Game Producer Christmas Calendar – Day 17 (Are You Afraid To Spend Money?)

There’s one major shift that has happened in the way of my mind works: it’s about spending money. On Xmas time I suppose it makes sense to think about it… I think it’s more important to think where exactly you put your money.

I’ve noticed that I am (or at least were) more inclined to buy useless stuff that I enjoy for a moment (like some DVD movies or ice cream for example) instead of useful tools (like game engines or 3rd party libraries).

I wonder why it’s no problem to buy 2 eur beer every week (that makes 100 eur per year), but it’s a problem to purchase 100 eur software that would help me develop something? (at least there can be very little resistance for spending couple of bucks to something now and then). The more I’ve gone into selling side of things, and the more years have passed… the better I see how spending money can be a problem for some people.

People might be afraid to lose that money and never get it back. People think that getting immediate pleasure (ice cream) for “small” amount of money (2 bucks is little – when you don’t count yearly expenses) goes before long term aid (that can save you time).

I think it works just the opposite. The more you are ready to support others, and the more you are willing to put money in the market (in an intelligent way – I’m not suggesting buying every stupid little thing you see in the Internet), the more money can float to your way. I think it’s the mindset and attitude.

Sure, you need to know when to keep the money. I bet it’s a good idea to spend less than you earn, but I also think supporting software developers every now and then does good for our economy.

Game Producer Christmas Calendar – Day 15 (The Last Chance to Bribe Me)

About a week ago I wrote a letter to Santa and asked for GTA IV. The goals is almost reached (87%), so today I’m drawing the line. This will be your last chance to participate and get:

  • Link pointing to your site from a thank you blog post (appears in a blog post after Christmas)
  • Fun ebook that can help you become more productive (when I get back from my Xmas trip)
  • Copy of a Dead Wake game (“when it’s done”)

All this for $6 (you can donate more if you want). Click the donate button below to participate.

Read the full story in the longer blog entry. Basically, you can now bribe me for a very small amount to get these goodies.

Game Producer Christmas Calendar – Day 14 (The Big Fish Way of Using Background Images)

Big Fish Games (the place where you can get casual games as low as $6,99) is doing a nice job promoting their games.

Whenever they have new fancy games appearing that they really, really want to promote (happens very often), they also change the background image of their site. Some time okay, when they launched Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst their website had Ravenhearst images in the background. When they were promoting Azada’s special sales, again the background was (surprise, surprise) about Azada.

Yesterday they started promoting Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser’s Submarines, and it was no big wonder that they started showing relevant background image.

Works pretty well for big portals, but also for indies who want to promote their newest product on their websites (when you have many games).

Game Producer Christmas Calendar – Day 12 (Audio Articles)

One of my blog entries – 7 Most Important Decisions You Need to Do For Your Career (click the link for the audio version) – managed to find its way to a site called The site bringing audio versions of game development articles to your ears. The author of the site is a guy who jumped in the indie world in one day (and enjoying every moment) after working his butt off.

Check out the site, and don’t forget to check out Ryan’s personal blog too.

Game Producer Christmas Calendar – Day 10 (Christmas Spam)

One of the best moves I’ve ever done was getting Akismet for this blog. The second best move was when I got it working in the game producer forums.

Akismet costs some per month (that means cheap, and there’s some sort of free version available too) and gives you a warm feeling when you see that text “Akismet has protected your site from 10,234 spam comments already”. It works, is easy & cheap to use.

In this Christmas I won’t be worrying about eating spam.

Game Producer Christmas Calendar – Day 9 (Santa Claus and the Art of Product Development)

Happened long time ago in some place far away…

Santa Claus was having a big problem: he wasn’t sure he could deliver all the presents on time this christmas! It was only a few weeks to the deadline. The marketing department had done a heavy campaign: in some places christmas ads had been displayed for months already! This year the xmas would be better than ever (no matter what the critics would say). This time it wouldn’t be just shinier or better looking xmas. This time it would be Xmas with a big X. This time the packets would be bigger than ever and better than ever.

Santa’s customers always wanted more. The client weren’t prepared to pay much (well, anything at all to be exact). They just kept writing more about what they wanted (for free). Sometimes Santa was getting a headache because some of the clients simply couldn’t believe that Santa won’t get them everything they want (like jetplanes) for Xmas. Yes, they would have to stick with the toy versions.

The hardest part of course was that Santa’s marketing department was promising everything (“yes, you can write to santa and ask for anything – even for a yacht if you want!”) whereas Santa’s development team was trying to get the marketing department to understand that shipping a ship to far away country would lead to logistic problems, not to mention that testing the ship’s cruising abilities would probably be missed due deadline pressures. And – like always – the answer from the marketing team came: “Don’t worry! We can patch the ship later if needed. Everybody does that.”. Santa thought that was bad practice but couldn’t help it. People wanted more and he had to try to do his best to meet those needs.

On top of all this, Santa had heard rumors that some people were not believing in him. They wouldn’t think he’d manage to give all the presents to people on time. They weren’t getting what was promised (by the marketing department – not by the Santa), so there were times when santa was thinking about going indie. that way he could make his own promises about the presents. The packages might not be as big, but at least there Santa could do what he loves to.

…But now it wasn’t time to daydream about “going indie”. He knew he had promises to keep, and deadline was coming closer. It would make no good to blame the marketing department or some of the lazy elves. Santa had taken this job, so he would take all the responsibility.

Suddenly, santa heard somebody knocking on the door. “Yoohoo, santa? You there?”. It was Grimmy the Elf. Santa’s little helper. Well, Santa didn’t know where that word “helper” made its way to the title (he always thought Grimmy more like a pain in the arse), but at least the word “little” in his name was true: Grimmy was one inch long (or short) gnome, maybe one and a half when he was wearing his party boots. Grimmy was santa’s guidance on all international business decisions. This time Grimmy would have good news: “Santa, I think our logistics problem is solved!”

After a long discussion, Grimmy left with haste. Santa had given him orders regarding how to proceed with the logistics. Santa sat down and took a glass of deer ale (made of something you really don’t want to know) and looked in the mirror with a smile in his face. He knew he had made the right decision about the logistics. This year everything would go fine. No more worrying about whether he could deliver the packages on time.

Santa had worried much about the shipping of all the items to different countries, not to mention the actual delivery inside the target countries. Santa had decided to use foreign work force for the first time in his life: there would be Santa’s “clones” standing in every shop in all over the world. These fake Santa’s would travel from house to house. The shipping would be handled by a big 3rd party logistics company United Delivery Packages (or UDP in short). Santa had heard some rumours about dropped packets by UDP, but he thought he could always sent them later through another company: The Company of Packets, that had guaranteed delivery. Santa thought that alternatively he could give orders to Grimmy to make sure that UDP would resend all the packets that would got lost. That would probably work too. This decision meant that Santa could focus only on doing his core business: developing good presents and drinking deer ale.

Santa started pondering more about this fine solution: why not outsource the work force too? Marketing department was already doing things on their own. The development team – the elves – could be replaced with Irish leprechauns (they were known for their cheap salaries and hard working attitude, even though their speech was not comprehensible), and Santa’s Intelligence (the team of gnomes that handle spying) could be replaced with low-cost clurichauns (which would mean that Santa would need to buy heavier locks on his deer ale cabinet). Heck, he could even outsource the gift wrapping. The northern post office could pack everything to envelopes. That way Santa could really focus on his core business – the deer ale.

After a series of thoughts of even bigger changes Santa remembered the wise words of what his twin brother Billy Claus had always told (not many knew Santa had a brother – even though Billy had sometimes delivered presents to kids when Santa was ill: nobody knew the difference). Billy had once said: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Listen to me, hammering Grimmy is not going to help you on this. Now, put down that ugly thing… No, I meant put Grimmy down.”

Santa realized he was almost going too far with all this outsourcing. Just like when he was about to use the hammer when Grimmy had once again pee’d in Santa’s glass full of deer ale.

Santa realized that outsourcing wouldn’t going to solve every problem he was facing. He would need balance. He realized that outsourcing the core business would not be a good solution. Outsourcing something could be a good idea. He realized that there might perhaps come some issues with those fakes santas. Maybe some of them would not ever appear where they should. Maybe some of them would appear after drinking too much deer ale. (His brother Billy was not only giving good advice, he was also giving good examples. Examples on what had gone wrong when he was visiting kids instead of Santa). Outsourcing could work in some cases, but might bring different problems too.

Santa decided to stop thinking about this matter any more, and stick to his current decision. He would not outsource any more than made sense. He would use some 3rd party resources which would enable him to concentrate on making better presents. He would use some reliable 3rd party resources but would make sure that the core business would stay inside his warm cottage.

And so would deer ale.

Game Producer Christmas Calendar – Day 8 (Object Oriented Code Design Patterns)

I’ve been reading Head First: Design Patterns book, which is fine view on design patterns (that can be used in coding). I’ve done a little bit of research on how to handle object oriented code when it comes to games. There seems to be one tiny problem: everybody knows the RIGHT way to do things.

There’s plenty of people who are glad to help you out and they show you how they are “taking advantage of object oriented coding principles”. Some of the examples were good, some of them were bad and some of them… I’m not sure.

Is there solid choices for design patterns in games? Do you use them? Any recommendations?