Game Developer Magazine to Cease Print and Digital Publication

The news that Game Developer magazine is ceasing print and digital publication is quite sad. Sure, Gamasutra will be publishing some of the content that has historically appeared in Game Developer — but it’s not going to be the same.

The demise of Game Developer is indicative of the financial pressures on trade publications in nearly every industry, and on content development as a whole. What compels anyone to create compelling content when the financial rewards continue to dwindle? This is a much larger question that all of us will be grappling with in the years ahead.

Game Developer emerged around the time we were scripting and developing content for Wing Commander III (and that’s a long time ago!). Moving from PC games running on Intel 486 chips, to the first generation of 32-bit consoles, to the later generations of Playstation and then Xbox, to the Wii, to browser-based games, to free-to-play, social and mobile — Game Developer covered all the changes in the industry, providing insightful development post-mortems, field-specific columns, industry surveys, and so much more.

While the totality of Game Developer‘s coverage might be duplicated across multiple distributed channels (and we’re dubious about that), its centrality to the game development community will be sorely missed.

Casting and Your Game’s Success

The current issue of Game Developer has a terrific post-mortem about Tellltale Games’ The Walking Dead; somewhat surprisingly, even this mature game development shop struggles with casting and directing audio scripts, costing them hugely and resulting in re-casting and re-recording.

Chapter 23 of End to End Game Development discusses media production, including casting and audio production of scripted dialog. We absolutely recommend going with SAG-AFTRA talent; the Guild has a specific contract for videogame recording.

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Articy:Draft

Articy:Draft may well be the best interactive authoring tool created so far. We didn’t have time to play with it in closed beta, but the software is now up on Steam Greenlight, and you can vote to make Articy:Draft available on Steam.

The current cost of the software runs close to $500, but if it goes to Steam, the cost should decrease. If you subscribe to Game Developer magazine, you can read a lengthy review of the software written by Tobias Heussner (unfortunately, the article hasn’t been made available online yet). Google Articy:Draft for more information, and follow the developer, Nevigo, on Twitter to stay up to date with the tool.

The next time we’re back on an interactive project (or during a hiatus between academic semesters, if we’re ultra-ambitious), we plan to be taking a long look at Articy:Draft.

Videogame Dialog Scripts – Formatting and Production

Sometimes it takes awhile to catch up on one’s reading, but Jesse Harlin’s Aural Fixation column in the November 2011 edition of Game Developer succinctly summarizes some of the issues involved with scripting, producing and integrating voice actor content in videogames — a topic rarely discussed, although definitely one covered in End to End Game Development as well as the authors’ earlier book Story and Simulations in Serious Games.

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Story-Based Self Tests as an Instructional Tool

Self Test ScreenshotRead a brand-new article composed by co-author Nick Iuppa exclusively for this site, on some of the work he’s been doing for clients the past couple of years.

For more “tales from the trenches” like this new article, check out our books End to End Game Development and Story and Simulations for Serious Games, both published by Focal Press and available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

CryEngine 3 SDK Free For Non-Commercial Games

While we’re on the subject of powerful game engines that are now free for non-commercial games (an umbrella most  serious games and simulations would fall under), Crytek has released a free downloadable SDK (software development kit) for its (previously) proprietary CryEngine 3 game engine.

CryEngine offers about everything you could want in a game engine, and the developer community is robust. We’d love to hear about serious games or simulations being developed using CryEngine.

What Smart Companies Must Learn From Gaming

This informational video from eWeek argues that companies and institutions can learn from gaming: it then stands to reason that using game technology, design and aesthetics to aid business processes, training and problem-solving makes a lot of sense. End to End Game Development can help get you there!

Agile Development Overview

End to End Game Development touches on Agile methodology and project management in Chapter 10 — but this is no substitute for more in-depth research into Agile. A fun way to further explore Agile is through an online e-book entitled Exploring Agile: The Seapine Agile Expedition. The book is worth a looksee regardless of whether you’re new to Agile or already use Agile.

Unreal Development Kit

In the 2 years since End to End Game Development came out, the availability of low-cost game engines has increased significantly. We knew, of course, that the chapter in our book devoted to game engines would become obsolete almost instantly (we think the remaining chapters are as valid and useful today as they were in 2009).

We should certainly highlight Epic Games’ Unreal Development Kit (UDK), which is available for nearly every platform: PC, console and mobile. This is the nearly free edition of Unreal Engine 3. Price is $99 per studio license, with royalties kicking in only after $50,000 in net earnings. (For serious games and simulations, that’s a high bar.)

UDK requires little to no programming, and its features make for an extremely powerful platform. It’s worth checking out if you’re gearing up to make a serious game or simulation.

MASTERING CELTX Blog and Twitter Feed

End to End Game Development co-author Terry Borst’s new book, Mastering Celtx, now has its own blog and Twitter feed. You can get information on all of Terry Borst’s books at his Amazon author page. The new book is officially scheduled for release on May 25.

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