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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. A bit interesting read regarding possible deeper meaning in the video: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/gangnam-style-dissected-the-subversive-message-within-south-koreas-music-video-sensation/261462/
  2. [quote name='Shippou' timestamp='1351282563' post='4994250'] I haven't seen a great point and click for some time now.[/quote] What about stuff I mentioned, Deponia, Book of unwritten tales, Sam and Max? I mean not great, but pretty solid P&C games.
  3. [quote name='Shippou' timestamp='1351273601' post='4994216'] From what I have seen, "point and click" has been mostly relegated to children's educational games. There are occasionally puzzle games that are also point and click ... not much else is out there. The time of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Entertainment"]Sierra[/url] games is long over, however technically [url="http://www.runescape.com/"]Runescape[/url],and [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeon_Keeper"]Dungeon Keeper[/url] are point and click. [/quote] I do agree that P&C are not the most popular genre, but that's a bit grim outlook, don't you think, considering certain new titles?
  4. [quote name='slayemin' timestamp='1351266518' post='4994176'] Personally, I think the "game" is just the vector for delivering the story to the user in an interactive manner. Everything outside of the story itself is polish and embellishments to create deeper immersion. The story is the foundation of your P&C game. If the story doesn't exist, then you've merely got a few puzzles to solve and the game will fail to capture much interest. [/quote] That is something I too came to think of, that many of P&C games are just a medium focused on delivering the story rather then the "fun" gameplay it self. While the latter is certainly a bonus, it feels that the story was main core and focus of games like Monkey Island and the game was just a medium.
  5. Hello everyone, I am working on a P&C adventure game and wanted to start a topic to discuss Point and Click adventure genre and how it can be successfully implemented in the modern age, mostly to hear what others think about it. I grew up with point and click adventures, mostly Russian titles none heard about but also such classics as monkey island. It's good fun and often based a lot on humor. However lately I've been seeing certain bias against point and click, especially bias against the control scheme rather than the adventure genre as a whole. While there are still some good titles coming out, like Deponia and The Book of Unwritten Tales, I wonder what is the current state of the P&C games in the modern market. There is obviously still big interest for them, considering success of certain kick starter titles, but what are your thoughts of the genre in the modern gaming as a whole? Secondly I ponder in general over the implementation of point and click and the evolution of the genre, which I believe has more potential beyond the classics named above. If we take a look at for example The Walking Dead game, by tell tale, it's a shining example of adaption of classic point and click to more modern, action based experience. It is heavily scripted and cutscene heavy, but I felt it was adding to the charm, rather than annoying me. They throw in some quick time events, some action scenes, some choices, yet using P&C at the core of the game even thou they utilize extra controls beyond P&C in certain scenarios. So I wonder, what do you feel modern P&C should focus on, feature wise?
  6. I love multiple perspective structure, which makes the player try to puzzles together all the answers and fill in the blanks rather than spoon feeding a rather straight forward story from one perspective. Such structure often gives an impression of a bigger world too, when not everything resolves around one character but is all mixed and matched. One of my favorite examples comes from anime called When The Cicadas Cry. It uses a different and more intriguing, imho, structure than one you described. The way it goes is that the series is divided into four "question" story arcs and four "answer" arcs. Each question arc tells same story but from the perspective of different characters, often with different event results (someone dies in one arc, but survives in other), yet succeeding to keep main background story the same. As you can guess from the name, it mainly rises questions as well as explains what is going on with each character as you see the story from their perspective. Then we have answer arcs which provide tidbits of answers to each other and question arcs. It's a cool way to keep the watcher intrigued as you cant predict exact outcome of events in every arc despite following story similar to previous one, all while they are keeping the main story intact, feeding you tidbits of clues. When implementing such different perspective story in a game, it may be a good idea to make drastically different gameplay for each of the characters to keep things fresh. One character could be engaging in gun battles while other is all about hacking computers to avoid direct encounters. Or it may be enough with slight mechanics variations. I checked your game out on your blog; you probably thought of it already, but it could be interesting to have variations such as one character is a pilot and the game plays as an Asteroids alike game, while the one staying on the ship plays in a complete different manner, solving tech problems instead of engaging in action. Although it would be bit of a challenge to avoid alienating players when switching from one kind of gameplay to other. Lastly I find it much more interesting story telling wise when you build the multiple perspective story in a way that when experienced from a second perspective it completely changes the meaning of events you experienced in first perspective. This way, instead of telling parts of same story you first tell a coherent story from first perspective then tell it in a different way that completely changes the way player perceived events in the first play through. A simple example is first story telling of a crew member who sacrificed his life in an attempt to diffuse a bomb while later arc reveals that it was in fact him who set it in the first place. It turns the players view on the story upside down, making him unsure what to expect and wanting to find out more, to find out whether his new guess is accurate. Basically you tell the story in a coherent A(a1-a2-a3)-B-C way in first perspective, where event A is detailed event from that first character perspective and B is something that happened on the ship which first character heard about. But second perspective reveals much deeper A-B(b1-b2-b3)-C details of B that changes the way it was perceived when you player first characters perspective. Phew.. Hopefully that made sense. Also, high five for Ukraine game devs in Stockholm o/
  7. I would suggest ditching the timer and instead working on defining the characters. What makes them unique, what utility do they have in the game, why would player want to play them. Only then introduce timer if you feel it is needed to enforce certain aspect of gameplay. Trine (first one) for example found a very nice balance between action and mild puzzles that utilized all of your characters, also there were often several ways to overcome a challenge. Second trine however focused too much on puzzles for me to like it. If you dont want puzzles, dont make puzzles. But platforming and puzzles go hand in hand with such concept. You could try instead making combat focused turn based game, where each character would have unique attacks that work better on certain enemies than others. This way you could plan your attacks and place your characters at certain future enemy paths. Say you have a melee character and ranged character. Place the melee one around the corner who will assassinate the guard next turn and the ranged character to take out the guard through the window that doesn't let the melee get close. Games like X-COM: Apocalypse, where you had line of sight and could play versus other player, trying to predict his movements and place your soldiers strategically could be a source of inspiration, despite different genre (iso turnbased instead of platformer). But start with re-evaluating if you really need the timer, I think it is keeping you in a more closed mindset of developing this design.
  8. I am under impression that while you may have a point at the core of your post, you phrase in a questionable way. I don't agree that games must always be challenging, they must be engaging. They should engage the user with their mechanics, atmopshere or story, or any other way they can come up with. Fun doesn't always come from challenge, it comes from exploring a new pattern, a new feature that was previously unknown to the player. That is not to say that said features can be mind-numbing easy that they become boring, but they don't need to make you grind your teeth. For example while Dear Esther (which is questionable if it can be classified as a game, but that's not the point) is hardly a challenge, it was engaging. Same goes for Journey. Fun from games comes in many forms, it can be from sense of discovery, artistic joy, challenge or from many other ways. I don't think you can just sweep all games under "they should be challenging". Sure there is theory of Flow, where a player has most fun when there is nice balance between his skills and challenge, which I fully agree on, but that is not the only way to engage your player. Another important point you overlook is that not everyone's skill is equal to yours. Why should a more casual crowd be denied the joy of gaming only because they are less skilled, and therefore can't get into the "flow" zone of your standard challenging game? Some people don't have the ability or time to learn advanced games, it's just not their thing, therefore the barrier into flow (where challenge meets player skills) should be lowered to meet those peoples skill. Yes, such games are perceived as casual by you, but my mom is still trying to master angry birds and that is a challenge to her. "Challenge" is a very relative term. This is the main reason where your post comes short IMHO. Lastly your line about "they arn't real gamers" really gets to me, and I must admit I can't really pinpoint exactly why. Gamer as a word is too overused to use in any argument imho. Because I watch few movies each month, doesn't mean I'm a cinephile, does it? Same goes for games. Games are a medium of entertainment that have stopped being exclusive to "gamers" long ago, and imho there is nothing wrong with developers adapting to a broader audience. It's a dynamic medium that becomes what it's audience and developers wants it to become, it develops together with its audience. There is nothing wrong with casual games; as much as I like dark souls I dont think I would enjoy playing them on a subway to the work [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
  9. I suspect the new Fable: the journey is something along the lines that you are no longer the hero but an ordinary guy?
  10. After some consideration I think a return to start point in some non-lethal way (the level is not that big that running will get annoying) and the loss of collected energy which is essential for completing the game would result in a decent mechanic. And as Stroppy suggested, a score of how much energy you collected in total could be a nice bonus! Thanks everyone for the input[img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif[/img]
  11. [quote name='kseh' timestamp='1323464317' post='4892335'] AI: Unauthorized presence detected. Unit X49281 identified. Station of origin A3276 confirmed. Returning unit to station of origin. And the player (X49281) would be able to 'hack' restoration points to mark it as the place to return to if he's ever captured or otherwise found incapacitated. Perhaps include confiscation of contraband items when captured. [/quote] Interesting spin. Not quite terrifying, but would solve that question of avoiding the death it self. I imagined the AI less intelligent, but it could be changed ofcourse. Although, it only would achieve that player has to spend few minutes extra walking back to same place, possible picking up lost energy. Then again, considering how few mechanics we have in the game maybe I am asking for too much? =P [quote name='rethan' timestamp='1323464380' post='4892336'] Not sure what the exact style of the player/monster but, the AI monster could "eat" you and either spit-launch you back to an earlier place/checkpoint, or move around and poop you out elsewhere (adds some comedy) Or, he could knock you off/push you around/make your life hard unless you do something like use energy somehow to distract it/send it scurrying off (so basically you have to sacrifice energy for some peace and quiet.) Hope that helps. [/quote] Cool that you suggested the energy sacrifice mechanic! It is something we are considering to add some form of micromanagement to the game, in terms of either powering up the beacons faster, or getting rid of the AI for the instance. [quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1323465117' post='4892340'] Mechanical ships or characters are often stripped of upgrades as a punishment for being captured or shot. Being returned to a starting point is a similar method of making them lose progress. Or they could be drained of energy and have to wait for an NPC 'medic' or black market trader to charge them up, which might be accompanied by a lecture or a fee. [/quote] Hm, some form of upgrades for easier navigation/movement could be introduced, thou since the games main objective is not action/AI fighting, returning to starting point would only result in some extra time to get back which is done relatively easy. There is also none else on the island except for the player and AI monsters to charge you up.. but that too could be changed. Thanks for all the replies!
  12. [quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1321998034' post='4886681'] [quote name='FLeBlanc' timestamp='1321989535' post='4886644'] Personally, I believe that once you have dungeon-finder style lobbying in place, the world simply doesn't matter and probably can't be made to matter to the majority of people who like the LFG system you have built. You've created an entirely different game, no different from the lobby-based match games we've had for years. You've also neatly segregated your player base. You'll have people that run around doing quests because they like it, and you'll have people slamming the LFG queues and sitting on their glowy mounts in Org in the meantime; and rarely shall the twain ever meet. I don't like Blizzard's cross-realm LFG; it's sins are, to me, especially egregious. It's tantamount to ripping the living soul out of a server. In my opinion, the guild perks were band-aid fixes to the problem of people not knowing each other on their home servers, [b]and not caring to know each other[/b]. I think that if you're going to go ahead and design a game around an LFG system, then it is pointless to also set it in a large, rich, and open world. Just my two cents. [/quote] I completely disagree with this, but I want to focus on the bolded part because that's more on the side of fact and philosophy, less just opinion due to the fact that I personally like solo questing and only run dungeons if it's quick and easy to find a group and get to the dungeon. But it's true that in general people don't care to know each other. I don't understand why some game designers are completely unwilling to let people not know each other if that's what people want to do. It's NOT an MMO designer's job to try to force people to get to know each other. A game should let players do what they find fun and not do what they don't find fun, or it's failing at the most essential part of being a game. If a designer wants to encourage group play, making it convenient is the approach likely to please the most people and offend the least people. [/quote] A bit late reply, but I wanted to comment on the above. I'm not sure I agree with your view on the game design right there, concerning the social aspect of the games. Majority of the players are lazy by nature and there is little wrong with that to be honest. We want to have fun, we want a challenge, but if there is an obvious and easier way around it, we will take it. For example if there is a labyrinth on my path to delicious cake, but I can go around it, I would do so. But if I had to go through the said labyrinth, the reward in form of cake would feel lot more achieving and I would probably have fun figuring out the way to it. The above is sure a far-stretched example, but I hope it gets my point across, without knowing it people will skip feature or activities they would find fun and entertaining if they just invested some time in them. I think it is a designers job to properly introduce the player to said features, such as socializing, instead of finding a ways of how to make it more and more easier. I might not always have enjoyed waiting 5 minutes on a boat in WoW, but while doing so I have made some great friends (I've met one of my best RL friends in that way actually) and some entertaining nemesis too. You could argue that even with all possible benefits there would be certain cases of players just finding the said features annoying no matter what, but can a game appeal to everyone? I don't think so. However, you probably didn't really mean it the way I took it, but rather that a designer should make a game as least annoying as possible.. well, I can't argue with that really, although imho a good game should have a good pacing of minor annoyance in form of challenges, that's when you feel most rewarded once you have beaten it, rather if a game was a smooth and joyful ride all along, a player would get overloaded with rewards and get bored. My two cents, I hope it made sense, rather then coming out as incoherent gibberish.
  13. Hey all! I am currently designing a 3D point and click puzzle/exploration game. To describe the main objective and gameplay im simplified way; you play as a biomechanical organism and you have "beacons" which you have to powerup with "energy" you collect around the gameworld. There is roaming AI, which aggro you if you get to close and are in their line of sight. The whole game is taking place on one island with seamless levels. The game is supposed to feature calm yet slightly alerting atmosphere. Now to the issue I have stumbled upon, namely punishment for failing to avoid the above named AI (and possibly for falling from to high ground too). I feel that death of your character as punishment method does not fit the games gameplay and atmosphere, yet would like to see some sort of punishment when you let the AI catch you. AI is supposed to be something terrifying you would want to avoid at all costs, but how does one achieve such effect without death? It could be done with checkpoints, that you don't directly die, but for some logical reason getting send back to a point of restoration. You could also lose the energy you have collected ala Sonic and his rings style, but that too feels like an annoyance rather then a terrifying effect. Does anyone have any interesting suggestions on different punishment mechanics which intrigued you before and which could fit the above described settings, or any links toa articles discussing such mechanics? It would be interesting to explore the alternatives of a death mechanic which is more then a minor setback to latest checkpoint (dark souls comes to mind).
  14. Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the PDF names you posted. Went through them, really interesting read:)
  15. About immersion, it really depends. In MMOs I prefer third person, because I feel better bond with my character and I feel more immersed in him, due to me being able to actually see all the cool moves he executes and the armor I am wearing. However when in single player, I would prefer first person view for reasons I can't quite explain. I guess for the sake of immersion, again.. quite contradictory, eh?