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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.

GeorgeCH

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  1. Dear all -   We're a small start-up working on our first F2P social game for iOS devices. Because it's our first time doing something like this, we're kind of learning as we go along, meaning that we have no one on the team with end-to-end direct experience of take a product from concept to launch. We're stronger on the business side of things, but I'd say there's a risk of a disconnect between the instructions we pass to our developer and our own end-state vision (correction: there's always a risk of a disconnect, but it's particularly big here).   Following the old saying that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king I've spent time researching the typical process for developing and launching an F2P game. I think I've got a good handle on things by now, but I'd welcome any criticism / omissions of the workflow I've outlined below, which envisages the steps we're going to take to bring the project to completion:   1. Create 2D assets (done) 2. Establish game systems and logic on the business level (done) 3. Identify data to be stored in the cloud and on the device (animations and sounds) and in the cloud via a BaaS soltion (character level and XP, IPA history, etc) 4. Define metrics for analytics purposes 5. Instruct the programmer to develop the code for the game, with "hooks" into the BaaS 6. Create a working prototype and iterate on it until it is feature-complete 7. Commence QA and QC 8. Soft-launch the game in a single market 9. Monitor analytics for revenue optimization purposes based on soft-launch data 10. Introduce adjustments as necessary 11. Global launch backed by marketing muscle   Our end-state vision is to have a game that's monetized through IAPs and driven largely by analytics. Our marketing campaign is being developed in parallel with all of the above.   Some additional questions related to backend-as-a-service solutions, which seem to be key to any social game these days:   As progression will occur through largely modular content, we want users to download these content chunks (e.g., a new map) one at a time, rather than downloading all of them in a single go. Is this something that a BaaS solution can handle? Is there a BaaS solution you can recommend (I was looking at GameSparks as they seem to offer everything?) What is the relationship between the Apple Store and BaaS-powered IAPs? I always thought that IAPs are just something you buy from the Apple Store, but I see that a lot of BaaS solutions seem to offer customization of pricing and labeling of IAPs. In such scenarios, where does Apple Store end and BaaS begin? In your experience, does a programmer need any special skills to work with BaaS solutions, or is it equivalent in complexity to integrating, say, AdWords into your website - you just need to copy and paste the code, so you should be fine if you know enough about HMTL/CSS to figure out where the code goes? We want integration with Facebook, but it's our understanding that Facebook offers it's own BaaS. Is it better to go with Facebook's own BaaS or use a BaaS that offers Facebook integration? There are a lot of questions on BaaS above, largely because we feel that it's the only thing we haven't quite visualized in terms of how it works. Or, to put it another way, I can understand and envisage the logic of storing game data on an iOS device that sort of stays there. I have enough rudimentary programming knowledge to understand the concept of variables and how they're retrieved in the course of code execution. Am I correct in that BaaS is basically that, but done in the cloud?   Thanks a lot in advance for your thoughts and expertise!   George      
  2. Dear all - thank you ever so much for the thorough and detail discussion of the different project methodologies, and the pros and the cons of each. I confess, I am pleasantly surprised by how active and to-the-point this community is!   Thanks a lot, George
  3. Thanks! Since we will be outsourcing to different people, we can afford to have the developers waiting, in the sense that I expect they will be charging an hourly rate - so even if they don't have assets to work with, that wouldn't cost us money, only time (and we aren't working towards a strict launch window of any kind).   One other question - where are some places where I could start looking for budget estimates on the art? E.g., a place where I can run a quick price check showing a sample of what I want and getting an estimate on that - without any commitment to pay?
  4.   Thank you, Ashaman (RJ fan?), this is incredibly helpful! I'll focus on the design and trust the developers to advise me on any blind spots I may have missed.
  5. Dear all,   We are in the process of writing up the GDD for our first mobile game, with neither of us having experience in the software development industry (I've managed IT projects before, but they were mostly code-driven and did not feature a graphics component). We are going to outsource the artwork and the development, most likely to two different parties to save costs.   My question is - what comes first, the code or the artwork?   Based on my research, it seems the first time after the GDD would be to ask the programmers to produce the code for the game using placeholder art - e.g., square boxes instead of real graphics.   Then the next step is to send this over to the artist and ask him/her to create the artwork to fit the placeholders.   Once the artwork is ready, it goes back to the developers who fit it to replace the placeholder graphics.   Does this sequence sound about right? Note that I know I'm leaving out the QA part.
  6. Dear all,   First time poster here, and really glad to have found this community. A friend of mine and I are looking into creating an iOS game. Neither one of us has any graphics or technical skills or prior experience in software development, so we will be outsourcing the entire process from start to finish. We are presently working on a detailed game design document before soliciting bids from vendors, and are largely approaching this as an investment.   One issue that's giving me quite a bit of trouble is that drawing up a GDD can only take us so far - I'm sure there are some things that I wouldn't even think of that are quite necessary for a successful iOS game. For example, let's take analytics - all successful games run an analytics solution that tracks how users interact with the game and enables the developer to optimize revenue. However, analytics is not something that's readily apparent to the user - unless you do sufficient research, you wouldn't even know that an analytics solution exists! So, someone drawing up a GDD without such experience would omit it from the GDD - with the eventual result that the end product would be fundamentally crippled.   Now that I know about iOS back-end analytics, I can work them into the GDD and ensure that the developers produce it. However, I am worried about what are the other things out there that I wouldn't know about, that are not apparent to the user, and that are yet completely essential for the game?   Is there a place where I can learn more about such "unknown unknowns", or perhaps a kind soul could post some tips? I was thinking of hiring a consultant who can give their perspectives on these non-apparent best practices - would this be a good approach?   Looking forward to your guidance, George