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Dev Links: Survey Says

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Developer Links gets in-depth today with a quality-of-life survey, meaningful character and story design advice, and the dilemma of r-using old content.

Game Developer Quality-of-Life Survey (Gamasutra)
“”Game Developers: How are you doing?” That’s the question we asked approximately 1,000 of you at the end of 2012. We know that between the long hours, frequent layoffs, and crunch phases, the game industry can be a notorious grind. While we perform a yearly Salary Survey every April to check the pulse of developers’ financial health, we thought we’d supplement that with a quality-of-life survey to see how you’re doing in ways not measured by dollars and cents. Are you satisfied with your pay? Are you confident in your current project? Do you want to be in this industry five years from now? Read on to find out how your colleagues responded.”

Developing Meaningful Player Character Arcs in Branching Narrative (Gamasutra)
“A little background: During my years at BioWare, I found that despite the enormous amount of talent housed in the writing department, there were certain subjects for which we lacked a common language of craft — a clear and broadly applicable way to discuss what worked, what didn’t, and why. This article is an effort to remedy that problem for one particular subject.”

The re-using old content dilemma (Positech Games)
“Where do you stand on content from game A turning up in Game A: 2 The sequel? I really do not know where I stand myself. Generally, I don’t care. if it turned out that the tree models in Company of heroes 2 were the same tree models from COH 1, I wouldn’t mind. Ditto some of the sound effects. A tiger tank gun sounds the same as it did when the original game was released, and sound playback technology is the same now as it was then.”

A Virus Named Tom dev finds therapy in Gizmo, ninja puppet show (Joystiq)
“Some things in life are so frustrating that you just have to make a low-budget puppet theater video about them. A Virus Named Tom developer Tim Keenan is annoyed to the puppet point by game development suggestions from well-meaning friends, and the assumption that “PC games” are “Facebook games.””

What happened to PlayStation Mobile? (IndieGames.com)
“When PlayStation Mobile launched late last year, I truly had high hopes for the platform. Six months on, and it seems like my optimism may have been misguided. The PS Mobile platform allows indie developers to sell their games via the PlayStation Store with relative ease. Once a studio or individual has registered and paid $99 per year for a publisher license, they can then release as many games as they want, as long as they keep to the relatively lax service guidelines.”

Art Asset Overview #39 (Wolfire Games)
“In this Overgrowth Art Asset Overview, I show off the new arena I’m working on and talk a bit about the process of making it. I’m pretty excited with where we’re at with Overgrowth, and I’m especially happy that there are no major hurdles in sight for us getting the game to beta.”

How ethical design can be a money-maker (Games Industry)
“GDC 2013: Shellrazer designer describes the key to monetization and in-app purchases; it’s all about respect for the players”

Untitled (Kotaku)
“If you liked 2010’s excellent, emotional action RPG Bastion, then listen to Amir Rao—co-founder of dev studio Supergiant Games—talk about the art of level design on the Critical Path Project.”