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      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.

Saruman

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  1. yeah the upgrade process was... less than ideal... but to be honest I'm actually really impressed with Windows 10 so far and I really like it... and this is coming from someone who has been using OS X as their primary OS for the last 7-8 years and only gaming or compiling/testing on Windows.   I haven't had any problems since I got the upgrade activation stuff sorted out so I'm glad for that. Mind you I do heavily advise people to do a clean install of Windows 10 after they do the upgrade to get the free activation. The reason being that both times upgrading from Win7 to 10 on this box it ended up having massive problems across the board... but with a clean install it's the best running OS I've used.
  2. I figured I'd write a quick post about the incredibly painful upgrade to Windows 10, mainly due to their brutal DRM/key system... now that I finally have the dev systems running again. Originally I was running Windows 7 as I chose to skip version 8 for obvious reasons. I've been using Mac OS as my primary system for many years now, but as we're focused on our Windows build I've swapped over and decided to install Windows 10. After using it for about a week I can honestly say that I feel it is the best operating system out right now, and definitely the best Microsoft has put out... but at the same time their activation DRM burned a countless amount of hours. The initial upgrade from 7 to 10 didn't go very well... ethernet no longer worked, power management and sleep functionality was destroyed, and slight glitches here and there. So I made sure that the system was activated properly (as per the MS site), and blew away the drive and performed a clean install. Wow the difference was night and day... zero driver problems, zero glitches, and everything just runs absolutely smooth... a massive upgrade from Windows 7. But... unfortunately the system wouldn't activate... even though it was supposed to work automagically. I tried everything from forcing activations, running slmgr /ato in a loop for awhile, rearming the key, using slui 4 and going through phone activation and talking to someone. Absolutely nothing would activate the system. I then blew away a second drive and reinstalled Windows 7 to dual boot... fully updated... and installed Windows 10. It activated! Bravo! Of course it was just as broken as the first time I upgraded, but I figured at least now I could boot into my clean install and it should just work. Nope. So I break out good old slui 4 again, fail the phone activation, and talk to someone regarding the activation status. Unfortunately there was nothing he could do so he forwarded me to another department, and I figured I was screwed. After waiting about 15 minutes an awesome employee came on the line and she went through everything with me, and eventually ended up remoting into the system, changing the product key, and activating the system. So the machine is now finally working properly! She was also really nice to talk to, and I am extremely happy about the customer service from MS when something gets escalated to that department. Of course I'm not happy that I'll have to go through this exact same process again on the other system... although I actually hope I get the ability to do so as the other times phoning I was never forwarded to the other department like today. So I guess the rule of the day... Microsoft get your crap DRM working before putting it out there and saying the system is working. I nearly broke down and paid $199 on the Windows Store for my "free" Windows 10 upgrade because it was costing me too much time. Funny note: ironically these are MSDN keys that they know are valid, and when they ask me for the Win 7 key I have to log into their site to read them off the number
  3. oooh very cool I'll definitely be watching this :)
  4. Wow getting this major build ready has been much more work than I had originally anticipated, but we're finally rounding the corner and checking off the majority of tasks for this milestone. Over the last month it seemed like there were a billion and one changes happening at exactly the same time, and it's all over the place... art, UX, code, design, writing, you name it... so at times it was quite frustrating to say the least! It's a pretty important build for us, as it not only brings everything together, but it's our first time showcasing our polished art and UX/design decisions. We've wanted to cut a trailer and gameplay videos for quite a long time, but we just couldn't afford to make such a major time investment until we were truly happy with the game and what we were showing. We're finally in a place where we've locked down our UX, aesthetics, and design and so we just recently started production on our trailer, turning storyboards into visuals, so I'm really excited about that. So here are a few of the major changes we implemented over the last few months: UXification When we first started on Empyrios I personally designed the HUD that is used in all the gameplay scenes. It has changed and morphed over time but for the most part it has always kept it's original design. The major problem here is that I'm not a UX/design person, and it was actually quite bad... I just didn't realize how bad until I sat in on a few UX/UI talks at GDC this year. I honestly have no idea why I continued on with that design for so long, especially considering we have an in-house UX/graphic designer who really wanted to spend the time to properly design and fix the problems, but we finally worked out the kinks and made it pretty. The old design displayed a lot of data and flavour text, but wasn't very good at conveying the actual information you wanted at a given time. It was also spread out across the entire screen, which is great for building strong neck muscles, but not exactly the most usable interface for this type of game. To remedy this we condensed the important information and collapsed the HUD into a single component, so now you only have to look in one place to get all the information you want. We also cleaned up the design by killing off the large text box we used for describing the currently selected ability and replaced it with a mouse hover. Not only does it look a million times better but now you can actually see what each ability does without having to click and make it your active selection! Another thing that was cleaned up is our "hex grid" and selection graphics, which have actually never had any "real" assets as we were always using temporary "this will be replaced later" art. The smaller circles show the actual range of the ability, some being a radius (such as the example above), others only straight lines, etc... and the larger circles obviously being the characters you can affect. The large white selection circle, which is your currently selected unit, slowly rotates making it stand out from the others. Lesson learned. Let your interface be designed by the people that actually specialize in UX and graphic design. Also a huge thank you to Derek Sakamoto ([twitter]figluster[/twitter]) for the amazing Hearthstone interface talk this year at GDC, I owe you a beer next year if you see this. Updated Characters As you may or may not have noticed in the prior screen, our artist Jove actually went over the entirety of the game art and ramped up the detail level so everything looks much nicer at higher resolutions. Some characters had pretty massive changes, such as the Dvergar changing their outfits and proportions while the Caelum were actually rebuilt from scratch. During this process we also realized that there was somewhat of a gender imbalance, which for whatever reason hadn't been noticed in the past, and so we wanted to correct it at this stage. While it meant that Jove had to go back to the drawing board and completely rework some characters, we've now evened things out more, and while doing so it actually influenced some of our lore and story arcs in an extremely positive way. Below is an example, as the Inquisitor is one of the units who has had their sex changed. We're now environment and character complete other than a few outstanding bugs and polishing issues, with the bulk of the remaining work in interface and campaign art. I may be a little biased but I am extremely happy with how the game's aesthetics have turned out, Jove has done a seriously killer job on everything. Major Campaign Updates In Empyrios you can play through the campaign as either faction, basically giving you a totally different viewpoint while you play through the story. People seemed to really like this concept, and once we had the dynamic campaign system at least half working we started getting even more positive feedback. When playing through the campaign there can be any number of objectives active on the war map at a given time. These are dynamic events that will either be triggered by a specific action, or based on a chain of events that has already occurred during the course of the campaign. These events will not be available indefinitely, so you'll have to make tough choices on where to bring your squadron. Your reputation with the various races and leaders will not only be affected by the choices you make, but on the outcome of battles, therefore changing the story based on your actions. So if you made the choice to help the Dvergar defend the auralite mines from the attacking Lithos, the Aduro may be questioning why you did not help them push the raiding Az'modai war party back into the desert. We also finalized the design of the campaign screens, which I now absolutely love the look of, especially since we haven't had it included in previous builds and were only using a temporary text box. As a player you just feel so much more connected to the actual story and characters by presenting it this way. The campaign screens number in the hundreds and work is constantly ongoing with them, but hey at least we've nailed the aesthetics! Moving Forward There are still some kinks to work out in the build, but right now we are laser focused on getting our trailer cut so that we can get it out to the public and launch our Greenlight campaign. We've also been looking into some areas such as joining the Square Enix Collective to promote our game, as well as running a Kickstarter campaign allowing us to build things out to completion and get more direct player feedback and involvement. The major risks have been killed off with our game design, aesthetics, and UX nailed down... so at this point I have zero worries in regards to project completion and I'd like to get some backer involvement allowing us to move forward at a quicker pace and including some things from our "nice to have" list. Another job we've been tackling is updating both the company and game websites to be static, rather than running on wordpress. For content such as blogs we're now preprocessing everything using Jekyll so that we can serve static pages straight from Amazon S3 / Cloudfront CDN. So we'll be infinitely scalable and they actually load 10-30 times faster now. The company site conversion was just finished the other day and I'm hoping to get it moved to Amazon over the weekend, and the Empyrios site has a bit more work due to the dynamic bits such as forums that run on the ephemeral EC2 instances, but it's slowly coming along and should be ready quite soon. Well I think I've touched on nearly every major point, other than the horrible pain of not having proper tools for our artist and how we've started to correct that, but that's an entire post on it's own at some point in the future. Needless to say things could have gone a lot smoother if we had invested in building more and better tools up front. Ok it's time for me to get back to working on the trailer, but if you like our stuff come follow us, we appreciate the support! Creoterra[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial][font=arial] | [/font][/font][/color]Facebook[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial][font=arial] | [/font][/font][/color]Twitter[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial][font=arial] | [/font][/font][/color]Google+
  5. Well to be honest that's the fault of Apple for not properly supporting graphics APIs and fixing bugs... they have virtually ignored games until the iOS era. We're able to target the Mac very easily since we're essentially using super-old tech and a big bitmap style engine... but I would be weary if we were doing anything cutting edge.
  6. Yep for PC/Mac/Linux on the desktop
  7. Thanks!
  8. I've been working on the animation editor all day but took a break to work on a few campaign events... finally fixed up some bugs in the Aduro Cathedral and promptly got beat down Also the proper loading screen is now working for that mission: Back to working on the animation editor!
  9. haha yeah that's still a known issue in the tracker, I think there about a little over 100+ text bugs / changes that still need to happen and even then we're still in production on writing and editing :)
  10. Some units have gone through more radical changes, such as the Aduro Inquisitor becoming a female unit!  
  11. Thanks for the compliments everyone :)   And JTippetts here is a pic of our production manager posing as a model for the Caelum race:     The character shown in the loading screen is more of a hidden rogue type named the SongWeaver, the others are not as concealed :)
  12. We've been insanely hard at work getting ready for our next major build, which is what we'll be using to record our Greenlight trailer and various gameplay promotional videos. I was really hoping we would have been able to put the video together sooner... much sooner... but I decided to wait until we had the characters and maps fully polished so that we'll be showing our top quality rather than a WIP. Our artist Jove has been working on detailing the characters to their final state, and that has been coming along absolutely amazing. Right now we're aiming to have the entire set of characters and environments completely polished within the next three to four weeks! We also spent some time polishing up more loading screens that showcase the various races: Another big project going on right now is work on our in-house animation editor. Right now our tools are quite primitive and it has really been a blocker as getting art into the game/engine and tested takes a bit of manual work and hackery. So I've been building out an editor that will allow our artist to load up any map, load up characters on the hex grid, and then walk around and/or perform any actions and animations. This way he can play with things such as timing the walking/movement animations and being able to be more creative with those, as right now it is a really hard back and forth process for testing. I've also been working on some usability features of the editor such as hot-loading freshly changed assets, and loading up the UI components so that the character ability icons and portraits can be previewed in the editor as well. If all goes well we should have the entire set of characters and environments polished and ready to start shooting the trailer and gameplay videos within about 3-4 weeks. Right now I've been storyboarding the trailer in between tasks, but I'm hoping that in a few weeks I'll be able to sit down and dedicate a lot more time to it so that once we have all the assets complete the only thing left to do will be to render the portions of gameplay and stitch them together... as it will still need to go out to our composer to add custom music once that is complete. Phew... the polishing of this title is roughly 99% of the work at this point Oh also we started using Tumblr as a screenshot / image dump of progress on Empyrios, so if you're interested check that out here: http://creoterra.tumblr.com/
  13. Wow same comment as Aardvajk... this was the first time seeing your journal so I went looking for the trailer video and it looks like a great idea. Best of luck and I hope you can work on what you have and really nail it!
  14. I'm currently working on a turn-based tactics RPG named Empyrios: Prophecy of Flame.   Written in C with GL/GLES render systems, and using a few libs such as Rampant Pixels foundation and Sean Barrett's stb_image           More info and screens on my company site or @Creoterra and @JoeCreoterra