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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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Lunch break review - Early July

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kseh

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Four reviews of flash games that I've played on my lunch hour the past couple weeks. Not a lot else going on lately. please enjoy.

Feel free to visit my website for old reviews.

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[size="5"]Death House
By: Pitergames
Played 2011-07-08 on addictinggames.com
[sup]K. Helfenstein - 2011-07-08[/sup]

This is game is kinda dark. Or maybe I haven't played enough shooting games lately. The idea here is to kill a certain number of "puppets" (which look a lot like people) through the use of the various tools, mechanisms, and hazards provided in each level. Frequently this is achieved by herding the puppets towards their fate through fear. I get a bit of a hint of physics engine running in the background to add to the gameplay but it doesn't really seem to be as much of a predominant feature as in other games. Like it's there more to compliment what's going on in the level rather than to be what drives the level.

Will I play it again?
Yes, I plan on finishing it. It could just be that I'm in the mood for something "dark" today but it hooked me. I was pretty skeptical about this game at all at first. The description didn't really draw me in much and as I watched the intro sequence I was already planning to switch to something else if I didn't get a good impression within the first 3 seconds. It didn't take long to figure out how to play the game and it didn't take long for it to show me what to expect. Now that I think of it, maybe I gave the game a chance because I wasn't subjected to a bunch of painfully slow and boring tutorial levels.

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[size="5"]DN8
By: GamingYourWay
Played 2011-07-06 on addictinggames.com
[sup]K. Helfenstein - 2011-07-06[/sup]

This is a bullet hell type of game which seems to take a bit to descend into hell. The basic idea is to destroy enemies as they appear on the screen while avoiding their flight and firing patterns. The enemy flight patterns are easily distinguishable as they are actually temporarily drawn on the screen before the enemies enter the screen. As the player progresses through the levels of the game, various ship upgrades are available. In some cases a choice between upgrades is presented. Once an upgrade is selected and its corresponding level is completed, the upgrade remains through the remainder of the levels.

Will I play it again?
Maybe, if I'm not distracted by something else. I wouldn't mind playing through it again taking the second available path and seeing if it's much different. It was a pretty good game once you got past the first few levels. I really didn't like that vertical movement wasn't allowed in the first level. It seems the author had intended to have a certain progression in ship advancement which works nicely in later levels but I think he might have been reaching for ideas for the start of the game. And since there's this restricted movement level, I think that it made the descent into bullet hell a little slower than was needed.

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[size="5"]Dominion
By: Raccoon Games
Played 2011-06-30 on addictinggames.com
[sup]K. Helfenstein - 2011-06-30[/sup]

This is a defend the castle sort of game. A number of bad guys make their way across the screen towards the castle on the right. The player is given a mage, that stands on the ramparts of the castle, to defend against the onslaught using bolts of magic and the occasional spell. Money is earned by killing enemies which can be used to purchase magic upgrades and a couple of archers to aid in the mage's castle defense.

Will I play it again?
No. The first couple levels weren't bad. The number of enemies increased and got tougher and it felt like the threat was getting bigger. Then the third type of enemy made an appearance as a single unit and, by the end of that level, my castle had taken a fair bit of damage. When the next level began, I finally noticed that castle damage wasn't automatically restored every level. There wasn't any way to restore damage between levels so I was stuck.

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[size="5"]And Everything Started to Fall
By: MoFunZone
Played 2011-06-29 on addictinggames.com
[sup]K. Helfenstein - 2011-06-29[/sup]

This one was interesting. A pretty standard sort of platformer sort of thing. Run, jump, and climb the platforms (even swim in a couple spots) as the platforms descend from the top. Try to keep up and occasionally get ahead so that you're ready for the obstacles that are forthcoming. It's pretty clear that the author's intent wasn't to provide amazing gameplay as much as it was to pack in various metaphors for life as the game takes the player from cradle to grave.

Will I play it again? (may contain spoilers)
No, but I don't think it's meant to be played over and over. It seems to have aimed more towards the "games as art" direction rather than the standard "games as diversion". This of course means that everyone's take on this game would probably be different and could also be affected by preconceived notions on what to expect. So, you may want to try the game (it takes about 5 minutes) before reading the spoiler stuff.

[spoiler]It seems to me that just about anything negative that I could think for this game could be turned into some metaphor for life. It's too fast, I want to explore more, I didn't have time to see what went by, this direction I took seems harder than the other direction looks. Pretty much anything could yield the comment, "well yeah, that's life." It makes me wonder a bit whether it was something that the author had realized and planned going in or if he realized it at all and it's just something I'm hoping is there by design. If I'm reading more into it than what the author had intended, then so be it. But even if it wasn't intended, I did find the mental exploration of the game's metaphoric elements enjoyable and stimulating.

Personally, I'm more likely to call a game a fine piece of craftsmanship rather than a piece of art. But given the simplicity of this game and the thought provoking metaphors, I will have to go out on a limb here and say that this game qualifies as an example of artwork.[/spoiler]

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