189 episodes

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

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

    • Video Games

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

    Building Blocks of Design (with Osama Dorias)

    Building Blocks of Design (with Osama Dorias)

    It's back to basics this week as we welcome Osama Dorias, lead game designer on the upcoming Gotham Knights at WB Games Montréal, to talk about his multi-year journey of making games with his kids, and what it taught him about his craft. It might be our cutest episode yet!

    Osama, along with Fawzi Mesmar, and Rami Ismail, recently launched their own very nice gamedev podcast, The Habibis!

    Building Blocks of Design

    Game Design

    The Game Crafter

    A selection of cards from "Ali and Mimi's Card Game"

    Osama's son trying to look professional while presenting "City Game I Love This."

    Osama's daughter beaming with pride at her creation, "05Q7654321 0."

    Osama's kids' first video game.

    Osama Dorias


    Osama works at WB Games Montréal, where he is the lead game designer on Gotham Knights. He is a co-founder of the Montreal Independent Game Awards, a professor at Dawson College, and a co-host of The Habibis podcast.

    He loves hugs and poutine.

    External link

    Osama on Twitter
    Gotham Knights
    Montreal Independent Game Awards
    The Habibis

    Nice Games Jam: "Glom"

    Nice Games Jam: "Glom"

    This week your nice hosts have a rowdy game jam. Dale gave us a prompt: Create a matching game with a puzzle element. The puzzle must be "what matches first" and bonus points if there's cats.

    The goal of every Nice Games Jam is for the team to come up with a playable game by the end of the episode. Did Stephen, Mark, and Ellen make it happen, or did they end up with a pile of nonsense? Well, maybe a bit of both.

    The "dot game" that Ellen referenced is called Dots & Boxes - Wikipedia

    A three-sided die similar to the one that Eric, Ellen's partner, owns.

    Here's a place you can buy your own three-sided die - Nvenom8 Designs on ShapeWays Marketplace

    Game type
    Tabletop game

    Player count


    Paper, pencil or pen

    Each player should have:

    Paper (or someplace to compose sentences)
    Something to write with (typing on a screen is fine)
    Some way of indicating points passed to other players (chips, coins, etc.) -- in the rules below, these will be referred to as "chips"

    The game requires three decks. As of this airing, each deck has three cards:

    Prompts deck

    "Nice to meet you."
    "Where is the bathroom?"
    "Can I pet your cat?"

    Constraints deck

    No letter Es (this is incredibly difficult)
    Exactly 4 words
    Only single-syllable words

    Scoring deck

    Most words
    Most letters
    Longest word in the sentence

    The goal of the game is to acquire the most points out of all the players.

    Players acquire points by writing sentences that adhere to the Prompt, Constraint, and Scoring card drawn for each round.


    Shuffle all three decks.
    Distribute chips evenly amongst all players.

    Starting a Round

    Draw a single card from each deck. Place all three face-down on the table.
    Set the timer for the desired duration: 1 minute, 2 minutes (default) or 3 minutes.
    Flip all three cards face-up and start the timer.
    All players then attempt to compose a sentence that meets the criteria of all three cards (Prompt, Constraint, and Scoring) within the time limit.

    Share Your Sentences

    Each player speaks their sentence aloud. (If you're playing online, you can also enter your sentence into the text chat.) The sequence in which players share their sentences doesn't matter—just be nice about it.

    Round Scoring

    Players can’t use any of the words in the phrase on the Prompt card. There’s a penalty (-1 point) for each word used. Exception: You can use the same spelling of a word if it’s another type of word (noun vs. verb)

    Alternate rule for extra challenge and silliness: Remove the exception to the above rule.

    The player whose sentence meets the conditions on that round's Scoring card wins 3 points.
    Players pass one of their chips to the person who had, in the player's opinion, the coolest sentence. This is a subjective judgment and has nothing to do with the rules.

    Each chip received counts as 1 point for the receiving player.


    During Round Scoring, any player can raise an argument about how the rules apply to another player's sentence. If you bring an argument, you have to propose a resolution, and people will vote on the proposal. (For example, you can propose a change to someone's point total that round, or suggest a change to a person's sentence to bring it within the rules.) If the vote passes, the solution goes through.

    Continue Play and End the Game

    For each subsequent round of play, draw a new set of cards. Play and score according to the above rules.

    The game ends when all Prompt cards have been used. Shuffle C

    "Go pound a Monster." Your Internal Battery; Finding Your Artistic Voice

    "Go pound a Monster." Your Internal Battery; Finding Your Artistic Voice

    This week, your nice hosts look within themselves. Mark is afraid of falling off the tree, Stephen does the teeter-tottering he has to do, and Ellen doesn't struggle with this.

    Markey, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Make Daylight Saving Time Per…

    Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery

    Animal Restaurant

    Learn Lua in 15 Minutes - Tyler Neylon

    Hungarian Notation

    Your Internal Battery


    Ellen Burns-Johnson


    Gamer Motivation Profile

    Your nice hosts talked about thier Gamer Motiviation Profiles in:

    "Will you be the best with me?"

    Evil Games Club also tackled thier Gamer Motivations Profiles in thier first outing:

    Evil Games Club!

    5 Signs That You May Be an Ambivert - Rena Goldman, Healthline

    Nemesis Jam - CannibalInteractive, itch.io

    Finding Your Artistic Voice


    Stephen McGregor

    Game Design

    "All of this mess that I'm throwing at you." Fonts; Jank

    "All of this mess that I'm throwing at you." Fonts; Jank

    A regular nice roundtable! In the first part this week's episode, Mark leads an examination of how fonts can support gameplay, worldbuilding, and immersion. In the second half, Stephen makes us think—really think—about the benefits of "janky" gameplay. Mark shares some font history facts, Stephen starts his manifesto, and Ellen takes on the case.

    Mark's new keyboard

    Chel Wong's charity album

    Press Reset (new gamedev book) - Jason Schreier

    Where to Start with Vlad Taltos (the book series that Ellen mentioned) - Stephen Brust, Tor Books



    Mark LaCroix


    History and Evolution of Typography - Konstantin Kirilov; Nikolay Petroussenko, Font Fabric

    The history of fonts - Prepressure

    Popular Standards - International Organization for Standardization

    Mini Metro


    Night in the Woods

    VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action



    Stephen McGregor

    Game Design

    Balan Wonderworld is a strange game of furry musicality - Michael McWhertor, Polygon

    Balan Wonderland gameplay video  - Kinda Funny Gamescast, YouTube

    Bullet Witch on Steam

    Goat Simulator

    Human Fall Flat on Steam

    L.O.V.E.R.S in a Dangerous Spacetime



    "It’s March tomorrow."

    "It’s March tomorrow."

    After a slightly longer than usual hiatus, your nice hosts (along with your nice guest host Dale LaCroix) return to the virtual clubhouse for the first new episode of 2021 to talk about what we did on our winter break!

    PLUS: Mark is a tax robot, Stephen hopes he’s not fired, and Ellen loves being right.

    Closed Hands, the interactive fiction game (directed by Dan Hett) that Mark worked on over the last few months, was released this week!

    Clsoed Hands at Twin Cities Playtest (January 2021)

    Show Your Work! - Austin Kleon

    Working Out Loud - Seth Godin

    What We Did On Our Winter Break (2021)

    Mark LaCroix
    Stephen McGregor
    Dale LaCroix
    Ellen Burns-Johnson

    Game Design

    If you missed it, last week we re-ran our Roboston episodes:

    Roboston! (parts 1 and 2)

    Roboston: Game Rules

    Roboston: Development Session Notes

    Your nice hosts' hiatus "Working Agreement"

    We brought Roboston to Twin Cities Playtest in January...

    ...and again in February.

    Nice Games Jam: "Roboston! (Live at 2D Con 2020)" [Nice Replay]

    Nice Games Jam: "Roboston! (Live at 2D Con 2020)" [Nice Replay]

    This Nice Replay is a two-parter!

    Part one:

    Roboston! (Live at 2D Con 2020)

    Part two:

    Roboston! (part 2)


    Roboston! (Live at 2D Con 2020)

    Nice Games Jam


    Your nice hosts recorded a live Nice Games Jam episode at 2D Con 2020! You can listen to the edited audio of the recording here!

    You can find the video of the live recording right here!

    Create a game where you are working together to construct a robot, but each player has a secret task they are trying to get the robot to complete along the way.

    Game type
    Tabletop game

    Player count


    1 Deck of Robot Parts

    1 Deck of Player Roles

    1 Deck of Objectives

    1 Die

    Deal out an even number of Robot Parts to each player, and one Player Role. Then draw the first card in the Objectives deck for the team's objective.


    Each player has a Player Role, this is their victory condition.

    Example roles:

    Warmonger: have more offensive value than any other value AND complete the objective
    Scientist: have more intelligence value than any other value AND complete the objective
    Saboteur: cause robot to fail the objective

    On each turn, each player places a Robot Part of any type face down.

    There are limits to how many of each type of Robot Part will fit on a robot (in the episode we went with one body part, one processor and four limbs)

    Each part is simultaneously revealed once everyone has chosen their card. If each part can be placed with no conflict, start the next turn.

    If their are some parts in conflict, roll a die to determine who's Robot Part is used.

    Continue until there are no more available parts to place on the robot. Whoever has completed their victory condition wins!

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