If you're new here, you might like to check the Reading List, which introduces some of the important concepts on this site.
  • Suppose you are in charge of a company developing the next competitive online game. Naturally it will be on your mind to have a matchmaking system, so that players can dive right in to the competition.

    The question is, should you let players see their MMR?

    I'm going to discuss some possibilities by drawing on ideas from a completely different discipline: the microeconomics of certification.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Armours and Resistances

    10th Jan, 2017By Softmints9 minutes

    The moba genre has largely settled on an equilibrium with two armour types: Physical Armour and Magical Armour. Why is this the case, and could expanding the use of armours or resistances lead to greater complexity and depth?

    In this discussion we're focusing on armour types and resistances that players interact with. The rules that decide how much damage a ranged troop deals to a catapult are "environmental tuning", and aren't the focus of this article.

  • Alternate Victory Conditions

    30th Jul, 2015By Softmints6 minutes

    Just about every commercial MOBA shares the same victory condition of "destroy the enemy base". Is there anything that could be done to introduce some variety?

    Before we begin, the word MOBA is used more inclusively by some people than others, so for clarification we need to divide the answer into two cases: lane-pushing games, and arenas.