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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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To Watch a Machine Churn...

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We're software engineers. We observe the world around us and try to simulate it via coding. That's what we do (some for a living, and others like myself for a hobby). It's a challenge to make incredibly innovative, yet intuitive software. If we designed software as stylish as "raining code" like what is depicted in The Matrix films, we'd probably get a ton of feedback from users telling us how impractical it is. Sometimes, we can "see" it all in the code, but we can't forget that we still have to abstract it enough so that it becomes as "real-worldly" as possible. That means we have to base our software design on the world around us.

This reminds me of a feature implementation where a user suggests to have the arrow keys on a keyboard mapped backwards. For example, the user wants the right arrow to move an object left, and vice versa. For the sake of practicality, it doesn't make sense, does it? If you were driving a car, an incredibly practical process, would you want the car to swerve left when you turned the steering wheel right (when driving forward)? This is an example of observing and implementing real-world practicality.

So when I'm developing my version of what seems to be the ubiquitous hobbyist's 2D game engine, I'm going to think in terms of animation. I could think on the level of physics and box collision and a tiny plumber that bounces off mean-faced mushrooms, but that's another level of design concepts. Firstly, I don't want my engine to be physics-based because I'm not creating a simulator. And lastly, I could try to copy what's been done by Nintendo with their Mario games for a learning practice, but then I'd be wasting time developing their gimmicks rather than building a solid, efficient core for my engine. So what I want is a solid animation engine.

In animation, you take an image painted on a transparent cel and overlay that onto a pre-painted background. You take a picture of that and put the next cel onto the background. You repeat this process for countless frames until you get the illusion of movement, or animation. So, at it's most basic, that's what a game engine should be seen as. Except, you throw in the interactivity. Otherwise, duh, it's just a movie. Das why it's called an "interactive video game", Paw!

Imagine watching an industrial machine run. What if you wanted to simulate that process in a quick program? Let's say you have a pulsating yearning to write up a sticker labeler simulator. I suppose the size of the stickers don't matter. But where they're stuck onto does matter. You don't need to know what kind of adhesive it uses, nor the ink printed on it. All you need to know is the sticker goes onto whatever object it goes onto.

Finally, you're at the helm of the control box. You can control where the stickers go. And production wants all 3,000 products labeled... FAST. If everything goes correctly, the machine should give the appearance of absolute competence. If not, I suppose a movie of the machine running could be edited to make it seem sensationally competent and the most interaction you'll have with it is twiddling your thumbs.

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