Dev Links: Sweat It Out

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Today’s Developer Links cover unpredictability in games, different approaches to tutorials, code architecture for large projects, and why playing with kids may help with game development.

Unpredictability And Control In Turn-Based Combat: An Examination (Sinister Design)
“Unpredictability makes art interesting. Twists of plot, unconventional characterizations, and surprising character development engage a reader’s imagination; unique instrumentation, sudden shifts in time signature, or an unexpected chord progression delight the ear. So is it with games. Exploration, experimentation, discovery: all of these depend upon unpredictability, on gaps in the player’s familiarity with the game. Challenge exists only where the player cannot know exactly how a scenario is going to play out ahead of time. This is the sort of unpredictability we are going to talk about today: since it concerns game mechanics, let’s call it mechanical unpredictability.”

Mew-Genics Teaser Week 3! (Team Meat Blog)
“Meet Frank.  He has head problems…”

Art Asset Overview #38 (Wolfire Blog)
“In this Overgrowth Art Asset Overview I show some prototype art assets I made to test out the idea of 2d/3d storytelling scenes. It was tricky to make these look decent when moving the camera around, but I think they came out okay. Judge for yourself:”

The Video Game Kickstarter Report – Week of November 9th (Zeboyd Games)
“Lots of new stuff this week! First up, we have Sportsfriends! This is a kickstarter to take several indie local multiplayer sports games like Johann Sebastian Joust, polish them up, and release them officially for the PS3 & home computers. What makes this especially interesting is the fact that Sony is officially backing this project – they posted an article about the kickstarter & the games on the Official Playstation Blog and Sony is also giving them funding via the Indie Pub fund. They’re up to $26k ($150k goal) with 31 days to go.”

Chasing Aurora: Introducing Trail Challenge (Broken Rules)
“Trail Challenge is a time-challenge for a single player. Their task is to fly through a course as fast as possible while hitting the triangle-shaped gates to score points and receive time bonuses. The round ends, when the timer reaches zero.”

Big Project Code Architecture (Cliffski.com)
“I actually wrote some new code for Gratuitous Space Battles today, and in doing so, I had to do a bit of chin-stroking and thinking about the general code structure of the game. GSB is not my latest game, so the code I write now for new stuff is more polished and better designed, but even so, I’ve coded about a dozen games from scratch before GSB, so it should be fairly good. ..and yet…”

Final Year Project – What Am I Researching And Why? (hannardynamite)
“I want to revolutionize the way we view and interact with tutorials. That’s a big dream to have you may think. Or at least you’re thinking ’Why?’ Well as an industry, as a consumer and possibly even as a newcomer to games, we cannot decide on whether tutorials are good, bad, effective, or even needed. I hope to soon provides answers, backed up with research, to those questions.”

Playing With My Kids Helps Me Make Better Games (AltDevBlogADay)
“I was never around children from the time I left home until nearly 20 years later when I had kids of my own. When I was faced with other people’s children, I often found the experience awkward and a bit uncomfortable. I had no idea how to relate to kids of any age or how to interact with them. Now with children of my own I can hardly remember a time where I didn’t know how to play with children, and in return my kids have opened my eyes to why we find certain things ‘fun’. I hope I can describe this idea in a way that could prove useful to aspiring developers.”




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