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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 have prototypes on features of the game, just not a single one with them all together in a 3d world. My computer unfortunately is not able to run the software I'd prefer to start prototyping in. But maybe in the next 5 years I'll get lucky :P   For not however, I fully enjoy the creative process so it's not a huge deal to me.
  2. Heres a few quick features on the game to help yolu understand where I'm coming from:   Sandbox Non-combat based RPG Large magic presense in game world Gods and Deity system(granting gifts and bonuses in exchange for worship) Not a traditional leveling system Player focus more on "family unit" and "family legacy" as opposed to single character   Anywho, death. Lets say you're strolling along a long way from home when you happen upon a bear cave. Well lots of fire later, you conclude it was not in fact a bear cave, but a dragon nest. But seeing as you're dead, there's not much you can do about that dragon. Right? Well, I have a few ideas on how to treat death to simutaniously punish and reward them depending on their goals.   Upon death, you get transported to another world, it almost mirrors the main one, but with a few differences. The way you view the death world depends on the main deity that you follow, and those that follow other deities who are also dead would appear hazy and distant to you, like a shadow. The only beings you would meet here are all dead.   From the spot where you died, there is a very clear and safe path(though not straight, more windy) leading to the deity's closest alter where you can be resurrected. However this death world is robust. There are many spirits here that can offer you items and abilities not usually found in the normal world. Some items may even just be lying around *just* off the beaten path. Maybe there is a spirit nearby that can help you get revenge on that dragon... in exchange for a price that is. However dying here would mean permanant death.   Not to worry though! If you've had a kid at some point, your deity would come to them and transfer your knowledge to them in exchange for your service to them, but not your on-hand belongings which can now be lost either in the death world or on your body dpending on the deity. Children would need to level up abilities, but would have an easier time doing so. Leveling in this game is closer to say, raising your strength skill to be able to pick up and swing the sword the way you know it should be done. Leveling the body to it's "limit" would only take 20hs or so, so a casual player a month or so to do and a hardcore player a weekend. Just enough to hurt, not enough to discourage play. The kid would also get bonuses depending on the life and death of the character both in skills, and from NPC's(hey I knew your father, great man, have this free thing on me).   ---   My hope is that a system like this would cause death to be annoying enough to make those far from home be careful about their explorations, but interesting enough to make the risk of "permadeath" worth it. As well as add an entirely new element to the game, which would fit well into the world if done well.   My worry is that people will form too close of an attachment to their characters and not risk the exploration, though i am trying to make the focus less on the individual character you main, but on the family as a whole. (all of your "alts" can be in the same family, stays at home as NPC's when not being played and semi-controlable(hey brother, take these supplies, can you make X for me?). I know people are going to have multiple characters, and I want to incorporate that somehow into the main game to help the idea of letting go of a character to permadeath.   ------   Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? Does this seem doable with some work?  
  3. Then my best piece of advice to you is to go play games. Seriously, go check out the list of games on MMORPG and play games with high ratings, low ratings, no ratings at all. Don't read up on the game besides what you can learn from it on the mmorpg website, just jump straight in and play. I would suggest you sink anywhere from 5-10hrs in a game, plus time for each feature they have that is unique for the genre(housing, marriage, breeding, etc)     But along the way.... keep your eye on how you feel during the sign-up procces, character creation, the first few minutes of the game, after you leave the starting level. Anything you're really enjoying, anything really really starting to annoy you? Write it down.   And after you've played through a dozen games, any features that make you go, "Ugggh, whyy?" each time you see it?(for me it's usually the tutorial). Any times you find yourself going, "oh my god this is awwwwwesome!"(mother fucking hoverboards in Wildstar). Anything you kinda like is there but just wish had a bit more to it? Write it down.   Most MMO designers I see have played one or two, or maybe even a dozen mmo's in their life-time before they get to work. Which is not a bad thing, but I think it is really, really important to get a nice view of what is possible. Sure you've got a few great ideas that are all your own(don't tell anyone, it might get stolen!), but what about other parts of the game that you have no real ideas for... just yet? If you plan to use a system similar to another game(which is totally fine), make sure you understand that system and the ways it can be implemented to be sure it is a right fit for your game. ---- Say you want to have housing, it doesn't seem like it will be a big part of the game to you, so you don't spend much time on it. But lets look at it anyways. There are many, many types of ways you can have it. Lets take Runescape and Toontown as two examples.   Runescape's housing is very customizable, and can offer a player a lot of convience for skills as well as a fun place to hang out with unique ways to build those skills. You start out with a room or two, and can build items inside the house, or build new rooms/areas. Building takes resources found elsewhere to do, and is it skill in itself that limits what you can build at the start.   Toontown's housing is semi-customizable. You get a plot of land for you and your characters(max of 6). There are already 6 houses built. Each house can have a garden which can grow the consumable attacks for the game. Inside the house you can place furniture where ever you like. On property you can have a pet that can be trained to heal you in battle, There is also a fishing hole with fish unique to housing areas, and special health bonuses to heal.   Runescape's housing requires a lot more thought and effort on the behalf of the player, but also provides many bonuses causing a supply demand system with fewer players having what many want. This opens the gate for people spending time at other's housing(maybe being charged for it), but those people not nessisarily being friends, there only to skill-up.   However Toontown's focus is more on housing being a quick place to heal-up and rest from battle, but also becomes a place where people tend to hang out together even though there is very little anyone can do to advance the character there.   That is because Toontown seems to get players to focus on friendship, though you never feel forced to do it(people working together to kill a mob does not dimish XP earned, it simply speeds up the process). Where as Runscape is heavy on all it's many skills that need leveling up, and since housing is a good place to do that, it causes a setting where people are not leveling together, but seperately near each other where companionship may happen, but only on the deliberate effort of the players. However, housing is a great place for player formed guilds to start. Players working together to raise supplies to build a large house they can all share and use. Is one better or worse? Not really. It depends on your game's focus. But you wont know about either of these systems well just reading about it, you've got to get out and play it and see how it feels for the player.   ----------------------------------------   My next big piece of advice to you is do not let yourself stay designing in one spot for long. Spend some time hashing out that super cool cooking system, or the political system. Spend some time sketching out game screens. Look around the google images search to find the art style that fits. Get a level editor and make small versions of towns or starting areas to make sure your scale is correct, that the area doesn't feel too empty or full. Think up some lore for the game, why is the world the way it is? Create small flash games to test out different systems that you have in place(say political, or crafting) and have people test them to see if it's fun.     Basically, don't let yourself get bored. Designing an MMO is a lot of work, especially before you are in the phase of "lets build this baby!" You don't want to get burned out before you've even begun. Not only that, but you don't want to create this amazing cooking system that simply does not fit into your game anymore.   -------------------------   My third and final piece of advice to you is, don't let other people get you down. Understand that everyone wants to make the next big MMORPGFPSTDSRTS(you get the idea). Now that's not a bad thing, but too many of those people come to sites like this asking for advice on their game, afraid to reveal too much for fear an idea might get stolen. Then get upset when they are told how impossible it is for them to create an mmo. Is it impossible? Nearly, but with effort you and a small team might do it. But if you've just begun hashing out your big ideas in the past month, it's not time to build that team yet.   And please, please share your ideas. No one is going to steal them. Lets say you had a cool crafting system. For someone to have to steal your idea in a way that would hurt your game, they would have to not just take the base idea, but plan out all the types of ingredients, assign them numbers, balance said numbers, figure out how it works in the rest of the game, program it, create art resources, etc, etc,etc. That takes time and effort, and I can assure you by the time they are to the end of that process, their finished product will look nothing like yours and play differently as well. Not only that, but the risk of the above happening is so low, and would do so little damage to you game. Whereas sharing your ideas can have them grow to levels you didn't think of, or can help you realize that maybe the idea doesn't work well in your game after all.   However If you are going to share ideas, be prepared for them to get shot to pieces. However, be aware that this is a very good thing. Hopefully you get into the habit of destroying your ideas yourself, The thing is, when it comes to gamers, they are very picky and very harsh about it. You want a system that encourages interaction, but you don't want a system that will allow players to grief each other. You also want a system that is a lot of fun, but not too complicated. Getting fresh eyes on your ideas can really help you see things at an angle you never thought of, and better it's seen now, then when it's been put into the final game and you realize a major flaw way too late to remove or change it much without redesigning much of the game.   --------------   That's really all I can tell you right now, as a person who's been working on designing an mmo for maybe eight years now with not much to show for it beyond gigs of mini-prototypes, yards and yards of word documents, and tons of pictures, these are the things that have helped me. Game Design is my favorite hobby, I can't play a game without seeing all the little ways it's been put together and how it effects the players of different levels and play styles. At the begining I wanted to make a game right now, everyone help me. Now? I don't particularly care if the game gets made, the fun is in the design for me. Plotting out my version of the perfect mmo with little regard to scale and how much it would realisticly cost me to create. However if I ever do win the lottery, you can expect my game to be the next WoW Killer ;)
  4. What would studying entail? I feel like that is the key to making the process more interesting than simply "go to place x and pick up flame y and get skill z."   The actual study would be up to you. It could be as simple as having the player simply wait while the character learns it, to having a mini-game(simple or complex) that can either take the scientific route of putting together atoms or putting together elements, or items, or even just having them actually make fire by somehow making a spark with given items, and getting that spark onto something that will keep flame. Maybe even figuring out what takes the flame best in what situations.
  5. Another idea might be that they have to learn fire from say, studying a flame and learning the properties of it. That way it forces the player to travel to obtain new skills, and you can keep the higher level stuff in areas that are harder to reach.
  6. If you're going to use actual religions, you should choose a wider variety. The three you have picked are all monotheistic and abrahamic. Try and get three that are not so close together. Like one each from abrahamic, indian, and maybe either chinese folk and/or from a new religious group. You'll also have to do research into each religion you choose. Not very deep, but enough that you can make sure not to offend anyone and promote each religion in a positive light.    But honestly, I would either pick more than three real religions to keep from excluding anyone, or make up your own.
  7. If the starting money is simply for buying land and other start up things, why not un-tradable deeds that can be redeemed only for property at or under a certain amount. Then that specific property can not be sold, only abandoned. The same thing with other supplies. That can help reduce the amount of starting money at least. 
  8. Instead of forcing the players to only have one account by using complicated means that can also limit players who do only have one account, try instead to make the idea of one account highly attractive. A game I once played had a system that used your account age for unlocking different things. The age went up every time you logged in and participated in the game. It wasn't perfect, but it's a start.   Maybe earning points for each action you do in game, like daily quests. Or just logging on, or for a variety of things that are attractive to players   Players could unlock special customization's on their profile, certain clothing, raise limits(like extra credit cards), etc. Nothing game breaking, but beneficial. 
  9. Just recently played Crackdown 2. In that game you have the chance to learn exactly just how corrupt the organization you work for is. Along with that, the person back at base who talks to you throughout the game clearly dislikes you. He's very snarky with you and has very little patience for you. If you slip up and accidently kill a citizen or NPC employee of the same organization(which is very easy to do, especially as you level up) then you get punished(shot at by NPC's of same organization).   Maybe the commander/group could punish the team (by refusing to send supplies/ignoring them, making them pay, sending bad quality supplies, having the drop-off in a difficult to reach/far-off location, etc.) for not completing their goals perfectly, even if the goal was impossible and clearly there to make them fail.
  10. Finally life is slowing down enough where I can get back to game design ^_^
  11. Just finished the StealIt document. It was well organized, if the document is going to get any larger, try and keep the more technical stuff in one place, and the goals/overview in another. Game play is a very good introduction to the game and what it will look like for the player. After that would fit the goals for the game such as Time Scale, and possibly assets(if that list remains short and sweet. A more fleshed out version might sit organized on it's own at the end).   But besides that, the actual information is articulate and explained enough to give a potential player or team member a clear idea on the type of game it will be. Well done :) -----   Finished the H(a)unted document. My (somewhat anal) comments on organization are the same, but again the document does clearly as intended. It will allow anyone reading to get a good picture of the game and what it will look like.   It may benefit to add something  on each about how it will play, such as controls. As well as how the game will be released and/or distributed and on what platform(s) exactly.
  12. If the quests are a means to an end, if they are only for the purpose of leveling up so you can get to end game content then I see this being annoying to players because you're now drawing out the process. But if it's part of the world, something special that will make players WANT to talk to each NPC instead of being forced to. There could be things to discover(even just special lore), special items to earn, allies to make(whom you can call on when in the area), etc   But it also shouldn't be a chore for a player to find someone specific. If you are going to remove the !, then give them something else to lead them where they have to go. If they are in a quest chain, have the person they are looking for be described visually by the previous person. Let them be able to ask other NPC's about the whereabouts of items or characters in case there are no players around to ask, or no players know where the NPC is.   I also agree with not rewarding all quests with experience. The reward could be something that the NPC who gave the quest would have, and the player finds valuable enough for their time.
  13. If a player looses something, it shouldn't be the game(or anyone else) forcing it. If a player felt like they were given no options, no way of protecting themselves, then they will feel cheated and angry. As long as they have methods they can use to defend or protect themselves(like your traps and security), and the stuff stolen has not taken a huge amount of time/energy to earn, then it shouldn't be too large of an issue. Insurance may not even be needed to keep players satisfied. So I think you are fine there.   But as for preventing people from thieving too much. Letting players earn a special type of currency that can be spent on thieving, as well as other special things, might be beneficial. So now you are not heavily encouraging players to thieve, but also making them spend the majority of their time on core gameplay to prevent overflow. Special currencies can be bought with cash, and/or be earned by doing things in game. Just spending time online, completing special tasks, meeting goals, achievements, etc To keep it in game, players could possibly have to buy the time by paying the local thieving guild for the rights to steal on their turf.
  14. In a game you have two main parts of the economy. The faucet and the sink. The faucet is any money entering the economy. From mob drops, to quest rewards, to selling items to stores. The sink is any money leaving the economy. From repair costs, to NPC shops, to other various fees. The goal is generally to balance the two ammounts of gold. You can try and find a way to largely limit the amount entering the game, and just keep it circulating. Maybe don't have money at all, allow players to simply trade items. Or don't allow npc shops to create money, only allow them to circulate what they have from trading with PCs. I'm not sure how you would test such a system without a mass amount of palyers. Maybe by creating a program that can have several random charecters doing different actions(harvesting, mob killing, selling, buying, etc), and try and estimate what might come up.
  15. [quote name='Exorph' timestamp='1310978242' post='4836712'] [quote name='Ashaman73' timestamp='1310970565' post='4836665'] The problem is, that it is too complicated. When you want to train an animal you need the train_animal skill. When you take a look at the employee screen showing only classes, you need to know that a druid,a hunter, and a beastmaster have this skill. [/quote] That doesn't sound complicated, it sounds like a problem of clarity. If you have an employee screen, why not let the player filter it by skills? Let the skills be the important factor, and the class names just a way for the player to sort the characters in their head. [/quote] This. But maybe let the player have the option of separating by both skills and classes. As well as adding either a guide within the game to the classes, or something similar. Such as a hover-over on the skill, showing what classes have that skill, and hover-over the class shows what skills it has.