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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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About BoredAstronaut

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  1. I have begun work on a game. My initial focus is currently on the game mechanics, but I also have a background for the setting. But I believe that the same mechanics would work in a variety of settings, just as any gameplay genre (shooter, RPG, RTS, etc) can support a variety of different settings. The motivation for the game design comes from the fact that while I am a professional programmer and software developer, and an experienced writer, I am not an artist (discounting amateur work), and have virtually no experience making real graphical assets for games. More importantly, I am working on this alone, for now, and don't have time to also learn computer illustration and make enough artwork to fill an RPG (even a top-down 2d one). My starting point was the idea of the multi-user dungeon, or MUD, but for one person. Which led back to old-school, room-based text adventures. But I also have experience with pen-and-paper RPGs. These are primarily text-based, but also use some graphics, like maps and drawings. Some players also use miniatures, but that is primarily to assist in combat mechanics (line of sight, cover, reach, etc). Unlike classic text-based games, I do not want to require the user to type input. I want a modern user interface with an intuitive layout and modern GUI controls. But the content of the experience is text-based: descriptions of places, characters, objects and events. In some ways, I think what this is describing is perhaps a bit like Bard's Tale-type games from the late '80's. But, again, with much richer, more modern user interface design and more detailed and nuanced NPC interactions. The UI would consist of the following main components: - a live journal: this is a running list of events that are happening to the player, or to other characters nearby - a description of the current focus: the currently selected object or item, or the current location (if nothing is selected) - a character inventory screen, probably with the usual paper-doll equipment viewer and a list of contents of backpack and other containers - a character status screen, including skills, abilities, physical and mental state (health, etc) and other status information - a context-senstive command section, which contains action buttons relevant to the current focus The command section and a minimized character status will always be visible. The journal will toggle with the enhanced character status. The focus description will toggle with the player inventory. There will also be some way to toggle between text and maps, or full-window map views, and images of objects (if any). As it is an RPG, it would also have quests, so it's likely that some kind of Quest UI (in addition to the book-like journal) would also be necessary. The player's main play activities are what you'd probably expect: - open/close, lock/unlock and look inside containers - search for hidden items, hidden containers, hidden doors, traps- move from place to place through available exits - inspect NPCs/monsters and objects - pick up or drop objects - talk to non-hostile mobs - trade with friendly mobs or merchants - attack hostile mobs The game would be turn-based, unless a real-time approach was feasible and the player preferred it. But the idea is that the play experience is non-urgent, relaxing, and mostly made up of exploring the world and meeting and interacting with characters. The challenges would mostly be strategic or involve text or logical puzzles, or conversation. It would not require battle tactics like squad management and terrain utilization, but mostly avoiding unnecessary combat, otherwise dealing with it by learning an enemy's weakness and correctly exploiting it. One area of possibly originality that I am exploring is that of generalizing the conversation mechanics by using an underlying uniform idea representation consisting of simple atomic action statements, on the order of <subject> <action> <target> eg "Bob hit goblin" with optional annotations for additional detail, an adverb characterizing the action, time and place the action occurred, whether the speaker was a witness or heard it from someone else, and any known original witnesses, the likelihood or reliability of the statement. The <action> would be virtually identical to the kinds of actions that players could perform themselves. I'm also considering whether or how it would work to allow making interrogative statements or predictions of the future, which listeners could then annotate with their opinion of time/place/likelihood. It's possible that initially the user wouldn't see these mechanics, because they would be too complex and too limited, but if the game was scripted with such action statements in advance, and they had natural language descriptions, it would be a starting point, and NPCs could have at least a rudimentary logic system which would allow them to use knowledge of such statements to determine relationships, trustworthiness, animosity, or other things which would affect what information they would share with the player, or attitudes to trading, to quest giving, to determining quest completion, etc. This is very theoretical and will quite possibly prove untenable once I start to experiment. But most of the other mechanics are fairly tried and true. Feedback, criticism, incredulity, similar projects etc. are welcome. Currently developing for Mac and probable adaptation to iPad.
  2. One possible issue with expecting players to police themselves is whether the act of policing is rewarding. Either it has to be fun, or it has to provide some other reward that they can use to find fun in the game in some other way. Like, getting in-game credit to buy things to allow them to split their time between policing and adventuring. On the other hand, if volunteering to police destructive players has no rewards, there is no incentive. It is in the interests of the developers to find any and all ways possible to assist members of the player community who volunteer their time in this way. In the real world, police get paid and get respect, and are part of a kind of fraternity. They also (hopefully) get a personal sense of righteousness from their belief that they are doing the right thing, and a sense of accomplishment from doing a good job and keeping people safe. In real life, protection of life and property is very important. In a game, this is less true, since it's all imaginary. Another approach is to reduce the cost of doing damage. For example, if players build something and it takes a long time, they will be unhappy if it can easily be destroyed. Unless it's easy to re-build it. Perhaps by saving the blueprint of their creation, and letting them assign virtual workers to re-build it. All-in-all, emergence is a really exciting idea, but it's also highly risky. It comes down to providing a toolbox and/or sandbox and hoping that sufficiently creative players find it and help make it an interesting and lively environment.
  3. Poigahn and MarkS make good points. Most games rely on text to some degree. As Poigahn said, RPGs rely on text a lot. And even spoken dialogue isn't that different from text, in terms of gameplay. So there are lots of examples of how to use text. As MarkS said, it's important to consider the game environment. Very few people consider a purely text-based user interface to be "normal", unlike when the first text adventures were released. Are you thinking of 100% text-only game? That would seem very antiquated today. A console-like input system where the user has to type everything is missing out on all the benefits of and knowledge about contemporary UI and UX design. Text input requires memorizing or guessing commands, and can be very frustrating. I recommend separating the content from the interaction when you design. Even word processors use buttons, tables, lists and other modern UI elements, although the content is predominantly text. One thing you can't avoid in a text-centric game is that you will have to do a lot of writing. And ideally, the writing will be good on its own: with memorable characters, an evocative setting and convincing dialogue. This will go a long way to ensuring your game is fun. Ultimately, you have to think of your audience—your players—and what they like, and what they will want to do in the game. Will they want to do a lot of typing, or would they rather click buttons every now and then? How much interaction is required? I mean, how much time is spent reading versus actively inputting commands (either typing or mouse-based)? Different people will like or dislike different designs.