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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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arthurviolence

Retrieving Usage Statistics

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Hello guys!

I am developing an action RPG, and I like to post some gameplay test versions here in gd.net. But its been a long time since I posted one of those.

 

I have been thinking about including usage statistics that I could retrieve with user consent, but I'm not sure about how to go about doing that. If I should include a feature ingame that people would click to send me the stats file? (which includes just game related things, enemies killed, time played, highest level achieved, etc)

 

Should I just ask people to send me the file? I'm not sure. I'm not really into including this on the final version, just in test versions, so I wouldnt actually be doing something people wouldnt expect.

 

Do you guys have any suggestions on this kind of stuff? I just want to know how people interact with the game in these cases.

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If it's a single-player RPG, yes, you should always ask confirmation before sending information which contains user data (even if it is anonymous). One possible option is having a checkbox in your settings menu along the lines of "collect anonymous gameplay statistics" or something, with a helpful tooltip on mouse hover. It should preferably be unchecked by default. The checkbox needs to be visible or nobody will see it. If at all possible, find a way to display it on first launch when the player is configuring his settings, so that he is at least aware of the existence of this feature (and as such won't be surprised if the firewall informs them your game wants to use the internet).

 

Once the checkbox is ticked, the game should collect the statistics it needs, and send them whenever it deems appropriate (e.g. after each level, upon closing the game, etc..). If the player unticks the checkbox at any point, all unsent collected data should be erased. A "send" button is not good. People expect this to be automated, and nobody is going to take the time to find the file and send it to you (they will be too busy playing!). The obvious way of doing this is to just send the data to your server. If you have no server, sending an automated email from within the game would work too.

 

Also, do not continually nag the player about enabling statistics collection, and do not offer special advantages (premium level packs, gold membership subscriptions, beta access codes and so on) to players who enable it. That was a joke, obviously wink.png

 

At least that's how I would like things to be, and seems to be the safest option from a legal and ethical standpoint.

 

----

 

An exception is if you are explicitly targeting video game testers, in which case ignore all the above and your method is fine. In general, testers need to write a (more or less formal) report as part of their work anyway so asking them to attach their gameplay statistics is not really an issue.

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Thats a really really good answer, gave me some ideas that didn't cross my mind. This is not for real testers, but for friends and people I may ask to give it a try, as I intend to have real testing sessions with report and filming reactions and that kind of stuff.

 

I'm really thankfull for that reply!

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