188 episodes

The podcast where nice gamedevs talk gaming and game development. Nice!

Nice Games Club - a gamedev podcast‪!‬ Ellen, Stephen, and Mark

    • Video Games
    • 4.8 • 28 Ratings

The podcast where nice gamedevs talk gaming and game development. Nice!

    "Empty the bucket." Burnout; Asynchronous and Asymmetric Gameplay [Nice Replay]

    "Empty the bucket." Burnout; Asynchronous and Asymmetric Gameplay [Nice Replay]


    "Empty the bucket."



    Your nice hosts are tired, then get energized. Stephen is thinking about it, Mark brought a few unlikely examples, and Ellen is also thinking about it.

    Here's a fun new thing: We've recently started a Discord channel for listeners to discuss the show with each other. It's part of the Twin Cities Gamedev Discord server, but you don't need to be a Twin Cities gamedev to partisipate! Get directly to the Nice Games Club discussion channel via https://nicegames.club/discord



    Stephen McGregor


    Burn-out, an "occupational phenomenon" - World Health Organization

    Teacher Burnout: What It Is, Why It Happens, and How You Can Prevent End-Of-Yea… - Waterford

    Toxic management cost an award-winning game studio its best developers - Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge

    Asynchronous and Asymmetric Gameplay


    Mark LaCroix

    Game Design

    Asynchronous Multiplay: Futures for Casual Multiplayer Experience - Ian Bogost, Georgia Institute of Technology

    Relaxed Hardcore: Why Asynchronous is the Next Big Thing in Core Gaming - Ian Hardingham, GDC Vault

    Why an Asymmetric Board Game Pissed Off Me and My Friends - Kyle Rogacion, Goomba Stomp

    Are Asymmetrical Multiplayer Games Becoming a Major Trend? - Micah Shapiro, GameRant

    "Stephen, his arms wide!" Redundancy; Arcades [Nice Replay]

    "Stephen, his arms wide!" Redundancy; Arcades [Nice Replay]


    "Stephen, his arms wide!"



    Ellen Burns-Johnson joins us once again in the virtual club house to discuss Redundancy and Arcades! Ellen teaches us about how we learn, Mark balances the game, Martha only plays the best character, and Stephen has a revelation.

    Photo Credit: Michelle Bruch, from this Southwest Journal Article about the Donutron



    Mark LaCroix

    Game Design
    UI / UX

    The Forgetting Curve hypothesis by Hermann Ebbinghous - Wikipedia

    The Distributed Practice learning strategy - Wikipedia



    Stephen McGregor


    Why You Can't Call It a "Barcade" - Brenna Houck, Eater

    Dino Dash -  Abdel Shahied, YouTube

    The 'Donutron' Arcade at Glam Doll Donuts in Minneapolis

    Gamedev in the Philippines (with Ryan Sumo) [Nice Replay]

    Gamedev in the Philippines (with Ryan Sumo) [Nice Replay]


    Gamedev in the Philippines



    Your nice hosts interview Ryan Sumo, Art Director and CEO of Squeaky Wheel Studio, an independent developer and publisher based in the Philippines. Topics include community building, conferences, becoming a publisher through serendipity, and the benefits of being transparent with your development practices. Plus jokes!

    Gamedev in the Philippines


    The Top 50 mobile games of 2006 - Stuart Dredge, Pocket Gamer

    Spacechem - Steam

    GDAP (Game Developers Association of the Philippines)

    IGDA Philippines Manila

    ESGS conference on Instagram

    Bit Summit conference (Japan)

    Level Up conference (Kuala Lumpur)

    Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder  - Steam

    Ryan's posts on Gamasutra - Ryan Sumo, Gamasutra

    Ryan Sumo


    Ryan Sumo co-founded the studio Squeaky Wheel. Visit their site at http://www.squeakywheel.ph/ and follow them on social media (links below). Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryansumo and check out Squeaky Wheel's upcoming game Academia: School Simulator. Squeaky Wheel is also getting into publishing with the title Ruinarch, an "evil overlord" game by developer Maccima.

    External link

    Squeaky Wheel on Twitter
    Squeaky Wheel on Facebook
    Squeaky Wheel on LinkedIn
    Squeaky Wheel on YouTube

    Nice Games Jam: "Dark Star" [Nice Replay]

    Nice Games Jam: "Dark Star" [Nice Replay]


    Dark Star

    Nice Games Jam


    No, your nice hosts aren't pitching an adaptation of the 1974 film of the same name, but returning guest host Sarah Seember Huisken counts it as an inspiration for the solo-play tabletop RPG we workshopped in this episode. Immerse yourself a galaxy of corporate factions, fluid allegiances, and space pirates!

    Scum and Villainy

    The 5 best solo board games - Rafael Cordero, PC Gamer

    Workshop existing solo-play TTRPG concept.

    Game type
    Tabletop game

    Player count
    1 -?


    Player dossier (player character/ship sheet, notes)

    Dice (how many? which type? we didn't figure that out!)

    Module booklet (includes blank pages for journaling/recordkeeping)

    Sarah's draft ship systems sheet:

    Each adventure module is an "assignment," which consists of a multi-page booklet.

    Page 1 - Summary: Provides the “goal” for the player as defined by “quest-giver.”

    Page 2 - Assignment parameters:

    Player reward (and possible advance payment)
    Assignment type (Cargo, Escort, Espionage, Assassination, etc.)
    Constraints (time budget, stealth requirement, equipment restrictions, etc)
    Supplies (mission-specific resources such as maps, documentation, etc)
    Risks and Opportunities: These are facts about the assignment's setting and characters that will impact the player differently depending on their alignment, ship condition, and other stats.


    Pages 3+ - Story Acts

    Generally, each act should fit on one booklet page, providing all the narrative and mechanical information required to play though it. Acts may have alternate versions, each with its own page.
    Act I: A introduction/setup to the story, giving the player hints they can use to make preparations for the assignment. The player can spend actions in this act to tune their ship / Equip thier character / recruit NPC pals/crew, etc. Story events may include NPC conversations, skill checks, or other light gameplay. This act may be wholly different depending on which "class" the player is aligned with.
    Act II: A conflict or mechanical gameplay sequence, usually related to ship functions. Examples include ship battles, navigational challenges, serious malfunctions, etc.

    The outcome of the sequence changes the narrative ending of this act, expanding or limiting the player's options. The outcome of this act will also frequently alter ship stats, player inventory, etc.

    Act IIIa, Act IIIb (c, d?): The player character must make a choice in the narrative, which determines which scene will end the story. The outcome of Act II may inform or limit this choice. Each scene plays differently, one might be a daring escape, while the other might be a diplomatic resolution.


    Final Page - "To Be Continued In...": A list of other modules/assignments for the player to choose from in order to continue their character's story. Options may be limited depending on the version of Act III selected, the player's stats, Act II outcomes, class alignment, or other factors.

    Example Assignment: “The Asset”

    Summary: Email from corporation: “Take this large crate from planet Kittytail to planet Puppydog in time for the big corporate gala. Don't be late, and don't look in the crate!"


    Reward: Standard rate, no advance!

    Mental Health (with Alanna Linayre) [Nice Replay]

    Mental Health (with Alanna Linayre) [Nice Replay]


    Mental Health



    Your nice hosts are joined by nice guest Alanna Linayre, founder of the indie studio Team Toadhouse. Alanna (rhymes with "banana") guides the gaming world towards healthier work practices and personal habits. We asked her a lot of questions about best practices in mental health, and about Team Toadhouse's upcoming game Call Me Cera.

    Also, Mark has a mission for artists, Ellen names a canary, and Stephen learns about "hustle culture."

    Mental Health


    Alanna’s guidelines on depicting mental illness in games:

    Ask yourself why you’re putting mental health issues in your game.
    Make sure to have correct definitions, and not promote stigmas.
    Try not to use triggering content for the audience you’re serving.
    Avoid harmful tropes.

    Mental Illness: The Bio-Psycho-Social Spheres of Influence - Allan Schwartz, MentalHelp.Net

    I’m a “Spoonie.” Here’s What I Wish More People Knew About Chronic Illness - Kirsten Schultz, Healthline

    Stoicism - Wikiwand

    Radio calisthenics - Wikiwand

    Daylio mood tracker and micro-diary

    You can get an hourglass similar to Alanna's

    Alanna Linayre


    Alanna (she/her) is very passionate about self care, healthy mental habits, and video games. She's a public speaker on healthy mental habits and discusses her experiences with PTSD, anxiety, and bipolar disorder in an effort to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Alanna focuses on sustainable practices to avoid crunch and encourages a healthy attitude about mistakes being a necessary and unavoidable part of improving.

    External link

    Alanna's "Cozy Streams" on Twitch
    Team Toadhouse Discord server
    All the places Team Toadhouse hangs out online!

    Nice Games Jam: "Anarchitects!" [Nice Replay]

    Nice Games Jam: "Anarchitects!" [Nice Replay]



    Nice Games Jam


    Two architects of wildly different philosophies share an office space and compete to influence the design of their client's latest project. It's an excellent sitcom premise, but it's also the subject of our latest Nice Games Jam!

    Photo Credit: Ian Samkov on Pexels


    Itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality ends with a stunning $8.1m raise… - Wesley Yin-Poole, Eurogamer

    For a major Star Trek fan like Mark, this episode is a rather special, if unusual, milestone. When Star Trek: The Next Generation's episode count surpassed the original Star Trek in its 80th episode, it paid homage by including a subtle reference to the 79th (and final) episode of that series. As Star Trek: The Next Generation itself ran for 178 episodes, it felt fitting to make reference to that bit of TV trivia in this episode, our 179th.

    MURAL - Online Collaboration

    List of architectural styles - Wikipedia

    Black Lives Matter

    Black Game Developers directory

    The #drawingwhileblack directory - Abelle Hayford

    Justice for Breonna Taylor - gofundme

    "Make a 2D fighter with no combat."

    Game type
    Design document

    Player count


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

reversegremlin ,


This podcast is pure joy. Great conversations about nice games. Well produced, and omg the ant JRPG episode is amazing.

Val LeMark ,

Encouraging and Friendly

The three hosts are very knowledgeable, and will address many different insteresting topics in videogame development. Their guests are wonderfully knowledgeable.

This podcasts contains the advice and encouragement you just might need as a new or experienced game dev. Sometimes they even talk about their favorite videogames!

SuperJumpTMR ,

Swell People, Nice Games!

Recently found this podcast and it's amazing! I've been digging back through previous episodes and the subjects they touch on are very informative, insightful, and really helpful and the hosts are all super swell and enjoyable to listen to! This podcast has been fantastic overall, I find it all educational and I really enjoy the debates as well. I'm excited for new episodes! :D

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