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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.

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About this blog

Feedback wanted on Help Wanted and related columns.

Entries in this blog

Just a quick update this time:- I've updated my popular 2008 blog post on "Why you shouldn't use Dev-C++", and also moved to a new url -- the old one has a re-direct page for now, but I probably won't host that for ever.

The article can now be found at http://clicktobegin.net/programming/why-you-shouldnt-use-dev-c/

Please update any bookmarks. smile.png

I'm planning a follow-up entry discussing the merits of using an updated version of Dev-C++, as I've recently seen a bit more awareness of wxDev-C++ and the much newer Orwell Dev-C++.
Cross posted from http://www.jasonbadams.net/

Facebook can be a great way to connect with people and keep in touch. However, by default Facebook generates a lot of notifications, both via it's own interface and by email, often about a lot of things you might not care about. There are however a few things you can do to manage and reduce the traffic so that you see less of the junk, and hopefully more of what interests you. If you have a couple of spare minutes and would like to try removing a lot of the annoyances that come along with Facebook you might consider some or all of the following simple suggestions:

1. Filter your news feed to show status updates only.

The news feed is what you see by default on your Facebook homepage when logged in. It contains status updates, recently posted photos or links, new notes and a wide assortment of traffic generated by Facebook applications your friends use. Many people would prefer to see less of the other (sometimes annoying, particularly in the case of some applications) content and just see status updates in this section, and it's quite easy to do so.

Full post at Unrefined Awesome...
Those who view the front page of the site or peruse the news forum may have noticed a monthly column I've been posting for a short while now to help bring a bit more attention to some of the projects in Help Wanted.

To give a couple of examples of recent editions I'll link to the June Help Wanted Picks, and the July edition; this month I made the experimental adjustment of seperating out "services offered" into a seperate edition posted in the middle of the month.

Why am I posting this?

I'd like feedback on what I'm doing. Anyone who has been following the column will see that I've been making changes each time trying to find out how best to provide a useful piece that people will actually value. In particular, there's some discussion in the comments of the latest 'Help Offered Picks' that I'd like additional feedback on, and any other comments on the column (either version) in general are most welcome.

What do you want to see in the Help Wanted/Offered Picks?
As most of you probably already know, we have a required template for posts in the Help Wanted forum... but why do we have it?

The first reason is fairly obvious. Most people looking for a project to join have the same few generic questions regarding things such as payment, choice of technology and the goals of the project. The various sections of the template provide the majority of that information, saving people the need to ask and allowing people to quickly glance over the sections that most interest them.

The second reason can be somewhat less obvious however. Having to fill out the template forces people to think about those details of their project, and (although this doesn't seem terribly effective) it is hoped that in at least some cases will encourage people to do a little more preparation before forming a team. The majority of sections are things that any well thought out project should be able to answer without any problems, and apart from those headings marked as optional it should probably raise warning-flags if you're having trouble coming up with answers to any of them.

Thirdly, a poorly filled out template can often be a quick indicator to experienced users browsing the threads that a project probably doesn't have good chances.

Look at for an entry in the next few days on potential alterations to the current template.
Cross posted from Unrefined Awesome.

There's a well-known document called How To Ask Questions The Smart Way that a lot of forums, newsgroups and faqs link to as an explanation of how to approach seeking help. It's well written, comprehensive and gives a very good explanation of how and why people should improve their questions. However, it's also really long, makes frequent use of the term "hacker" (which to the majority of people in need of help with asking questions has a meaning other than what is intended) and in my opinion is probably a little too long winded and a bit out of touch with many (but not all!) modern programming fora and newgroups. The following is my attempt at a more concise version without some of the dated jargon or opinions that may not be relevant to some communities.

Read the rest of the entry at Unrefined Awesome.
Just snippets from a couple of posts from my blog, Unrefined Awesome:

from Why you shouldn't use Dev-C++
I still see a lot of people using the out-of-date and unmaintained Bloodshed Dev-C++ IDE (Integrated Development Environment), and I'd like to briefly explain why this is a bad idea as well as pointing any interested readers toward a couple of good alternatives.

Read the full post at Unrefined Awesome.

from Why you shouldn't use Visual C++ 6
In the same vein as my earlier post on Why You Shouldn't Use Dev-C++ I'd like to outline a few reasons you shouldn't still be using Visual C++ 6.0. These arguments may not apply if you're working with a computer that is both particularly underpowered and running a very old (pre-'98) version of Windows, but in the overwhelming majority of cases VC++6 is a terrible choice of development environment.

Read the full post at Unrefined Awesome.
I took on board some of the feedback from last time when posting the new Help Wanted Picks to the front page. This time we've got screenshots, and the list of services offered at the bottom of the post is sorted into categories with a couple that I personally recommend for anyone interested specially marked.

Check it out and let me know if you've got any more feedback.

I also got the suggestion last time of highlighting one bad post as an example of how not to do it. While this would be both educational and potentially amusing I don't feel it's really in the spirit of encouraging beginners (even if they're really bad now they might get better with some prompting), and doesn't seem overly professional. As an alternative however, would people be interested in seeing short snippets giving tips on succesfully recruiting from some of our current and/or previous users?

Help Wanted Picks

Just a quick post to point anyone who doesn't regularly visit the front page of the site in the direction of the second edition of what will hopefully continue to be a regular fortnightly news-item here at GDNet: Help Wanted Picks.

The basic idea is to handpick a few projects every couple of weeks which stand out amongst the others and give them a bit of front-page exposure on the site - hopefully it'll get more skilled developers connecting, thereby attracting more promising projects which traditionally sometimes shy away from our beginner-friendly (and therefore sometimes unfortunately swamped with low quality projects) HW forum.

While I'm less confident about the success of my first and third choices for featured projects than I was the first time I think the chosen threads do clearly stand out amongst the rest, and still have the very-likely-to-succeed EDI project in there.

So, anything that could/should be added/removed/done differently? As a reader who might be looking for help, would it be worth it to you if I'd spent the time to sort and/or summarise the list of services offered at the bottom? Do you agree with my choice of projects, and with what I said about them? Have you recently visited Help Wanted and think I missed a brilliant project that should have been included?

Help Wanted!

It's rather interesting moderating the Help Wanted forum, I get to see a whole miriad of different projects and potential projects constantly parading through, some of which do quite well and the majority of which go absolutely nowhere. It's rather unfortunate that there are often some very good projects which slip through the cracks and don't seem to get much attention and I'd just like to draw a bit of focus towards one at the moment if there are any artists out there who may be able to contribute:

Cryptex of Time
Cryptex of Time screenshots
Click for larger...

Cryptex of Time is a casual puzzle game under development by one of our long-time but not overly well known users AJirenius and intended to be published via online portals. He's actually got the game to a completed state except for some graphics and audio assets and is currently looking for help with finishing it off, and apparently already has some interest from at least one publisher.

In spite of the advanced stage of development, relative ease of the work required, near guarantee of project completion and the fact that he's willing to negotiate some compensation for work done he has unfortunately not yet recieved any (well... only one composer) interest from people who may be able to help.

If you are or know of anyone who may be able to help out, please take a look at or pass on his Help Wanted thread.

Honourable mentions for interesting Help Wanted thread also currently go to:
Are Fell; oldschool RPG looking to fill various positions
and 1944 D-Day; WWII sim seeking gameplay programmers and other roles.

Splish Splosh Splash

I'm sure you're all familiar with splash screens in games by now. I mean the full-screen animated things that display company logos. I don't believe splash screen isn't really the correct term for these, but it seems to be what they're commonly known as these days and I'm sure you're all aware of what I'm talking about. For anyone still confused, and for purposes of illustration a few examples are in order. The following are screenshots taken from the splashscreens of Activision, Westwood Studios and EA respectively (thankfully for me I don't seem to own any games new enough to get a capture of the now infamous "challenge everything"):
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

...and the following are three seperate frames captured from the splash screen of Raven:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Now, personally I think that the Raven splash screen (captured from my copy of Quake 4 btw) is actually pretty cool, and I'll admit I've let it play a few times. How many times have you put in your favorite game and simply pressed escape, or space, or whatever key happens to skip one of these splash screens though? How many times have you actually watched one of these splash screens? I think you'll find that apart from perhaps the first time you rarely watch the splash screens; you want to get to the action (never mind the fact that you'll still have to navigate a menu before you can get to the gameplay!) and the splash screens - sometimes in groups of up to 3 or 4 - are slowing you down, wasting your time.

Worse still are games where you can't skip the splash, and are sometimes also subjected to an intro movie (it was cool the first time...). I'm sure every avid gamer has some amount of hatred for the EA games' "create everything" splash, and keeping gamers from getting to the gameplay isn't really a great idea. There is however a method to the madness of these big studios and publishers; they're building brand loyalty. You'll remember most of the annoying splash screens, and that might help generate sales in future; in theory you'll remember the excellent games you've played before and be more inclined to purchase (or at least consider) future titles by the same companies.

"So, what's your point?"

I'm glad you asked. My point is that your indie or hobbiest game need not inflict players with this same annoyance. I see a lot of people including a splash screen just because it's what all thier favorite games do; you don't need to. If you do include any sort of cinematic, make it skippable. You aren't a big studio, you don't need to stoop to these marketting tactics.

Still want to display a logo somewhere and build some brand loyalty? Here's a not-so-secret: The player will look at the menu screen every time they load up your game. Put a logo on there somewhere if you must, and earn points from your players by not stopping them from getting to the action.

Anyways, just a little rant, hope someone finds it interesting. [wink]

By the way, check out Primal Damage, by mcguile25. The website isn't very impressive yet, but it looks like it'll be a cool game - he's been posting about it in his journal, and now he's also looking for help (2d/3d artists, web design).



Among other projects, I've been working on some custom forum software. I'm aware that there are plenty of existing packages out there I could potentially use, but I don't like any of them, so I'm trying to write something following a few guidelines:
- The content comes first
- No 'feature bloat'; if I don't need it it shouldn't be there
- Validating XHTML/CSS that works reliably on major browsers
- Avoid tables for layout if possible
- Clean markup and code
- Must load quickly, even (especially?) on slow connections

Anyways, more on that at a later stage I'm sure. For now, in order to take a bit of a break from it but still spend time working on something that will contribute, I've started creating a small set of basic emoticons to be used with it. I only want a few (about 10) covering what is commonly used in line with my 'no bloat' guideline and so as not to detract from actual content, and my art isn't great, but thus far I have:
:) :( :| :D ;)

I've managed to get the filesizes nice and small, and I think I've got them looking pretty decent, if pretty basic. I've also done some of them in green, but I think I prefer the blue, and it'll certainly fit into the intended site design better unless things change.

Check out Lugaru, by Wolfire Software. They're currently looking for programmers to help with a sequel!

First entry


...figured I may as well start posting in this thing sometimes. Updates will be non-regular, and will cover a range of topics, including my projects, non-GD related projects, and the occasional rant. I'll also likely take some time to pimp some of the more interesting projects currently going on in Help Wanted.

For now I shall leave you with this suitably mysterious picture:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
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