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      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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DirectX Graphics Debugging

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Alex Hopkins

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I once had to write a DirectX "scene" for a module at University. Back then, I wasn't aware of graphics debugging tools such as PIX or nSight. They are amazing! They allow you to capture a frame of your application and examine every tiny detail of the graphics pipeline.

You can see all of the DirectX calls and the render targets as they existed at each point in time. You can click on a single pixel and they can tell you which draw calls affected that pixel and how. Stepping through the shaders (black magic) allowed you to visually see the effects of the shader code and verify them with the output in the render targets. Contents of Vertex and Index buffers are easily displayed and even viewed in 3D preview.

So now, it's 2012 and Microsoft has caught up and released a suite of graphics debugging tools in their newest Visual Studio (11 / 2012). Having access to every little piece of the puzzle means people are able to diagnose bugs more quickly and in my experience, the graphical bugs are some of the hardest to understand.

Currently, nSight doesn't work with Visual Studio 2012. I wonder if they are going to update it or if they feel it's a fruitless endeavour, given Microsoft's new found efforts in this area.

DX11View.PNG

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