Sunday, January 14, 2007

Blogroom Blitz

If you haven't noticed, I've taken upon myself to use this blog as a conduit for taking old articles and posts, espousing their ideas with my own, then regurgitating them for myself and all those regular readers, numbering too many to count. Mainly because I never learned how. Today, dear Rockford, is no different.

The Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie! database is online. I took a moment to read the article about how bad bottom-up game design is... something every new game developer should read. 99% of indy developers take an engine "concept" - physics, fluid dynamics, spatial sound, bump mapping, geometry shaders, whatevea... then they make that one property the "game". I do that. Repeatedly. Still am. Right now. At this moment.

Back in November, there was a round-the-world blogging event entitled "So You Want To Be An Indy Game Developer?" Crowd favorite Introversion was there, as well as our good friends at Gibbage. While the resonant theme was "don't hope to make enough money to eat whilst being an indy developer," there were some notable other nuggets to be had.

  • Cliffskis had some good, pragmatic advice such as maintaining a solid online presence. Content should be easily available, never move to a different URL and have stuff that is quick to download and install. Realize it will take years to be noticed, and you'll want to make sure that you leave an adequate trail to be found.

  • GameProducer.Net had some points that I've already discovered the hard way... if I had heard this advice earlier, it would have easily saved me nearly two years of work. Begin by making a game, not by learning how to make games. Knowing the technology is certainly part of the process, but if you stick with just the development process you won't progress much beyond writing demos and how-to's. Alongside that thought, don't re-engineer the wheel. So many fantastic engines, API's and SDK's are ready and waiting for developers... don't try to create a 3D engine on your own. Worst case, find an open source project (i.e. CrystalSpace) and help them out. Save time, grief, effort, bugs, etc. by using existing tools.

  • Reality From The Sidelines had an entry that could have well been ripped from the pages of this very blog. Not only is he extremely tardy in producing a title, but he moved from grandiose ideas of FPS' & believing casual games were too lowly to consider to finding casual games the best place to being experimenting with both design, production and gameplay. We both seem to realize like time is slipping away, and whatever we do, it needs to be now.

  • Zoombapup focused the entire post on making a single, but very striking point. I'm definitely not looking to make any cash with any titles I might release, but I won't turn down any accidental riches that land in my path. Zoomba illustrates how excruciatingly difficult any riches, incidental or not, are to glean from small-biz development. Although he uses the same concrete (as pudding) mathematics as my science teacher used to estimate the number of piano tuners in New York, the basic figures are sound. If you're wildly successful, you'd be lucky to have two years of effort translate into $100,000. More than likely, it would be -$100,000.

  • Never use Comic Sans.
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