Tuesday 21 August 2012

10 Gamedev Articles You Must Read (or Watch)

I spend a lot of time catching up with my favourite games blogs and websites, and over the past couple of years have come across a mountain of useful and inspiring articles and videos that have helped me in my work. I've had a trawl through my bookmarks, Readability archive and my old tweets to find some favourites that I hope you will benefit from too!

Game Design

Designing Kongai - David Sirlin
As some of you may already know, David Sirlin's online card game Kongai is one of my favourite games of all time. Here he digs into the design and evolution of the game, with a rich supply of insight into designing for competitive play.

Juice It or Lose It (video) - Martin Jonasson & Petri Purho
Make your games more rich and effective by making every action respond in the game. This video explores various ways you can do it, taking a dull and boring version of Breakout, and using simple audiovisual tricks to make it feel engaging and rewarding.

Okabu Post-Mortem - Handcircus
Simon Oliver discusses his studio's leap from iOS to PS3 to develop Okabu, and the challenges they faced along the way. While I myself am not planning to develop for consoles in the near future, the article offers advice and insight into making the leap between platforms. Handcircus' experiment gives solid encouragement not to be afraid of approaching more closed marketplaces.

Popcap's Secrets of Casual Game Design - Keith Stuart
As much a look at studio attitudes as a lesson in design, this article reinforces a lot of my beliefs about successful games businesses. A smart games business never forgets the fun of the game, and follows its own nose rather than existing trends. Popcap grew from a studio of three with this attitude, and it's an attitude worth following

Marketing and PR

You Need a Marketing Story - Tahdg Kelly
Mr Kelly is a shrewd commentator on games, particularly when it comes to marketing and PR. People believe in stories, and people desire causes to follow. These are what inspire people to become enthusiasts and what sticks longer than quality of assets or adverts ever could. I've spoken about this in my own Indie Exposure series, but Tahdg really hits the nail on the head.

Indie Survival Guide - Capy Games
The most important part of your game's marketability is the design of the game itself - that's something I wrote about in my recent PocketGamer guest article. Capy Games proves this point with its experiences with Sword & Sworcery. Their game was not designed to please everyone, but designed so that a certain group of people would rave about it. And they did.

Developers: Stop Being S**t (video) - Brian Baglow
He gave a similar talk at this year's Develop Conference, which was one of my favourite parts of the event. Both funny and incredibly insightful, it's a terriffic run-down of everything indie developers should be doing to get exposure, but probably aren't.

Futurlab's Pitch To Sony
This is how you generate interest in a game. If you've got guts, personality, and are ready to take risks there's people out there ready to take interest in your work. Get smart, be brave and generate interest by grabbing your audience by the balls. See also: how they sent out press releases for their latest Vita game.

Tips for Sending Press Releases - Craig Grannell
Another list of things you should be doing but probably aren't, this time from a mobile games journalist himself. A first-hand perspective on what games writers take interest in, and what is just a nuisance. He also has tips for mobile game websites, trailers and other PR here.


Cinemassacre 200 (video) - James Rolfe
James Rolfe, of Angry Video Game Nerd fame, is one of my biggest inspirations as a developer. An independent filmmaker rather than a game-maker, in this video he looks back over his childhood and early adult life to trace his development as a film-maker, and I can see parallels in my own experiences growing up making games. Very much the film-making equivalent of a one-man bedroom studio, he tries to find any means he can to make his vision a reality, never shying away from a challenge because of scale or budget.

Adventurous and creative, his Angry Video Game Nerd videos found widespread popularity online, allowing him to follow his dream of a film-making career. A true inspiration and one of my creative heroes, James is now working on his feature-length debut, based on his popular series.