An in-depth game design discussion

A gathering of Phoenix area video game designers trying to better understand their craft and the implications for the future of our medium.

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Episode 5


In general software engineering, patterns are everywhere. They come with a context, gotchas, and best practices. This sort of body of knowledge seems to be missing from game design, but why? Is it that design is a problem that can't be reduced to bite-sized solutions? Should we attempt to be more disciplined in understanding how we go about building our systems? The problems we cover are

  • Players are not intentional with resources
  • Players do not have a sense of progress
  • The game continues after the outcome is determined
  • In a multiplayer game, the winner is denied the satisfaction of the killing blow by the loser surrendering
  • Players do not understand how they failed
  • Players lose interest in the game when they feel they cannot win
  • Gaining skill by trial and error is not fun



Filetype: MP3 - Size: 206.92MB - Duration: 3:46:01 m (128 kbps 44100 Hz)

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What is Zublax? 

We use Zublax to mean: a skill testing contest between two or more players. The terms is a nonsensical word we appropriated from a GDC talk given by Alec Holowka. We needed a term to distinguish between the different kinds of things that are all referred to by the word "game" and Zublax, being a nonsense word was suggested. The name stuck and we jokingly named the podcast "This week in Zublax". We discuss far more than the kinds of games we would call Zublax but we're all pretty silly so it works for us.


My god, it's full of longness! Yes indeed our podcasts tend to be fairly long (2.5 - 3.5 hours). We're mostly just recording our own conversations and we didn't intend to make a podcast initially until it was requested that we record for the benefit of someone who couldn't attend.


Trenton Kennedy Greyoak


David Koontz



Corey Nolan



Kyle Pulver



Ara Sharinian



Steve Swink



Tim Winsky




Logo based on Thinking by Syafiqa Fickle and Video Game Controller by Joe Harrison, GB

Font used is MegaMan X by Patrick Lauke

Music is by RoleMusic