uDevGames 08: A Survival Guide

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Post: #1
Yo!

For those of you entering uDevGames for the first time, I've assembled some thoughts and advice into a bit of a survival guide that is now up on my site.

Direct Link: http://www.justinfic.com/2008/12/02/a-ud...val-guide/

I hope someone finds it useful! Let me know what you guys think Smile

As always, good luck in the contest!

Justin Ficarrotta
http://www.justinfic.com
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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Post: #2
This is sweet! Thanks!
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Post: #3
There's some great advice in there. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with the enemy...
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Post: #4
Nice writeup Smile
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Post: #5
Quote:I wrote Kill Dr. Cote for uDevGames, which took first place in the Gameplay category, and landed a publishing deal with Freeverse. It now earns me royalties and also led to my career in the industry.
I love to read things like this. It shows that the mission of uDevGames has been/is being met on many levels.

Quote:You need to choose an idea that you can turn into a game in three months.
Yes, good advice. I placed the restriction on time as I knew it would force certain type of developers into finishing projects. As a young programmer on my 8-bit CoCo, it was one of my greatest weaknesses - jumping from project to project... never getting anything truly finished. Knowing your limits, but yet pushing yourself is a lesson I want new devs to learn. This will help them as they move into professional careers, as you and others have attested to.

It seems that when devs drop out and contact me, this is the number one factor. For games that rank low -- missing that key element called gameplay -- this is their downfall.

Quote:Then maybe do something that remotely resembles a game you want to make. I actually do not condone this advice.
This is interesting. Seems like devs that drop out or have games rank low cite "I tried to chew off more than I could handle", yet I hear from others, "The challenge made me work extra hard... harder than I've ever had before." They walk away with lots of new knowledge. For example, one year some 'kid' was making little TNT games. His entry caught my attention. He went on to learn C and entered Argonaut. (I speak of Holmes.) Same situation with Jake Leveto. Moving from METAL I believe to making a 3D golf game. It is interesting to see the 'development of the developer' to me.

Quote:PictureFrameX
Your comment on this game made me think of Andrew Sage's entries. You can tell that he places a good deal of thought into game design. His games are challenging and I rate them well, yet they haven't broken into the winner's circle if memory serves me correct.

I think the advice here is that games are like songs, you need to have a 'hook' and 'grab' them fast, otherwise it is into the Trashcan. I think especially during a competition.

For the game you mentioned, you said "a solid solitaire game." For uDevGames, and of course the real market place, you need to have something that distinguishes your entry if it is a a genre/game style that we've seen before.

Quote:Make A Game, Not An Engine
That would be Yoinks. Everyone wanted that entry to be a game so much!

Quote:That is, you need to freeze features at some point during this time
I found that some devs will continue to take in feedback from their peers or testers and keep adding stuff in. I recall one entry adding network play with 24 hours to go.

Quote:Blog Publicly
Are you all leveraging what you did in uDG during your interviews?

Quote:There’s another cool trick that used in 2004
Please note we have added an 'Ethical' category this year. Rasp

Actually, this 'trick' you have done in some ways is what takes place in the AAA world. Companies will use the media to take away focus from their rivals. You see this in movies, hardware as well.

Maybe you ought to make a project management worksheet to go along with your article.

Excellent writing. We should Digg it.

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Post: #6
Carlos Camacho Wrote:This is interesting. Seems like devs that drop out or have games rank low cite "I tried to chew off more than I could handle", yet I hear from others, "The challenge made me work extra hard... harder than I've ever had before." They walk away with lots of new knowledge.

Before I did Kill Dr. Cote I was actually bouncing around between two different other ideas. One of them was a breakout-clone-with-a-twist called Imminence, and the other was actually a 4 person project that collectively decided to make a 3D version of Columns. Both of these were way too simple for me, and I decided to break off from the group and do my own thing. The 3D columns game also made it to the competition as Splock.

Carlos Camacho Wrote:Your comment on this game made me think of Andrew Sage's entries. You can tell that he places a good deal of thought into game design. His games are challenging and I rate them well, yet they haven't broken into the winner's circle if memory serves me correct.

Yeah, Industrial Revolution from 2004 came to mind too. Another one was World To Conquer in 2003. Great production values and strategy, and all it came away with was 5th place in Gameplay.

Carlos Camacho Wrote:Actually, this 'trick' you have done in some ways is what takes place in the AAA world. Companies will use the media to take away focus from their rivals. You see this in movies, hardware as well.

The main difference is the intention with this trick is to motivate you to actually implement that idea, not to falsely advertise your game. (I may need to clarify that on the article!)

Blogging about the next feature I was going to do as if I had already done it put a lot more pressure on me to make sure it was done as quickly as possible. It may have also put me in the mindset of succeeding ("I have done this" as opposed to "I need to do this") and may have also positively affected my motivation. And all features blogged about in this way were in fact implemented. If you blog about something that you have no intention to do, that's where it gets pretty low.

It's more about motivation than misinformation.

Justin Ficarrotta
http://www.justinfic.com
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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