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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. I searched, but couldn't find this posted anywhere else on the site, so here it is:   http://www.raphkoster.com/2015/04/16/a-jedi-saga/   I learned so much reading this!  I'm still processing it all...
  2. My email time stamp says it is 18 hours old. I just tried to take the survey within the last 10 minutes. I entered my email address and it told me the survey was no longer available. The front page of the survey said it would run through Jan 5th.   I guess they weren't getting enough "qualified" responders fast enough for their liking. I hope that doesn't make things tougher for this site.
  3.   Sounds like the Time Machine series I used to read as a kid. Bonus, scroll to the bottom of that link to get "maps" of how the books were laid out. Illusion of choice?  Not really.  It's educational!
  4. The time-travel mechanic is superbly demonstrated in the movie Edge of Tomorrow.  I saw it.  It's worth seeing once.   Otherwise, if you want a persistent world without time-travel, then you have either legacy-play or resurrection-play. I'd lean towards resurrection play like how it's done in GTA.  If you get too much heat, let the cops kill you and the heat goes away.   For the story, I'd make the world very superstitious that everything needs to be buried to pass on to the next life.  But the PC is cursed to not pass on but to reanimate a day after dying.  The PC's main quest is to break this curse so they can go to their blessed afterlife.  The benefits of death would be (at least until the NPC's catch on) that enemies would think they beat the character.   If they encounter the character again after a death, perhaps they would be terrified of the vengeful spirit that is coming for them.  Maybe after breaking into a hard area, not to loot, but to plant an item in a place, pull a sacred lever, talk to someone who is being held captive, etc... the PC can choose to fight their way out, or take some lumps and die whereon they are then buried in the graveyard outside of town. (Hey! Free teleport-ish mechanism!)  Of course, dead bodies get stripped and looted unless you incorporate a superstition that anything that is in the possession of someone who dies is "unclean" and will keep the person from passing on to the next life.  Anyway, a banking / storage system would be useful to re-equip if necessary.  Maybe some not-so-superstitious brigands could loot the PC's corpse (including quest items) whereby the PC would then need to re-equip, track the brigands to their hideout and reclaim all the equipment (and probably more stuff that the brigands also have stolen).   OK. I'm just rambling now.  But I clearly see some ways that death can be used strategically and beneficially if designed properly in the game. 
  5. So there is the current "boss" model of combat where the boss goes through stages of aggression and power as the player progresses towards winning.  Any good FAQ on a game can detail these changes and what causes them to any frustrated player (or cheater).  Randomizing the behavior is a good way to somewhat overcome this predictability.   Say the boss is a big knight.  It's default behavior is to close the distance to the player and swing its sword.  If the player can dodge and counter attack successfully a number of times, then the boss AI should be programmed to try something else rather than keep up the ineffective action.  Perhaps a faster attack like charging at the player with the sword held out like a spike would be next.  Or it could throw a net to ensnare the player.  Or something else.  Maybe have a set of attacks in a table with % chance of trying it next would be nice.  If an attack fails, the % for that attack would be lowered to zero and the points redistributed evenly among the other attacks.  If the attack is successful, then the % to try that attack again increases and it'll be used more frequently.  Roll again to see which attack comes out.  This doesn't negate the possibility of boss stages.  It's just that those stages can have their own set of attacks.   So yeah, bosses with set patterns can and will get old after a few play-throughs.  I'm thinking that a boss with a sizable move list (5 or more?) and a moderately-complex AI to be less predictable (patterns, useless moves) would go far to keep things fresh for a while longer.
  6. Let me just point you HERE (and he's a moderator here) for some reality-check advice. If you can find yourself described in these articles, then maybe you can start asking the right questions.
  7. I've never done well with real life's economic algorithms. Where's the cheat code? er...  developer's debugging tool! And I'm always playing things safe due to that whole "permadeath" design decision. Where are the forums where I can vent my spleen about these "features".   Alas, I make and play games as an escape from the harsh reality that is reality.
  8. Sorry to break it to you man, but that's not a GDD.  It's the start of an idea.   For an example of a GDD, go to http://www.runawaystudios.com/articles/chris_taylor_gdd.asp. It has a link to a generic GDD which you can download and use to write out your GDD more completely.   For what it's worth:  I like where your head is on the game ideas.   But you aren't going to get any serious bites without some of the finer details figured out first. It sucks about as much as writing a business plan, but without it there's no path to travel.   Good luck to ya!
  9. I like the idea as this project becoming more of a game engine than a standalone title. Many stories and adventures can be had with it. You are actually limiting yourself with making it online only with updates.   Think about remaking the Zork trilogy with it.  (For practice, of course!) Very little combat (luck based, pretty much) and no skills to keep track of. It was a treasure-hunt adventure where the player won when all the treasures were collected. Puzzles gated the treasures.   Then license out the engine to other devs that would love to make their own first-person adventures. Of course, this doesn't stop you from making your own stories either...
  10.   The card game supplement is called "Knightmare Chess" and it's really fun. Here's the Wiki Entry on it. I had a friend who bought both sets around the year 2000 and we played it a lot at work. (Hey, I was working 3rd shift in a call center and it was slow at times.)
  11.   I can only speak for myself.  I don't much like sandbox scenarios like you mention.  I prefer a fully crafted story and clear goals.  But of course, that's just me.  Others may be more open minded and enjoy both.
  12.   That's the real $1M question there and the underlying concern of this thread.  It would take an actual marketing study to answer it definitively, but my hypothesis is that companies believe that the more competitive a game is, the more it will sell.  This leads to a sports-like mentality where the game is developed to be replayed with just a thin veneer of optional storyline as a setting.  Many games can be played in succession with little interference from a plot or character motivation urging the player to action.  CoD is pretty much a sport now.  The setting is near irrelevant.  GTA is a playground.  Again, the setting is irrelevant.  It could be just about anywhere.  The last big blockbuster game is going to be GTA: Fallout: Blackops.   The problem with a good story is that it eventually comes to a definite conclusion.  I have some favorite books and movies which I have experienced several times, but those times are not back-to-back.  Often times, there are years between readings/viewings.  Some games fall in that category as well.  They just don't have immediate replay-ability.  That's not to say that a good story won't sell.  Look at The Last of Us and The Walking Dead titles.  I hear they are doing well.  They just aren't co-op titles.  I'm going to have to think on how to make a good in-depth co-op experience.  I don't have an answer for that yet.
  13. I think this is a commentary on how people play games solo versus in a group.  When playing a solo game, the player steps into a character and stays in that character to get the full immersion of the story.  When more players are added, the character becomes less defined by the game and more by who the player is and their real world personalities.  Left 4 Dead is a good example of this since it does not matter, gameplay-wise, which survivor you play since they are all functionally identical.  The character comes out in the lines they say which are largely uncontrolled by the player.  Conversely, the Team Fortress series has many classes which are functionally different, but have no depth of character since there is no personal story attached to anyone in any given scenario.   I see the difficulty with developing Co-Op Story-Driven games is getting multiple people to willingly take on unique characters with defining characteristics.  Generally, there will be some real-world bickering (I wanna be the mage! You were the mage last time!) and likely some out-of-character gameplay that can ruin the story and immersion.  Add in the fact that ALL players are to be treated as main characters to the story, and you get added frustration when differing skill levels cause disadvantages in the gameplay. (Now you are 1 man down because of "noob" OR "elite gamer" is doing all the work and nobody else really gets to "play".)   So I don't see Co-op going away, but naturally settling into a shallow character, squad-based tactics style games where the players largely define themselves.  I'd LIKE to see a story game where 2 players play vastly different and defined roles.  Resident Evil 4(?) came close there, but even then, the characters were almost functionally the same.  It was a good try.
  14. Let's see...  I have to do this by category.   Arcade Games: (that regularly ate my quarters) TRON Rolling Thunder Gauntlet Street Fighter II & Alpha (Series) T-Mech(?) Dragon's Lair (Series) KLAX Block-Out Double Dragon   Console Games: Final Fantasy (Series, but VI, VII, and X were played the most.) Actraiser Legend of Zelda LttP Street Fighter II & Alpha (Series) (Yes, again.) Mortal Kombat II (Yes, only #2) Hitman (series) (Funny, I thought this section would be longer.)   PC games: TRON 2.0 (special place in my heart) Adventure Construction Set (technically not a game) Maniac Mansion (and the development of SCUMM) Monkey Island (series) Master of Orion (I & II) Jagged Alliance (only the first one) X-Wing (series, includes Tie Fighter series) Full Throttle Unreal Tournament (series) System Shock (1 & 2 )   So yeah... I'm getting old. Nothing's really blown my hair back in the past decade or more.