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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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Lens Flares, Stars, and Pretty Mode

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[Edit : I would have IOTD'd this - but it refuses to let me add one, saying I don't have permission - maybe a bug on the site guys?]

I've been plugging away at Dominion quietly in the background, whenever I can, in order to sort out the trailer we'll be doing for the new pitch.

One of the (many) visual issues I have been facing with using "prototype" work to produce the "Production Ready" trailers which seem to be a requirement for Kickstarter these days, has been the naff textured sphere I've had for the local star in each system.

This video shows the work in progress - and I have to say I'm pretty chuffed with the results, but not just because of "self-promotion", but because of the work of others. Feel free to take a look, and then I'll explain...


Two important elements were required to improve the visuals for Dominion for that clip ;

1) Decent model assets
2) A decent and not-stupid-ott lens flare

Lens Flares are my pet-hate, I tend to side with realism - and having a camera-lens-less space ship blurting lens-flares all over the shop gives me the jeebies. However, I have to admit that one is pretty effective, and means Dominion's "Pretty Mode" will be that much prettier!

A hunt around 'tinternet led me to Michal Belanec's great tutorial on the subject. This guy has done a load of great tutorials, and deserves recognition for his efforts. I loved his lens flare technique - it's understated, effective, and powerful. So I emailed him, and asked if I could license it.

He agreed, and some short work later - I got it integrated into the engine. Having guys like Michal about who volunteer their work for public use is vital for the Indie scene. So I salute you Michal, and all the others who willingly stump up tutorials on anything and everything.

But of course, that's not all... I needed assets, game ready and high quality... having scoured TurboSquid and hoovered up all the free stuff I could find, and finding that whilst it was great, and better yet for being free - they were either too high poly, or untextured, or turned into polygon soup on export... then I came across 3DRT.

I liked their stuff so much, I bought it smile.png And they do a whole raft-load of assets, rigged, animated across the board - these guys really are superb value for money for pretty much any kind of game you're planning to take on. I strongly recommend them - aside from a few typical Max related node positioning issues - all the space craft and stations exported into my engine without a problem.

So, thanks to the sterling efforts of others, our trailer is complete - and Dominion is beginning to look a lot more like a substantial, quality game - IMHO at least ;)

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