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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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  1. [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rbr1Bdh4o4&hd=1[/media] [b]Steam Greenlight[/b] What a difference a few months make. Let's kick off with some great news that thanks to an awesome community, [i]Folk Tale[/i] made the second round of Steam Greenlight selections and was officially greenlit on October 15th. [i]Folk Tale[/i] received over 160,000 unique visitors and was added to over 5,000 favourites. The whole experience has been wonderfully engrossing for the team and we look forward to working with Valve over the next year. [url="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92993746"]http://steamcommunit...ls/?id=92993746[/url] [b]Voice Acting[/b] Throughout September we received a number of comments regarding the use of a single actor for all the voice roles in WIP Update 5. With the message heard loud and clear we responded by auditioning 22 voice actors, selecting 11 kind and talented individuals to work with on a collaboration basis. The voice script at the time covered cut scenes and tutorials, and each character needed expanding to include all the in-game commentary. Some of the one-liners that came back could well become memorable catchphrases. Administering, editing, mastering, slicing, importing and integrating all those phrases nearly drove me insane, but what it adds to [i]Folk Tale[/i] makes it all worth while. [b]Artwork[/b] [img]http://www.gamesfoundry.com/images/screenshots/folk-tale-game-screenshot-1.jpg[/img] We welcomed Hayden from Australia to the team who is diligently producing the low-detail geometry versions of the human buildings, trailing Rich who has now finished modelling and texturing all the detailed human buildings required for demo. By far my favourite is the Tavern, featuring the new female Innkeeper character who fetches the mead brewed by the monks from the warehouse, bar tends and cleans tables. [img]http://www.gamesfoundry.com/images/screenshots/folk-tale-game-screenshot-7.jpg[/img] [img]http://www.gamesfoundry.com/images/screenshots/folk-tale-game-screenshot-8.jpg[/img] Also making a first appearance are the Advisor and the Stonecutter, completing the list of human characters required for demo, and an updated Werewolf with rigging for facial animation and variations including monk habits. When we first started developing [i]Folk Tale[/i], lip sync was descoped, so the early stage characters weren't rigged for it. That's an ongoing process that won't be completed until after demo. Some characters will have it, others won't. [img]http://www.gamesfoundry.com/images/screenshots/folk-tale-game-screenshot-4.jpg[/img] You can check out the werewolf in action at the very end of the video. Tom has been hard at work moving the cut scene animations forward. We knew for a small indie team including cut scenes was a huge ask which is why you usually don't see cut scenes in small indie titles, and to no surprise it is incredibly time consuming. Once the demo is released, chances are we'll de-prioritize them and focus exclusively on game play elements such as multiplayer, returning to cut scenes towards the end of development. Ben completed the Dwarven forge around the lava zone, which we finished with a couple of Dwarven ghosts, massacred by a crazed Golem that whirs around the area channeling arcs of electrical energy from its fists. [img]http://www.gamesfoundry.com/images/screenshots/folk-tale-game-screenshot-14.jpg[/img] Ben has now moved on to cleaning up the snow monastery. Having finished the human assets, Rich has joined him and hopefully next update we should have a finished zone to share. [b]Fog Of War[/b] Fog Of War is finally in. We still need to fog over the minimap, but the visual effect in the game world is complete and blends nicely as the player moves through the different ambient lighting zones. We achieved the look through desaturation and color tinting, with the tint driven by the Ambience Zone Manager. [img]http://www.gamesfoundry.com/images/blog/folk-tale-blog-fog-of-war.jpg[/img] [b]Programming and Optimization[/b] For eighteen months we've been using a single large terrain with something like 28 textures for level featured in the demo. Unfortunately every 4 textures requires the entire terrain to be drawn once, plus a shadow pass. Given the terrain often fills the entire screen, that's the entire screen needlessly drawn 7 times just for textures. The solution is of course to break it into smaller chunks using 8 textures per chunk. This will have a huge impact on fill rate which we started to be bound by. Provisional tests identified a 150% frame rate improvement on older GPUs. We've also introduced lighting quality which at lower levels prevents point lights from lighting the terrain, further reducing the burden. Real-time shadows on point lights are reserved only for those with super-fast gaming PCs. We continue to stick to our design goal of making [i]Folk Tale[/i] run on lower spec machines, while giving those at the higher end a visually awesome experience. We took a peak at the Unity 4.0 beta to run a test migration from our 3.5.6 project. A few minor code tweaks and we were up and running, so hopefully we'll soon be able to add internal Linux builds. The inclusion of the Hardware Cursor project from NinjaCamp is a welcome inclusion. I hope the api provides the option to clamp the cursor to stay within the window; important for dual-monitor setups when playing on just one screen. As for actual coding, many areas of the code have been rewritten including the audio manager to better manage streaming and voice acting. Essential game play elements such as combat continue to receive a lot of attention because the shear complexity results in more bugs. A global compendium and taxonomy has introduced shared enum classification across all game objects improving code quality, and the class pool manager picks up where the scope of the object pool ends to work around the annoyingly crap garbage collection in Mono 2.6 that in our opinion continues to be Unity's [i]Achilles Heel[/i]. That said, Unity has a huge list of positives which is why we continue to use it. [b]UI[/b] In WIP Update 5 we revealed an early prototype of the heavier UI. That wasn't the big hit we had hoped for, so being the responsive indie team that we are, that's booted out, and we're working on a lightweight UI. UI continues to be boring gray placeholders for testing layout. At some point it will receive a paint job. [b]Audio[/b] Thanks to an introduction from our previous sound designer Roland, we've welcomed Joe to the fold. Joe has been hard at work visiting local gyms and junk yards with his microphone sourcing weapon impact sounds. The first batch of impacts were delivered shortly before the video was made, but you can hear a number in action during the combat scenes. Oskari has started work on the tavern and human monastery ambient music tracks. Early versions of both are used in the video, and give [i]Folk Tale[/i] a touch of the medieval. [b]In The Next Update...[/b] Predominantly game play features. Artwork wise, we'll have the snow monastery reveal, and we've also got out eyes on flow maps for another leap forward in water quality. The list of outstanding assets is rapidly decreasing in size, bringing closed beta ever closer. The other eye is on Kickstarter which launches in the UK today. Although Americans make up half the truly international [i]Folk Tale[/i] team, Games Foundry remains a UK-registered company and as such we've been waiting for KS to launch over the pond. We didn't want to launch our campaign today, instead opting to step back and watch if the US audience will be prepared to support UK projects. We'd also like to explore private investment before heading for crowd funding.
  2. 2 months since our last update. Boy where does the time go?! Here's [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFchYXSRux4&hd=1"]Folk Tale Dev Update 2[/url] on YouTube. The dev video begins with a placeholder start screen. As this will be a single-level playable demo to pitch to publishers and investors, the only option will be to start the game which triggers the intro cutscene. Moored at the new docks area is our migrant galleon, the key mechanism for population control. When your village has spare housing capacity, new villagers periodically arrive from far off lands. On the flip side, if you are a tyrannical leader, unhappy villagers will pack up and leave on the next boat off the island. [attachment=6054:folk-tale-game-docks.jpg] Swinging past the beach and flying by the new windmill building that we'll mention later, there's a birds-eye view of your village, where the first 20 minutes of the game focuses on resource gathering, construction and economy. Breaking a wide angle shot down, we have a single camera doing all the work, rendering the skybox, low-detail mountain geometry which responds to fog and lighting, a margin of ocean around a central island , and the main level map. The far clipping plane is at a whopping 4500 to render the far mountains. Unity's frustum culling removes objects off-camera, with our own distance culling system removing far objects that would otherwise be on camera due to the huge far clip plane. We've played a little with the occlusion culling, but given it's buggy state, we're leaving this until Unity 3.5 is released. A Preferences Manager handles the selection of default graphics settings, managing post render effects, terrain detail and culling distance based on the capabilities of the GPU combined with the screen resolution to ensure a decent range of machine specifications can be supported. Back at the docks, and the migrant galleon rings it's bell to depart with an unhappy villager up on deck. Boats use a Taxi Manager that allow villagers to buy tickets and wait for the boat to arrive. It also runs the Goblin Ferry in the Stinking Swamp. Boats currently use UnitySteer but for some reason the galleon is really jerky. Something to investigate at a later stage. As night time descends, several pesky goblins find their way into your village. Nothing that a few Knights trained at the barracks and a wizard can't cope with. As the battle begins, the sound track changes to reflect the heightened threat level. You might recognise the Knight and Wizard models as purchased stand-ins, and not the work of our team. Our Knight replacement is still being animated and just missed the cut-off for this build. Quite a bit of work has been done to improve battles, but there's still a long way to go. Melee combat is a challenge to implement well, especially when one unit is outnumbered and needs to be surrounded by opponents. We're getting there, but more refinement is needed. One more birds-eye view, this time at night time. The day-night cycle uses the same system as our ambient zones which controls pretty much everything: fog, ambient light, sunlight, water, and soundtrack. One problem we have is during the transition from day to night. If you don't rotate the camera, the terrain billboards fail to update their lighting colour, which means you get daylight lit billboard trees at night time. Other people have this problem, but as yet we've not found a fix. We hope UT fix this in 3.5, otherwise we'll have to ditch the Unity tree system. [attachment=6055:folk-tale-game-village.jpg] Our first new character introduction is the Lumberjack. Villagers perform a number of menial jobs around your village, or can be assigned to specialist occupations by sending them to their respective occupational buildings for training. Once trained, they diligently go about their task. Here you can see our old crappy looking trees, which we're slowly improving and replacing as we go. One thing we need to do is ensure the positioning of the lumberjack when he fells a tree, so that he's not obscured by the tree foliage. To enable interactive trees, we built a Terrain Manager that hooks in to the Unity Terrain Trees, and replaces each one on demand with a mesh tree that can be chopped down. That way the majority of trees benefit from distance billboarding. Farming has featured before, so we'll not dwell on this other than to mention that the animations need revising, and animation events adding to trigger the sfx on cue instead of the current looped sample that don't sync. The farmer plants, grows and harvests wheat before taking it to the windmill to be ground in to flour. Our second character introduction is the female villager, seen in the video milking a cow, which also makes its first appearance. Milk will be taken in churns to the yet to be modelled farm, where it will then either be sold, or we might expand the economy to include cheese making. Finally we have the Miner. Currently he hacks away at a pile of iron ore, but ideally we want him to go into the iron mine. Once he's collected the ore, he'll return to his yet to be modelled occupational home of the Smelt, where it will be turned in to iron bars for use in construction. Entering the lava pools of the Old Forge, we have the makings of our first simple puzzle. I don't want to talk too much about this, saving it instead for a future update when we've got the voice over recorded and can show the whole piece in context. We're using Boxman's arc lightning effect from the Muse-games Fabricator contest. We hope you enjoy the eye candy, and the moody soundtrack. [attachment=6056:folk-tale-game-old-forge-iron-golem.jpg] Wading into the Stinking Swamp, the goblins have built a new palisade fortification, with watchtowers patrolled by archers. The walkways have been widened to work better with the resolution of the AI Pathfinding grid. As the camera pans around, we catch our first glimpse of one of Slavemaster Urzal's ogre bodyguards, wielding a hefty looking spiked club. [attachment=6057:folk-tale-game-stinking-swamp.jpg] Our final location of the day is the Ogre Mines which we only introduced earlier this week. Our little band of adventurers has gained some experience by now, and is ready to tackle one of these brutes. The Knights take up positions around the ogre, while the wizard remains at range to lob off a few fireballs. Hovering over an enemy will show a red health bar, and the monster's level. We didn't want to clutter the screen with UI. [attachment=6058:folk-tale-game-ogre-mines.jpg] Most of the segments in this dev video were produced using our CutScene Manager, giving us control over iTween camera paths, image effects, actors, sound effects, voice over, and world events. Well, that's it for another month or two. Next update we should be able to unveil the snow mountains, and possibly the coolest characters yet.
  3. We kicked off a busy month with a title change to "Folk Tale" to reflect the divergence away from a sequel, develop the project as a new line of intellectual property, and to better capture a feeling of fantasy, adventure and storytelling. A new concept logo aims to portray the simple lives of some of the games main characters: the villagers. [attachment=5505:13.jpg] The focus remained on production of prerequisite assets to support the implementation of gameplay, namely the essential buildings. The warehouse (far left), smelt (to be reworked from scratch), and barracks all make their first appearance. The lumberjack occupation, with it's own model can now be assigned by selecting a villager and sending him to the logging camp (see video). The miner occupation model is nearly ready, and will be making an appearance in next month's dev video. Other additions in the village include the chicken coup, and the cartoon cow with associated milking animations. [attachment=5507:15.jpg] The style of the original barracks was a little too evil looking, and so it was relocated to the dwarf-themed lava area, which now includes four runic buttons that will act as the precursor to triggering an iron golem, which the player must defeat to secure an important quest item. [attachment=5506:14.jpg] The goblin swamp has some new defenses, and patrolling slavers and archers. The AI Pathfinding hasn't had nearly enough attention, so characters are still prone to a little invisible wall climbing and spinning, but nothing that can't be sorted out. The multi-threading added in A*Path 3.0 certainly helps, and a little thanks to Aron for supporting us in ironing out the initial release bugs. [attachment=5508:17.jpg] Using the limited system profile data available in Unity (including the out-dated GPU fill-rate stat), the game now takes a reasonable guess at graphics settings, as well as persisting user settings. These eye-candy screenshots have nearly all the image effects enabled, and my poor iMac with it's mediocre GPU just about copes for capturing video on full settings. Those real-time Water4 reflections are FPS killers due to the additional cameras required to draw the render textures, halfing the frame rate. Still, better that players with decent GPUs get to enjoy their investments than not at all. [attachment=5509:18.jpg] And finally, here's the latest dev video on the [url="http://www.youtube.com/user/gamesfoundry?feature=mhee"]Games Foundry YouTube Channel[/url]. God I hope UT implement hardware custom cursor support in 3.5, otherwise our project will be missing an essential RTS element. If you haven't already, please [url="http://feedback.unity3d.com/forums/15792-unity/suggestions/262990-runtime-hardware-cursor-support"]vote for it[/url]. Can't wait for the new GC and GUI implementations, because the current ones suck ass.
  4. [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"]Two new ambient zones added to the map this week. Here's a first peek of a [i]mostly[/i] unpopulated volcanic environment. The next dev video will feature a first pass paint/sculpt of the complete level terrain including the yet to be revealed snow mountains.[/size][/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"]We're recruiting talented artists across a range of disciplines (3D, UI, concept, texture). So if you can dedicate 20+ hours per week between now and November (share of profits), please get in touch.[/size][/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color][color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][attachment=5162:7.jpg][/size][/font][/color]
  5. Thanks. The project kicked off in May, with the other four team members joining June onwards. We're using Unity 3.4.
  6. [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"]After reading and seeing what everyone else is working on, we thought it was time to share some early screenshots of our team's first project together: Bumpkins. You can also watch the latest dev update video on [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMJbjyUQG_w&hd=1"]YouTube[/url].[/size][/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"]If you are a talented 3D, texture or concept artist, and are looking to get involved in an established project in exchange for a share of net profits based on the hours you contribute, please get in touch. We are currently five strong, aiming to develop a single-level playable demo by November 1st 2011, after which we'll be contacting publishers.[/size][/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][color="#111111"]#1[/color][/size][/font] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][attachment=4976:0.jpg] [/size][/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][color="#111111"]#2[/color][/size][/font] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][attachment=4977:3.jpg] [/size][/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][color="#111111"]#3[/color][/size][/font] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][attachment=4978:4.jpg] [/size][/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][color="#111111"]#4[/color][/size][/font] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][attachment=4979:5.jpg] [/size][/font][/color] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"] [/font][/color] [font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][color="#111111"]#5[/color][/size][/font] [color="#111111"][font="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"][size="2"][attachment=4980:12.jpg] [/size][/font][/color]
  7. Hi Thomas,
    Can you add me on MSN messenger or Skype as sdean3842@hotmail.com. It will be easier to chat on there.
    Best wishes,
    Simon.
  8. Hi Dreadnight,
    I think you sent me an email, but it's not appearing in my gamedev.net inbox. You can email me directly at sdean@gamesfoundry.com
    Best wishes,
    Simon.
  9. Hi GninjaGnome,
    Some of your stuff looks interesting. Having seen our budget, on what basis are you prepared to offer your services?
    http://www.gamedev.net/topic/603026-required-3d-character-modeller-and-animator/
    Best wishes,
    Simon Dean | Games Foundry