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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. Have inactive players retreat to AI defended fortresses.  No AI will ever be a match for a human opponent in a good strategy game, but you can make defending or targeting inactive players a strategic goal. 
  2. [quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1355349927' post='5009982'] But, in an MMO those systems all have to work together. The interrelatedness of things is part of what makes the MMO feel like an immersive world, as well as the important design principle of unity of subject matter. For example pets typically play a role in combat, and the player crafts items relevant to capturing (involves exploration), breeding, and/or training pets. Not to mention the problem of keeping the player's money balanced if they are somehow using the same money across multiple games. And if the money don't carry across, it would be quite difficult to make them seem like one integrated game. Making each of those playable on its own would make it more difficult to plug them into each other. So, I like the idea of modularity. I like your project breakdown except I'd toss out the necromancy and add a faction reputation/individual relationship meter instead, and a minigame arena or similar way to bring minigames into the MMO, and I'm fairly sure magic ought to be a sub-area of either combat or crafting, depending what you're doing with it. But I'm not sure this project breakdown works as a list of standalone games to be combined into an MMO. [/quote] The separate games wouldn't change how each system interacts. Say there's an mmo with a great crafting system but you hate the rest of the game. This would give you an option to experience the crafting without having to do the rest of the the stuff you dislike. Maybe off a smaller sub for that section of the game. Plus you wouldn't bring it all together at once. Maybe tie a couple together here and there, but you'd want to focus on the core game play before making it part of the game world. Smaller project chunks like this can allow you to have a sequel or two to fine tune stuff before pugging it into the collective game world. There's a lot of possiblilities on how to tie them all together. [quote name='Aeramor' timestamp='1355351331' post='5009991'] I've mulled over this same thing many times. I love the idea of several smaller teams each making a unique game that would eventually be part of a larger game (be it mmo or not) but after awhile I came to the conclusion that there needs to be a "main team" that is in charge of the game, as a whole, that would stitch the pieces together and be in charge of making sure the pieces fit together in some kind of coherent way. I think as a single team though creating many small games as proving grounds for individual components of a future idealistic game is a great approach. As far as modularity, however, It's unlikely to work well. Games, in general, are so entirely custom and even slight variations modify gameplay quite a bit. Look at shooters... you could say the gameplay aspect is modular there but each game has its own tweaks, stack, control flow, and many other aspects that make it 'feel' unique even though on the surface they may seem like the same game. [/quote] All the games would need to be designed by the same team. You could hand off those designs to different teams, and as long as they meet your specifications, everything should work more or less OK.
  3. I'm of the opinion each major game system in an mmo should be a complete, fun, and playable game unto it's self. Unfortunately, what usually happens is time or budget constraints forces developers to release incomplete systems. What one were to develop an MMO by creating a series of modular components, smaller games that join together to create a larger game world. The basic frame work for these types of gaming systems is already established in most gaming hubs like Kongregate, where you have site points and usernames carried over from one game to the other. Those gamer profiles could easily be converted to include character data. By releasing each major game system as it's own game across a variety of platform, you get the chance to fully flesh out each system so that it's fun to play. Plus it adds lots of early monetizations opportunities across lots of platforms and game genres, and if done right deveopment could potentially fund it's self. You'd attract a lot of niche players and allow them to focus on the style of play they like the best. Plus you could have several teams working on different games at once. Do you guys think this if a feasible approach to take? Can you break up an MMO into smaller playable game? For instance my broject breakdown is looking somethign like this -prototype combat in pvp/pve arena game -Pet system game, arena combat, breeding, training -trading/crafting game -dungeon exploration game -Necromancy system, skeletal lego type of game -magic/ritual systems Each one building of the previous games, gradually becomming more interconnected until it achieves the cohesion of a game world. Maybe each game has a couple of sequels to streamline gameplay.
  4. Have you tried LinkRealms? It's based on UO. http://www.linkrealms.com/
  5. I'm considering a lore system comprised of books and maps which are found as loot. I control the release or the rarer ones that progress the story of the game. A player finds an uber rare ancient map that shows some sort of building in a certain location by obvious landmarks. If the player checks it out, it's hopefully obvious that the building on the map has been buried. Digging in the area turns up artifacts to encourage more digging, but to unearth the building requires the effort of an entire guild or public work project where anyone can join in. So a group of players eventually unearth the buried building, figure out how to open it, and out pours a black mist. The building was a prison to contain the smoke creature which is now loose to effect the entire game world. At the same time, pages of ancient books are being found, some of which mention or give clues about the giant spreading shadow creature, it's history, and that it has a weakness against fire and light spells. Some players will find these things and sell them to the Library for all to see, others will hoard them in their personal libraries for themselves and their guilds. One player may find a scroll on how to perform an ancient ritual, while another player finds a page for a book that mentions where the ritual must be performed, and another player finds a journal that mentions when it must be performed. Not only does it create the scenario where a group of players can unwittingly unleash something that negatively effects the game world, but it also creates the opposite scenario. Where a player discovers a potential threat and works to stop it. That could involve some detective work, who's building what where, what guild just buying up all the death monks required for the massive ritual. Of course if a player doesn't eventually trigger these events, larger and larger groups of monsters are going to keep trying until they pull it off. Players could always dig something up at random without any maps or lore, but that would be unlikely due to the project size required to unearth something of that sort.
  6. [quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1324754991' post='4897133']That's not really permanent death though. Permadeath is a concept applied to the player's singular avatar. Perma death in your game would mean losing all your characters.[/quote] Even perma death isn't perma death if you can just reroll another character. The game goes on for the player unless you go for the rules in that game world in Caprica, where if you die, you can't go back into the world. My system isn't that different than hardcore mode in Diablo3 where if you die you still have a large cache of weapons and gold in your stash. You can't think of perma death as the absolute end, and need to provide ways for the game to progress beyond death.
  7. [quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1324709505' post='4897022']maybe it would be easier to advise you if you had a better description of your game. for instance rts games have permadeath, but you have thousands of "characters" aka troops and ships that die and aren't all that important.[/quote] I wasn't looking for advice. Was just commenting that if you're going to have permadeath, you can't take everything away. You need to have other aspects to the game so the player feels the death wasn't for nothing. Even though your characters die, there needs to be the feeling that their brief existence contributed to something greater. In the case of my game, yes, some characters will be expendable. But others will be more precious, and their loss will be more significant.
  8. Perma death is a core mechanic in the game I'm hoping to build, and it's not really a big deal in my overall design. Instead of only having one character, players will have hundreds. Some losses will be felt more than others. but overall it should be pretty difficult to be completely devastated, so obviously no open PvP. To further make up for the loss of permadeath, there is a genetic component, so the genetic makeup of each successive generation becomes more and more fine tuned.
  9. Players are unforgiving when it comes to graphics. I've no doubt avoided potentially great games because I didn't like the graphic style. That said, I think 2D is still viable, but not as a downloadable game. I think browser, flash and portable games are the only things that will let you get away with 2d graphics and still make a profit. Going 3D is a big commitment, and can add more complexity than your game may require. You need to weigh what 3D will bring to your game against all the extra work and time a 3D project requires. On the other hand, something like Hero Engine that handles all the server stuff for you can make the transition to full 3D very tempting. I say if you can live without 3D, don't do it.
  10. You're crazy! Designing the game is the best part. With a good design, the game practically programs it's self. The programming is all hunting down bugs and logic flaws. Try using a Wiki to design your game. Very flexible and organized, you can easily see what parts need fleshing out and edit as needed. I'm surprised there isn't a site that hosts game design wikis.