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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.

Opwiz

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  1. I understand the paranoia and it comes from a very true realisation that your idea has tremendous value. But it also comes from a misunderstanding of what an idea is.   An idea is much more involved than than what you can put into an elevator pitch, design document or what comes across when you write or talk about it to others. If Tarantino is making a new movie, he can give the script away and you listen to him talk about it for hours, but if you try to make the movie yourself, you are going to end up with something very different than what Tarantino will create. The idea is what ends up shining through the work, and it's very tied to the person with the creative vision. It comes through in all the little details, it's also tied to your business, the way your present yourself, how you market your games, etc. to make an impact and make the world listen up - everything must work in harmony and be congruent with a powerful idea that resonates with people.   Also if you work on your ideas and your creative vision, try to figure out what you really want to express and refining that - you'll always stay steps ahead of any copy-cat or hack that tries to emulate what you do. They'll have no idea how to take things to the next level, they can only copy from what you've put out in the past.    So don't worry about the copy-cats and immitators, worry about refining your own creative vision and keep expanding and unraveling it. That is what matters. So it's a slightly different take than the "ideas are worthless" modality, which can be useful but also cause you to not care about your ideas which really is the your lifeblood of your work.           
  2. Anyone here experienced with putting together video trailers and video editing? Or if anyone knows a good place to ask this question I'll appreciate it.   I want to create a trailer for my product (a framework for developers and designers) that will feature some info-graphics style animations, some footage of my product being used in live cases (games), etc. So I want to do some keyframe/storyboarded animations such as translating images with easing etc. And I want to do some nice transitions and text effects, and do things like recording my screen and rendering it on a surface in an image (e.g. a iPad lying on a table).    What tools do you recommend for this? I'm looking for something intuitive and easy to use - I'm not really an animator but I've used tools like expression blend and Unity to do keyframe animations before.
  3. To create empathy you need to elicit the same emotion in the player as the game character. You do this by using all the tools you have at your disposal: art, music, game mechanics, writing etc. My favorite example is how Suikoden 2 made me empathize with the pixelated sprite that is the main character (spoilers):   Throughout the game whenever you rest at an Inn you are always waken up by your sister Nanami, who always says something cheerful to you. This happens so many times you start to take it for granted. At some point in the game Nanami dies and the fact that she is gone really hits home when you rest at an Inn and when you wake up you are no longer greeted by anyone, just silence. I've never seen the sense of loss communicated more effectively in a video game.
  4. I think it's hard because human nature is continuously evolving and transcending its own limitations. Any model you come up with will be static and fall short. Your best hope is to create a model that may be limited but serves to communicate a cohesive unifying theme that has depth. Think of an artist's painting. It may have very simple strokes, colors, shapes, it may not contain a fraction of the detail of e.g. a photograph - but its depth comes from what it points to that is beyond the painting itself. Similarly a NPC behavior/visuals may not come close to that of a real human being, it may walk in a strict path, say the same things, but if it fits a bigger theme, the character may come alive (you can probably remember being deeply emotionally invested in a pixelated video game character).    So when coming up with a way of representing opinions, think in terms of your game's themes and how that system serves it. I've not played crusader kings but from what I can see it's about plotting, scheming, manipulation and conquest. In a world like that then all relationships comes down to weighing plus/minus columns. Now if the game is real good it also has a thing or so to say about that way of thinking and what kind of world it shapes. If it does that then that simplistic system like that actually carries a lot of depth.
  5. What's the player's goal in the game? What is the theme? Is it to explore, cultivate, cleanse, discover, escape, empower, conquer? There are a million ways to give a sense of progression, what is important is that it fits the theme of the game. E.g. if it's about exploring then a growing catalogue of explored items, settings, characters, revealed worldmap etc. may give a satisfying sense of progression. If it's about empowerment then giving the player bigger weapons, more hitpoints, will tie into that theme. Start with theme.
  6. I'm a C# developer like yourself and was very comfortable with silverlight and WPF, and liked the way you could design UIs and animation without much effort in XAML, much like HTML but with more intuitive layouting, styling and better way to build advanced graphical components through composition.   I've created a Unity plugin called MarkLight, which is currently in open beta (download link at the webpage). I think it will make the transition easier into Unity development as well as provide you with good familiar tools (markup language, data-binding, events and code-behind, etc). In any case, I recommend just delving into Unity as it's very good game engine and it's pretty intuitive and easy to learn.
  7. Fantastic news! The asset has been included in the limited August Level 11 sale offer that ends 08/31/15. If you're a Unity Pro or Level 11 user you can purchase the asset at a 50% discount!
  8. Fantastic news! The asset has been included in the limited August Level 11 sale offer that ends 08/31/15. If you're a Unity Pro or Level 11 user you can purchase the asset at a 50% discount!   [hr]   MarkUX: Bringing the Power of MVVM to Unity Available now on the asset store! What is MarkUX? A declarative design language for creating UI elements A MVVM framework A editor extension MarkUX offers a new elegant and intuitive way of designing and developing rich user-interfaces in Unity. It speeds up development, it bridges the gap between designers and programmers, it allows designs to be more easily shared in the community. MVVM MVVM (Model View ViewModel) is an architectural pattern that has been around in the software development world since 2005, popularized by frameworks such as WPF/Silverlight and AngularJS. It hasn't really broken into the game development world which is unfortunate because it's a really beautiful and powerful pattern. Having made the transition from software development to a game development, the MVVM pattern was the first thing I felt missing. With the advent of the unity 4.6 UI system I felt the conditions were ideal for creating a new MVVM framework specially designed for game development - building upon the strengths of previous frameworks and making an effort to make it as intuitive and easy to use as possible. Design Language At its core MarkUX offers a new language (XML) in which you can express UI design and its relationship with application logic. Why is this a good thing? In short it allows you to create modular re-usable UI widgets (views) that may be easily combined, re-used and shared. Imagine if there was no HTML and web-pages could only be created using visual designers - no snippets, no source to inspect and re-use, no convenient way to share designs, create text-tutorials, etc - that is the case with Unity UI's without MarkUX today. In addition to a design language MarkUX makes it possible to create interactive and responsive UI's that adapt to changes in layout and data. It offers theming functionality similar to CSS and a layout system that is very easy to work with. It comes with a bunch of standard views ready to be used - and expect the catalogue to grow steadily as new contributions are added. So If you like the new Unity UI system but want more power to create rich user-interfaces that are dynamic, can adapt to data and layout changes. If you like frameworks that are intuitive and easy to use. If you want to be able to build upon other's works and share your own. If you want a framework that bridges the gap between game design and development - that makes it easier to collaborate and work together, then MarkUX might be for you. FEATURES Design views using XML - Design, share and re-use views using simple XML. Views can be freely nested, re-used and combined. Fast and fluid workflow - Views are automatically processed and wired to their ViewModel through naming conventions. The process is fast and views are presented in the scene as changes are saved. Elegant and Intuitive DataBinding - Using naming conventions and smart binding logic, binding data to your views is very straight forward. No "plumbing" or configuration required. Interactive - Effortlessly create views that respond to user interactions. Use event system events (clicks, drags, etc) or create custom actions with ease. Animate views using XML - Quickly create animations using XML. Re-use animations on different views. Easy Transitions- Creating animated transitions between views is easy using the ViewSwitcher view. Flexible styling using Themes - Modify the look and feel of views using Theme files (XML). Control theming through id- and style-selectors (similar to CSS). Catalogue of Views and Themes - Since views can easily be created and shared, expect to see a growing catalogue of views available for download. The community is encouraged to create and distribute views as they please. Dynamic Content - Have views adjust to run-time changes of data as shown by the FlowList and List views. Responsive Layout - Have views adjust to content and layout changes. Intuitive and Flexible Layouting - Allows width and height of views to be specified using percentages. Anchor views easily by setting alignment. Display sets of data - Display lists and sets of data using the FlowList and List views. Bind custom data to the lists and control the way items are presented using templates. Similar to WPF and other MVVM frameworks - If you've worked with MVVM frameworks such as WPF/Silverlight (XAML), Caliburn, AngularJS, Prism, etc. you'll feel at home with MarkUX. And much more. The framework is in active development and you can expect continuous updates with new features, themes, views and tutorials. Check the latest developments at www.markux.com Get it on the asset store.
  9. Hello I'd like to announce MarkUX: A sleek MVVM framework for creating rich user experiences in Unity. Design, share and re-use views using XML. Bind data and actions to your model through intuitive naming conventions. Style your views with themes and animations. Minimal setup required to get started.   Here is a short gif showing the theming feature:   More instructional gifs are available at http://www.markux.com.   It's going to be published at the asset store within a couple of weeks. If you'd like to get notified when it's available visit the webpage and join the announcement list.  I'm interested in hearing any kind of feedback. I want to make it as intuitive and useful as I can and I'll listen to the wishes of the community.
  10. I recommend using a program like Evernote for organizing your work. It helps you organize a bunch of notes using tags etc. it loads and switches between documents fast which is good when dealing with a large amount of notes. As for organizing the narrative I think you should at the center have some kind of unifying theme - something that ties all the story-lines, events, scenarios, character developments, world developments together. E.g. lots of things happens in the Lord of the Rings - bunch of different races, power-struggles, various battles, various disputes between characters and groups of people, but at the center is the ring that symbolizes this dynamic of unity / domination, it's about uniting against evil. Tolkien didn't put all that complicated stuff (multiple races etc) for random world-building reasons, they served a purpose for the narrative.   Your Baccano! quote suggest you are looking for a theme that is more open-ended, but you'll still have some kind of theme. What is the game about? Where does it take place? What can the player do? What can't the player do? What paths can the player take and how does the player progress? Think about your choices and preferences and how they might tie into some kind of theme.    The more open-ended your theme is the less you actually need to organize your story-lines and scenarios. E.g. if it's about "power-struggle" then you can just let the game mechanics of the game tell the story - different factions battling, different ways to influence factions, to gain power, etc. You don't care so much which event takes place in what order, the direction things are going, just how they influence the power-dynamic. In that case you just need to have certain parameters in place for a certain event/story-line to be triggered, e.g. if faction X controls castle Y and you are from faction Z then you can do story-line C which on completion changes the parameters and potentially opens up for new story-lines.
  11. I think having some kind of skill-equalizing mechanic in the game isn't necessarily a bad thing - depends on the nature of the game. If its a social, family game, casual game or for children, then giving bad players a "leg up" and having mechanics keeping really good players from rolling over everything, makes sure everyone is having a good time and have a chance of coming up on top.    However, I'd think carefully on how to implement such mechanic. Just giving bad players power-ups is a kinda cheap way of doing it. I'd make it integral to the core gameplay (not something added on top of it).. just an example from the top of my head: lets say in a fps, for every points you get (for kills) the bigger and more "shiny" you get, and the point reward for killing you goes up.. this means the better player you are the more challenging the game gets (all want to kill you) and weaker players is less of a target and can focus on killing the shiny guys... 
  12.   I agree. It has to feels organic, non-contrived and not compromise the immersion and story-telling. I'm hesitant of using time-constraints because I don't want the player to feel pressured in a "ticking timebomb" race-against-time type way.. one of the charm of certain open-world games is being able to set your own pace - to groove in the story world if you will..
  13.   Timelined events that section off parts of the game world seems like a nice way to organically funnel the player in a certain direction. Makes me think of FTL where you explore sectors but are pressured to move on to get away from the pursuing rebel fleet. 
  14. Seeing as your game is for free you can release it in any state you want IMO. If you where to sell the game then releasing an incomplete game or a game with game-breaking bugs is a big no-no. I still think its a bad idea to release a game prematurely, even if you label it as alpha. First impressions count. If your game is incomplete and/or with severe bugs, that impression is going to stick with people and if you allow meta-critic scores & market place ratings they are probably going to reflect that first impression.   There is a growing trend of releasing games prematurely and fixing/adding content later. This is a very bad trend that only hurts consumers and the reputation of game devs. If you consider your game to be "complete" with 10 missions, then I think you should release it when you have 10 missions.