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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.

martinmcbain

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  1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Following on from this overview, I plan on covering the topic in greater depth and discussing the best techniques to blend cinematic sequences with gameplay. Hopefully, this will be of interest to you as a fellow cinematics aficionado!
  2. Beyond intros and outros Whilst examining cinematics in games, we are not merely referring to simple cutscenes - intros and outros to levels - but to the epic, ambitious cinematic sequences seen in contemporary gaming titles. Nevertheless, whilst the role of cinematics has increased in leaps and bounds over the years, there are many other areas that could benefit from such an approach that, at times, even game developers can be guilty of underutilising. Thankfully, many studios are now using cinematics to their best advantage; gone are the days where cutscenes played a predominantly practical role, relied upon to cover flaws in game design or to link together a weak narrative into some form of relatively convincing storyline - to an extent, at least. Cinematics departments can play an incredibly flexible role within a studio, not only delivering cutscenes to hold players' attention during loading screens, binding together disparate levels or justifying moving characters to different locations within a game, but their creative and artistic merit adds enormously to the experience of playing a compelling, carefully produced AAA title. In a nutshell, cinematics are not only a fundamental tool in visual storytelling, character development and producing an interactive movie-like feel to gameplay, but, vitally, they create an emotional bond between the characters and the player. Judicious use of well produced cinematics can not only enhance each of these areas, but also plays an enormous role in wider areas, such as marketing. Just think how frequently a game's cinematic sequences comprise the bulk of a television or cinema trailer; without cinematics, games advertising would not have the stunning visual impact that we see today. Professionally produced, slick cutscenes also add an additional layer of quality and value to a game - whilst simultaneously bridging levels, informing and entertaining the player. From consoles to the silver screen...and back again Whilst Donkey Kong is credited as the first use of a narrative cinematic within a game, visual storytelling has evolved dramatically over the past ten years as we have seen a crossover between techniques used in the movie industry being brought into games - and vice versa. With the release of each movie blockbuster, there is frequently an accompanying gaming title - think Star Wars, Batman and Bond to name a few. Furthermore, Hollywood certainly has not been averse to rifling through the games drawer as many hugely successful gaming titles, and iconic characters, have made the leap from the console to the silver screen. A great example of this is Tomb Raider, where Lara Croft, played by Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie, brought the character beyond the living room and into the movie theatre. Further successful transitions include Mario, Resident Evil and even Doom made the move from first-person-shooter to movie, where certain point-of-view shots were transferred intact from the game and into the film. We have also seen the reverse happen, as many of Hollywood's great directors and scriptwriters, such as James Bond scriptwriter Bruce Feirstein, as well as Spielberg, Cameron and Scott, are getting into the realm of games. These are exciting collaborations as games and movies continuously inspire and ignite the enthusiasm and passion within each creative field. Not only do cinema's titans add a sprinkling of Hollywood glamour, but their endorsement of the world of gaming lends additional credence to the industry justly gaining recognition as a valid form of art, as well as entertainment for the masses. The power of cinematics The success of many AAA games is down, in no small part, to compelling storytelling. The Last of Us saw the emotionally harrowing tale of Joel and Ellie's battle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overrun with infection, and the brilliantly imagined world of Bioshock and the morality based storyline transports the player into stunningly visualised worlds. Any article discussing cinematics would be seriously remiss if it failed to mention the biggest gaming blockbuster, Call of Duty - not only does this incredibly successful franchise have hugely impressive visuals, but also a strong narrative of conflict and the effects of war running throughout. Whilst the narrative is deeply embedded within gameplay, Call of Duty remains an enormously cinematic franchise that keeps players hooked and demanding more. When developing the eagerly anticipated GoldenEye 007 in 2010, we were acutely aware that the cutscenes represented iconic moments of the much beloved Rare title. We took great care to ensure that these moments, albeit in an updated and re-imagined fashion, were carefully - and respectfully - incorporated into the cinematics of Eurocom's release. Such is the power of cinematics to capture the imagination and to be remembered nostalgically for many years to come; we knew that we had to retain the elements that the fans were anxious to see, whilst delivering novel cutscenes in an original and exciting manner that a whole new generation would also enjoy and appreciate. Advances in the use of cinematics Today, cinematics are no longer confined to intros or outros - or simply bookending gameplay. Nowadays, such sequences play an integral role in level design as narrative is incorporated into gameplay and affords players the opportunity to participate in cinematic sequences and interactive cutscenes - a fantastic development in their use. As both a developer and an avid gamer, I am always thrilled to see a bold and imaginative use of cinematics; brilliant, epic visuals, coupled with a compelling script, keep me, and legions of other players, wanting more. Of course, the particular balance between cinematics and gameplay is down to personal preference. For example, Hideo Kojima's beautifully produced, gorgeous cinematics are sometimes criticised for dominating gameplay; however, for players seeking the experience of being immersed into Metal Gear's highly detailed world, this is immensely enjoyable. Conversely, other players prefer a different balance; for instance, Halo adopts a more equal ratio of cinematic to gameplay and provides an alternative approach to the use of such sequences. From Resident Evil 4 prompting the player to press buttons during sequences to perform context sensitive actions to the sophisticated Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls where players perform actions, using the control pad, that closely mimic real life movements, interactive cinematics add a whole new dimension to the world of gaming. As technology has advanced, we have seen the emergence of motion sensing devices, such as the Wii controller and the PS3 Move that allow for more complex movements and further add to a feeling of immersion. Kinect has brought a novel approach to interactivity, for instance, in Mass Effect players voice their commands during cinematics to shape the narrative flow. These improvements have transformed cinematics from being a solely passive medium, to enabling players a level of input previously unseen in earlier games. The future of cinematics We have come a long way since, the admittedly hugely enjoyable, Donkey Kong and as technology advances and the lines between games and interactive movies become increasingly blurred, I am excited to see what the future holds. As new techniques are developed to better retain the players' immersion within the game, cinematics continue to play a thrilling role in creating a cohesive narrative flow and an emotional connection between player and game. www.martinmcbain.com