GBGames On Object-Oriented Game Design

GBGames has a nice introduction to object oriented design for game development.

GB does a nice job of summarizing some basic concepts that can be incredibly powerful for simplifying your object model as well as future-proofing your design.

I’ve used these techniques extensively for application development in my day job as a C# developer. As GB mentions, it’s very easy and tempting to fall into the deep class design mode, but if you can resist and take the time to turn your classes sideways, your classes will grow in power and flexibility right before your eyes.

Thanks to GB’s reminder, I’ll now remember to use these techniques in my games.

Help Wanted: Intel Mac Volunteer for Testing Universal Binary

All coding for the next Bullfrog release is done. I’ve been testing it on my two PPC machines. My primary development box, a Dual 2.0GHz G5 PowerMac and an 800MHz G4 Titanium PowerBook.

What I need is someone with an Intel Mac to help make sure the Universal Binary build works on their machine.

This shouldn’t take very much of your time. I just need someone to launch the game and check all the screens and run through the game play a few times to ensure everything is working normally.

Since the game is free, I can’t really offer a free registered version. Instead I can offer you glorious fame by adding your name to the game credits as a beta tester.

If you are willing to participate, please contact me directly at jtrainer [at] outerlevel.com.

Top Indie Game Developer Blogs

For the past year or so I’ve been organically growing my RSS feed collection with a focus towards what other indie game developers have to say. My collection has grown to a pretty good size including game industry veterans and stalwarts to first-time designers and rookies.

There is a lot to read, and many to learn from. Here is a list my favorite writers from my current feed collection and why I regularly follow them (not in any particular order).

  1. A Shareware Life – Thomas Warfield, developer of “Pretty Good Solitaire” and “Pretty Good MahJongg” is one of those successful super hero indie developers. He’s been at it for a long time and has some very valuable insights on how others can succeed at the independent games business. If you like cats, you’ll enjoy his “Friday CatBlogging”.
  2. Phil Steinmeyer – Phil recently broke away from his old company, PopTop Software, after having success with games such as Railroad Tycoon and Tropico. He left for the freedom and the green fields of the indie game world. In May, 2005 he started his new company Crayon Games and recently released his first product, the casual game “Bonnie’s Bookstore”. I like Phil’s writing because he brings the experience of working for a successful game studio to the world of indie game development.
  3. GBGames – Gianfranco Berardi has a comfortable writing style and is not afraid to talk about his failures along with his successes. He’s new to business and the game industry, but he brings a ton of enthusiasm and a surprisingly mature point of view. He has frequent updates with very little of it off topic. GB provides great inspiration for me since he’s struggling through many of the same issues that I am as he tries to make his way into the game industry.
  4. GameProducer.NET – A recent addition to my feed collection, but has quickly become one of my favorites. Juuso Hietalahti of Polycount Productions shares some great insights into the job of a game producer. But the most interesting stuff comes from his Sales Stats articles from around the indie game industry where he reveals the sales numbers behind recently released games. GameProducer.NET is updated regularly and usually worth the time spent visiting.
  5. Joe Indie – David Michael, author of The Indie Game Developers Survival Guide and developer of Paintball NET, writes about the business side of indie game development. He has a pragmatic view of the indie game industry and shares some great advice.
  6. Casual Game Design – William Willing covers, you guessed it, casual game design. There’s some good stuff on William’s site covering all kinds of topics related to getting the best out of your game designs.
  7. Tales of the Rampant Coyote – Jay Barnson is another game industry veteran turned indie. His site has a good mix of industry commentary and shared wisdom from his experiences.

There are a bunch more that I subscribe to, but these are the ones that consistently have the best signal to noise ratio and that seem to provide information that directly speaks to me.

If you know of any other indie game developers out there that are sharing their experiences and wisdom, I’d love to hear about them.

Jeff Vogel on the View From the Bottom

Spiderweb Software’s Jeff Vogel (Avernum, Geneforge) describes his
View From the Bottom of the game industry over on RPG Vault. Or what Joe Indie calls the “anti-Pavlina” view of game development.

What is the moral of this? The game industry is a highly competitive, scary place. It’s not hopeless, but it’s a tough road. And that’s a good place to start to describe the view from the bottom.

Also check out part two of Jeff’s series View From the Bottom #2:

Indie developers have a real purpose in this world. They make little niche products for markets too small for Activision. They make many new puzzle games for the casual audience. Or, at least, the same old puzzle game again and again. They rewrite Asteroids… because someone has to.

Looks like a series that is well worth following. Vogel has a long successful history in the indie game industry and probably knows what he’s talking about.

Update:
Psychochild responds to Vogel’s article with The Indie Problem…again:

So, let’s talk about the real problems with indie game development and why you don’t see innovation from them.

Let’s be honest here, there are some serious issues you have to deal with as an independent game developer. It would be wonderful if that old myth about “if you build it, they will come” were true. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.