GameDev.net celebrated its 19th anniversary this June.
Things have been very busy though. Here's a few projects that have been done in just the last few weeks:
Improved server performance and front page load time
Reduced bandwidth consumption 50%
Added more connectivity between Projects and Blogs
Improved the menu options for Groups and Beginners
Started implementing a better Discord-GameDev.net chat integration (complete soon)
Kicked off development of a GameDev.net Unity plugin (few weeks)
Re-started the GameDev.net Direct newsletter (finally)
There's also a few exciting things happening that I can't talk about yet - but hopefully very, very soon!
A few other things being looked at or in the pipeline:
"A Total Beginner's Guide" tutorial collection
GameDev.net Mobile app
Improved Articles management
In the meantime I've been watching the engagement with the Tower Defense Challenge, which has been fun to see. It's really impressive to see what games our community can put together in such a short period of time.
I've extended the challenge an extra week, so this weekend I'll be handing out those completion badges!
It's also been great to see so many long-time GameDev.net members re-engage with the community lately. Combined with the newer and growing membership the community has become a vibrant and helpful place for so many interested in game development and interactive media technologies.
Thanks for reading - I just wanted to give a quick update on what's been happening with GameDev.net. A lot is going on, and it seems like I can only talk about half of it. GameDev.net has been keeping me very, very busy in my "free" time.
If you have any feedback on GameDev.net then please reach out in the comments below. Until next time!
It's been a busy year for GameDev.net! Let's start at the top.
In late January the GameDev Projects section was launched, allowing members to add their projects to their profiles and provide a place for others to get inspired and updated on development progress. It's a great way for developers to share their work with others in the GameDev community.
Did you know...
Over 200 projects have been added by members since the beginning of February
Projects can include games, game mods, developer tools, and assets
Members can view your projects through your profile
There is more coming for projects, so stay tuned.
In February a new Links directory was added. The first question I always get is, "who cares about links when search is good enough?" That's a fair question, but sometimes search is only as good as our search terms - and sometimes we don't know what we need to search.
I don't know if Links will really take off, but if you're a fan of having a browsable links database to interesting content about game development, then by all means use it.
You can also submit your own links. All links go through an approval process, so make sure your link is relevant to developers.. i.e. we won't approve a link to your game, but we'll approve a link to developer tools, assets, articles and tutorials, etc.
Speaking of links, have you noticed a few new embeds? Now when you copy and paste a link to a page from Shadertoy, Sketchfab, or Steam we'll show the embed instead of the link. You can still tell the editor to use the link if you want. Here are some examples:
Speaking of articles, sadly, the community isn't as willing to contribute tutorial content to the GameDev.net community these days as in the past. Most developers are unwilling to share their tutorial content with GameDev.net in favor of their personal websites, which I understand in the sense that writing a quality tutorial takes a lot of time and effort. I've written several tutorials and books myself - it's not easy work.
For this reason I am looking at ways to reward developers who do publish with GameDev.net. Payments to approved articles, large Pixel credits (all content results in Pixels), extra help promoting the author, and so on are all being considered.
Call for Tutorials
So to try something a little different, I'm putting out a Call for Tutorials. I want to produce several tutorial series for the GameDev.net community on a variety of development and business related topics. These tutorial series would involve 3-5 in-depth articles intended to educate the audience on one game development topic.
Are you interested in writing a series? Reach out to me (message me!) with a short topic proposal, cost estimate, and if possible any past examples of your work.
I'll have a more permanent link and announcement outside of this blog entry on GameDev.net soon.
Perhaps the most interesting element added to the GameDev platform recently is Groups. The best analogy I can use for Groups right now is that it's similar to Facebook Groups or Pages, except it's a microsite of GameDev.net. Microsite means that we can use many of the same features available across the rest of GameDev.net in a topic-specific area.
You may have already noticed that the Beginners area is now a group. The For Beginners forum is still intact, but with a Group we can augment the beginners area to include links and resources, relevant blogs and news, and more. In fact the Links directory capability is used in the Beginners area to provide beginners with easy-to-find resources across the web.
GameDev Challenges is also a group now.
I don't know when/if I'm going to open up Group creation to everyone, but there is a good chance that more groups will be created to parallel the forums and create spaces for more topic areas. GDNet+ members may end up with the capability to create Groups with approval.
A few ideas for Groups:
Unity, Unreal, and other engines
APIs or tools
The challenge with Groups is that everyone is used to Forums. Is that a mold we can break as a community?
The Front Page
Maybe you noticed the redesigned front page?
The front page is now default a stream of all of the latest activity. You can also use the tabs to view the latest activity in the various content areas (Blogs, Articles, Forums, Projects, etc).
I made this change because on any given day there is a lot happening across all of GameDev.net, and it's worth being aware of interesting activity.
One aspect of the front page I definitely wanted to mention was the Following tab. We have a lot of interesting members in this community - developers who have been in the industry for a long time, students just getting started, and everything in between. You might have friends on GameDev.net, teammates, or future friends.
An often overlooked feature of our platform is the ability to follow other members. When you follow another member, you will get notifications about the member's activity (configurable), and on the front page you will be able to see an activity stream of all the members you follow.
For example, if you follow me then you'll see this blog post show up on your Following feed.
Of course, but this is a long enough read. More importantly, I want to hear from the community.
What else can GameDev.net do to be a better resource and community platform for you?
It's been a few months since the last staff blog update, and I apologize for that. It was a busy end of 2017.
We've recently announced several new community features here on GameDev.net that I'd like to go through - if you haven't spent time exploring all of GameDev.net then you might have missed these!
Spawned from this forum request:
GameDev Challenges is a new community "game jam"-like event for developers looking to test their skills or learn through short-form projects intended to take no more than a month or two to develop. Developers who complete the challenges in the allotted time earn a badge on their profile. Of course, developers can complete challenges after the allotted time, but right now the badges are not awarded.
Right now we are using the GameDev Challenges forum to manage these (Forums -> Community -> GameDev Challenges), and we're currently on the 3rd challenge where developers need to create a clone of the arcade classic Missile Command. The first two challenges were for a Pong! clone and an Arcade Battle Arena along the lines of the classic Bubble Bobble.
I encourage everyone to check out the threads and entries for all the challenges!
In the near future we'll integrate Challenges with our latest announcement: Projects and Developer Profiles.
As we announced:
The Project profile is pretty extensive. We recommend setting up a developer blog for each Project, which can then be used to provide updates for the Project and will show on your Project page. A Gallery is also automatically created for your Project (if you don't already have one), and from there you can upload screenshots and videos of your Project - these will also show in your Project page.
The rest of your Project profile includes links to your Project homepage, store links, descriptions, platforms, and other details about your project. You can even upload and manage files for others to download. Here's the feature list from the announcement:
Browse, download, and comment on projects from other Developers
Provide updates to your project by linking your GameDev.net Blog
Create your own Developer profile, including with a GameDev.net subdomain (in progress)!
Showcase your Project with screenshots from your project's linked GameDev.net Album
Manage your projects through your Developer Dashboard
Market your project's website, Facebook, Twitter, Steam, Patreon, Kickstarter, and GameDev.Market pages
Track project views and downloads through Google Analytics
Upload and manage file downloads for your Project, allowing others to try it out and give feedback
Link to your project with an embeddable widget (link auto-embeds on GameDev.net)
Showcase your project with a trailer on YouTube or Vimeo
Import your project from IndieDB or itch.io
Developer Profiles are a new feature of your GameDev.net profile for showcasing your development team(s). We have basic features for this right now with plans to expand it. You'll find all the settings for your Developer Profile in the Project Dashboard mentioned earlier.
NeHe Source Code on GitHub
Also mentioned recently is that we've put all of the NeHe tutorial source code on GitHub at https://github.com/gamedev-net/nehe-opengl. We will accept updates to the source code via pull request.
NeHe is our long-running OpenGL tutorial site for developers wanting to learn OpenGL in a very accessible, straightforward manner, and is available at http://nehe.gamedev.net.
GameDev Loadout Podcast
And finally, if you're into podcasts then I suggest checking out our new Podcast section. We've recently partnered with Tony at GameDev Loadout to showcase his podcasts on GameDev.net. Tony interviews industry professionals and indie developers about a number of game development related topics. He's approaching his 80th episode, which is quite a feat!
We have bigger plans with Projects, Developer Profiles, and GameDev Challenges, so keep an eye out for more updates. We'll also be re-evaluating the home page in the near future (yes, again) to try to make it easier to find content you're interested in seeing across the entire site.
Oh, one last announcement - the Game Developers Conference is quickly approaching, and GameDev.net members can get 10% off All Access and GDC Conference passes using this code: GDC18DEV
As always, please share any thoughts and feedback in the comments below!
It's been a while since we had an update. I'll try to make these more of a monthly thing from now on since that seems to be a reasonable cadence.
The reputation recalculation previously mentioned has not happened yet. No good reason other than it's been a lower priority.
If you haven't noticed, we have a regular column we're calling GameDev Unboxed with Jesse "Chime" Collins writing about various topics relevant to game developers and the industry. Check out his latest and let him know what you think.
WoA just recently wrapped up with another great year. Big congratulations to the entrants on completing playable games in a week, and a big thank you to @slicer4ever for coordinating.
We're looking to bring back contests / game jams in general to GameDev.net and were recently considering a throwback to the Four Elements contest series. Any feedback or opinions on GameDev.net contests?
Recently there has been an increasing interest in bringing back the Developer Showcase. This was a feature we had when we launched the site but was removed a few years ago. The good news - we're working on bringing this back. A beta version will be available to GDNet+ members and select developers in the near future. Of course, if you have opinions on this then now is your chance to influence the development in the comments below.
Austin Game Conference
I'll be manning the GameDev.net booth at the Austin Game Conference so if you're there make sure you stop by to say hi.
C++ Builder and RAD Studio
If you're a C++ programmer and want to support GameDev.net, please consider checking out C++ Builder from Embarcadero and signing up for their free 30-day trial. C++ Builder is great for simplifying cross platform development and worth checking out. Click here to learn more.
Embarcadero also has RAD Studio, which could also be of interest: click here to learn more.
That's all for now! Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments below.
We're approaching the time when reputation for all members will be re-indexed.
As has previously been described, in our previous system reputation had a fuzzy definition. While a member could earn reputation through the usual up/downvotes, a member's activity could also generate reputation. For example, logging in on a daily basis would give you +1 reputation each login. Posting a blog, voting in the screenshot showdown, or posting an article would also generate reputation (at times +100!).
But activity is not representative of how others in the community gauge your helpfulness, knowledge, or general contribution. In addition, the previous system does not match the new system where your reputation is only representative of your up/downvotes, which means the reputation still is not a representative value.
To correct this, we will re-index the reputation for all members and remove all reputation points not earned through up/downvotes. Meaning, your reputation value will no longer include your site activity points, but it will include all of the up/downvotes you've received.
A lot of members have a lot of reputation points, and in most cases the re-index will result in a severe drop in reputation value.
So what about those reputation points based on activity? They have to be worth something, right?
They are. All the activity reputation points will be converted into Pixels. We're finalizing how those points will be converted, but the current plan is for the conversion to align the activity with the Pixel awards in the new system. Site note: If you haven't figured it out yet, you earn Pixels through activity on the site. More activity through contributions to the community = more Pixels.
We'll go into more about Pixels later. For now, I wanted to communicate this upcoming change and give the community an opportunity to provide feedback or ask questions.
Do you have a personal or company blog that you like to update? Are you looking for an easy way to reach a wider developer audience? Maybe you're copying your posts to your GameDev.net Blog?
Good news. We know a lot of developers like to have their own blog space, but we also know that the GameDev.net Blogs are growing in the community. Well, now we have a simple, automatic way to get your blog to the developer audience here on GameDev.net.
Our blog system has a way for you to setup an automatic RSS feed import, which means you can continue to post on your personal or company blog and the posts will be syndicated to GameDev.net automatically. This means your posts will show up on GameDev.net without you having to copy and paste them in yourself. It works very well with Wordpress blogs, but as long as your RSS feed carries formatting your content should show up exactly as on your blog.
To set it up you just need to create a blog through your account, or use your existing blog. If you don't have a blog already on GameDev.net, go to the Blogs link in the menu (or https://www.gamedev.net/blogs), and below the Featured blogs is a link to "Create a New Blog" (or https://www.gamedev.net/blogs/create/).
Then, go to your blog and in the Manage Blog menu below your blog's header image, click the Atom/RSS Import link.
Add the link to your RSS feed (http://www.yoursite.com/feed for most Wordpress blogs), click Save, and the blog will be imported.
From that point forward, as long as the RSS feed link doesn't change your blog posts will automatically be syndicated to GameDev.net. Just don't forget to login and check for comments and upvotes!
Any questions or comments? Let me know in the comments below.
The GameDev.net Game Jobs board is back online at https://www.gamedev.net/jobs. You can access it in the menu through Careers -> Game Jobs -> Browse, where you can view the job listings and find a career in games doing what you love. You can also search the board with the site search at https://www.gamedev.net/search (in menu at Activity -> Search).
One change from the pre-upgrade system is that we've also launched our new Games Industry jobs microsite, GameDev.Jobs.
GameDev.Jobs powers the GameDev.net jobs board, so you'll see all the same listings here that you see there. The login/member system is tied together with GameDev.net, so you don't need to worry about creating a separate account.
If you're a job seeker you can upload your resume, apply to jobs directly, and sign up for job alerts. If you're an employer, you can manage your job listings, search candidate resumes, and manage applications.
If you're interested in posting a job on our board, you can learn more about posting your listing by clicking here.
It's been a busy few days. We upgraded the GameDev.net software and servers this weekend, and while there are plenty of problems to still fix the whole process has exceeded expectations.
Quite a bit is new, actually. It wasn't just a software and server move. It was also an opportunity to change a few things. Here's a list of the big changes.
Article and Forum Category Changes
We merged quite a few of the article and forum categories, which now better align. If you remember, we had top-level categories of Technical, Creative, and Business. These were fine 18 years ago but the taxonomy of game development has changed a bit. These are the changes:
Top-level categories are now: Programming, Visual Arts, Business, Audio, Game Design, Community, Affiliates, and Topical
Graphics and GPU Programming now includes Graphics Programming and Theory, DirectX and XNA, OpenGL and Vulkan
General and Gameplay Programming includes Mobile Development
APIs, Middleware, and Tools is now Engines and Middleware
Visual Arts is now a top-level category with 2D and 3D Art as the forum
Breaking into the Games Industry is now Career Development
Game Design is now a top-level category with Game Design and Theory as a forum
Writing for Games has moved to the Game Design category, from Creative
Virtual Reality moved to Topical, which is intended for topics that span multiple categories
New GDNet+ Benefits
Be sure to check out all the GDNet+ Benefits that come with the upgrade. The list is much bigger!
Now you can keep track of industry events with the calendar. We'll also create a community calendar in the near future.
Blog navigation is now better. You can theoretically read every single blog post that has ever been submitted. On the old version you could only view the latest posts.
This is one of my favorite. The Activity stream is like "Latest Content" but much more powerful. The default is to be able to see all activity across the entire site, but if you don't like that you can create your own Activity Stream. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of the streams.
Freelancers are now a GDNet+ perk. If you're a freelancer wanting to broadcast your services to the GameDev.net audience I recommend you check it out - it's 1/6th the cost it used to be.
Jobs are now powered by our new job portal, GameDev Jobs at https://gamedev.jobs. We'll be making more changes here, but GameDev Jobs allows us to do much more with job seekers as well as employers - you can even upload your resume for employers to search. As with the GameDev Market, we'll be using GameDev Jobs to power job listings on GameDev.net.
Easily Add New Content
You'll notice a "+" sign on the menu. This is a shortcut to add new content. Start a blog, submit news, start a new or topic quickly and easily.
Realtime Notifications and Messages
You might have noticed already, but you'll receive realtime notifications as activity happens around the site. If your browser supports it, you can receive the notifications on your desktop.
For a while our Google, Facebook, and Twitter logins were broken. Not anymore!
Now you can login to GameDev.net with your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account, and if that isn't enough you can also login with your Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Discord accounts - the latter of which will also integrate your GameDev.net account with our Discord chat room.
Having a problem with the site? Now you can use the support link at https://www.gamedev.net/support which is available in your Profile menu under "Support".
What are these Pixel things?
Some members have noticed a new attribute in their profiles called "Pixels". It's time to explain what those are, but first we need to talk about Reputation.
In our old system, reputation was awarded for up votes and down votes as one would expect, but it also awarded reputation for activity - things like logging in, posting a blog, upvoting someone, and so on. While it encouraged activity it didn't help with knowing which members were knowledgeable, helpful, or produced interesting content - basically the things that would define a member's reputation.
With our new system, reputation is exactly as it sounds. It is calculated entirely off of a member's up and down votes, which I encourage everyone to use. Not only do up/down votes let the community know about the reputation of the member, it also lets the community know the quality of the contribution.
Enter the Pixel. The Pixel is our way of valuing all the other stuff and more. Pixels reflect your activity as a member - you earn pixels by doing things on GameDev.net, such as posting a topic in the forums. If reputation is a measure of a member's helpfulness and quality, then pixels are a measure of a member's activity.
In fact, if we gamify GameDev.net, then pixels are your score.
But be aware, you can also lose pixels. One way is simply through decay. If you stop using GameDev.net then your balance will decrease. If you get warned, you'll lose pixels. Basically, do something that's not conducive to the community and good content, and pixels will be taken away.
Pixels are a neat concept. We're excited about what we can do with them.
As for current reputation, we're going to see if we can normalize reputation to real upvote/downvotes. I'll make another blog post about this when we have a solution. We need some kind of reset so the new definition of reputation matches members' values.
We have a running TODO list and will be busy for a few more weeks to get the upgrade where we really want it to be. I don't want to spill too much on that, but we'll be bringing back the Image of the Day, improving the GameDev Marketplace and GameDev Jobs integrations, adding ways for you to showcase and get feedback on your projects, support for contests, and more.
We're excited because this upgrade marks a new beginning for GameDev.net, and we hope you agree.
As always, please leave your feedback in the comments below! And if you have any problems please let us know through the Support portal.
On June 15, 1999 - 18 years ago today - our band of developers and "webmasters" launched GameDev.net.
Here's the story:[quote]
GameDev.net has a rather interesting history. Starting from a conversation between Dave Astle of Sweet.Oblivion and Mike Tanczos of Game Programming 99, the idea to join forces of the largest game development sites in the world was forged. At first we thought small, deciding to create a simple resource page which would merely link to each other's prime material.
But after contacting John Munsch of DevGames, the possibilities were blown into the stratosphere. Not wanting to create a mere portal page, Munsch insisted that our sites join forces to create one large site. Discussion between the people behind the sites began, quickly leading to an agreement to launch a game development site which would come to make even so-called 'mega-sites' look small.
Realizing the potential of an existing Affiliate group created by Michael Tanczos, which consisted of the three previous sites and the Game Development Search Engine, Wotsit's Format, and Demonews, discussion further escalated to include those sites. This resulted in an agreement on varying levels between all the sites to assist each other in the creation of the new site, which we dubbed "GameDev.net".
The domain was snatched up, and design and layout discussions began in early April. By the beginning of May, development on the site would begin at a feverish pace. Slating our original launch at June 1st, we realized that an effort of this magnitude would be impossible to achieve in that short of a time.
GameDev.net would undergo many changes over the next few years. We soon added several major sites to our family as hostees, including NeHe Productions and Wotsit's File Formats. As the years have progressed, GameDev.net has continued to grow and evolve into the site you see today.[/quote]
You can see what we looked like at the Web Archive, but here's a screenshot of an early version of the site:
What you may not know is that none of us met each other in person until several years later. We have always been and remain a virtual team - although at the moment it's just myself and the Moderators. Team meetings were held over Internet Relay Chat, or "IRC" for the kids, and we'd communicate over ICQ, which amazingly still exists (although I've had comments saying the same to me about GameDev.net.. 18 is old in Internet years).
To give some perspective, 18 years ago Unreal was starting to form the concept of a game engine and entering a battle with Quake. Unity was a dream. The GPU as we now know it did not exist commercially (we broke NVIDIA's GeForce news). And shortly after our launch a particularly large search engine contacted us to see if they could be our search engine, as I'll share in this team meeting chat log from July 18, 1999 - a month after we launched.[quote]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] I have another thing to mention[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] [/font][/color]Google.com[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] wants to do our search[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] ?!?[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] They contacted us?[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] who's google[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] They want to be our search engine for the site[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] k - a search engine, like AltaVista, but nicer in some ways[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] mike - how do you feel about it?[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] Well.. their results are unique[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] They are a very impressive search engine (more a technology than anything else). They are going to IPO or just did, I can't remember.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] wow, i've never heard of them [/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] We'd have a search page at [/font][/color]www.google.com/gamedev [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] will they go down/work slow, etc?[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] No idea.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] I can speak to the last one, they are expected to get a sh*tload of money, so their servers will likely be fast.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] you think itd be better than our own deal?[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] didnt you do a kick ass search engine mike?[/font][/color] [color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] Yeah, it works pretty fast.[/font][/color][/quote]
I can proudly say that I learned more than I need to know about Google.
GameDev.net started as a labor of love, and 18 years later it continues to be a labor of love. While I remain as the only founding member, I know that the founders who are no longer with the site hope it continues to provide value for the game development community to learn, share, and connect with others for many years to come.
But the amazing thing to all of us continues to be the community. I may be biased, but for 18 years I have not come across a better community than the GameDev.net Community. We are a passionate, knowledgeable bunch, and we love discussing, sharing, and learning from others about the problems, technologies, and challenges of game development and the games industry.
Throughout GameDev.net's history we've watched so many of you grow into the games industry, often starting as hobbyist or student developers with a thirst and desire to achieve your dreams. It's been our greatest pleasure to provide the platform that has helped so many, and we love to learn about your own journeys in the industry.
In the meantime I want to thank the amazing GameDev.net community, again, for these 18 years. On to the 19th!
p.s. The site upgrade is happening this weekend, finally! Stay tuned.
Did you know that GameDev.net will celebrate its 18th year of operation on June 15?
It's also roughly when we plan to go live with the upgrade. Here's the latest:
Contractor Ads and GDNet+
We are going to change the Freelancer / Contractor advertising section to be a GDNet+ benefit. So instead of being charged each time you want to put up a listing, through the small monthly fee of the GDNet+ subscription you can keep your listing up as long as you have a GDNet+ subscription. More details to come.
I definitely appreciate all the feedback from the Reputation system feedback. We didn't receive the 25 responses, but since the discussion was still valuable we'll still give away the 3 months of GDNet+, to be awarded when we launch the upgrade.
As for the Reputation system itself, no decisions have been made, and we may delay any major changes until after the upgrade is live. I don't think anyone will complain about no changes, but we will get complaints if we make poor, rushed decisions. I'll reach out for feedback as we know more on Reputation.
The task list is huge, but we're past the 50% mark. I'm kind of glad we decided not to add too many new features until after the upgrade (i.e. we avoided feature creep). Here's a summary:
Articles - done Blogs - done Forums - done News - done Events - done Jobs - done (and something new) Freelancers/Contractors - see above Chat - done (new Discord integration!)
Still to do: New Activity Stream formatting (a better Latest Content) Store Finalize GDNet+ setup Finalize permissions Update and confirm Forum Tags for merged forums Finish Frontpage and side blocks (jobs, contractors, news) Review reputation points awards IOTD RSS feeds 301 redirects for new URLs Confirm page formatting Data integrity checks Test, test, test
While we have a functioning site now (with data replicated from the live site), there's still a fair amount to do. More updates to come.
It's been a couple weeks since the last update, but work on the upgrade has continued slowly and methodically. You don't want to rush these things - we're implementing the changes, converting data, then checking it again, writing scripts to ensure a fast reload if something gets messed up after we go live, etc. We don't want to make any mistakes on 18 years of community interactions.
In any case, I wanted to update everyone on a few new things coming for GDNet+ as a result of this upgrade along with a few ideas we'll officially make public that will take effect with the upgrade.
In my last update we announced our partnership with CRC Press, with discounts for GDNet+ members ranging from 10-20% off books from their website. This benefit will continue, but we're adding a few more items. Check out the screenshot I cropped from the new site (a preview!):
A few items of interest:
Monthly entry into GameDev.net T-shirt Giveaway
Just like it says, every GDNet+ member will be entered into a monthly drawing to win a GameDev.net t-shirt. More to come on how this will work, but members in higher tiers will have a better chance to win.
Priority for Games Industry Conference and Event Pass Giveaways
Every once in a while we have extra passes for an industry event or conference, and we're tired of these going unused when we can't find a suitable member to go. From now on whenever we have extra passes, we'll survey GDNet+ members who can attend these events, sometimes with little notice, and will pick a random winner from those who respond.
Access site beta features
We've setup the new site so we can implement beta features and restrict access to a limited set of users. GDNet+ members will have access to these areas and opportunities to provide feedback. In some cases possibly even contribute.
Access to private GDNet+ Member forum
A new forum will be available to GDNet+ members only.
Ability to bypass content moderation in areas requiring content approval
Some areas require a moderator to approve the content before it's posted. The most popular example of this is the Hobby Project Classifieds forum, which requires moderator approval before a post is shown. GDNet+ members will no longer have this restriction.
Profile cover photos and animated profile photos will now be allowed for GDNet+ members.
Also, GDNet+ members will be able to give an unlimited amount of reputation influence any given day.
GDNet+ members will have their posts highlighted in the forums.
GDNet+ members will have moderator privileges for their own blogs, allowing them to truly own their Blog space should an unruly spammer come along.
The Gallery will now allow Movies - GDNet+ members will be able to upload these to the Gallery. They will also be able to restrict access to Albums if they would like.
More to come
These benefits will take effect when we launch the new version of the site mid-June. This is just the beginning. At launch time we're focusing on making sure everything with the platform works as expected. Shortly after we'll start adding even more features, and as a result more benefits for GDNet+.
As always, please share your feedback, ideas, and more in the comments below.
We are very pleased to announce that GameDev.net has partnered with CRC Press to offer all current and future GDNet+ members a discount for online purchases through the CRC Press store. Discount levels of 10%, 15%, and 20% are available for each GDNet+ tier.
CRC Press is a global publisher of science, technology, and medical resources, offering unique, trusted content by expert authors, including an extensive collection of Game and Animation books available in both print and ebook form.
GDNet+ members can take advantage of the discount by retrieving their code through the new "My Benefits" link in their profile menu. This new section - only visible for GDNet+ - is where we will put all information for this and future subscription benefits.
Never heard of GDNet+? It's our member subscription program offering members extra perks, services, and site features for a low monthly rate. It's also a great way to show your support for GameDev.net. Learn more about our GDNet+ Membership by clicking here.
This is a tricky subject.
The site upgrade - by nature of the upgrade - is going to introduce changes to our reputation system. There is no stopping the change. The current reputation system is custom-made and is not portable to the upgrade. This doesn't mean we couldn't port it, but it's a question of ROI. Some may perceive this to be a negative, but the new software has an integrated and much more flexible reputation system for us to work with. We can carry forward with our existing reputation rules, but we don't have to do that.
The purpose of reputation is to encourage participation and interaction with members. I do believe our existing system achieves this to a degree, but it has its issues. For instance, it doesn't take into account or potentially over-weighs certain activities that aren't as important in a growing community. Also, reputation loses its impact over time, meaning once you reach a certain level of reputation it's like getting to Level 100 in World of Warcraft.
The name "reputation" itself doesn't make complete sense, either. If you logged in every day of a non-leap year you'd earn 365 reputation points, without participating in the community. If you upvoted every comment you saw you'd earn thousands of points, without providing your own content. Our reputation system right now is more of an activity meter, and just because someone has high reputation doesn't necessarily mean they have contributed valuable content and interactions in the community.
For these reasons and the fact we're doing a complete software switchover, perhaps it's time to reconsider how our reputation system operates.
Before sharing my own thoughts I want to gather yours. So let's start with a few simple questions to help frame the conversation:
1. What do you like about the current reputation system?
2. What do you dislike about the current reputation system?
3. Do you have any proposals to improve the existing system?
If the community can contribute a minimum of 25 answers to these questions (i.e. 25 comments answering these 3 questions) I'll randomly select a winner from the comments to receive 3 free months of GDNet+ (or 3 months added to your existing subscription).
I look forward to seeing your feedback. :)
Thank you to all the members who provided feedback in the last entry where I discussed general thoughts on the site categorization. To recap, we are upgrading the site software in the near future and have been reviewing the current GameDev.net content categorization, which has been bascially the same since 1999.
Your feedback helped us identify areas for improvement, so I have an update on our latest thoughts and would appreciate more discussion from the community. Focusing on the forums first, we're considering the following structure:
Music and Sound
Career Development (currently: Games Industry Job Advice)
Production and Management
Business, Marketing, and Law (currently: Business and Law)
Hobby Project Classifieds
Writing for Games
UX for Games (if needed)
Math & Physics
Networking and Multiplayer
2D and 3D Art
The most dramatic change is probably the Graphics forum(s), but the same solution we'll use there will be applicable to every other forum. Since all Graphics related discussion would go into one forum, we'd organize through predefined Prefixes that are specific to the Forum. For instance, if you have a post about DirectX, then a "DX11" or "DX12" prefix might be used. If you have a general graphics question or discussion, then you might not use a prefix. Or maybe you want to discuss a research paper and use the prefix "Research" or "R&D".
These prefixes will be predefined and selectable when creating a post. And as I mentioned, every other forum would have prefixes available to select in order to narrow down the topic to something more specific.
The nice thing about using prefixes is that they are searchable and can be used as filters on the backend, so we can create a "Vulkan Hub" to show you all things related to Vulkan.
Tags will also be available, and we're considering making them predefined as well. However, tags would be a little more topic specific in definition. For instance, we're considering tags for things like "Mobile", "Unity", "Unreal", "Lumberyard", "Cocos", "HTML5", "Android", "iOS", etc. Things that can span multiple categories but may be too specific for its own forum.
Between the categories, prefixes, and tags, GameDev.net should become completely searchable, filterable, and in theory all members should be able to easily find content on any combination of topics.
Should we combine any other forums? Any that are missing or should be added? Any other thoughts on these changes under consideration? Please let us know in the comments below.
Hello, GameDev.net members.
We are in the process of upgrading the site software and some cost-saving changes to our servers. For the next few weeks I want to provide some more information on the changes involved and ask for feedback from the community.
As for the upgrade itself, our current database is replicated to the new server. As part of the replication process we are transforming data from the current database to the new software's database to complete the conversion. We're now reaching a point where we need to make decisions regarding how data is organized before we can consider the replication 100%. These decisions also affect the skin and layout of the new site, which we haven't started - so we've arrived to a point where decisions must be made.
So today, I want ask for opinions on site organization. We're considering a major shift from the current organization, which aside from minor additions and tweaks has been around since the start of GameDev.net in 1999. In case you weren't around the games industry at that time, things have changed quite a bit since then and the topics of interest have changed as well.
Right now the site is organized into 3 main areas:
Business The forums have a 4th category for Community.
Our proposal looks like this:
Community What this would do is to elevate some of the more hidden areas of GameDev.net - things like Art, Audio, Education.
The implementation of this is TBD, but of course we're open to feedback. One approach we're considering is a multi-tier setup where these are the major categories but it's the second level where specific topics provided - similar to today's organization. For example, the Programming category might have as sub-categories:
Math & Physics
etc Why make these changes?
We could continue as things are, but we feel that our current taxonomy does not address the reality of today's games industry or the technologies involved in game development. We feel that GameDev.net needs to evolve as the industry evolves.
This is one of several major changes under consideration, but we don't want to make these decisions in complete isolation. We have a fantastic community here with a lot of great ideas. Please, leave your thoughts in the comments below if you'd like to influence the decision making process.
Quick update: we've brought back the Events section, which will be filled with all the industry events we can get our hands on. You can access it through the Community -> Events menu. We've added a few upcoming events to get started, so feel free to add more or your own events. If the event is relevant to game developers and has all the appropriate information then we'll approve it and get it in the main listing. Our events database is entirely searchable with the GameDev.net search in the top right of the page.
We've also setup events so anyone can contribute coverage. More on that later. We kept events simple, and we'll expand on them in the future, but time is a little crunched because...
It's GDC week. We will be providing GDC coverage available either from the GameDev.net home page or through the GDC event in the Events section. Keep an eye out for our coverage. If you're attending and want to provide your own GDC coverage (blog-style), then feel free to submit your own updates throughout the week.
Indeed. Another skin.
What you're really witnessing is an iteration toward a better, future version of GameDev.net. We've made improvements to the front-end, and next is a back-end upgrade that sets us up with better infrastructure to do some of the things we've been wanting to do for a long time.
This UI upgrade isn't perfect - plenty of areas that need tweaks over the next few weeks - but it's a solid incremental step toward making it easier to connect with others, share content, and learn.
More consistent colors, fonts, and styles across the site.
Tags are now predefined. We will review our current predefines to better match our future taxonomy, but users can no longer add their own tags. We did this because we started seeing 20 variations of "android" tags, among others.
Renamed Developer Journals to Blogs (or Developer Blogs). Developer Journals is a name we've used since we started in 1999. It's time to use the common word "blog".
Mobile and responsiveness - UI designed to better accomodate mobile (needs work in a few areas)
New profile menu (top right) - condensed multiple functions into one menu
Header menu makeover - Amazing to us how few people knew we had a thriving game development blog community. We decided to let them stand on their own. Also brought direct menus for our GDNet Store and GameDev Marketplace, our asset exchange for developers.
Front page redesign - major layout change to highlight important content and improve mobile/responsiveness.
News - when we started GameDev.net and for many years we curated the news for the games industry and community. At one point we stopped, messed around with some automated news, and eventually dropped it altogether - this was a mistake. While you can get plenty of news from all your current favorite sources, we believe we can bring a special curation of the latest events, releases, and other happenings in the games industry and hope you'll start to include us as a reputable and interesting news source as we ramp up our news efforts.
Layout/style changes throughout. Article categories, article pages, Blogs and blog listings, Job listings, forums, and more have been updated to new styles. Some of them will continue to be tweaked in the coming weeks.
More to come in the next few months. Let us know what you like, dislike, or would like to see in the future from our community platform.
Also, the Game Developers Conference is coming up. If you haven't seen our previous post, we're soliciting special requests for GDC coverage.
We will have a small presence at the Game Developer's Conference February 27 to March 3. Our plan is to provide short bursts of insight into our meetings and discussions with various companies, people, and attendance at events.
Will you be at GDC? If so leave a comment here, and we might be able to hook you up with some GameDev.net swag (limited quantities).
We'd also like feedback from the community - what do you want to see from our GDC coverage?
GameDev.net has officially moved to HTTPS. In the process we beefed up our security - we now earn a Grade A rating on https://www.ssllabs.com.
[subheading]What does this mean for you?[/subheading]
Privacy - ISP's cannot track the pages you visit on GameDev.net
Security - malicious third parties cannot insert code into our site or track what our visitors are doing
Content authority - by switching, browsers guarantee that the content displayed is actually published by GameDev.net
Fairness - Network and internet providers won't be able to inject ads and profit from GameDev.net and the community
We also made the change because Google is favoring https content with immediate changes to Chrome starting January 1, 2017 - nothing like waiting until the last minute.
You could see browser notices on occasion from mixed content - for example, if someone links an image served over HTTP instead of HTTPS - so let us know if you see anything that needs to be fixed.
In the meantime, we're going to continue to make improvements as we head into 2017 - big changes coming!
You may have noticed things look... different. It all started so innocent. We needed to update a couple things, and we did. But while we were doing that we thought, "oh, why not address this part too? And that part? And this other one?"
Next thing you know we're feature creeping and the whole skin is getting a makeover along with some layout changes and more consistent typography and color usage. We've been wanting to do this for a while, so it's not a completely random change. Just unplanned timing.
Either way, we hope you like it. We feel it's a bit more modern in style, cleans up a few weird placement issues, and hopefully brings more focus to features that will help you more quickly find the information and interactions you want. It also better sets us up for bigger changes we're planning in the long-term.
The major changes we made, in no particular order:
The header shrunk in half. This moved the leaderboard ad closer to the content, but it also brought content higher on the page and provided a better framing. It gives us more flexibility in the layout as well because now that ad can be moved around without leaving an empty space. Not that any of you like ads. :)
All header styles are consistent. Using the Bootstrap 3 framework as a guideline we standardized sizes and shapes for certain elements.
Increased whitespace. The site should feel less crowded and more breathable.
Consistent font use. We're now using our 3 fonts - Ubuntu, Open Sans, and Helvetica - in a consistent manner across the site.
Colors. Consistent and hopefully better pairing. Some articles still need some updates and these may change more over time, but it's a start.
Layout changes. Nothing major, but various changes were made across the site to improve the display of information or clean things up.
If for some reason you prefer the old style, you can still access it. Click the Change Theme link at the bottom right of the page just above the footer, and you'll see your theme options. The old one is GDNet 3.4.1 - this is GDNet 6.0.
We'll continue to make improvements as needed. A thread about the interface change was started at https://www.gamedev.net/topic/684037-new-interface/. Let us know if you see anything that doesn't look right, or if you'd like to see further changes!
[color=rgb(84,174,104)]Changes to GDNet+ [/color]
The [color=#f6931a]GDNet+[/color] Membership program was created for members who wanted to support GameDev.net in exchange for additional site features, services, and product discounts.
Not much has changed since the original launch of [color=rgb(246,147,26)]GDNet+[/color], but we've recently evaluated how to improve the [color=#f6931a]GDNet+[/color] membership and set it up for future growth and expansion as new services, partnerships, and site changes are brought online.
Today, we are pleased to announce a new [color=#f6931a]GDNet+[/color] Membership program that we believe creates more value for GameDev.net members now and in the future.
So what's changing? And why did we make these changes?
[color=#54ae68]Multi-Tier GDNet+ Membership [/color]
GDNet+ Membership will now be offered across multiple tiers:
[color=#4676a5]GDNet+ Basic - $3.99/mo[/color]
[color=#54ae68]GDNet+ Standard - $5.99/mo[/color]
[color=#f6931a]GDNet+ Pro - $7.99/mo[/color]
All current GDNet+ Memberships have been transferred to [color=#4676a5]GDNet+ Basic[/color]. Renewals will continue at the new monthly/quarterly/yearly rates. Members are encouraged to upgrade their plans as they see fit. I'll cover the differences of these tiers further down.
All plans offer the same core GDNet+ site features. For members wanting to advertise on GameDev.net, we've increased the number of impressions you receive from 50,000 at Basic to 75,000 at Standard and 100,000 at Pro. Also, we've introduced "ad lite" and "ad free" GameDev.net site experiences in the Standard and Pro tiers. More details on this below.
View the GDNet+ subscription page for more information.
[color=#54ae68]Removed Crossbones Member Group[/color]
The Crossbones Member Group will be removed. If you were a paying member of Crossbones (a few members), then your membership has been transferred to [color=#4676a5]GDNet+ Basic[/color].
On December 1, all Crossbones members who are not paying members will be moved to the standard Members group. Since we recently disabled renewals for Crossbones, you should confirm whether you are a paying member or not.
We recognize that Crossbones is a popular group that recognizes your contributions to the site. While Crossbones provided an incentive for members to contribute, it decreased the value of GDNet+ by providing Crossbones members with many of the same perks GDNet+ members received.
With the removal of Crossbones, we will continue to evaluate ways to provide recognition to GameDev.net members. Of course, if you have feedback leave your comments in this blog post below, post in the CSI forum, or email us at [email="email@example.com?subject=Crossbones%20Member%20Group%20Removal"]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email].
Earlier this summer we brought network ads back (Adsense and Amazon). We've listened to your concerns about these ads and now include solutions in the [color=#54ae68]GDNet+ Standard [/color]and [color=#54ae68][color=#f6931a]GDNet+ Pro[/color][/color] tiers. [color=#54ae68]GDNet+ Standard [/color]members will only see GameDev.net member ads or ads being sold directly by GameDev.net - so we can guarantee they will be relevant and safe. [color=#54ae68][color=#f6931a]GDNet+ Pro[/color][/color] members will not see any ads.
We are also evaluating whether to make ads in both tiers a configurable profile option.
Some users have voiced feedback that they did not want GDNet+ features wanted a way to remove ads. As an experiment, we've created a second set of membership plans: Ad-Lite and Ad-Free. These plans do not include standard GDNet+ features, but they do remove ads.
The Ad-Lite plan will only see GameDev.net members ads or ads being sold directly by GameDev.net. This plan is being offered at $3.99/mo, or the same price level as [color=#4676a5]GDNet+ Basic[/color].
The Ad-Free plan will not see any ads on GameDev.net. This plan is being offered at $5.99/mo, or the same price level as [color=#54ae68]GDNet+ Standard.[/color]
Moving forward we plan to bring even more value to the GDNet+ membership. We are reviewing new benefits that we can provide through our recently launched GameDev Marketplace while also discussing product discounts and services with our partners. In addition, we're thinking about how GameDev.net can provide more long-term value to its members through services and technologies that help you learn, share, and connect with the games industry.
Of course, if you are perfectly happy as a GameDev.net Member and not interested in GDNet+ or supporting GameDev.net then there is no change for you.
However, if you want to support GameDev.net in exchange for member benefits and services - including removal of ads from GameDev.net - then learn more and sign up on the GDNet+ subscription page.
To celebrate the launch of GameDev Marketplace we're offering a 20% off sale for the month of October! Purchase $10 or more and use promo code GDOCT2016 to save 20%!
If you aren't familiar with our new marketplace at https://gamedev.market then check out our announcement at https://www.gamedev.net/page/market.
Buy and sell digital content, software, and more at GameDev Marketplace!
GameDev.net is pleased to announce the launch of GameDev Marketplace at https://gamedev.market.
We've had a Marketplace on GameDev.net for several years, but it has never been quite right. The content was always excellent, but it was difficult to find what you wanted and ultimately buried in the scale of GameDev.net.
GameDev Marketplace is what our Marketplace should have been from the beginning - providing a solution integrated with the GameDev.net community in a way that benefits buyers, sellers, and the industry as a whole.
So what is it?
The new GameDev Marketplace is a community-driven platform to buy, sell, and exchange premium content, software, and more for games and interactive media. For Buyers we offer searchable, engine independent, high quality content for use in any game or interactive media project. In the future, we'll add additional services to the Marketplace to help you find the content you need.
For Sellers, the GameDev Marketplace provides more configurability and scalability with direct access to the hundreds of thousands of developers in the GameDev.net community. You will have better access to reports, full product customizations, your very own storefront, coupons, sales, and more with complete integration in the GameDev.net ecosystem.
When we say integration with the GameDev.net ecosystem, we mean it - this isn't yet another site. To get started, just login with your GameDev.net account. Don't have an account yet? No problem - register through GameDev Marketplace and we'll create one for you.
Once you are logged in you can browse the Shop and use our filters to find the content you want. You can also use our powerful search, located at the top of every page.
You can become a Seller by applying through your Account Settings. Once approved you can setup your Shop and start adding products. And if you made it this far here's an extra bonus - all Sellers who are approved for the GameDev Marketplace in the first 100 days after launch (until January 1, 2017) will receive 80% commission on their sales for a full year - these are industry-best rates!
We're excited to bring GameDev Marketplace to the game development community and hope it brings you value. Please contact us if you have any questions or feedback.
If you use an ad blocker, you might not appreciate this right now:
If you don't use an ad blocker, then you (hopefully) didn't even notice the change.
This week we made the difficult decision to request that our users whitelist GameDev.net in their ad blocker. After careful tracking and to no real surprise, we determined that a significant number of GameDev.net's visitors use an ad blocker, which damages our ability to provide a quality service to our advertising customers, and in turn damages our ability to provide a quality service to our users and the community.
We recognize that some of you may not appreciate this change and may rethink your stance on GameDev.net. We also recognize that many of you are skeptical of online advertising and do not want to disable your ad blocker for any site. We get it. The world these days is full of trackers and malware, and it makes good sense to stay as protected as possible. We can't fault that. In fact, we use ad blockers ourselves.
The only problem is, at least right now, GameDev.net's servers are powered primarily by advertisements. Without ads, GameDev.net doesn't exist. Apart from a GDNet+ subscription, the best way to support GameDev.net is to allow ads through your ad blocker.
While we can't promise perfection, we can promise that we take very seriously our responsibility of providing a platform where the games industry can learn, share, and connect with others around the world. When it comes to advertisements, we are very careful about which advertisers we work with, the messaging they use for the GameDev.net community, and the impact they have on your experience. While we've certainly made mistakes in this area, I like to think that we've outlasted most Internet web properties and sort of know what we're doing after 17 years.
We still need to work out some issues.
One was brought up here, and it's a great question: why should GDNet+ subscribers have to view ads of any kind? GDNet+ accounts are showing public and monetary support for GameDev.net already. Shouldn't they be able to use ad blockers?
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Because of their support for the site, GDNet+ subscribers are allowed to post their own banner ads (you might see one on this page now). If you are a GDNet+ subscriber and blocking ads, then you aren't affecting some large media advertising company - you're affecting your fellowGDNet+'ers who are now losing value in their subscriptions and in being able to market their products and service to you. That's a problem.
While GDNet+ does not completely remove ads, it does limit the type of ad that you are going to see as bulk/3rd party ads are removed. We don't have an answer for this yet, but options are being considered. Perhaps we should look into a completely ad-free tier for GDNet+?
As with all changes, we will continue to monitor this closely to ensure that GameDev.net provides the best platform possible for you to learn, share, and connect with others. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments here or in the forums. We take your feedback very seriously and use it to help shape our future.