Archive | January, 2006

ESA: Sales, demographics and usage data

The ESA (Entertainment Software Association) has released 2005 ESSENTIAL FACTS ABOUT THE COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY.
“19% of Americans over 50 play video games”

Ta Da! Make It Big In Games

Jeff Tunnell of Garage Games has launched a new blog site call Make It Big In Games.

“Six years ago when we started GarageGames I didn’t truly know if “indies” could succeed in making a living making games without large publisher support. In fact, unaffiliated game developers were not even called indies back then, but we didn’t like the name “shareware developer”, so we used the name indie and it stuck. Now I absolutely know you can make a living making games, and I have developed many strategies to help you succeed.

I’ll explore those ideas in future posts, and hope to make it into a two way street by having a companion wiki at makeitbigingames wiki. The MBG wiki is open, but not ready for prime time yet, so look for it in the future.”

Good luck Jeff! Link

Moving to subversion

I’ve recently decided to move my source control from my local visual SourceSafe setup to a subversion hosting company. A host can provide better security through features like power backup, security monitoring, RAID 5 etc. Sure, I could set all this up myself, but that is time I’m not putting into my game. I believe this is a core strategy to success. Every time I find away to get someone else to do a task it means more time to put it into my games. Plus, if my house burns down (knocks on wood) my code is completely safe and secure.

Call for essays on advanced rendering techniques

Wolfgang Engel of the Shader X 4 is calling for essay proposal for the Shader X 5 which is going to include a new mobile section that deals with advanced rendering techniques on mobile chips. Proposals are due by February 28th, 2006. Please send them to wolf at shaderx.com. Writing guidelines and a FAQ can be requested from the same e-mail address.

Marble Blast Ultra Goes Live on Xbox 360 Arcade

“The journey to Marble Blast on the 360 has finally come to an end. Today at around 2:30pm PST, the game went up on XBox Live Arcade servers. Since then, over 1000 people have posted high scores on the leaderboards, and the online forums have lit up with discussion of the game.” says Alex Swanson of GarageGames in his nice post doing a quick post mortems of art production. Even if you don’t read it, it is worth looking at the pretty pictures of the marble reflecting its surroundings. Link

Texas proposes 100% Game Tax

Gamespot has a disturbing article about Texas politician Star Locke. Apparently his platform for governor includes a massive tax on ‘violent’ computer games. Link

Band albums sales take off because of… a game!?!

Chicago band Fall Out Boy sold 70,000 copies of their new album in one week after the music was featured on “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland,” a skateboarding game, music scout Tim Riley said.

“They weren’t on the radio,” he said. “The only thing you can attribute the sales to is the game.” Activision has doubled its music spending in the last five years, Riley added.

Do the little things now

I have a procrastination problem (as some of you may have noticed.) One of the ‘reason’ behind this is I tend to over engineer things and make mountains out of mole hills. Instead of just going to the grocery store when I run out of milk I devise a massive plan for going to ten different stores. It’s basically a form of pre/over optimizing. Instead of taking care of the problem at hand, I start thinking about efficiency and maximizing my car trip.

This has two problems. First, I end up procrastinating because the small but important and urgent task of getting milk turns into this massive, overwhelming and very unpleasant project. The second problem is instead of just taking care of the little thing that is important all these other tasks get treated as a priority when they probably shouldn’t. This means that more important things are not getting done all in the name of efficiency.

So I’ve been trying to keep this mantra in my mind, “Do the little things now.”

BBC’s Gamers in the UK

Wonderland has gotten a hold of the BBC’s Gamers in the UK. It is a great collection and explanation of research on gamer’s habits and includes a ton of beautiful graphs.

Messed about a little today with Torque’s networking code

I messed about a little today with Torque’s networking code. I was looking to see if they used bit packing. I was also curious to see how difficult it would be to create a plug-in system that allowed you to use different compression techniques. It definitely has an interesting system that tries to only move the data that has changed (as opposed to the whole object every time something in it changes.) I haven’t tracked down the part that actually packs the variables, because it wasn’t part of the variable classes like I expected. They are probably either doing it in the object (i.e. the author customizes the packing for each object) or at the stream level. I’ll definitely need to create some sort of test bed before I attempt to muck around.