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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. If there is ever any one thing that gets marginalized or passed over with many games, it can be the story actually. For the most part only games with RPG elements are considered to require a good story developed into it. And while you don't always need some grand adventure-like story in every single game, especially ones like small mobile app games, you can still tell a story in subtle methods with those mobile app games, which can really get people invested more into the game and improve it across the board. But story-telling is no easy practice, it takes some time to learn and craft. Why A Story for Mobile Games? Games are a perfect platform for telling stories through a special interactive factor. And it's not just the game developers that can tell a story, but the gamers as well, through games like Minecraft or Sims. They offer the ability to describe and depict a world all at once. But most of all, the reason you want a story in your game, a real developed story, is for human connection. People always feel more connected to the characters you use in the game when you create a story around them. Even if it's a small one like the one you see through pictures on the screen in between levels of Angry Birds. That story-telling aspect took little, and did plenty to explain the motives and adventures of the birds saving their young. Yes, no one will say that the story of Angry birds is why they played the game, but there is no doubt that being able to connect with your game's 'protagonist' did have an impact on how successful the game was. And that's one of the reasons story-telling for games are held down. If a story completely makes the game, it's mentioned, but if the story only helped with combining the rest of the game, then the story wasn't even considered as something that assisted the game in getting to a high tier. But there are clear indicators here that at the very least a well-rounded game, including story, almost always does better than others. The Subtle Story-telling So when it comes to the crafting of a story for a mobile game though, clearly you can't exactly do the same thing many major games will do with cut scenes and extensive narratives going on. This is why mobile games by and large can often be considered the equivalent of a short story or flash fiction from the fiction writing world; where longer games like on consoles and pc would fall more into the category of novels or novellas. This also means mobile games can draw from short stories for a direction on creating an immersive story without quite as much to work with. The Theme or Character When creating the story of your mobile game, focus directly on one particular theme or character. You could have a theme as simple as plants defending against zombies and go from there, or you could have a character, such as a vampire slayer which leads into the rest of the game and story. Regardless you should focus on one and don't stray from that. Detail Focused With the theme covered you then have to mold the rest of the story, and it comes with a few ideas, but the most crucial is that you should be incredibly focused in the sense of preciseness or detail driven almost. This doesn't mean to include so many details you bog the game down, but to think about the little things, because those are what will matter when building the world your game is in. And those little things are much easier to show with a mobile game, so give details, but leave the general idea alone, let people fill in their own ideas for what might happen in the story too. Desires and Conflicts These are the two things that will tie in the most with your game, between story and everything else, other than the theme of the game of course. The desires of the character are important to show and can almost always decide the type of mechanics you run with. Is your game a puzzle game because your character has to make sure they get all the right pills in the correct vial? Additionally your conflict needs to be something that is short and although not solved immediately or easily, it should be solved soon. Mobile games aren't incredibly long, even very story driven ones, and that means the solution to the conflicts should be something solvable within that limited amount of time. To this degree think of what a twenty-minute TV show does with telling a story compared to an hour and a half movie. Neither story is 'less', the problem or conflict is just resolved sooner in the TV show (or carried into multiple episodes). As a final note to assist people with their story-telling in a mobile app game, don't forget to play on people's senses. You have sight with people looking at it, but draw on the sounds, cringe factor and smells. They can make a huge difference in the showing and showy aspect of your story-telling. Plus they often stand out more, since not everyone draws on how something smells or feels. Article image credit BCcreativity