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Business Game Development Game Industry

Inside #IndieDev – Brutal Grounds by AGOG Entertainment

When event organizers postponed GDC 2020 in San Francisco from March to (apparently) an August 4-6 makeup event, development teams all over the world suddenly found themselves scrambling to make up for missed professional networking time, lost opportunities with potential players, and in many circumstances, unrecoverable travel investments. As E3 and other events follow suit and business nearly everywhere grinds to a halt, the usual advantages of working in close geographic proximity to traditional industry hotspots have all but vanished. This was the topic of my discussion with Robert Hubert, the Los Angeles-based development director responsible for Brutal Grounds, an upcoming top-down competitive shooter from AGOG Entertainment.

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Business Game Industry Podcast

GDC You Later

GDC 2020 is postponed as COVID-19 becomes a real concern in the US. Several organizations have stepped up to support indies impacted by the change. Here’s the scoop on what’s happening and how you can get involved.

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Game Development Podcast Writing

Secrets of Story Structure

Learn the tools of the storytelling trade from one of western culture’s greatest story analysts. We’ll examine the findings of the late screenwriting expert, Syd Field, and look at how collected writing wisdom from outside games translates to our area of expertise.

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Game Development Games Podcast

PO Boxes Are Not Cool or Fun

Todd heads to the post office to record the pre-Christmas mailbag episode. Chaos ensues.

Despite this episode’s misadventures, Eggnog Games’ Leaving the Tree box set arrived and it’s incredible, check it out!

Categories
Game Development Podcast

Don’t Hold Yourself Back

A developer asks the community: How do you maintain the motivation to finish projects? It’s a simple question, but what lies beneath the surface?

In this episode we discuss both the simple answer to this question, and what is usually the deeper, more scientific answer. If you’ve ever heard of concepts like “self-sabotage” or “self-handicapping,” this episode offers the actual mechanics of this phenomenon as well as the causes and the steps you can take to break the cycle.

Stop stopping, start finishing.

Categories
Design Game Development Games Podcast

A Tale of Tutorials

Welcome back! This time on GameDev Breakdown we’re discussing the finer points of tutorials in games, and yes, whether or not they even have a rightful place in them. That idea may surprise you, unless you spend any time talking about development on Twitter where it’s become oddly commonplace.

This idea comes from a well-intentioned place. As games and players have matured, we’ve seen a lot of games with subtler, more innovative introductions. As seen in one of the tweets above, for some reason people who like attacking game designers like bringing up the introductory stage of Mega Man X.

I generally go out of my way not to criticize the work of other designers, but I would be very hesitant to set up an introductory stage like what Mega Man X features. For one thing, MMX seems to depend on the player having played previous games in the series and having some sense of what’s going on. It leaves players to experiment with what amounts to an unusually easy level, mashing buttons and experimenting with enemies and mechanics along the way. Even at that, I find the level visually confusing–quick, you just started, here comes some cars! Just kidding they can’t hurt you–and I don’t agree that players wouldn’t be better served by an optional scene with a few prompts to get newbies acclimated before dropping them into a proper stage.

Meanwhile, players in favor of sensible tutorials all pointed me at the same game: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.

Blood Dragon actually had the same challenge to overcome as Mega Man X: a unique game in a pre-existing series that still needs to onboard new players. To do this, Blood Dragon goes all the way in the opposite direction, interrupting players with nearly full-screen prompts every few seconds while the protagonist complains about the delay. Blood Dragon manages to roast an annoying trend in game tutorials (overdoing it) while using a tried and true method to teach players advanced FPS controls in a hurry.

This comparison is too simplistic, of course, and also doesn’t take into account the widely varied needs across other genres. Angry Birds doesn’t need too much handholding, but have you ever designed your own card game?

The resource we look at in this episode is the condensed result of a master’s project study on reactions to tutorials and introductory levels featured at Gamasutra.

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Code Humor Podcast

Yes, Coding Is Hard

A viral tweet suggests coding isn’t hard, developers are just gatekeeping. Yikes.

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Design Game Development Podcast Productivity

Creating a Prototype

This time on GameDev Breakdown, as promised, Todd runs through his prototyping process, start to finish.

This episode makes heavy mention of this post. Todd’s game design document template is available at Itch.

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Business Game Development Games Podcast

Treat Your Business Like a Business

Are “small content creator” support communities really something we should want?

In this episode of GameDev Breakdown I take a look at the latest in a trend of proposals (or actual initiatives) to connect small devs, artists, authors, content creators, etc. to support and promote one another. It sounds nice, but 1.) Is it good for us as creators, and 2.) Is it even likely to work?

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Categories
Business Code Design Game Development Games Podcast

Exception Game Developer Will Traxler

Will Traxler of Traxmaster Software discusses his new game, Exception, his first commercial release following years of solo development. Will shares insight into his unique post-launch mindset, his solution to investing in his development, and the dynamics of outsourcing PR responsibilities as a one-man studio.

Will has accomplished a ton with this game release. Multiple platforms on day 1, stellar marketing in motion, and all without crunching or losing his cool. His attitude is exemplary and this is a must-listen for small indie teams or other soloists.

We discuss surviving a flood early in the episode. Indeed I did have to push our Skype call back a day over flooding in the area as it resulted in a school cancellation for my kid. It would have been too ridiculous a lie to use, so I suppose I’ve got that going for me.

Will’s links

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