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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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  1. I am having trouble picturing what the player experience might be in a fractal environment. It is possible you write out a 30 second player experience of what the player might do and how. Also the fractal pattern might making it hard to puzzles and level design. Do you think that this would cause major issues for development of this game? How could you work around these issues. Also to make fractal puzzle in theory you could keep going up or down magnitude's for infinite [quote name='jefferytitan' timestamp='1330900358' post='4919281'] I'm thinking it would also be a way to avoid enemies you can't beat. Based on the smaller-things-go-faster philosophy, if you go down one magnitude they would be huge and slow, a second magnitude and they would be a static part of the landscape. You could even climb on them. Plus at smaller levels it would open up a more jumpy platformy way of playing. [/quote] This sounds awesome, could you draw out a puzzle of how this could work because that will be the hardest part. Especially with the fractal patterns. I would like to have a skype call with anyone interested in talking about the designs that have been laid out here. Please let me know when we can schedule a meeting.
  2. Great post! (O nose the spelling police, please i didn't mean to it was an honest mistake. I will do better I swear. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img] ) [quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1330832773' post='4919076'] In truth it truly comes down to the fact that I see the "fun" of the game arising purely from the actual gameplay of combat. The constant striving to outdo the opponent, whilst trying to survive their attacks. A game of chasing after each other whilst also running from each other. Executing a pure transition into a different element flatfooting the opponent or attacking across elements thus effectively catching them unawares. I want the elation to be from the ability to defeat my foe from having done a particularly clever set of transitions or feel the crushing disappointment of being defeated mercilessly by the opponent outplaying me forcing me to go back to the drawing board and rethink a stratagem or tactic. [/quote] Awesome, Now I think that you defined that the main player experience or fun of the game is going to be combat, and not just combat but intense competitive combat. (please correct me if I am wrong!) With that we can build our mission statement and design pillars to support that. Now I am not sure if the mission statement should be more focused on "creative use of different shapes for battle" or something more focused on "rapid shape shifting combat".(these are just examples) I do feel that the missions statement should make reference to shape shifting and battle. What do you think the mission statement should be? Once we have the mission statement we can build or pillar and begin to organize everything into a design doc. I would like to have a Skype conversion at some point in the future. To discuss this further.
  3. I am currently traveling so my questions will be shorter today. Stormynature your posted reminded me of this [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KISS_principle"]http://en.wikipedia..../KISS_principle[/url] If you haven't heard of K.I.S.S I strongly recommend reading it. Overall you guys have expended on the design and thus I have a much clearer idea of what your games are about but you guys didn't really answer why something is fun or why you made that chose for your design. Try to answer the why of something. Now onto questions. .[quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1330698447' post='4918599'] . Battle is an arena setup. Two opponents fight till one is defeated. Arena area is large but not extreme and includes sufficient air space for aerial combat shapes and a sufficiently large enough body of water for water shapes. One design idea is to shape the arena into a giant sphere. The internal bottom half being water, the top half being air, and a platform level at midsphere level. The shape shifting aspect is to provide access to different tactical options so as to gain advantage over the opponent. For example Grey Cube turns into a strong melee combat shape, in response Beige Cube shifts into an Aerial shape with a distance attack. Grey cube responds by dropping into water and altering to a water shape thus avoiding the attack. Beige cube chases Grey cube into the water with a new water shape only to be met with an ambush by Grey cube. This is extremely poorly written combat I might point out.. [/quote] This helps a huge amount I have a much better idea of what your design is about and how and what gameplay is about. Why do we have different levels(air ground water) i like the idea and you mention that is allows for tatical choices. [u]Why [/u]is that fun. In a way you have already offered an explanation but i would like you to drill deeper into that. (in theory you could do all the same things on a level surface and it would still have the same mechanics what does having those different levels really offer. ) What I really want is to clearly identify what is fun and start to build a pillar based on that ( is it the changing of levels in the arena, the combat between you and your opponent etc, find what is the fun part of it and clearly define that once that is done. Then we will start to compare our choices against that to move forward.) Thanks for the references it can really help give us a clear vision of the game. [quote name='PolarEnigma' timestamp='1330752675' post='4918789'] The answer, then, to the question of whether enemies would be part of the platforming experience, is If the player has the desire and/or the ability to use them in a resourceful manner. You can kill every enemy that is in your power to kill, and sometimes this can be the best way, or you can use your enemies to your advantage and bypass them using movement options. It is all up to the player. I would find this to be fun because I would have a choice in how I approached a Thanks for the references it can really help give us a clear vision of the game. situation. I wouldn't have to do any one thing, I wouldn't be restricted to one solution. I could use my ingenuity, my skill, and my imagination to overcome the game's obstacles. [/quote] What does platforming mean to you? How would you define it? You say that if the player has the desire/ ability it is platforming but if they don't it isn't. What is it then? [quote name='PolarEnigma' timestamp='1330752675' post='4918789'] Some enemy types are fast and small, taking few hits but coming in larger numbers [/quote] What does having small fast enemies that take a few hits and come in large number do for the player experience. Why is that fun? What wouldn't be fun about that. You mention many weapons what purpose does each one serve. Why have so many? What does it offer the player experiences? Is there any downside to having so many weapons? What is the core of the game about. At this point I am not 100% what the core of the game is( platforming, shooting, resource management, explorations, story) I really want you to try and give me a small statement about what you want the core of the game about.(This can change over time and isn't a final THIS IS WHAT THE GAME IS ABOUT!) At this point i am not really sure because we have so many different mechanics and facets of the game. This is good because we have lots to work with but I want to really nail down the core of the game before we keep adding in features. What games inspire this or are like the vision of the game you see. Sorry for my brief questions. ( I am sick and traveling on the road right now) Awesome work regardless.
  4. Okay some questions for each design so far. First, [quote name='jefferytitan' timestamp='1330655084' post='4918463'] Okay, I'll bite. The player is a grey cube that can move around and jump in a 2D or 3D maze. The player also has keys to resize themselves one magnitude larger or smaller. The maze is fractal, so there are paths and enemies (grey cubes) at all magnitude levels smaller than the beginning size. When you're bigger you can stomp enemies and travel quickly, when you're smaller you can squeeze through tiny gaps in the walls. Preferably it is not possible to complete the maze using one size only. [/quote] I like the idea, it is original and fresh, it offers some very fun puzzle designs. Some questions. Is fractal mazes completely necessary to this design, or is it feature that would be really enjoyable? If so why is it necessary and what does it enhance about the game play? As opposed to just having level's designed out. As well it seems that being the largest size would be the best options at all times, what reason other then to fit through small holes is there to change size? And finally what elements of this game are fun? Or rather what mechanics make the game fun? ( I can already see that changing size to solves puzzles is a really unique concept for level and puzzle design. Why are the enemies fun or rather what do the enemies offer to the player in terms of challenge and why is that fun. The goal of this is to isolate individual mechanics and analyze why they are fun not because this will ultimately the overall gameplay.) Second, [quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1330658223' post='4918478'] The player is a grey cube that can change to different shaped grey cubes. The enemy is also a grey cube thay change to different grey cubes. Each shape of grey cube has strengths over some grey cube shapes and weaknesses against other grey cube shapes. Grey cubes have a large array of shapes they can choose but a limited array is chosen between each battle. [/quote] I like the idea, it seems to promote tactical thinking about what shapes that you bring into battle. What range of shapes are there? How does battle happen? What does the player do in battle? What is fun about battle? (maybe run thru a mock battle of what it might be like, just so i have a better understanding of what battle is) How many shapes can you bring into battle? What is fun about having different shapes battling different shapes? What is fun about having a limited amount of shapes you can bring into battle? Thirdly, [quote name='PolarEnigma' timestamp='1330658785' post='4918480'] This one's 2D, side-scrolling, with [i]minor[/i] platforming. The player assumes the role of a grey cube, with an assortment of different weapons. The player picks up key grey cubes and uses them to solve logical puzzles, and receives storyline information by grey cubes that they recover from around the levels. Sometimes the player has to jump over small chasms, swim through flooded areas, navigate dark rooms by grey cube, or repair grey cubes with items found in about the level. There are numerous types of enemies, some quick and weak, some strong and slow, some ranged, some melee, some a mix of everything. Balance between the ability and wisdom in fighting enemies (They are no longer in the room and thus it is safe to travel through) and the wisdom in avoiding them (conserve grey cubes, grey cubes, and grey cubes) is part of the scheme of the combat system. The player is capable of jumping over small enemies and, with proper timing, has the ability to perform a "juke" that will place them on the other side of larger enemies (the player can also vault over some foes if they stun it with their grey cube weapon). The player can jump higher and farther with momentum, and can slide with sufficient running speed, allowing them to bypass many types of enemies if they execute the maneuvers correctly. The player can recover their vitality slowly over time if they have [grey cubes] in stock, or can immediately heal with a [grey cube]. There are boss grey cubes that require tactics and logical thinking, as well as boss grey cubes that require reflexes and precision. There are many areas that the player is not required to go, but will be rewarded for doing so (though grey cubes, "ammunition" to use grey cubes, or plot grey cubes). It's up to the player if they want to experience the plot in its entirety or simply complete the levels. [/quote] Okay there is lots of different mechanics going on in this design. It sounds a little complicated but overall could be a fun rewarding experience. I have a few questions. It seems that the players grey cube has many movement type abilities that are focused moving past the enemies( sliding, momentum jumping and juking) thus making enemies part of the platforming experience? Does this make platforming a major part of the game? If so why? If not why? Why is that fun? What does it add to the game by having these abilities are they necessary? why? Sometimes the player has to jump over small chasms, swim through flooded areas, navigate dark rooms by grey cube, or repair grey cubes with items found in about the level. Why are these fun? Are all of them necessary? (if we remove one of them does the overall game suffer) Are some more important then others? If so why? Overall what do having these different area's or goals offer the player experience. Is receiving storyline information by grey cubes important to the game play itself ? Does it change how the player plays the game itself? Why or why not? It would appear that there is some sort of resource management in the form of Healing over time [grey cubes] and Full health [grey cubes] as well as Ammunition [grey cubes] and Plot [grey cubes]? ( correct me if i am wrong on the fact of resource management in the idea of different [grey cubes] that the player uses over time) Could you explain why each one is important to the game? Are some more important then others? Is it necessary to have all the different types [grey cubes] ? Why or why not? What aspect of the game suffers if we remove them? What do the different types of enemies do? What type of experience do they create for the player? Can the player kill the enemies or only just stun them? What do you mean by wisdom? ( I could take it to mean puzzle solving around enemies but i don't want to presume) You mention ammunition [grey cubes] for multiple weapon's what are these multiple weapons? What do they do? How does it change the game play experience? I think i asked you the most questions of anyone ( you wrote the most [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img] !) Don't feel overwhelmed if i am asking you to response more then you can handle but please choose one main mechanic that your game will be about and explain the choices for that mechanic. Ie What it is, and how it effects the game play. We really want to nail the core of the game and build around that. Finally, The goals that i am trying to find out with these questions: Mostly [u]why[/u] each choice was made and [u]how[/u] it will effect the game play experience. It is okay to not have an answer yet for all of these questions but these are important to design. Every choice we make as a designers must have a reason and a why to it. Also a lot of these questions are repetitive in an attempt to really drill down into the core of each mechanic. It is my belief that by starting with a strong core mechanic and building sequential mechanics around that, that the overall game will be stronger and we as designers will have a better vision of what the game is truly about. If anything i have asked is unclear please ask me to clarify . Also i can think of one answer for each of these questions. I hesitate to just jump in and tell you what i think and would prefer to draw it out of you so we can discuss the reasons why we are making these decisions. To give you a bit of heads up in the coming weeks of some of the things i might ask you about your design are the game design pillars of your designs and perhaps the mission statement of your design. see this link for the definition of pillars that i will be using. [url="http://technicalgamedesign.blogspot.com/2011/04/pillars.html"]http://technicalgame...04/pillars.html[/url] As well i will in the next few weeks i will want to talk about the aesthetics in each of these designs. Please read [url="http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/%7Ehunicke/MDA.pdf"]http://www.cs.northw...hunicke/MDA.pdf[/url] Please read specifically the part on aesthetics *note: their are actually nine aesthetics the ninth being competition. Thanks! You guys are doing great! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/laugh.png[/img] PS: Others please ask questions, but do it in a format that is critical asking why or how is awesome. We don't know exactly what the designers vision is and it is infinitely more valuable to understand the why and how of a designers choices rather then just telling them what you think. As we begin to understand others reasoning for their choices, it allowing us to asking more probing questions and possible undercover holes in the design, in which the designer will have to deal by iteration upon the design. Ultimately leading us to being better designers and creating better games.
  5. [quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1330584918' post='4918103'] Just so you know, you might not want to call it that [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img] [quote]Design by committee is a term referring to a style of design and its resultant output when a group of entities comes together to produce something, particularly in the presence of poor leadership. The defining characteristics of "design by committee" are needless complexity, internal inconsistency, logical flaws, banality, and the lack of a unifying vision.[/quote] [/quote] Well i guess hoping that we can leave our ego's and political view and other nonsense at the door and just focus on the art of design. I am an idealist what can i say! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif[/img]
  6. It is really good to see some interest! Plan of attack is to follow a typical development cycle starting with pre-production, build a prototype and being production in which we will use weekly sprints to follow our progress (we will use google doc's to follow the sprints). As well, i am willing to put in the majority or effort on this project but, if you are going to submit an idea or design please be willing to do some follow up research or work. ( I feel 1 of your hours to 5 of my hours. This could range from drawing pictures to writing our documents or cutting up video footage of a game to communicate an idea. The better communicated and displayed idea's will probable be more likely to get chosen.) Tho shall refer to objects when possible as grey cubes. This is to prevent a large amount of pretext from entering into the design. For example I would prefer, The player character is a grey cube that can move left and right jump his own height has the ability to melee attack, he also has the ability to shoot objects with a grey cube which will pull him to that location. Rather then, The player is a ninja who can move left and right he has the ability to jump his own height he can attack with his ninja sword he also has a chain shot which he can shoot at objects to move himself to the location of that object.. The later seems more entertaining because of the pretext "ninja's are sweet" i feel that it is not a fair way to judge mechanics and thus the I would really like to drill down into design of mechanics and grey cube metaphor is a good way to rid yourself of that pretext. ( I do realize that a certain point it breaks) This will also prevent from story getting into the design, not that i don't think story is important it is but gameplay is king as a such that should be awesome before we introduce a story to it. Scope: I am only one man, so scope will have to be kept on the low side, however if the idea is awesome enough and more people want to put some serious effort in then we can expand on scope. THIS MEANS NO MMO's ;) All right lets hear some idea's! Please if you feel their should be more guidelines or you need more direction on what i am asking of you feel free to ask!
  7. Just brainstorming here, but it seems you are attempting to incorporate a random element into the traditional First Person shooter. (Generally speaking) The problem is the fun part or ascetic of fun in a FPS comes from competition and sometimes fantasy. (Generally speaking) Now i believe that this dice mechanic could be useful but, because of the random nature of it is not conducive to competitive play. Thus i believe that players would not choose to use it however, if the players weapon was a dice to begin with, it forces players to have to interact with this random mechanic. What could make it very interesting is if the worse effects where the higher number 6,5,4 and the neutral or positive effect were 3,2,1. If you created a system to give a bonus to the attacking player role, (+2 hitting the enemy player's head with the dice or +1 being further away to reward player for being skillful or +1 hitting them with a dice from behind, i am sure you could think of many or ways to give a bonus to a role. ) then you can keep an aspect of the competitive play. Essential you want to design a system that players can use to best each other. That relies on skill and chance allowing for both a fun and competitive experience. Hope it helps
  8. This might be more information then you need but i am going to briefly break down the entire development in the game industry. Steps to create a game The basic steps in the game industry Pre-Productions: Essential you create your idea and document it out in a Game Design Document. Their are many other documents like a TDD and an Art bible but i think you really need a GDD as that is the core of the games design. After this you would normally pitch it to a publisher if you were a company, but in your case you would just start to build based on the designs that you have laid out. This is very important as it allows you to in many way test the game before it is built and allows for a holistic plan of the game. This can seem really daunting especially when you don't always have the answers but try your best to figure it out before you build it because it will save you time. Many people build and uses wiki's for this. I use a word template. There are many more steps in pre-production such as pitching and prototyping, etc however i am going to leave them out. Production: This is where you would be creating and building the majority of the game. Production is general broken up into milestones to give goals and structure to it. If you are a single individual trying to produce a game. I would recommend trying to break it down into smaller chucks called sprints. [url="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnNnD6hDFDeHdHFWcVkwVjJZOHA5X3lCVXJUbUl0dVE#gid=0"]Here[/url] is a link to a sprint template i use. (Sprints can be used to break down large goals into single deliverable and allow for an individual to plan out the how long a project or goal will take. I rarely plan more then 2 weeks in advance as things change. For more info see [url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_%28development%29"]Scrum[/url]) This is where a lot of iteration on the design you have built will happen. I find that about 30% of the original design remains. This is a result of both cuts due to time/resource and change of direction in design. Some of the major milestones in industry are: Alpha == feature complete, Beta == content completely, at this point bugs are the major focus, Gold Master == Ship to the presses for mass distribution. Post Production: This would be doing your post mortem and review what went well and how you could improve in the future. I hope this was useful. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
  9. i just built a horror style first person horror game in UDK. I highly recommend using UDK as it is extremely robust. I was able to have high fidelity sound that was randomized and had directionality, without having to touch a line of code. This made implementation and placing sounds extremely easy. I am unsure of the difficulty and ease of implementation of sound in unity. It really created the atmosphere and allowed for immersion which i feel is key to the horror. As well UDK's matinee is extremely useful when it comes to animating and creating dynamic sequence of action. I feel it is also useful that UDK comes with a fair number of pre-built assets. This allows you to build the game quite quickly without needing external art assets. I hope that helped. Please feel free to ask me further questions. I can be contacted through my email at contact at brandondolinski.com You can check what i created in UDK [url="http://www.brandondolinski.com/category/forget-me-not-annie-download/"]here[/url], feedback is always welcome ;)