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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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About Orymus3

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    4th Place - The Week of Awesome 2014

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  1. And I made landing page feature! (ok, I'll stop bumping this post, but that was seriously unexpected).
  2. Turns out I'm still in the race for best Kongregate Game of the Month! Give me an upvote if you like it: http://www.kongregate.com/games/orymus/red-cell
  3. Interesting read, though I feel compelled to react to a few items: First and foremost, YOU have to be capable of building the game entirely by yourself. I think that's only partially true, for self-starters. In the event of being able to throw 'some money' at the problem though, I think it is possible for someone with limited skills to lead a project to completion through hiring freelancers or team extensions, even on indie budgets, and without having to resort to the power of USD on other currencies. You absolutely positively MUST have a business plan. While I agree with the business plan, I cannot back the length. A lot of the best business decisions come from reacting or anticipating change, and the business plan is a comfortable fallback than can work against it. You should have the big picture, the product and see value where you're headed, but in the words of Elon Musk, great businesses are built on great products first and foremost. Please, please, please, for the sake of god, have everything meticulously planned out before you begin! Once again here, I can only imagine this being written by someone whose previous work did not specifically involve the same type of organization as video game development. For anyone who comes from a background similar to mine (having produced video games, some of which AAA) I'd advocate the complete opposite: don't dwell in the details, as a manager, your value already comes from being able to address that. Focus on the big picture, not which tradeshow you'll attend, but when it might get relevant. Awareness is a much better problem solver than planning, though both obviously trump over reactivity. When it comes to processes, a tried and true process is the “scientific method”. There's an extent to which experience or 'instinct' might strictly become superior to the scientific method and it happens on split-second decisions. Over the course of a project, the sub-conscious identification of patterns and best case decisions will not be 100% accurate (but the scientific method also leads to errors when certain piece of data were omitted or simply not humanly possibly to acquire) but they'll be much faster. I'm not advocating management on a global scale not built on rigorous principles, but rather a fair tradeoff between taking advantage of your experience in the field vs taking 'the time'. Obviously, for someone new to the scene, that is largely unapplicable, though you'll find that a lot of successful startups' origins are less than noble in rigor. You need money. I partially agree, though there are now new tier publishers who need to make a name for themselves. You'll still need a lot of money to get the game anywhere near a territory they might want to look at it, but as the 'smaller guy', they'll also be prone to taking more risks either because they genuinely want to, or because they seek their own break. This gives you more opportunities than, say, 5 years ago, but very few will get that call, so it shouldn't be your plan, just a nice touch to bring your MVP further along. You HAVE to believe in your experience and abilities. This one I agree fully with. Just needed to put it out there, it's probably the single most valuable item in the entire post. Having unshakable confidence balanced with humility is an art that is innate to no one. I repeat, absolutely NO ONE is born with the natural born talent for doing both. A lot of people have bloated heads, and a lot of people are too humble. Being the perfect mix of both is something that takes forever to learn, and something you can't possibly master perfectly ever. What counts is that you keep trying to reach this state as much as possible and keep it in check (too many business owners 'forget' this balance and go one way or the other and never look back post startup phase). To get an idea on what it takes to make your favorite game, open it up. Then go view the credits screen. Look at all the roles. Count the number of people involved. Then, assume everyone makes $60k a year and it took three years of full time work to produce the game (four if you want to factor out crunch time). This is the amount of time, talent, effort and money required to build your favorite game. Is your scrappy rag tag indie team going to repeat this but do a better job? No. Your scope is too large. I agree with the premise: the scope is always too big. However, I feel the example is lackluster. I've built myself a quite successful business by questioning the current 'Game Credits' standards. I've effectively delivered projects that the industry would've scoped over 1M on less than 50k budgets. The industry is plagued with problems (Logan's Run HR for starters!) that led to their unproductive over-specialization, and the very reason indies get so successful is that there's a lot of value in a holistic vision which AAA development studios are unable to capitalize on. It is frustrating to put together a 100 people team, try to keep the ship afloat and all channels open when Edmund McMillen REPEATEDLY strikes home with his games on a 2 people team. True, some people's ideas sound AAA, but not all of them NEED to be. If you focus the art of MVP, you can distill your unique experience and built something compelling and original but less than 10% of the effort the AAA world feels is mandatory to achieve and may even outsell them if you're particularly good at it and paved your way to success. A lot of people assume that because the scope is too big, the concept is, but that's generally the other way around: you've grafted too much crap to your core idea and should stick with the part that keeps you awake at night and reconsider what supports it instead of fitting a genre. In the 80s/early 90s, genres played much less of a role, and great games got made (arguably, much less forgettable ones too!). There's a reason why we're in an age of sequels and reboots: the current industry isn't fostering a climate that leads to new great IPs, but many indies do, so I feel I need to speak up regarding scope as that's one critical misunderstood step amongst new indies. Nobody knows what they’re talking about. I partially agree in that I don't believe in 'experts' particularly from a marketing standpoint (marketing is always about having that idea no one saw coming, and quite literally, that can come from anyone, at any given time, and is less likely to happen if someone sticks to SEO standard practices, adverts, etc, I mean, just look at that dig a hole campaign: pure genius!). That being said, as far as production goes, there are best practices that make sense, and having someone senior on the team who is aware of the limitations of what they know can make a huge different. Steve Jobs' Next wasn't a pure success on its own, but it was positioned at a level of quality where it was eventually feasibly for Apple to acquire that tech, so striking twice isn't a pure streak of luck. Some people see patterns, not in the sense that there's a guide to making a product, but there are 'pillars' of what should matter, what one should care about, and some people, few people (and fewer openly willing to sell their craft) are actually genuinely interested in helping other projects succeed, and have the ability to 'know what they're talking about'. Be prepared to work a lot. That's the 'all in approach' and it is not the one I would recommend. Downscale your work and get a part-time job. Get contracts if you can, split your time between what you're risking (YOUR game) and what you need to get by (work). Don't stick to a day job, you'll be already tired by the time you get started on your own stuff at the end of the way, and you will get burned by lack of sleep, etc. I know, I've been there myself (even after the 5-1-1, guess what that last 1 was for to begin with, and while we're at it, what was the first 1 for again? That's right, more work). So I can see that as a collection of lessons you're learned in your situation. Most of them are applicable to all, but some of them stem from a very personal situation. It is valuable input, but I think presenting all of it as fact is a bit misleading given not everyone floats the same boat as you did before getting started. You had some very strong suits (your background in dev) and some weaknesses (a bit more of an introvert if I'm not mistaken?) and they show through this. Still, very valuable input nonetheless, and a good reminder of the highs and lows. Given this, has your game failed? And what metric would you use to describe failure? Everything being relative, it would help to have a bit more context into what led to such a 'stop sign' type of post (while others prefer to profess unlimited motivational posts which will quite unnecessarily lead to a bunch of entrepreneurs making bad decisions while pursuing 'dreams'). Hope you're well despite the fall!
  4. Open World MMO RPG on Mobile? 500k is a realistic figure for development, but let's not forget server hosting fees. Assuming this is an MMO, there should be over 100 000 players for this to even be considered a moderate success, and even assuming a well optimized pipeline, that's a lot of bandwidth. Even if your team somehow does it for free, that game is gonna cost ya, and that's not something 'indians' can do anything about. As for the team, I think the bare minimum skillset to meet (how many individuals are required is up to the individuals themselves) are as follows: - Management experience (and previous titles released). If your entire team is composed of rookies, your managers can't be. - Development / Programming, specifically in a fullstack capacity (Frontend / Backend) - Gameplay Development / Programming, specifically with game logic, physics, graphics, etc. - Artistic Capacity. If you're shooting for a 3D game, you'll need someone able to handle Modeling, Rigging, Texturing and Animating (that can be as much as 4 different people, though there are skilled generalists that might do a decent job at more than one). - Game / Level Design with the ability to balance and create content and especially game rules. That person should also have the ability to communicate efficiently with the rest of the team. - Audio Design, or someone with the ability to identify sounds off audio platforms to be purchased (which may be cheaper, on occasion!) Your team might be just 1 very solid know-it-all, or 50 people, depending on who you meet. I'll admit the likelihood of having a 1 person team is near 0, but Minecraft was originally made by just one guy, so can't dismiss the possibility. If you intend on putting together a team, you'll need to find a creative way to make it hold together, especially if it is geographically distributed. That's generally where your management guy will come in: establishing communication tools and practices (I suggest starting out with Trello, or anything as 'simple' with some video conference and chat system such as skype). Since you came to us about what team you'd need, that's the info I can give you, but I can only express skepticism at your previous posts, especially with regards to 'greedy american' vs 'indian' which I feel demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the subtle differences there. If this was all there was about it, given India is about 1 billion strong, all of the games we play today would likely be made in India or China, and though I respect the fact India has a LOT of GREAT developers, one must carefully consider the fact that the entertainment industry still has a firm hold in North America specifically (where the 3 major hubs of game development are located to begin with). In other words, there's a reason why games often get made here (and get made better) as there are very specific skills related to game development which are earned by working on other games and that these hubs contribute to the sharing of these skills. Going on price alone might build something that looks like a game, but misses the point completely. The original post did not let us know whether the intent was to make a good product, but I have assumed that any game should seek to at least be good, and assuming that, the best chances of achieving it are 'still' to work with a 'greedy american' or anyone that knows a thing or two about gamedev in general.
  5. It is a bit dated, but I once addressed the importance of the mental process here: Might be worth a read? It worked for me (of course, I no longer apply the 5-1-1 'as is', but the framework remains a core part of what I do, and it served me quite well!)
  6. Turns out I took the time to turn my entry into a full-fledged game for Kongregate. Full story here! (and a game link) I had a blast participating every summer so far, so just HAD to make a game out of it (Have we kept track of all the games that have come out of this game jam so far?)
  7. Hey all! Just released a new game on Kongregate. It's a free as in FREE game to play. Plus, it was originally made as part of the Week of Awesome Game Jam (3rd edition) hosted unofficially here at GameDev.net! Full Story Here Have a look, let me know what you think! Cheers!
  8. Hi, Been a while since I took the time to write a proper entry, even more so in this journal (The Week of Awesome III was a summer 2015 gamejam entry after all). But today is different.... After building up my own freelancing business for a decade now, I'm more than happy to report than I've spent the last few months doing it fulltime, which is a lifetime achievement for me, and something I've been contemplating / building for a long time now. But this entry is not about how great life is on the 'other side', but rather, about a very specific project. A New "Death is Useful" In 2015, I made an entry in the 'Week of Awesome' GameJam hosted here at Gamedev.net titled "Death is Useful" (which was also the theme of the competition). It wasn't my best entry as far as results go (I actually managed to score 4th position on both Week of Awesome II and IV) but I felt it was the one with the most potential to scale into an interesting game. Some time ago, I even revisited the title with the intent of researching the 'new' and 'improved' WebGL exporter now bundled with Unity3D. Suffice it to say that, back then, I was anything but impressed with the results (as can be read in my previous posts). I chose to let the project to rest and resumed work on a variety of other exciting ideas (some of which you'll be hearing about soon-ish). The WebGL Exporter Strikes Back (if you're not tech-savvy, you may freely skip ahead!) By mid 2017, I was put in touch with the reps over at Unity through a client and ended up doing some R&D with the actual WebGL exporter and it had come a long way since I had last used it. So, little by little (working fulltime as a freelancer leaves very little spare time for passion projects) I ventured a bit deeper with the exporter, to see how I could polish & optimize the results. I think a word on the state of HTML5 is in order here, as one might be wondering why anyone would even bother using WebGL to begin with: I don't think there's 'one single truth', but I've been involved with a sufficient amount of projects through a relatively large client sample to know that, right now, HTML5 is 'popular', but it does not deliver. The reality is that there are few efficient engines to work from, meaning most projects end up being made up from scratch, or from a new unknown tech, making development very slow and costly. The problem is that HTML5 was meant to be the 'Flash killer', and as far as I can see and hear, it's simply not 'as fast' and 'as cheap' as making Flash games yet. I've been working with a lot of businesses that have tried and failed to make HTML5 a truly viable alternative, and so far, I'm unimpressed by everything I've seen. I would not consider WebGL a true contender here either, had it not been from the fact that it was Unity's fallback solution to having the Unity Web Player blocked on major browsers (primarily Chrome), nor would I even consider it an alternative had it still been in the state I 'found' it in a few years back, but clearly, things have changed. As developing in Unity (an established engine) is very fast, I was hoping to gauge how much time I'd need to invest in optimization and troubleshooting to make it work. Turns out that's roughly 10%, which given the alternative (HTML5 would've probably taken 2-3 times the amount of time it took to make the game in Unity, once again based on similar documented projects) is fairly cheap. Let's face it, there are a lot of people out there wanting to make their digital presence felt (I'm thinking about industry giants such as Disney, Warner, etc.) and HTML5 is making a serious dent in their marketing budget to achieve these results, so I was somehow hoping that the WebGL exporter would be an 'easy sale' but needed one or more proofs of concept. Death is Useful was going to be 'it'. The Return of Kongregate Another 'question' I've been asking myself steadily over the past few years is whether the so-called death of web games was real. With the relative decay of Flash, I felt a lot of people had assumed this meant the end of web portals, and for the most part, I think this is somewhat accurate, and the short-lived Unity Web Player didn't really endure. Players have come to expect a certain level of quality in their web games, which HTML5 couldn't really do on a budget, so in theory, that death was inevitable. On the other hand, some few key accounts from local and remote indie developers with whom I'm acquainted tested that theory. For obvious reasons, I'm not going to name names here, but the thought of turning up a profit of more than $ 8000 USD per quarter is certainly not something you'd expect from a 'dead' market. I understand a lot of developers couldn't justify a tech pipeline geared at web development for 'so little', but for the smaller teams, that's a very enticing offer. Though most of these revenue figures game exclusively from incentivized ads (ads that are tied directly with in-game rewards), I was curious about the demographics of the web games world in general and wasn't going to be very specific. Kongregate was a platform of choice for this 'test', as I've been a member since 2010 (and a lurker for much longer) and also participated to the release of a CCG that became #1 at some point (even though it was merely a port from a different platform). Suffice it to say I was well acquainted with the platform and knew the opportunities there. Kongregate was unique in that it provided a very healthy ecosystem for players with some metagame implications. All I needed was a project to test this platform, and it soon became obvious that Death is Useful was a perfect opportunity. Testing both a market and a technology at once may be risky, but I wasn't bound to any deadline, so it made sense. The Red Cell Awakens Death is Useful became 'Red Cell', rebranded after the decisively retro visuals and audio. I was born a bit too late to really experience the Atari and early Commodore days and always had a fascination for that era. I wanted to rebuild the game as something that would've fit a late 70s / early 80s arcade without limiting myself to the technology that existed then. The game concept was perfect for this, but the original perspective was fundamentally flawed as it was a 3D game. Besides, it wasn't really making great use of that 3rd dimension, so the switch was all the more valid. It took some heavylifting to reuse what had already been done (quite honestly, I should've gone full tabula rasa mode) but it helped me appreciate the kind of legacy code game-jams can generate. I wanted to give the game a 'Super-Hexagon' feel, as something that's infinitely replayable and simple to grasp, where most games take but a few minutes to play. Super Hexagon had opted for longevity through more patterns, faster game speed, etc. Given I'm an avid speedrun fan (and have some reasonable PBs on some of the retro titles) I wanted to make a game that was finite in nature, but one where you could beat your own score repeatedly. Kongregate was a great platform for this as they have a built-in score API which took some getting used to but was relatively easy to implement. Once I landed the 'best the game as quickly as possible' score idea, I felt I should also give other players an incentive to play, and added a few more score options (most mobs killed in a game, most mobs killed all time, etc.) Kongregate has something called Badges, which are achievements you can earn in games that give you a boost in the Kongregate user metagame. Unfortunately, developers can't make achievements, they can only expose scores and hope the editor picks the game up and implements 1-3 achievements based on the scores already implemented. So having more scores (some of them invisible!) was my tactic for trying to get the editor's seal of awesomeness, and the potential traffic that goes along with. I've developed the game on and off in my spare time for the past 2 months (alongside many other personal projects) and completed dev about 2 weeks ago. Given Kongregate has monthly contests, I figured I'd wait until the new month, and what better day than the one right before July 4th to release? (arguably, that release is very random, and I'm not quite sure how July 4 will play into monthly traffic). The Last Build All of this just to say the game was released today. It's not the most amazing thing on earth, but it is a fun minigame that has some potential (as far as web games go). It's also a business test I'm making on two different fronts (Platform & Technology) which, in itself, has a lot of value. As a result, I didn't see fit to make In-App Purchases, and chose to distribute the game for free (as in FREE free). I might get some minor revenues through conventional ads, which won't pay back for the time invested, and that's quite alright. I'm just glad it's finally out and people get to see it. The game is currently open to more development. I had a local 1v1 and coop 2 player game modes which I've disabled right before release. They work, but I feel they should have a few more features before being worthy of the game (chance to revive your friend when he dies in-game, etc.) I have ideas, but limited time, and quite honestly, I'm waiting to see whether the game gets any traction before investing more time into it. If you care to give it a try, here it is: - Game Link - Cheers!
  9. As a startup publisher, chances are YOU will need to reach out to potential developers and offer something of value. Could be cold calling dev teams that are about to release something you'd like to promote. Off the bat, I'd be a bit skeptical about your capabilities at marketing the game with the perceived business acumen you currently have, but that would not imply you're unable to deliver, that's just primarily how you currently come across. Note: I do have a few games about to hit release, and as part of my work, I'm in touch with a lot of folks at varying degrees of completion on their games, including teams I've referred over to publishers, so we could discuss further once that idea is a bit more fleshed out?
  10. Recently worked on something similar. Given the brand (undisclosed) it made sense to make the fighting area a 3x3 map where you could combine 'moves' to both attempt to move along the grid AND perform attacks. Attacks were dependent on your relative position with the opponent (if you're straight under the opponent, you can throw an uppercut, etc.) It was a fascinating concept to be honest...
  11. Hi, I'm an industry professional closing on a decade of freelancing. I specialize in projects that seek further funding through the creation of a demo/prototype/POC and have a limited budget. I've worked on a number of highlight projects in the past and deliberately choose to focus on the indie scene nowadays. If you have a great idea but are lacking a developer that can put it together on your terms, look no further. I'll even help you pitch through crowdfunding or publishers! https://www.michelmonyconsulting.com/ Cheers!
  12. Full disclosure, I started being a lurker around 1999 thinking to myself: I'm never gonna be as cool as these guys. Thanks to my brother for introducing me to this place. Time flies ;) Gratz Gamedev, you're still amazing, if somewhat 'old'! (That'll make it hard for any other community to ever beat you given the internet's age!)
  13. Finally got around to releasing a (modest) website for my freelance career (that was a decade overdue!) In case anybody ends up reading this entry in the far distant future, here's the link: https://www.michelmonyconsulting.com/ Given it's been so long, I doubt I have much to say on the topic. In fact, it is a pretty bare-bone site, but at least now it exists. Hurrah!
  14. Hey all,   Finally got around to making my own website: https://www.michelmonyconsulting.com/   Of course, I've been in business for close to 10 years now, so it's a moot point.   Cheers!
  15. I'm a tentative yes (how the hell could I not?)