Dev Links: Send In The Clowns

Today’s Developer Links include an in-depth analysis of the design of the action RPG Dark Souls.  Plus, loneliness in indie developers, succeeding with free-to-play games, and more.

Indie Loneliness (
“Many indies these days are in teams of 3 or 4 or more people, so the problem in that case is not acute. However, the genius of al gore’s internet means that often those teams are geographically distant and scattered anyway. I have contractors and partners working with/for me in all different countries, but in the majority of cases I’ve never met those people, or even phoned or skyped them… Of course the downside of this is that you sit in a room on your own with a keyboard, and there is nobody to just go ‘hey wassup?’ to. This makes me very very productive, when I need to be, but it can also be a very lonely job.”

Wonderful (distractionware: devlog)
“Super Hexagon continues to be a never ending whirlwind, and shows no signs of slowing down! So I thought it might be nice to do a quick round up of everything that’s going on:”

Unity Technologies Sponsors AltDev Student Showcase (AltDevBlogADay)
“Last week we announced that as part of the AltDev Student Summit we would be holding a competition for students called the AltDev Student Showcase, in which students could pitch their current projects to a panel of industry veterans in order receive critique and advice on the direction they were taking. The veterans would then pick a winner in the Dragon’s Den style, by choosing how much play-money they would be willing to invest.”

Game Developer Flashcards: The Gamasutra Community Edition (Gamasutra)
“In August, Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski submitted a list of ‘game developer flashcards’ to Gamasutra – a taxonomy of personalities and situations he’s encountered over the course of his 20 year career. The article garnered a tremendous response — 71 comments, as of this writing — and after taking a look at them, we decided to round up the best into a second installment of the article. Below, you’ll find a second set of ‘flashcards’ contributed by the community, with fresh illustrations by Juan Ramirez, who provided the art for Bleszinski’s original article.”

Indie Tools: ZGameEditor (
“‘ll be perfectly honest and admit I haven’t really found the time to try theZGameEditor, but a tool that focuses on procedural generation to help you create games that fit into 64 kilobytes can’t be too bad. Especially as it also happens to be both free and open-source, and is using OpenGL for graphics and a real time synthesizer for audio.”

“Blunder Down Under” (Cipher Prime Studios)
“This weekend, Splice received the Best International Game award at this year’sFreeplay Awards in Melbourne, Australia. Although we weren’t able to make the trip to accept the award in person, we did send off this little video titled, ‘Blunder Down Under.’”

Deep Dungeon: Exploring The Design Of “Dark Souls” (Gamasutra)
“Why has Dark Souls achieved mainstream success and has not remained merely a cult favorite? I’d like to argue that a major factor behind Dark Souls‘ success is the disconnect between its perceived difficulty and its actual difficulty. Dark Soulspresents itself as an impossible challenge to the player outwardly, but inwardly, the game is subtly designed in many ways to help the player achieve the impossible.”

15 Ways To Make Free-To-Play Pay (Develop)
“Games industry business consultant Nicholas Lovell has used his presentation at today’s F2P Summit to offer 15 points of advice for success in the realm of free-to-play. A summary of his ongoing guide to free-to-play on Lovell’s own Gamesbrief website, the developer-centric advice focuses on games design and mechanics, and will be welcomed by many still daunted by the sometimes bewildering world of free-to-play.”


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