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Game Dev Quick Links – Sept 2017 Edition (Where I read lots of game dev stuff so you don’t have too!)

September 22, 2017

Welcome to the September edition of quick links for the Bristol Games Hub newsletter. Let’s dive in…

Fixing our broken internet culture is increasingly key issues for those working in the industry. GI.biz are doing good work in opening up discussion on this and from my POV, no it should not just be the price of making games.

For sure, we could all just treat this as being ‘the cost of doing business’; some parts of the Internet are toxic (Reddit sure as hell being a prime offender) and serve to encourage and validate hugely anti-social and abusive behavior.

The indie games are too damn cheap so says the excellent SteamSpy – and he’s got a point! We spend a huge amount of time and energy to create a game and while pricing is not a science, we should be unafraid to ask what we think it is worth.

And here lies the problem outlined in the title. The indie games are too damn cheap.
You can find indies in any other big entertainment market: movies, comics, music. Everywhere else small creators face the same problem: making the ends meet with a relatively small audience. It’s never easy for a small guy and it will never be, but in most other industries indie products are still sold at the same price as big AAA titles from established brands and companies.
Good discussion on marketing of an indie game (via Reddit) and the numbers it does. Essentially the discussion is why one game did well and other didn’t when the reviews are not that different. Lots of good comments here though the key point from my POV is the growing competition on Steam.
Crunch, what is it good for? A discussion from Waypoint/Vice. Worth a read on this key question:

Besides, it’s inefficient. Some studies point to 35 hours per week being the maximum one can work at peak productivity. One study found that eight 60-hour weeks produces as much as eight 40-hour weeks, yet game developers swap stories of 80-hour-per-week months.

So why do we do it?

And finally – there is a gamedev bizdev book! http://www.gamedevbizbook.com This is great news as the bizdev aspect of being an indie is all too often overlooked.
Be authentic, get that dream job…I great threat of tweets to read when you don’t think dream can come true and ifg you’re being true to yourself!

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It’s #CthulhuThursday – Santos vs Cthulhu & more…

September 21, 2017

Hello fellow worshipers of mythos, it’s Cthulhu Thursday again. We start with this amazing image thanks to the Pulp Librarian:

We also admire how wool can be used to describe the indescribable…

Also of note is that episode of the Lovecraftian comedy, Quiet & Bold is online (start with Pt.1 here…) so you need to give it a listen ‘cos it’s amazing…

PS. I’ve now got all 3 hardbacks of Providence and it’s quite a read. Amazing. I’m planning to write much, much more on this… stay tuned…

 

(Cthulhu Thursday is a dose of Mythos to brighten darken your week. More on the idea can b
e found here and a list of posts thus far, here. Also some upcoming Cthulhu news, sign up to the Auroch Digital’s newsletter. Enjoy!)

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The Masks We (and Cthulhu) Wears… It’s #CthulhuThursday

September 14, 2017

Welcome once more to Thor-sday, a day named after a god of thunder when we look into the works of other, darker, gods. We start with an image of Nyarlathotep, noting it’s always hard to depict things who text descriptions are often based on them being, well, hard to depict…

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Nyarlathotep by Henlp (Source)

On theme, the Companion to the classic Call of Cthulhu RPG ‘Masks of Nyarlathotep’ has been released. The Lovecraft eZine has a review:

Lary DiTillio and Lynn Willis’s Masks of Nyarlathotep: Perilous Adventures to Thwart the Dark God is probably the single most celebrated campaign ever created for Chaosium’s unhallowed-groundbreaking Call of Cthulhu RPG. Recipient of a Best Roleplaying Adventure award, Masks of Nyarlathotep remains, as its credits declare, “a roleplaying classic,” over two decades after its first appearance in 1984. It’s also immensely long: Writer Jim Hauser tells of one complete playthrough that took 1 ½ years. … The Companion is as gargantuan as you’d expect, given that it’s almost four times as long as the original text…

Back to another image now. This one is the ‘namesless city’ and I like the vibe going on here…

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Nameless City by Will Pottorff (Source)

Finally I want to post a link (I think again?) to a review of Alan Moore’s Providence (Pt1). I’ve read parts one and two and am waiting for three. Then I’ll pen my thoughts. This is a good review, but note it has spoilers!

Many of you reading this will have seen all of the individual issues by now, so you will know if I’m correct in assuming that Providence is – on the evidence of this volume – -shaping up to be one of Alan Moore’s most important works.

(Cthulhu Thursday is a dose of Mythos to brighten darken your week. More on the idea can be found here and a list of posts thus far, here. Also some upcoming Cthulhu news, sign up to the Auroch Digital’s newsletter. Enjoy!)

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Climate Change and Hurricanes

September 10, 2017

Climate Change is a topic I’m both interested in and concerned by. I’ve written about it before in relation to my own work in games (e.g. here and here) and it’s also a theme of Dark Future too. I’m thinking about it a lot as the news of the hurricanes and flooding so far in 2017. I wanted share some of the links and articles that I’ve been looking at. What I hope we get is a tipping point in the media/political understanding of climate change – that’s this is what we’ve been warned of for decades. That future is now here.

Not only had scientists and activists warned us of this – writers (and game designers!) had too:

 

That failure to act is costing us all huge amounts of money and most importantly – lives, the irony being one of the arguments against action was that it would cost too much… Inaction is proving to be far more expensive. For example:

Open land in Florida, with its porous terrain, can suck up the energy of the storm. But when passing over developed land, a storm can retain more of its power. Bochnak, the wetlands scientist, said the Everglades could provide necessary water storage but the marshes have been “half-developed into cities and roads,” cutting down on the ecosystem’s potential to lessen the impact of a storm like Irma.

“It’s bad but it’s the hard reality we live in,” said Bochnak. “When we develop these areas, we lose our natural protection.”

Yet still we delay…

Predatory delay is everywhere. Corruption erodes the very foundations of our democracy. Disinformation floods our media. Civic sabotage and broken governments slow progress to a crawl. Outdated thinking clouds our sense of what’s truly possible. The Carbon Bubble looms. Many who claim to also desire climate action throw up fierce hostility in defense of a destructive status quo. In Blue America, anti-climate politics isn’t about disputing science, it’s about denying what science tells us about the need to act quickly. Delay is doom, but delay has many champions.

Ah, #CthulhuThursday with comings and Mi-Goings…

September 7, 2017

Let’s start with some art and Mi-Go! (Source)

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Bit more art… some period of H.G.Wells – while these are not explicitly Mythos creatures, they do have something of the ‘night’ about them!

On the subject of Wells and Lovecraft – do check out this.

Also cool is the news that the great people of the H.P.Lovecraft Historical Society have collected all of Lovecraft’s work in audio format!

For the first time ever, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has produced an audio recording of all of Lovecraft’s stories… this collection spans his entire career from his earliest surviving works of childhood to stories completed shortly before his death… This audio bonanza features seventy-four stories adding up to more than fifty (50!) hours of Lovecraftian listening fun, professionally performed and recorded for your enjoyment.

(Cthulhu Thursday is a dose of Mythos to brighten darken your week. More on the idea can be found here and a list of posts thus far, here. Also some upcoming Cthulhu news, sign up to the Auroch Digital’s newsletter. Enjoy!)

Game Dev Quick Links – Aug 2017 (I read lots of game dev stuff so you don’t have too!) Few day late edition!

September 2, 2017

Following on from July’s quick links: Each month I put together a few links that get added to the Bristol Games Hub newsletter. As an active games developer, I do read a fair amount around game dev, bizdev and the art and culture of games development. We also get posted links in the hub discussion space and sometimes people send me links. Here’s some context for them…

A great thread on diversity –  The Guardian’s Keith Stuart talks about why diversity matters for the games industry. Speaking as part of that industry he’s totally right. Worth a read though.

Nintendo’s mobile sales surge 450% – While most of the indies I know are focused on PC/Steam (for many reasons, mainly that free-to-play is an expensive club to join) mobile continues to the be the biggest part of our industry both in player numbers and income. Nintendo is making good use of mobile to get its game out there and make money. BTW here’s how mobile fits into the wider picture of games (source Digi-Capital):

Games-industry-revenue-forecast

Team17: Digital storefronts need a radical rethinking – Good on Team17 for pointing this out. Discovery is a major, major issue. App stores are often feedforward loops, as in popular titles get more visibility so more players, so become more popular. Helping players find new things they might like is a major issue.

GI.Biz – VR, Steady as she goes – Lots of digital ink going into looking at VR and what it might (or might not) be. However what seems key to me is to not expect huge changes, but to see a medium adapting to both existing markets and creating new ones.

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Infected! We’ve been dosed with #CthulhuThursday

August 31, 2017

Hello! Another week, another mythos set of pics and links. Starting with a congratulations to Modiphius for winning a Gold ENnie Award at GenCon! for the miniatures set below…

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Next is very, very cool thing 🙂

These deep sea creatures really do look like inhabitants of R’leyh… (hattip to Reddit)

This is a bit fascinating & odd – how Lovercraft might bring people back to Christianity?!?

The piece in question comes from conservative Christian C. R. Wiley, who argues that Lovecraft’s weird fiction can actually help to bring Christians closer to God by giving them a “taste” of the “weirdness” of God. It’s an unusual argument, and perhaps one that Lovecraft would find amusing, if not offensive.

Did you know about Ogrethulu? You should…it;s an Ogre-Cthulhu hybrid for the game Ogre. (PS. You can wishlist the classic Ogre here!)

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Finally, this is great – Lovecraft quotes added to ‘inspirational images’:

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(Cthulhu Thursday is a dose of Mythos to brighten darken your week. More on the idea can be found here and a list of posts thus far, here. Also some upcoming Cthulhu news, sign up to the Auroch Digital’s newsletter. Enjoy!)