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April 05, 2016Garnett Lee
Over 350 gamers turned out as The MIX indie game showcase celebrated its 5th anniversary at the start of GDC week and Appstore felt proud to help our developer partners be part of the party. We received great response on super short notice to our call for submissions. With space for only four it came down to tough decisions. Major props to all who sent us their games for consideration. Give yourselves a big pat on the back.
We did, though, pick four games to be showcased. Each in their own way reflect the creative spirit and enthusiasm that all indie devs share. As we watched people play them we saw it in the smiles on their faces, the shouts of excitement, and the intensity of play when competition heated up. Join us in recognizing these four great games. And watch here for more opportunities like this to come as Appstore finds ways to partner with our awesome game developer community.[Read More]
March 02, 2016Garnett Lee
Merely saying “analytics” causes some indie developers to recoil. For others it conjures up a nightmare of services and analysts far beyond the scope of a small team. While true that much of what I’ll call non-creative game design involves using data to predictably cause player behavior, data itself is not inherently evil. In “Understanding your game through data” author Sergey Galyonkin offers an in-depth look at how to put data to work in your game design. I recommend reading it but if you need a little more convincing, read on.
To hopefully assuage any remaining fears, Galyonkin notes up front his discussion focuses on indie game design, not free-to-play optimization. From there the article gets down into practical applications of data in the development process to which I think every game designer can relate. These cover all three phases of a game’s lifespan: preproduction, active development, and postlaunch.
Yes, data plays an important part in preproduction. If it helps to think of it as research then do that but whatever you call it, the concept comes down to figuring out how to get the creative vision of your game in sync with your players. Without getting to far down the philosophical rabbit hole, one of the chief challenges any medium faces comes from the disconnect between the intention of the creator and the interpretation of the audience. Besides recognizing this, steps can be taken to give yourself meaningful guidance on how to get your vision across. Gather intelligence on similarly themed content in other media, play games that share elements of your mechanics, and then assess how the audience reacted in these cases to gain understanding for what you face.
For a small team play testing poses a daunting task. Don’t let that be an excuse not to do it. During development you hold the opportunity to respond to those places that aren’t connecting the intended way before everyone plays your game. This covers everything too, from the high concept level to basic player interactions. Questions to observe include how closely does my intended art direction match the atmosphere players perceive? Where do my game loops lose the player? And how easy is it for the player to understand how to play the game.[Read More]
February 17, 2016Garnett Lee
Want a great chance to show your game to the media and indie game community? Well, you’re in luck because it so happens we can make that happen. We have 4 slots available in The MIX 2016, and we’re looking for the next indie game that will get people talking. The 5th MIX showcase is happening March 14th from 7pm till late at the IGN headquarters, 625 2nd Street in San Francisco.
What do you have to do to get in on this you ask? Easy, send your game to me. Okay, there’s a little more to it than that but not much. Submit your game and be ready to demo it on an Amazon device like the Fire tablet or Fire TV. For more details, including how to submit your game for consideration, read on.[Read More]