If you're new here, you might like to check the Reading List, which introduces some of the important concepts on this site.
  • Interview: Nelson Lee

    10th Dec, 2019By Softmints20 minutes

    I am delighted to have had the opportunity to chat with Nelson 'TekkVicious' Lee, the developer behind an old favourite of mine Enmity Campaign. We talk about Warcraft III, the fighting game community, design decisions, and what can be learned through the process of game development.

    Softmints: Good morning Nelson, and welcome!

    Nelson: Thanks for having me!

    We'll dive right in.

  • Innovating with Maths: Topology for Level Design

    27th Sep, 2019By Softmints6 minutes

    I occasionally enjoy connecting game design with other disciplines, and musing on how the two relate. Sometimes the results give me fresh insights, or better yet: new vocabulary for describing parts of a problem that I hadn't considered!

    In this article, we'll be exploring lane-pushing level design as viewed through the lens of topology.

  • Introduction to Pseudolanes

    26th Jul, 2019By Softmints6 minutes

    Throughout the genre's history, lanes have served us well and there's no doubt this will continue. At the same time, I foresee new variations on lanes emerging which will challenge perceptions.

    In this article, I describe a mechanic called pseudolanes, of which lanes present a specific case. I also offer the following definition:

    A lane-pushing game is a game which ensures continuous and meaningful availability of pseudolanes.

  • Esports Yearbook 2017/2018

    24th May, 2019By Softmints

    I am delighted to share that I've been published in this year's Esports Yearbook: a collection of academic-oriented writings that offer contemporary critical analysis of the esports industry. The article I've included is How DotA is Getting Deeper, which reflects on how game design evolves to contribute to rich gameplay (and spectator) experiences.

  • The Lane-Pushing Name

    19th May, 2019By Softmints10 minutes

    MOBAs, ARTS, DOTA-likes, and AoS maps... With so many names floating around for our beloved genre, it can be easy to have our conversations get side-tracked by questions like "what counts as a MOBA?"

    In this article, I'm going to explore how other game genres are named, how those approaches could apply for us, and why "lane-pushing game" is what worked best for me and this website.

  • Last month, my twitter feed announced that MOBA.directory was soon to close down. This is bad news for everybody, because it's one of the best resources out there for anyone doing hero design or research in the genre. It's also a site that I aspired to have my own heroes appear on some day.

    I got in contact with its developer Harry Billington, who put an enormous amount of effort into building MOBA.directory and leading the documentation of over 800 heroes across 12 games over the past few years.

  • How to Make Objective Timings More Intuitive

    26th Oct, 2018By Softmints7 minutes

    I want to draw attention to one of the most interesting developments we've seen in the last five years of lane-pushing game design: the battlefield of Korean studio Nexon's recent lane-pushing game Ascendant One. It's a sphere.

    This sci-fi themed game takes place on a planet: an actual 3D planet! There are six lanes which run from north to south, with bases at the poles. Gameplay takes place on the half of the planet that is "sunny" at any given time.

  • How DotA is Getting Deeper

    25th Aug, 2018By Softmints11 minutes

    Three years ago, Dota2 finally broke away from maintaining parity with DotA Allstars, and started to explore new horizons under the continued stewardship of its lead developer Icefrog. Moving to a new platform is an exciting thing, and being on the source engine has opened up "infinite" possibilities for what Dota2 could become.

  • New and Upcoming MOBAs for 2018

    31st May, 2018By Softmints

    August 2018 Edit: A full and live-updated list can now be viewed from the homepage!

    I'm going to integrate upcoming lane-pushing games into the site search in July, so we can browse them all with rich tagging like the rest.

    For now, it's almost sinful that we don't have some sort of list. So lets use this post to resolve that:

  • How To Make a 6v6 MOBA

    16th May, 2018By Softmints6 minutes

    I was recently asked about 6v6 in mobas. What an interesting topic! There aren't any commercial lane-pushing games which use 6v6 as a serious/primary game mode, probably because there's no reason to mess with what's tried-and-true in your big-budget production.

    In this article I want to explore how 6v6 could be done right. Lets dive right in!