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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 johnmasterlee

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  1. So what is it really like making games? The answer might surprise you. I freakin' love it!  
  2. Spark Rising has really evolved over the last year. What once was a purely voxel-based sci fi build + battle game, is now more of a mix of procedurally generated worlds with voxel structures as you focus on combat. With such an evolution, we thought it was fitting for the music to evolve as well! Check out this behind the scenes look in this vid:       The original tunes, which are still in the game, have a clear sci fi bend to them. Epic in nature, ethereal at times, and always beautiful. Two tracks were for combat, and two were for building and exploring. Thanks to Clark Aboud the composer, we've listened to these tracks hundreds of times and they still hold up great.   Ongoing, we wanted something that was unconventional, more old school flavored. Something that hits hard fast and would work well for a game trailer, but could also be used in-game with some tweaking. And just so happens around this same time, Dave Dexter the composer reached out to us, saying how he'd love to create some music for the game. Even before we said yes, he created some samples, and they were awesome. This is not a final piece. You'll have to get the game on Steam early access if you want to hear that! But til then, this is an interesting look at how music comes together for a game.
  3. How about a bit of a diversion today!   While cleaning out my pile of artwork and paperwork, I found some old game concepts that brought back memories. Some of this stuff dates back 20 years, so it's amusing to look back and see what was going through my head.    I stumbled across a cool mechanic I came up with up, so it might make its way into Spark Rising :)   [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppi2aU9YHIU&list=PLIHQrdyB1D9JpCrHjY3cA1RGMnspmCGet][/url]
  4. Thought I'd post up a screenshot comparison between version 2.0 and 3.0. Quite a big jump up and we still got a ways to go!  
  5. This game looks WICKED awesome. Definitely gonna keep this on my radar!
  6. We just launched Spark Rising Early Access 3.0 and it's a doozy! Lots of new things to play around with. You ever worked on a game before where you been "Man, not sure this is gonna fly" while it's being conceptualized, and then hit that turning point where you can run around in the game world and you go "woah... now that's cool." Check out this vid on what we created, which include bases you can conquer and whole new world terrain to explore.    Taking out each base requires a bit of strategy. Each base has a unique effect on the world, and taking control of each one will change the flow of battle. When you deactivate the shield generator, the force field around the HQ is vulnerable. If you need more ammo, taking out the munitions depot will do the trick. If you fear enemy reinforcements will disrupt your plans, then take out several enemy bunkers. The framework for how this plays out is now mostly in place, so with each update, we'll find new ways to make each world feel like a unique battle that needs to be played differently. There will be new objective types, different types of specialized loot you get for conquering a base, and different ways to blast enemies to smithereens.    
  7. Hey Spark Fans!   This minor update fixes some known bugs and issues, as well as adds a few useful features. Oh, and it introduces a bonus: Retro Rising Rampage! You can buy Spark Rising Early Access today on Steam!     WHAT WE GOTS HERE:   BUG FIXES   Fix the “Missing Executable” bug that certain users would get Fixed a crash bug that would sometimes happen when a world is generated. It was all because of a random rock. That was it. Stupid rock.     NEW FEATURES   Adjust mouse sensitivity Adjust Field of View so you can see more of your surroundings as you get plummeted from all sides Added a feedback form so you give us valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t, or if you want to share a joke or two Default settings for sound, music, FOV, and mouse sensitivity     TWEAKS   Adjusted defaults for sound and music Improved how Die Guy Lolo would react in battle when hurt Adjusted difficulty settings overall Remove count down timer when you die, because waiting an extra 3 sec felt like eternity says David our programmer Add increased forward velocity to boost An improved visual cue when you pick something up     BONUS   Retro Rising Rampage is now included! RRR was an early prototype we built that was a viral hit. This fun little experience was passed around the offices of Activision which we found out about because a friend happened to be visiting Activision’s office that day! You can see how elements of this prototype ended up in our current version of the game:)  
  8.     [url=http://store.steampowered.com/app/266550][/url]   We’re pleased to finally share with you Spark Rising Early Access version 2.0! This was a long time coming, many months of rebuilding our game engine, changing up mechanics, and establishing a stronger foundation for the game. The game ongoing is a reflection of concepts we put together in our last 4 Gaidens, and we love the overall direction!   Rather than list the 1001 things we completed in a way-too-long-changelog, here are the more noteworthy changes:   All new terrain that allows for significantly larger maps Travel from world to world New movement mechanics New grapple hook New enemy AI system New power ups Boost system lets you collect crystals to charge up super powers New shaders that give the world a more vibrant ultra colorful look Winter theme! Reintroduction of the Die Guys       ONGOING UPDATES Ongoing, our major updates will come out about every month or so now that the core engine is stable. You’ll see hints of what the possibilities are for Conquest Mode in this build, and we’re antsy to finally get to deliver that to you soon.      SPARK RISING LEGACY So what happens to the older builds where you could create stuff? All that is still accessible in this build via a separate executable, but will be sunset by the next major update or so. Ongoing, the main mode will be Conquest Mode, with various features integrated into one big experience.   Such features as being able to create your own fortress will be overhauled and relaunched in a future update.     THANKS TEAM & FANS! This is also a great time to thank everyone who helped make this grueling refactoring possible. Thanks to the team: Kevin, David, Christian and Jonathan, and John Master Lee for some cool stuff. And thanks to everyone else who has helped us conceive, prototype, and tighten up the game concept over the last year. And for hanging in there as we completely rewrite the game code! This also goes to all of you. The spark fans who have come along for this early access ride. Your feedback has been really amazing and the game is better for it!
  9. So I'm pretty excited because it's getting close to the next build update which we'll release publicly. Right now, I'm just play testing a lot, making sure the new game engine don't break none. Naturally it does! So I made a vid about it. Figure I might as well have fun sharing some of the wackier bugs and glitches. The team is working hard on fixing stuff so much kudos to them!   FUNNY GLITCHES AND BUGS! [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EF-3mDDAE4&list=PLIHQrdyB1D9JpCrHjY3cA1RGMnspmCGet][/url]   Oh and for fun, I'm giving away a bunch of my gaming swag as I do some spring cleaning. Just subscribe to my YouTube channel for a chance to win it!  
  10. So I'm trying something new. I posted up a dev vlog for the team on what we're working on, and I thought I'd share it publicly. You can view the [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUBY2giW_-w]YouTube vid of it here[/url]. If people find it interesting, I'll do more!     [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUBY2giW_-w&index=1&list=PLIHQrdyB1D9KodjlKo-NR6qU8x9KvehvG][/url]
  11. Hey all,   Check out the latest updates on Spark Rising! A build + battle FPS sandbox game that is out now on Steam Early Access!     Also, I recently started vlogging on YouTube sharing what my life is like as a game dev. I try not to get too technical and ultra geekified, and focus more on the impact making games has on my life, with a few vids about the games I'm working on, and some things I learn along the way. It's a mix of a creative outlet, just goofing around, and I hope some helpful insight as well to others.       If you have any thoughts or requests or even questions, shoot. Happy to share my experiences!
  12. Zup zup!   So we just launched a new demo prototype called Gaiden 4: Conquest! It's an early look at some plans to expand the game to include battle maps all loaded into one universe and you flying around from one location to another to do battle. It's janky as hell right now, but it's cool enough to see where things are going.    PLAY for GAIDEN 4: CONQUEST for FREE on both PC and Mac!        
  13. Hey all, so we're an indie dev working on a sandbox game called Spark Rising. Our game was successfully Kickstarted, Greenlit, and then showcased at GDC. Now it's live via early access on Steam!   One thing we wanted to do was showcase more of what life is like as an indie game dev. So we started up our YouTube channel showing you vids of what we're working on, as well as sharing with you things we learned along the way, as well as how games has impacted our lives.   [url=https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrjtQmvVWK4jrLWACoiEMvA][/url]   So enjoy! If you find these useful, we'll make more:)    
  14. [url="http://store.steampowered.com/app/266550"]You can now buy Spark Rising on Steam Early Access![/URL]   Wow... Spark Rising to date has been successfully Kickstarted, Greenlit, showcased at GDC, and now our moment of truth... we hope we made a game worthy of your attention! Or at least I hope I made a game that didn't suck so bad you would quit gaming all together.    In many ways, this is just the beginning, so I'm looking forward to the "real" journey ahead. So much of the feedback we been getting from fans has been quite honestly really impressive. Don't let anyone tell you that gamers are all just a bunch of trolls. Well... maybe we are... but even trolls got some good ideas!     [url="http://store.steampowered.com/app/266550"][/URL]
  15. So I guess I didn't update my previous thread often enough... and it was sunset! So here's to a new thread!     As an FYI - Spark Rising is an action conquest game. Or as we describe it: A build + battle sandbox game. You build things like Minecraft and then set things into big battles, creating your own battle scenarios. The game is current in pre-alpha and we're planning an early access release on Steam next month! It's been one harrowing journey as we went from Kickstarter, to being Greenlit on Steam, to being showcased at GDC. It's now about to reach public hands... hope yall like it!   [url=http://www.indiedb.com/games/spark-rising/downloads]Download the Gaiden 3 demo here![/url]   Wanted to share our latest demo level, something we dub Gaiden 3: Titan Rising! If you see the screenshot sample below, you'll see what we can mean by "titan". It's a prototype boss we're playing with.   This demo is limited to one level, and you can't build anything. But it does give you a sense of how a battle scenario unfolds. All of this was created in-game, similar to how you would build something in Minecraft. Except that the purpose to build is ultimately to destroy:) And I should note, this is a pre-alpha build, so everything is very raw still.     As a refresher, our gaidens are one off demos we create as a way to testing new features in a contained experience. Based on feedback, some of the features may make it into the game, others won't. It's an interesting approach to just constantly releasing one update after another because it forces us to create a complete gameplay loop that someone can test. Even if the gameplay loop is very simple, we try to make sure along that path people can complete it. It also forces us to fix bugs early on, and avoid feature creep development which can result in a lot of features we gotta test at once, making it harder to discern what works and what doesn't, and how to fix it.   I can't say for sure whether this novel approach works just yet as we only been doing it several months. Ongoing, we're likely shifting towards a Kanban approach to agile development which suggests our sprint-like approach to making a Gaiden may get phased out.   If you want to [url="http://www.indiedb.com/games/spark-rising/downloads"]download our previous Gaidens you can do it here,[/URL] which we eventually shared publicly.