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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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Weekly Update #11

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We'll start off with Mikeyo's video:

Youtube Link

I apologize for the absence, Mike has been out of town and I haven't had much to report other than disasters.

I keep all of the game assets on an external drive that is connected to my development server; this makes them easily accessible from anywhere. However, I had an issue the week before last with files disappearing momentarily, most notably video and audio files (mainly because I use those for an extended period of time.) I've backed everything up, but I'm not sure how to move forward as neither the server nor the drive seem to have any issues. I was thinking it was a connector issue, but I had no issues with it connected directly to my laptop; now I'm thinking it may be a network issue.

Then this last week I spent most of my time over at my mother's house due to an infestation of yellow jackets. We're back home now and it is mostly dealt with (I hope), but I didn't get much done as I was running back and forth between my house, my parents' and the store.

This last weekend was not much better. I spent most of my time trying to track down an error that was being caused by MonoGame. Basically every now and then the game just won't run, it throws an error about failing to find the entry point for one of the opengl DLLs. This is just one of a long list of issues I've had with the library, so I'm moving away from it; playing around with SFML at the moment to see how well that works. I originally chose MonoGame as I wanted easy cross platform, but the cost to develop using C# on Android is just getting to high at this point ($1000USD per year, per platform, per developer just so that I can use it with Visual Studio? No thanks.) This is another reason I'm looking at SFML, they have bindings for C# and Java, so it should be easy enough to have two separate builds. We're having a meeting today to discuss the alternatives though.

Top Down Shooter Engine


I was able to get the TDS engine I created for LD27 converted over to MonoGame (from XNA) and got it updated to use our core libraries. This was pretty painless; I've written the code a lot of times, but it changes each time and it is usually just enough to make it a PITA when I try to convert it. There is still a ton of features that it needs, but it is a pretty good starting point. The first thing I'm going to work on is adding thinner walls and collision detection that will work with that.

Seeking Imagination Battle Arena


I fell behind on development for SIBA because I was trying to make the two engines the same since SIBA is supposed to be the prototype for Seeking Imagination. As you can imagine, this doesn't work very well. While they both have the same core mechanics, the engines themselves are very much different - SI is a singleplayer action RPG, SIBA is a multiplayer action arcade game (with RPG elements); SI has saving and loading, SIBA does not; etc. So, going forward I am focusing on SIBA and once I'm done I'll fork the code and alter it for SI.

I did manage to get melee combat in; I need to update the code so that it (and activation) takes the player's facing into consideration. Once I have some AI brains completed I'll post a video showing off the combat.

Lastly, I completed the implementation of a new feature - item instancing. We added this as we want to allow customization of items (think enchanting or sockets.)

Game Jolt Integration


I've mentioned Game Jolt before, but I haven't really been using it. Back in February I created an open source API on CodePlex (gamejolt.codeplex.com) and I've now completely integrated it with our base library. The API provides simple solutions for game news (new DLC, kickstarter, etc) and cloud saves at the moment, if I think of anything else I will be adding them as I go. Here is a screenshot of the login screen and trophy screen running in Young Minds Memory Game:
GameJoltLogin.pngGameJoltTrophies.png

Obviously the project will be changing shortly, depending on which library we decide to go with.

Indie Spotlight


We chose our first Indie Spotlight entry - Steam Marines. You can find out more information about the game on our spotlight page. It's a great game and I highly recommend checking it out.

We have chosen the game for our second Indie Spotlight, but we plan on continuing to do them, so if you'd like to be featured on our front page, our Facebook, our Indie Spotlight page, our weekly update video and have a permanent project page on our website then let me know. It doesn't have to be a specific platform (though we are limited to recording Windows only at the moment) nor does it have to be free. We'll also update the page whenever you'd like; so if you add DLC/expansion packs, start a Kickstarter, etc you can just send us an email and we'll help spread the word.

Facebook Contest


Our Facebook contest is still going on (facebook.com/bealssoftware); we're just 15 likes away from our first drawing. So let your friends know to get in now for the best chance to win. You can find the rules in this Facebook post.

I've rambled on enough today; if I missed anything I'll cover it in next week's post. Thanks for stopping in and have a great day!

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