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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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Oops, Crap. Copyright.

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Prinz Eugn


Sorry it's been over a month, but I had to make the choice between writing about working on the sprite pack, or actually working on it. I chose the latter for the most part, and playing Halo: Reach.


FAQ Through the Heart

So there I was, minding my own goddamn business wandering around on the internet at work, checking the gamedev.net forums when I started reading up on legal issues. I kind of like those threads where a new poster comes in and wants to make a sequel to an already extant IP, and they don't want to believe the fact that copyright law is basically a sword of Damocles hanging over their project.

Well in one of those threads (don't remember which one exactly), I clicked my merry way to Tom Sloper's website (one of the moderators here) which has an extensive FAQ about game development, including this entry, which has this gem:

Q:I want to depict a specific car or airplane or handgun, and I don't wanna deal with asking permission. Should be OK, right?

A: Better ask permission, or make your car or airplane or handgun look different from the actual one. A lot of manufacturers have taken to enforcing their IP rights recently, with model kit manufacturers and video game makers. License it or change it.

Ooooohh shit. I remember thinking about that once, probably the last summer when I was working on this sprite pack, but obviously completely forgot about it. I remember quite clearly that Tom Clancy's HAWX had the approval of all the aircraft manufactures since their logos were plastered all over the intro screen (which was actually pretty neat for an airplane nerd for me), so there's a very obvious precedent I can't really ignore. Plus there's the fact that I can't really just ask for permission because each person that tries to release a game containing the sprites will also have to get permission. Having end users other than myself also adds the complication that they might use the sprites for some unsavory game the original IP holders might not appreciate like "Super Orphanage Napalmer 64". So once again: Shit.

Okay, Now What?

Luckily it's not too bad since a significant proportion of my designs are completely original, like my signature "Fighter Jet Montage" here:
Montage 22.png

Only the F-22, F-35, F-15, Su-37K, and Su-49 (real-life T-50) are actual, but all are fictional variants and altered somewhat to significantly from the real-work counterparts. I think the path forward is to rename them within sprite pack, and change the real-world aircraft more than most of the ones seen above.

The side view sprites are going to be a little more difficult since the long-lost point of that project was to make a game with actual airplanes from every era after Korea.

For example, the following new sprite LOOKS SUSPICIOUSLY LIKE BUT TOTALLY IS NOT an F-16 right now. That's a problem.


By basically moving things a row of pixels down or up, I came up with this:


I think this one is satisfactorily different, and might be even a little overboard (although that might be the airplane pro within me saying that), to avoid copyright issues with any company named vaguely like Blockeed Fartin. Although now I have to do this with every real-world aircraft in my collection... oh well. By the way, you might have noticed that the Not-Fighting Falcons above are significantly more boring that the jets in the full montage. That's because I draw the base art in MS Paint to get the pixely-feel (gray being the easiest color to gradient), and then make color alterations (including camouflage versions) and other random polishing within Photoshop. I'm sure the dudes at pixeljoint would be super pissed if they found out, but whatever. I actually wrote a draft of a detailed explanation of my process, so look forward to that in the next entry.

Let me know what you guys think about how close or how far I should go to the original aircraft, especially since I'm so close to the issue (ie, have these jets ingrained in my subconscious).

Thanks for reading!

-Mark S

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That's a good point, but I'm still kind of concerned since in the example above I was literally working off of a template of the real thing, trying to make it as accurate as possible given the limitations of resolution. I doubt I would actually get sued in any case but I want to avoid trouble for me and people down the road using them.

EDIT: missed your link earlier somehow. That's fairly reassuring.

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