Producers of the Round Table – Scheduling (on GamaSutra)

The first Producer Roundtable session got thousands of reads, and now the second roundtable session is appearing on GamaSutra. In this second installment, which deals with scheduling issues in game development, participants include Robbie Edwards, Senior Producer at Red Storm Entertainment/Ubisoft, Peter O’Brien, Producer at Bizarre Creations, Harvard Bonin, Senior Producer last at Electronic Arts, Adrian Crook, Producer at Relic Entertainment, and Frank Rogan, Producer at Gas Powered Games.

Check it out, and feel free to comment here.

The upcoming third session will be about censorship in games.

Azada Shows How to Beat Cloners

To play Azada – download it from here.

As soon after I’ve asked for more innovation for casual games there comes a game that really nails it: Azada is not only the best selling game at the moment, but it also contains over 40 unique puzzles. Not just “different levels” like you can see in most games, but different puzzles.

Basically Azada’s is like several games in one package – and in my opinion that’s a really fresh view on casual clone wars. They launched yesterday, and in less than two hours, Azada had smashed the full release days of both Mystic Inn and Atlantis Sky Patrol. According to BFG, Mystic Inn sold 2000 copies in a few days so it looks like these guys have another hit game at their hands.

Those who want to check out this polished (and really fresh game in the casual space), download Azada from here.

DX Studio v2.0 Released – 3D Applications Creation Software

DX Studio version 2.0 is released. Earlier I covered what DX studio does and now this 3D application builder software just got better. The new version 2.0 comes with a big list of features that improves the modeling tool and has several graphical additions to name but a few improvements.

DX Studio is a complete integrated development environment for creating interactive 3D graphics. The system comprises of both a real-time 3D engine and a suite of editing tools, and is the first product to offer a complete range of tools in a single IDE. A good list about features is available on their website.

Editor shot

Here’s a final list of the new improvements that version 2.0 adds:

  • New per-pixel lighting model
  • Per-pixel bump and specular map support
  • Fully integrated model editor including extrusion, lofting, UV mapping, boolean operations and much more
  • Full COLLADA support for models, materials, animations and skins
  • New material editor
  • Simplified properties panel with multi-select
  • Post-processing effects on scenes, with runtime control of properties
  • Full multitexturing
  • Unit scaling
  • Improved collaborative tools
  • New Wiki linked tutorial system
  • Quality setting in player
  • Cursor key perspective viewport navigation
  • Direct memory loading

DX studio uses Javascript, so a good JS skills are prerequisite for creating applications (at least anything other than very trivial ones). The tutorials and walk-troughs are good for getting your hands dirty – along with tool tips and other help files that will aid you.

Image of upcoming zombie game produced using DX Studio

DX studio 2 has an integrated model editor and a library of models included for free on the website. If you are into starting game development and creating 3D applications, then check out DX Studio. There’s a free evaluation version also available to give the application a test run.

Do You Have The Success Attitude?

I encountered one guy who was pondering how to market his website without spending much money. I suggested a contest and his first respond “I can’t afford that”. Basically he was limiting his options in the first meters – without even considering how he could arrange the contest. This type of attitude is much different from for example what one friend of mine has.

He was recently dealing with a small technical problem and asked my advice on the matter. It was a situation where 2 technical solutions couldn’t be easily used together. Anyway, instead of picking one solution he asked me:

How can I get both?

Notice how different approach this is to solving problems. Instead of saying “I can’t afford that” one can simply ask: “how can I afford that”. The problem solving attitude requires one to focus on ways to reach what he wants – not to state something cannot be done.

Book Review: The Indie Developer’s Guide to Selling Games

Briefly put
The Indie Developer’s Guide to Selling Games is an in depth look at every facet of game development, from start to finish, and how it will all impact your bottom line: Sales. It is a crash course in opinion, theories, and facts about the industry specific to independent digital publishing:

To get the ebook, Buy it from here.

I just finished reading an marketing and sales resource The Indie Developer’s Guide to Selling Games. In a nutshell, this guide focuses on selling and marketing indie games. There’s a handy list of resources and contact emails of publishers that are valuable for any indie out there. Especially beginners will find much of the book information valuable. The cons of the book are perhaps about how (small) parts of the information is presented: some of the tips and hints are simply told in a direct style while not necessarily explained in detail.

Best parts of the book
Overall I liked the book (while I disagree slightly with some lessons such as targeting and segmenting). I think the tips presented in small boxes and the short summaries are great way to mention relevant ideas. The list of contacts and SEO tips are also a great resource for many indies, and so are the design suggestions (or “motivational factors” – I think they basically are game design tips) in the end of the book.

There’s plenty of insight on marketing, price points and basically stuff that indies need to know to get more sales. That’s where this book is doing well.

The Indie Developer’s Guide to Selling Games is an in depth look at every facet of game development, from start to finish, and how it will all impact your bottom line: Sales. It is a crash course in opinion, theories, and facts about the industry specific to independent digital publishing.

Who should read this book
I’m recommending this book as an affiliate, so keep that in mind when considering making the purchase.

  • I personally think this book provides a good guide especially for beginners who aren’t familiar with the aspects of marketing and selling games.
  • Professionals who want to get reminded about the marketing ideas and perhaps get new insight on what to do on their games to make them sell.

The book comes in 2 formats: Ebook that costs $27.95 and as a physical book that costs $34.95 (+shipping I presume).

You may download the free sample chapter and Table of Contents to take a close look at the product.

I think it boils down to this: the book costs about as much as 2-3 game sales (or 1 sale if you use the tips and sell your product on a higher price) and it can give you ideas and contacts to get your game published. The ideas in the book can get you more sales.

If you are ready to proceed, purchase the ebook from here.

$1000 Lesson on Being Careful

Last week I learned a lesson about being careful when driving in the parking lot. Scratching other people’s cars can get pretty expensive. I was “busy” preparing for the move and somehow wasn’t paying enough attention (to which one friend of mine suggested: “don’t drive eyes shut”) in the parking lot – and hit another car with my car (fortunately I was driving very slowly).

The other car got a tiny scratch (I barely could see it) but somehow the guys at the car repair place managed to make a $1000 bill out of it. I have insurance, but it doesn’t do much good: now the insurance will simply go up for several years to cover that damage (which really makes me wonder why there’s insurance in the first place, as it doesn’t cover the damages in the first place…)

Anyway, the lesson here was simple: being too busy and not paying enough attention to what’s important right now can get expensive. In this car incident it cost me $1000, and I started to think that there are lots of things that can cost a lot if you don’t pay attention to them properly. They can be business partners, they can be friends, they can be be parts of the project.

Focus is needed. Being careful and paying attention to important things right now is needed. I don’t recommend worrying “what might happen”, I recommend focusing on “how to make things good”. Like instead of “making sure not to scratch cars in the future” I’m focusing on “parking safely and properly” – when I’m on the parking lot.

Concentrate on good things. Focus on what’s important right now.

Here’s an Easy Way to Get More Productive Hours

In the past months I have been feeling bit tired in the afternoons. Around 2 pm or 3 pm I started yawning and felt like my energy level was not optimal. Later – around 6 pm – I usually felt really tired and still might continued to work.

About a month ago I figured out a very easy and effective way to get more productive hours: naps.

At around 5 pm I started taking a nap that would last anything from 30 minutes to 60 minutes (I’ve read somewhere that naps should take 15-30 minutes, but I guess I like to take a little longer siesta…). Couple of things started to happen:

  • I had more energy: By taking a nap that lasted 30 minutes, I was able to recharge my batteries and work 100% for several hours (compared to working at energy level of around 30% that’s a huge boost).
  • I got more productive hours: Not only I was able to work more productivity, but I also had energy to do more hours if I wanted. I didn’t always do that, but when I needed work more hours in a day the naps worked like a wonder.

There’s lots of people who are taking a siesta – short nap – and this one month’s experiment has certainly been beneficial for me, and I’m sure it can be beneficial for you if you have trouble being productive in the afternoons.