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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. The model for your license is almost identical to one that I needed for a project of mine. The only solution that made me happy was writing my own license. Looking at BSD, MIT, and other commercial licenses should give you a good idea on what you need to include. Just make sure that it's very clear that you hold zero liability for its use, and that it may only be used under the conditions you specify. Lastly, make sure the license contains your name, the date, and some contact info so the rightful owner of the project and license (you) is correctly identified.
  2. [quote]Postal Boxes? Definitely smaller rent than an actual floor. You can probably reroute all content to your address from there, but I can't say if dodging the bullet is legal.[/quote] Do NOT do this! I did a lot of research on this topic because I was interested in starting a company outside of the state that I currently reside in. After a few weeks of searching, I found examples were people were arrested and/or fined for doing this. It isn't illegal everywhere, and many of the laws regarding this are vague, but it just isn't worth it. I would give the same advice regarding virtual offices. It's so hard to know if you are breaking a law in the country you actually reside in, or the country your business is supposed to be located in. The right way to do this is to hire a lawyer (specifically one that has knowledge of international business law concerning the two countries in question).
  3. I think it would be a good idea to keep this thread on the topic of tying game design to business model, so I'm not going to talk about the differences in financing each (as I'm assuming you already understand them thoroughly). Here are my thoughts on how each model affects my actions: I took your survey and rated them at this: Subscription to try: 5 30-day trial: 7 Unlimited-time trial: 6 Free-to-Play: 6 Personally, I'm not that put off by a required subscription to try it out. If it looks really good and I hear great things about it, I have no qualms in paying the price of a dinner to try it out for a month. However, a 30-day trial is superior as I don't have to fork over my credit card information so early. And if I like the game enough, I get to keep the progress I made in the trial, so the transition is quite painless. Both of these types of games tell me that it must be high quality (or at least, that was the intention. we know this doesn't always work out that way). Unlimited-time trials and free-to-play, on the other hand, give me pause. Even though I'm somewhat likely to try the game out, I'm more likely to consider myself trying out the game for much longer than its non-free cousins (an hence, I feel less inclined to keep playing). The reason for this is to see how the community evolves. With free games, the community is more likely to change, sometimes rapidly. If I feel that I'm just bumbling around in a virtual world where I never see a familiar face, I might as well be playing well-scripted single player games. Additionally, the developers may have less incentive to keep the game interesting and running smoothly. Content updates and customer support would be expected in subscription-based models, whereas there is a much less of an expectation for free games. After writing this, I noticed something interesting: this is more of a psychological barrier than anything. My perception of how a particular game will play out is somewhat based on similar games that I played in the past. As you can probably figure out, my experiences with free-to-play games hasn't been all great, but if you are around my age, then we both know that the first free-to-play games either didn't last too long or couldn't keep up with the quality of other games. Runescape might be an counter example to this point, as it has lasted for over a decade, with frequent updates. This was likely due to their dual-business model: An area restricted to free-to-play, and additional content available for subscribers. This enabled them to make a significant amount of money and pull in lots of players at the same time. So, if a game can break the perception that it is lower quality, less kept-up, or has quickly-to-dissolve communities, then it deserves a shot. But really, the entire industry needs to change. This is already beginning to happen with non-MMOs. League of Legends has been immensely popular and very well supported financially. Now we have to wait for the leap to MMOs, but considering that the finances required to build these sorts of projects are so extreme, it could be a while. All in all, I will pay good money to play a quality game, and that is what drives the business. This generally applies to all types of products: Pay more money, get a better product. If I'm not paying anything, I can only expect so much.
  4. [quote]What you're describing is classic griefing gameplay, you are suppose to work as a team to accomplish a goal. You are dropping the rest of the team under the assumption that you're "higher skill" (chosen tactic to win) is more important then the experience of the players your suppose to be playing with.[/quote] But that is not true, as we clearly defined in this topic that griefers don't play to win. We had a winning strategy, just not one that everyone was competent at. Until you consider a wider array of possible ways to play your game (and not to mention, agree on a definition of griefing), designing a way to prevent griefing will either be impossible, counter-productive, and/or impact your target audience.
  5. [quote][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3][left][background=rgb(247, 247, 247)]Design is actually the easy part of game development. And I think deep down you know that. If the programming and art were easier than design, you would already be doing it.[/background][/left][/size][/font][/color][/quote] Care to explain how you came to this conclusion? Not only is it terribly false, but no matter how good your programmers and artists, a crappy game design will land your game in the waste bin. A classic example of good game design is Starcraft. It's been around for over a decade, yet so many games have utterly failed to emulate it. You think designing that was easy? Just make the classic 3-race structure, give them some unique units, make it flashy and you're good to go? Even after the game's release, it took them 2-3 years to flesh out the balance of the game. Their job was not easy. There is a reason Blizzard is famous for its games. OP: My advice to you is to play Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. It's a very simple, yet enjoyable game that shows you how far game design can go. The programming for that sort of thing is absolute cake, and finding an artist willing to boost his resume (aka: willing to work for cheap or free) should not be difficult. Obviously, the game didn't make the creators into millionaires, but it did get played by over 400,000 people. I'd call that a success.
  6. An important thing to keep in mind is that griefing can be very difficult to define. Your description of "rambo players" is a perfect example of this, as skilled players will appear very rambo-esque to the less experienced. In L4D, one of my friends and I would often blitz to the end of a level, trying to not stop for anything. We won tons of games doing this, but unfortunately our other friends thought we were griefing because they couldn't keep up. One might assume that we were abandoning them, yet somehow both of us always made it to the safehouse together. We definitely helped eachother, it was just too fast paced for others to handle. With this in mind, I would be careful about automatic anti-grief systems as they can actually punish your skilled, hardcore players. Alienating them is a huge mistake.
  7. Also keep in mind that some GMs won't expect any sort of reward. Some people just enjoy story telling. Giving them a way to do so in a very creative fashion is often enough reward in and of itself.
  8. It would be nice if we were treated more as advice givers/mentors rather than your advertising campaign slaves. Can you please provide a resume or other evidence of your past experience? Also, there is little incentive for us to comment considering that you aren't interested in taking suggestions. You can always pick and choose as you see fit, but you should be as flexible as possible if you want to design a truly successful game.
  9. I actually found the poll part to be a bit silly as I ended up checking off almost all of them. lol. Instead, I'll just describe what makes me interested/disinterested for each genre: RTS - interested: I'm a big fan of Starcraft and Age of Empires. If I had any ideas that I felt could push the genre, I probably wouldn't think twice. The idea of building a game that is easy to play, but near impossible to master is one of my favorites. Tactical - interested: I've never played the example you gave, but I feel like the genre is lacking and less developed than others. Being a part of developing a "new" genre sounds exciting. Simulation - not interested: The repetition in these games kills me. I would probably be fine developing such a game, but when developing it is more fun than playing, there is something wrong. Adventure - interested: We need more of these! Better AI technologies would really bring them to life, and I have a big interest in developing such tech. FPS - interested: As long as the game includes novel features, I'm in. Action-oriented games are always fun to play with friends, and can be played at parties, as everyone isn't so serious about winning. I would not, however, be ok with working on anyother cookie-cutter shooter. Pet Monster Collector - interested: Other than being a fan of Pokemon when I was younger, I don't think I have any particular reason for this sounding interesting Racing - not interested: I feel like many racing games are restricting themselves by attempting to be as realistic as possible. Aside from that, there isn't much else you can do other than steer and adjust speed. Mario Kart is probably the best counter-example to my reasoning, but even then, it doesn't sound all that fun to develop. Browser-based Game - not interested: Many browser based games have a terrible reputation within hardcore gaming circles. Being a hardcore gamer, I feel like I would be demoting myself by working on a project like this. It's almost all personal bias, but one of my more concrete reasons is that you have less to work with (for example, you have to assume that graphics capability is severely limited compared to making a stand-alone game). Action Adventure - interested: If it has a good story, memorable characters, and solid mechanics, I couldn't pass it up, as it sounds like something I would want to play. Player made content - interested: This one is difficult, as a big part of PMC games is the community. Regardless of the quality, if you can't attract players, the game is doomed to fail. I would approach any PMC project with caution, but simple mechanics that give rise to complex behaviors in players is always fun. Another plus is that the technicals of developing such a game are much easier than what it would have been to generate the end result (all of that PMC content!). JRPG - interested: I like well thought-out stories in games. They make me feel like I'm in the world. If I would play it, I would make it. WRPG - interested: With this genre, it seems that developers are trying out new ideas more freely than in other genres (this is most likely to deal with all of the customization options that players have). As a life-long tinkerer, this sounds really exciting to work on. MMO - interested: Players act completely different when playing online games than single player games. The mechanics are different, and I feel that most MMO genres are very poorly explored (come on, can't we get past dice-roll-esque combat now?) If I had the chance to work on an MMO with new game mechanics, I would be thrilled to work on it. Interactive Story - interested: The genre is poorly explored, and I think this could be the future of gaming. I'm always interested in participating in something that can be the next big hit. After writing this, I noticed that most of the reasons distilled down to a few key points: - If I would play it, I am interested in developing it. - New technology is almost always interesting to work on. - Poorly explored genres have room to grow, and therefore you have room to innovate. Innovation is fun.
  10. [quote][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3][left]If there's a quest to collect items then the players should bloody well remember what it is they're trying to collect. [/left][/size][/font][/color][/quote] This is very dangerous logic. When a teen plays your game after school every single day, they never have a problem remembering what items they are collecting. But when a college student plays, he may get stuck in a rut where he's studying for midterms, applying to internships, and balancing his time with all sorts of other things. The last think you want to do as his source of entertainment is to punish him by not reminding that he's collecting item X. He hasn't played the game in weeks or months, so don't expect him to remember. Unsurprisingly, I'm speaking this from experience, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that adults much older than me have had similar instances of this. Don't be afraid of dumbing the game down in terms of remembering things that don't affect gameplay. Only be weary when it involves actual gameplay mechanics.
  11. If you want to give a hint, but not make it obvious, try making all important items contain gold embellishments or something that looks valuable. That way, the player will get used to the idea that embellished items are usually useful for something (like a quest). When they encounter that one plaque with the gold text, or edges, or whatever, they'll have a feeling that it might be useful, but for what? They'll have to find out for themselves ;)