and fused with the riders, transforming them into combat robots or whatever? A lot of Anime is very "forest for the trees" when it comes to the way things work and why, which I'm happy to report isn't the case with some series!
  4. The SlyBoots game was a delightful little change of pace, genius use of hidden information, Chris! Getting really excited for The Legend of FarCry: Breadth of the Wild Hunt, and your discussion might inspire some reader mail later today. I may wind up on Zelda media blackout from here on out, I've certainly seen everything I need to be hype incarnate; the only remaining question is if I'll be playing it on the NX or not given it's confirmed as a launch title. The Wizard Jam stream was so choice, and I really hope you guys manage to get to the remaining games, (and maybe some of the past jam games too if there's time) we really need to see you tackle Rolling With the Pope and multiple dung beetle entries!
  5. Idle Thumbs Streams

    It was surreal and exciting to see you guys play my little personality test thing on the stream... Those were some gratifying reactions; Turns out all my worrying about the dystopian tone being a downer was nonsense! Sorry about the itch.io player feeding you black text on a black background, gonna try to download their client and see what can be done about that... You certainly took it in stride, and it was super interesting from a writing and design standpoint how the first 5 invisible questions or so actually "read" decently via answer inference. Also, some of the kindest words in there about it being a believable or well realized little slice of a weird future; For what it's worth, if you guys ever find yourselves working on a dystopian experience and need a systems/content/narrative designer I will happily drop everything and report for duty!
  6. DOOM

    Also caved, the buzz and chatter has been overwhelming! Was totally prepared to trigger a Steam refund since my computer is getting long in the tooth, but by god it scales magnificently... I'm just above min spec and it's still managing to look gorgeous with the settings turned down a hair. Really liking just about everything about the campaign so far, but it's triggering the heck out of my collectivitis; Spending way more time combing for secrets than killing demons, heh.
  7. This was just so pure and a joy to control! Random brain dumps: I missed that you can hit the title screen, argh! Might have to go back and try that later... Art and sound seem cohesive, would never have guessed any of it was adapted after the fact. Dealing with the goats, discovered the trick of changing the angle of spectral blade mid slash for more area coverage; Love little control mastery details like this! High impact death effects combined with generous checkpointing: Yes, please!
  8. [RELEASE] Nasty/Good/Badass

    [Epilogue] Time to wrap this thread up once and for all! This Wizard Jam has been a great experience and I look forward to playing all the other entries- Thanks for being rad, Idle Thumbs community! Nasty/Good/Badass Trivia: There are a total of 20 questions, (that number serendipitously arose from the structure) but the player only ever answers 14 of them in any one session. Three of the questions branch after the next scripted one, serving up one of three variations depending on the previous answer. The very first question about the three J.B. secret agents is a reference to the dialogue option design philosophy in Alpha Protocol, and the discussion that originally spawned the episode title. Reaction phrases like "Interesting choices so far." are purely randomized, but hold to the overarching 'three variations' theme. The questions about caring for pets are very lightly foreshadowing the Cloud AIs taking care of human interests. In the fiction, Janica Remo is Chris Remo's great great great(etc.) granddaughter, and her quote is actually from a Gamasutra article he wrote about games aping film, with some changes to make it about VR aping games. A surprising amount of the data sorting technobabble near the end is culled from actual technical terms. Originally, the "voice" of the CrecheMaster AI and the player were stylistically too similar, so at one point during development I broke up all the contractions and rewrote the questions to sound more formal and robotic, and tweaked a lot of the answers to make the player AI sound more human... Ideally this obfuscated the nature of the test for a bit longer, but hopefully in hindsight conveys a sense that the new developing intelligences are more advanced than the ones raising them. And finally... There are three "standard" endings for when one of your scores is higher than the others, and three "extra" endings for when two of your scores are tied for first. It's not numerically possible for all three scores to be the same.This last piece of trivia ties into a little epiphany I had... The original design called for three of EVERYTHING, including endings. When I realized it would not be possible to elegantly rig it so that one category would always win, I came up with a few solutions, like making some questions worth more than others, fudging the math to avoid ties. This seemed too arbitrary. (It's elegant and fair to have every question be worth the same amount.) A solution I almost implemented gave me chills when I realized the implications: In the event of a tie, ask one of three "tiebreaker" questions to arrive at one of the three endings... After some thought, not only did I deem this solution to be unsatisfying, it reeked of a problem that I'm seeing a lot of in the industry: Attempting to solve design problems with more content. This microcosm of the problem pales in comparison to the AAA versions of it, but think of the questions in Nasty/Good/Badass as the levels or challenges in a more complex game, and the endings as rewards or outcomes. This was a problem fundamentally about the rewards, so why was I considering tacking on more challenges? I was reminded of copied and pasted quests to pad out the length of a game that's deemed too short, or tons of roughly equivalent options masking a lack of depth behind tacked on complexity. Some napkin math revealed that all questions being equal, there would numerically be 6 possible outcomes. The more I compared my tiny game to something larger, the clearer it became that the correct answer was to add three possible endings instead of extra questions, and hey; Six is still a multiple of three. In the end I learned a LOT about myself and game development from making this thing, even if it's a modest offering and I'm not 100% satisfied with the results. If you actually made it through this crazy verbose devlog, consider checking out some of the other threads in this subforum; There's so many amazing in progress .gifs and design insights... and thanks for reading!
  9. [RELEASE] Nasty/Good/Badass

    [Release] https://xeneth.itch.io/nastygoodbadass It's done! (Well, I'm sure someone will find a typo and cause me to obsessively update the file again, but yeah...) Earlier in the thread I talked a bit about how it felt like the tone of the game "got away from me" at some point during the creation process, and I figure this would be a good point to expand on that a bit. Spoiler time: If you haven't played it yet go do that, it's really short! So the seed of the idea listed in the first post of the thread really was all I had at the time. This whole 'paint a picture of a dystopian future indirectly' thing just sort of happened as I thought about the kind of questions and answers that interested me. The darker and weirder it got, the more "metagoals" took a back seat to my personal goals, I suppose. Metagoals: Have Fun, Entertain Thumbs, Seem Cool Personal Goals: Finish Something, Build Self-Confidence, Tell a Story The story came from a conversation about how much STUFF there is to see and experience on the internet, more than anyone has time or awareness to intelligently digest or catalogue. It's frustrating to focus your interest to something like gaming the way I do and have that not make a dent given how much great stuff there is to play. It occurred to me that this will only become more pronounced in the future, and thought about the kind of browser or search engine that could help you navigate what's bound to be an absolute labyrinth of STUFF. Initially the new concept centered around the idea that you were training an AI about yourself so that it could help you, but somewhere along the way it got all twisted up into the player themself being an intelligence residing in various distributed networks. Lots of random details about the world that emerged from this project are still kicking around in my head, so it's possible that I'll return to it at some later date, hopefully in a less restrictive format than a silly quiz with only three answers to each question, heh. It wasn't until that I realized that things had stopped conceptually being very funny or entertaining, but hopefully those qualities were sufficiently supplanted by stuff that's thoughtful or interesting.
  10. Other podcasts

    I'm super late to the party and still catching up on Friends at the Table. Something like S2ep20 now I think. My impression thus far is that Austin is such an amazing GM that he sort of makes the players look weak at times. Not that I think I could play it any better, I'm a complete tabletop newb! His world building and hard choices are so strong that it just overpowers them regularly it feels like. It was recommended that I start with COUNTER/Weight instead of listening to the very beginning, and I suppose that suits me because I strongly prefer sci-fi to fantasy settings when both are on offer, but I'm just curious about what I'm missing... They occasionally make comparisons to situations that happened in the last campaign, and I'm always tempted to double back, but it sounds like it ended sort of disappointingly so maybe I should just continue to face forward.
  11. [RELEASE] I'm Blown Away

    Tools engineering is a super important thing that almost always gets relegated to being a thing you throw junior programmers at in the industry, and as a designer this can be incredibly frustrating when your implementation efficiency, (and thus your burn rate) are directly tied to something that's hacked together or poorly maintained. Having warm satisfying feelings about getting an editor working isn't absurd at all in my world!
  12. [RELEASE] LPBs and HPBs

    This is looking awesome! Will the mouse on the table move when your mouse in the game moves? ...Now that I think about that, it would be really hard to design a system where it animates as being picked up and put back down to cover the infinite spin case you can and do use when playing a first person game. And then it might trigger weird hand disconnect feelings when those can't reasonably line up.
  13. I feel like that first, non-Nick sprite could be me with the correct amount of squint on.
  14. [Release] Punch Wizard

    Dunch Wizard! Ha ha ha (still not making fun of the P/D thing, just still laughing about that convo in Slack, days later)
  15. [RELEASE] Mad Skills

    Hooray for finishing before deadlines! I have no idea if my SO will have any interest in trying this out with me, but I'll certainly ask at some point.