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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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Cleaning Stuff Up

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Well, I found a reasonable service that would haul off my car and get me a tax-deductible charity donation receipt for it. So I don't get any outright cash, but I will get a writeup worth, at the absolute least $150, and likely substantially more. I get to find out the actual value once the car is auctioned off; apparently the tax law goes that I can deduct market value for the car, or some such. That'll be a relief, especially since I'm technically self-employed now, and tax writeoffs are welcome in any form.

I've also been doing a lot of cleaning and reorganizing around my flat. It's very refreshing to actually have the energy and motivation to do that kind of stuff, since I very rarely did during the Evil Day Job.

Cleaning up seems to be Theme of the Week in my life. In preparation for Projects Future, we've been doing a massive code analysis and refactoring process. The first phase of this is a dead code hunt; during the hectic crunch mode on the X3 project, a lot of code got shuffled around, orphaned, etc. So I'll be taking care of cutting out excess junk, as well as updating any code that relies on deprecated methods.

After that is a hefty physical architecture change, moving files into new directories, splitting modules into more finely-grained and aptly-named files, and so on. Once that is done we'll be doing actual refactoring to group together some bits of logic thhat are currently spread out across several modules, as well as eliminating some redundant routines and building a few centralized libraries to replace a lot of special-case hard code. A few previously hard-coded things will be converted to a more data-driven design as well, which will be immensely helpful in the balancing phases of Projects Future.

One of the most promising things that has happened is the adoption of some good project management and documentation tools. We've started using a pair of packages from Atlassian: JIRA for task tracking, and Confluence (a WIKI package) for doing broader documentation and specifications. Both are fairly nice; they won't dethrone massive teamware that already exists, but they cost a heck of a lot less, which makes them more than worth it. So far both tools have been perfectly adequate for what we need, and customizable enough that we can adapt them to our own methods. JIRA has already paid for itself just by virtue of the ability to see, at a glance, what works is being done and by whom. It'll probably be a while before we have any considerable amount of content in the Confluence wiki, but it's shaping up to be worth its (digital) weight in gold, too.

Atlassian's products seem to have one niggling little oversight: they require a lot of clicking to get around. On a high-speed server, though, that's not that big of a deal, and the ability to batch-manipulate tasks mitigates that problem quite nicely. There's a few things that could be done better, but the price is most definitely right. Considering what these tools replace (a nasty hacked amalgam of forums, email newsgroups, and tiny custom ASP scripts) it's a huge step upwards.

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