Category Archives: Nandrew

Making a tester’s life less miserable

Most game developers know that sharing an early prototype of their Next Big Thing™ with friends and fellow devs is usually a good move. It’s a great way to iron out bugs, gather ideas and start moving in the right direction. It’s also incredibly encouraging to receive positive feedback early on — as long as your audience doesn’t consist of the sort of people who foam at the mouth and start gnawing at every half-arsed pixel push you make.

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How to defeat negative self-talk

We all know that good old stereotype: the one which dictates that all computer-bound people are highly introverted and extremely antisocial individuals who wouldn’t know how to start a conversation even if they were slapped in the face with their grandmother’s knickers.

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Hate vs. Respect: Gaming as a Developer

I’ll waste no time in dropping the hammer: I really don’t like World of Warcraft.

The grinding bores me, the mentality upsets me and the game world just doesn’t engage me enough to warrant the odd five gazillion hours that you need to pour in just to get… well, anywhere. I’ve tried it out, honestly!

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Historical Dev Challenge: Shakespeare

Sometimes, one just has to wonder: is history chock-full of great game developers that were never able to realise their full potential? Would Julius Caesar have invented Pac-Man if he was given a computer instead of the Roman Empire? Could Aristotle use his Greek superpowers of reasoning and insight to create an experience that rivals Braid?

In this piece, we’ll be looking at a blow-by-blow assessment of William Shakespeare and his potential as a game developer in today’s mad world of mainstream extravaganzas and well-evolved indie communities.

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Screw It

If there’s one pet hate that I have concerning games (aside from those obnoxious troglodytes that plague multiplayer servers for just about any title you care to mention) it’s the idea of making things competitive. Now, I know that this statement alone will cause a lot of people to froth at the mouth and go for my jugular (well, not really, but it’s an interesting mental image), but the fact remains that I cannot — or rather, will not — reconcile myself with the sort of people whose sole ambition is to bastardise something that has brought me countless hours of undistilled joy and goof-aroundery by dragging it into that abysmal realm of Serious Business™.

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Back off, indies!

The other day (and by that, I mean “some undetermined date a really, really long time ago”) I was having a typical gamer’s discussion inside a typical gamer’s forum. The topic: piracy and all the pain, chaos, death and homeless devs that it brings about.

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Fighting the Narrow Game Focus

The way I see it, modern indie development is imbalanced. Not in the way that a foul-tempered DotA player would scream “IMBA!” after getting killed for the fifth time in succession – no, I’m talking more about exposure, attention and who is playing what out there. I’m talking about everyone’s tendency to play the same narrow range of “cool” stuff without ever bothering to explore the wider market.

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Game Dev from the Dark Continent

To many developers, the fine art of game creation lies strictly within the domain of the first world. Europe, America and Japan have all been sitting pretty with a very well-developed industry for a while. Other territories have recently hopped onto the bandwagon, of course: we have high-profile offerings such as the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series from Ukraine, and the more recent Zeno Clash from Chile. But in terms of pumping out loads of awesome games, not many people currently look to Africa.

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Art Games: The Super-Duper Guide

Hello there, dear reader. Welcome to the super-duper guide to art games. You’ve made a good choice in bringing your eyes to these pages, we promise. Settle down, pull up your favourite comfy chair and make sure that your eyes are at a respectable distance from the computer screen. Ready? Let’s go. We’ll start with an itty bitty analysis of the following deep and meaningful sentence to kick off a deep and meaningful article:

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Somebody slap me in the face

How does one treat a new game developer? I’m not strictly talking about the greenest of the green: the term “new” is very subjective, and may even incorporate those who have been attempting the craft for years. But whatever your understanding of the term may be, the question still stands: how do you react to their work? How do you treat their offerings, as paltry as they may be?

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Being a show-off?

Being part of an active game development forum, I often stumble across works in progress from fellow enthusiastic devs. This in itself is pretty great. The problem – and I’ll confess to this openly – is that I often skip over projects which are only in the concept stage: you know, those ubiquitous walls of text outlining grand plans and awesome gameplay without actually providing something tangible for me to get my grubby little paws on. What gets me more is the submission of gameplay videos and WIP screenshots as some sort of compensation – I believe that these sort of endeavours reflect an overall attitude of game marketing which doesn’t really belong in a close-knit community.

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Happy coding for a happy coder

This article originally appeared in Dev.Mag Issue 29, released in February 2009.

I must confess. I hardly ever comment my code. It’s the sort of thing that everybody lectures about, saying that it’s important for clarity, ease of use and even national security in the event of nuclear war. This is all true (though perhaps the nuke idea was a bit of a thumbsuck) and I will always advise others to write miniature essays in their game code.

Unfortunately, I fail horrendously when I need to do it myself.

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