Taylor Morris

game designer & programmer

Portfolio and blog of Taylor Morris, game designer and programmer

Filtering by Category: WILF

What I Learned From: Cities: Skylines

Sandbox games are some of the most interesting challenges from a design perspective and for players can offer a nearly endless, even inconceivable amount of entertainment. That is, of course, provided the designed simulation is deeply detailed and/or broad enough to offer several satisfying types of play within them, all of which have to be as accessible as possible. Add on the challenge of creating a functional and appealing interface and it’s easy to see why the true greats of the genre are so rare and iterative titles so common. Cities: Skylines is technically the third title in its own series but fully deserves its subtitle as it represents the modern standard for city-building games with charm and finesse.

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What I Learned From: OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

At a basic level, there are few more deeply felt and enjoyable game mechanics than OutRun’s driving and drifting. Though the original arcade experience could be punishing and gameplay sessions are usually very quick until you have gained enough experience and skill. Which is why, in addition to the fantastic new 3DS version of the original arcade game, OutRun 2006: Coast To Coast’s extensive port of OutRun2 SP is so brilliant, building an extended experience and a variety of remixes on the incredibly strong central experience. Considering that, Outrun 2006 presents a very interesting waypoint on the debate between depth versus breadth, as despite all its various game modes the game is entirely about drifting along 30, 60, and 90 degree turns while avoding other cars on the road. It is pure depth and so tightly constructed that it remains a compelling experience to return to year after year.

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What I Learned From: Bayonetta

The original Bayonetta flew slightly under the radar but upon discovery turns out to be quite the little masterpiece. It's a character action game that both summarizes and deepens the history of the genre, especially looking back. It's fitting that this would be the game to do it too creator Hideki Kamiya raised the bar first with 2001’s genre-defining Devil May Cry. Thankfully Bayonatta has come up for fresh appreciation lately with a Wii U re-release alongside it's sequel. Despite missing out on a lot of this character action genre, completing Bayonetta for the first time has me reading and playing up on my history and appreciating just how mechanically satisfying the genre can be.

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What I Learned From: Shadow of Mordor

Starting up a new series of blog things that will capture design thoughts after I’ve just completed (or near-completed) a game. It’s a good exercise to write things up and I’m hoping to get even more now, by making it public and potentially embarrassing. The process of spinning thoughts into a full, legible essay-thing will ideally refine my thoughts and aid my overall thought process. So! To kick things off, I’m going to tackle the recently-released Shadow of Mordor.

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