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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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Observational gallimaufry

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Observation One: NDAs make for boring journals
I originally planned to start this journal to record, y'know, game development and such. So last night I was thinking about why I have yet to actually post much about, y'know, me developing games. Today it finally dawned on me: I never post anything here, because all of the interesting stuff I work in is covered by a few really tight NDAs.

I really don't know why that never occurred to me before, but now it has. I'll see if I can pull some strings and get some NDA-slack to talk about some of the less sensitive programming and other work that I do.

Observation Two: The "Helldesk" is Aptly Named
So the tech support/IT/helpdesk guy is off this week for maternity leave (just to clarify, his wife actually had the baby, not him). That leaves me as the only person in the office who isn't management and is here often enough to answer the phones. To their (somewhat marginal) credit, the management does answer a few calls while I go and stretch my lunch hour out as much as I can, but it's still mainly my curse to bear.

Observation Three: Office politics are The Suck
This is only annoying because helldesk duty tends to fall to me pretty much all the time for various reasons these days, and I'm already under a lot of fire for being "behind" on my current project. Now, for some perspective, my project team consists of me. The schedule was written up in ten minutes on a whiteboard by the management - without consulting me. So in essence I've got a set of totally random dates and a bunch of deliverables that are due on each of those dates. Suffice it to say that the schedule is in no way possible, and I get to hear about it. A lot. I've attempted repeatedly to explain that the schedule was too incredibly arbitrary and contrived to even be remotely meaningful, and that in light of the major rewrite that I'd been telling the management I needed to do for the last four months, the final deadline really should have been about six weeks later than it was. Apparently this is "understood" but not really processed by said management, as we have yet to actually revise the schedule in any way. I'm currently working on tasks for an interim "beta" release that was due four days ago.

Or at least, I would be if I could get a solid ten minutes without having to answer the phone.

Observation Four: The C2.com wiki is hazardous to your health
About the only thing that's kept me sane is idly browsing the C2.com wiki while listening to inane questions. Unfortunately there's just far too much good stuff on there, and naturally I'd much rather read it than explain for the dozenth time to someone what a serial number is for.

Observation Five: Knowledge organization and retrieval is an unsolved problem
The Wiki concept is really cool, but it lacks something that I personally wish for on a daily basis: a reliable, high-level overview. I'm a sucker for hierarchies and trees and nested lists and all that good stuff, and Wiki is not really designed for that. I'm sure that some kind of metadata engine could be tacked on to make the Wiki thing much more accessible at a high level, but somehow I suspect that wouldn't work nicely.

The keywords concept is nice if you know the right keywords. If you don't, you get NamelessConcept syndrome, which is a pain in the posterior.

And of course the existing hierarchical trees of knowledge organization just plain suck (witness exhibit A, the Yahoo Directory).

I'm thinking there has to be a better way, but I can't think too much about what it might be, because I have to think about explaining serial numbers.

Observation Six: Sleep is weird (redux)
My sleeping patterns are now totally borked. I'm fine during most of the daylight hours, but I seem to be on some kind of aharmonic, chaotic pattern where I'll randomly either be wide awake all night or fall asleep at 7 PM. Sometimes both will occur in a single night. It's very surreal but kind of entertaining at the same time.

Observation Seven: "Redux" is a weird word
There's something about that word which bugs me. At one time I took a half-serious oath never to use it in conversation or writing, but I'm a soulless bastard so I just did. Twice.

I'm gonna burn for sure.

Observation Eight: I HATE SERIAL NUMBERS
In case it wasn't already plain.

Observation Nine: Programming expands your vocabulary
Case in point: I learned the word "gallimaufry" from Dan Appleman. I think I still have his Guide to the Windows API for Visual Basic Programmers laying around someplace.

Observation Ten: I've made a lot of dumb observations here
That one should be self-explanatory. The writing of this collection of inanity has been continually interrupted by additional opportunities to explain serial numbers. Again.

Observation Eleven: I write long and primarily pointless journal entries
Again, self-explanatory. Are you bored yet?

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