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Production / Technology/ Code /

What documentation?

Imagine a situation where you have just been employed by a game development company with a large code base. You might setup your computer, adjust your chair, get some coffee and then start synchronizing your source code repositories. This might take a long while so you decide to take a look at the company documentation […]

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Advocacy / Production / Technology/ Code /

The Trouble with Tickets

If you work with a big company, chances are you’ll have to deal with a ticket tracking system. They’ve become a critical part of IT helpdesk operations, of scrum and agile teams, of collaborating with remote teams, and pretty much everything. But tickets can lead to development paralysis, especially when they're used to drive a […]

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Game Design / Technology/ Code /

Data-driven design with Unity 3d, Part 2 - Server design / API and assumptions

As mentioned previously, I've started fleshing out the backend for the server that I'm looking to build for my ongoing experiments. Let's recap the key points:

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Advocacy / Business /

These Leadership Flaws Must Be Stopped Before They Eat Tokyo

In visiting with various companies over the past few months I’ve been struck by the common occurrence of certain leadership flaws. I won’t whitewash them…these aren’t “tendencies” or “styles” or any easy-to-swallow aphorism. They threaten the stability of your studio, the happiness of your team, and they’re so common that I wanted to bring them […]

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Advocacy /

Life can be better (part 3 of 3)

The first article of this series briefly covered some of the quality of life issues that I’ve seen during the ten years I have been a part of the video game industry. The previous article was a deep dive into my own personal experience of burnout and depression and what it took me to regain […]

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Advocacy / Production / Technology/ Code /

There's nothing like a tidy codebase

There you are! You, yes you! Been tasked with a new feature or a change, to the code or a script, to be done by yesterday, haven’t you? Yes, yes, I know your pain. You’ll be wading through oddly named files, containing briefly labeled identifiers for elements in an obscure relation, and maybe a sprinkle […]

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Game Design / Technology/ Code /

Creating powerful languages with Xtext

Today, I would like to introduce the Xtext framework to you. Xtext is an open source framework which allows you to define your own textual programming languages before you know it. Xtext was not developed specifically with game developers as a target group in mind. It is rather independent in terms of its application context, […]

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Audio / Technology/ Code /

Accurately Reproducing Game Audio in the Playback Environment

Sound Designers are faced with a difficult proposition. Add sound effects, music and dialogue to a game, set rules that determine how those sounds are panned, attenuated and processed in real-time (both individually and with respect to one another), and then hope that the player will hear the resulting 'mix' over a system capable of […]

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Business /

AI War: First Four Years Postmortem (And By Extension Arcen History)

Postmortem sounds so grisly, doesn't it? I was tempted to call this a retrospective, but that sounds a bit foofy. So here we are. This isn't even a true retrospective, because AI War is still going strong and looks to remain that way for some time. The time period this postmortem will examine is May […]

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Technology/ Code /

Gentle introduction to Google Analytics in Flash

Introduction Being able to check out how many players play your game, from what countries, for how long, on which levels they have problems, how much points do they score, even do they ever visit your precious Credits screen or the average FPS number - that sounds incredibly useful, doesn't it? Fortunately, in web browser […]

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Game Design / Technology/ Code /

The Simulation Dream

There’s an old dream in game design. It drives the design of games like SimCity, Dwarf Fortress, Tropico, The Sims, and Prison Architect. I like to call it the Simulation Dream. In 1996, Starr Long, the associate producer of Ultima Online, talked about the game before release: “Nearly everything in the world, from grass to goblins, has a purpose, and […]

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Game Design / Technology/ Code /

Data-driven design with Unity 3d, Part 1 - Brainstorms, Initial Requirements.

This is a slightly-edited re-post of a series that I've been writing in quiet isolation (which you get used to doing indie development) on my blog.  Currently up to part 4 of the series, they have been received somewhat well by my small subset of beta testers, so might as well throw them out to […]

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Advocacy /

Understanding “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

It is regularly said that “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This is a common phrase that may be even more popular these days due to economic hardships. While the statement is undoubtedly true it also misrepresents how things work in the real world. After seeing things from both sides it’s not […]

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Advocacy / Business / Production / Technology/ Code /

A project management view on IT vs. games

I come from a background of IT development, where I worked in multiple roles from programmer to system architect. During that time I saw many different project management techniques ranging from the overly heavy and bureaucratic ones to the very light and agile ones. It might actually come as a surprise to some of you […]

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Advocacy /

How a Recruiter Got My Phone Number

This is two part tale. The first is an amusing story of a recruiter who way over stepped their bounds. The second is a public service announcement on how you, yes you, may be unknowingly exposing both your phone number and home address to the entire internet. The Slimiest Recruiter If you've been in the […]

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Advocacy / Business /

Opinion piece: Australian games industry social media culture

I'm a programmer. Through and through. I might pretend to be good at organising a community every now and then, or at speaking on panels, but in my heart I'm a programmer. I deal much better with pieces of code than I do with words or people. So please bear in mind that writing is […]

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Game Design /

True Magic of Next Gen

Originally written for Climax Studios for publication in Develop. Reposted with Permission. Also since I wrote the original article E3 happened and Sony has revealed a lot more of the stratergy, some of which is shown in this video which is a good primer on the subject. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OegYm1dM9g&w=560&h=315] Some time last year two black […]

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Advocacy / Technology/ Code /

Strattonian Gambit

After a 1 year hiatus from the site (including a bit of crunch), I thought I'd try to start making videos again.  Hopefully I can also finish a bunch of the almost dones and post them as well. I apologize in advance for how hastily I threw this together. Implementing absolute value using only odd […]

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Advocacy / Business / Marketing /

Mobile game review sites are a waste of time

With app discovery being one of the main hurdles that an indie, mobile developer will face it’s understandable to want to reach out to the hundreds of app review sites out there in the hopes that they’ll be able to help launch your game to stardom, or at the very least be a lifeline that […]

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Advocacy / Technology/ Code /

C/C++ Low Level Curriculum Part 12: Multiple Inheritance

Hello, and welcome to the 12th part of the C / C++ low level curriculum. Really soon after part 11! (No, of course part 11 didn't get too big and need to be split. Why would you ask?) Last time we looked at the basics of how inheritance was implemented at the low level; and this […]

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Advocacy /

Life can be better (part 2 of 3)

In the previous article, I set the context of a personal journey of health within the backdrop of larger issues of quality of life in our industry. In this article, I continue that journey with my own personal experience of burnout and depression and what it took me to regain my own health, vitality, and […]

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Advocacy / Technology/ Code /

C/C++ Low Level Curriculum Part 11: Inheritance

Hello, and welcome to the 11th part of the C / C++ low level curriculum. About time? Definitely! Last time we looked at the basics of User Defined Types: how structs, classes, and unions are laid out in memory; and (some of) the implications of memory alignment on this picture. In part 11 we're going to […]

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Technology/ Code /

Code Share: Source Censoring, Part 2

A while ago I shared the tool we use for censoring source code in the Bitsquid engine. Quick recap: We need to censor the code in our source distributions because there are parts of the code that are covered by NDAs to third parties and cannot be publicly disclosed. We do this with a tool […]

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Advocacy / Business / Marketing /

"App Of The Day" type apps can help indies with app discovery

App discovery has to be one of the biggest hurdles that independent developers will face in the mobile marketplace. When limited marketing budgets butt up against a crowded app space, it’s difficult for small devs to attract attention to their work. This is one of our primary obstacles we’re facing with our new release, Vex […]

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Advocacy /

Life can be better (part 1 of 3)

TL;DR - If you’re happy, healthy, and have energy to make things happen most of the time, then keep doing what you’re doing. If not, or if you used to be and now aren’t, then you may be interested in what I have to say. This May will mark the tenth year that I have […]

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Technology/ Code /

A Fast, Type-safe & Minimal String Formatting Library, miniformat

The inspiration for this came from tinyformat. Unfortunately it relies on the C++ iostream, basically std::cout, which is somewhat slow and definitely not everyone's favorite. So I bit the bullet and got around to implement my own with minimal dependency and speed in mind. Origin I didn't want to implement all the nitty-gritty of formatting […]

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Advocacy / Business /

Android piracy still sucks

I don’t consider myself naive.  I understand piracy is rampant; I’ve known this for years and when I decided that I’d form an indie studio two years ago I like to think that I did so with my eyes open.  Deciding to switch careers and go indie wasn’t a decision that was made lightly and […]

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Game Design /

Designing a game to behave in ways for which it was not designed

Prologue I’d like to start this article by pointing out that it is merely a documenting of my own personal experience and thoughts that led from it, and in no way is a treatise on what I think everyone should do. Please take it with a grain of salt.   Introduction Emergent behaviour is something […]

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Game Design /

Designing "10000000" as a Free To Play Game

1000000 [iOS, Android, Steam] is a puzzle-runner-rpg-like game developed by Eightyeight Games. If you haven’t played it, I seriously recommend to check it out since it’s awesome, and its story of development and success is as amazing and inspiring as the game itself. What’s also interesting is that the game allows itself to be designed […]

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Technology/ Code /

What is gimbal lock and why do we still have to worry about it?

If you have ever worked with rotations and Euler angles you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the phrase "gimbal lock". But like many things concerning rotations, angles and spaces it can be tricky to visualize and get a good grasp of. Sometimes it feels like every time I need to think about gimbal […]

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