Stellaris Overlord: A Design Retrospective

It was a snowy Norrland morning in the middle of October, the advent of sunless winter months to come, when it was announced that Paradox Arctic (where I work) would be collaborating with PDS Green to work on Stellaris. That was a bittersweet moment for me—on one hand, Arctic had just recently endured the cancellation of a project, on the other, it was an opportunity to work on a game I enjoyed. Read more.

The Resource Trinity of Games

Resources in games are usually taken for granted. They exist, of course—every game has them—but they are often overshadowed by other more elaborate and publicized mechanics. My recent foray into the realm of Grand Strategy, a genre that puts so much emphasis on resources that the games have been jokingly called spreadsheet applications, have let me appreciate how important they are in forming the backbone of a well-executed strategy game. Resources in every game can be summarily categorized into three varieties (the titular trinity), read on if this intrigues you as much as it does me. Read more.

In Pursuit of the Player-Driven Fantasy

After spending a decade building games for the so-called casual audience, changing course to work on a behemoth like Stellaris has at once been inspiring, academic and humbling for me. While most of the design philosophies I’ve acquired in my career so far have been surprisingly transferable to this new genre, a lot of the practical aspects have to be relearned. In the settling dust of my scuffle with the grand strategy giant, one of the most interesting insights that has crystallized from the chaos was a newfound understanding of Paradox’s fascination with the player-driven fantasy. Read more.