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Video: Steps for building a game’s community from scratch

A strong community is a good thing for any game to have, but getting one off the ground is sometimes easier said than done. In this Game Discoverability Day talk from GDC 2019, No More Robots director (and former Gamasutra editor) Mike Rose offers developers advice on how to build up your game’s community from nothing. 

It’s a talk that builds on his experience creating communities on Discord for No More Robots-published games like Descenders and Not Tonight, and one that aims to give developers steps for both building a community and keeping those community members entertained and excited through the launch of a game.

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC or VRDC already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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Kickstarter’s games category surpasses $1 billion in pledges

Kickstarter’s games category has surpassed $1 billion in pledges, a milestone hit roughly a decade into the crowdfunding platform’s life.

It is worth noting that the $1 billion figure includes both video games and tabletop games, and Kickstarter’s blog post on the milestone unfortunately doesn’t include a deeper numbers breakdown.

All in all, that $1 billion in pledges is spread across 17,000 funded games projects, and was paid up by more than 3.2 million backers.

The post does call out a handful of notable video game campaigns across the years, including the Banner Saga ($723,886 pledged), Darkest Dungeon ($313,337 pledged), and Shovel Knight ($311,502 pledged).

By the end of 2018, the games category had just hit $946 million in pledges so this means that 2019 has seen around $54 million in just these early months. 

According to data from Ico Partners however, the bulk of game-related pledges in just 2018 were directed at board games, not video games. Successful tabletop projects saw $165.3 million in pledges last year, compared to only $15.8 million for video game projects. 

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Get a job: War Drum Studios is hiring a 3D Artist

The Gamasutra Job Board is the most diverse, active and established board of its kind for the video game industry!

Here is just one of the many, many positions being advertised right now.

Location: Gainesville, Florida

War Drum Studios is seeking a 3D Artist to create detailed 3D models and high-resolution environment materials. In this position, you will work directly with our Art Lead to develop an efficient work flow of modeling, texturing, and lighting assets for an Unreal Engine 4 game. Your work will encompass environment models and props, as well as materials and textures work. The ideal candidate is proficient in creating and working with art assets in multiple game engines, including but not limited to Unreal Engine 4.

Responsibilities:

  • Create 3D models and realistic materials for a variety of in game objects in varying styles
  • Preparing materials and shaders to achieve the best possible quality
  • Modify and improve upon existing game assets
  • Maintain consistent style under the direction of the Art Lead
  • Participate and contribute creatively in art team discussions, critiques and game development ideas
  • Maintain the production pipeline and meeting deadline

Job Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Art, Animation or related field
  • A portfolio which demonstrates excellent 3D modeling skills and range of style
  • Understanding of modern materials and shaders
  • Proficient in Autodesk Maya and Adobe Photoshop
  • Texturing experience (2D, PBR)
  • Strong understanding of lighting, composition, color theory, atmosphere, materials and textures.
  • Ability to work well with teammates and autonomously
  • Excellent communication skills, both written & verbal
  • Detail-oriented & extremely well-organized
  • Relocation to Gainesville, FL – this position is not remote

Good to Have

  • Previous work with Unreal Engine 4
  • Knowledge of industry standard software such as Substance or SpeedTree
  • Previous experience working on an AAA title

Interested? Apply now.

Whether you’re just starting out, looking for something new, or just seeing what’s out there, the Gamasutra Job Board is the place where game developers move ahead in their careers.

Gamasutra’s Job Board is the most diverse, most active, and most established board of its kind in the video game industry, serving companies of all sizes, from indie to triple-A.

Looking for a new job? Get started here. Are you a recruiter looking for talent? Post jobs here.

AppGameKit Studio Beta

The Game Creators are working on a successor to their game framework AppGameKit, previously reviewed here.  The new product AppGameKit Studio builds on the existing framework while building a complete all in one IDE for game development.  This adds a scene editor, integrated code editor, debugging, online help and more together into a single application.  Key features from the website are:

Drag & drop assets to visualise your scenes
Code with AppGameKit Script
Easily browse app media assets
Run live debugging sessions
Access online help

AppGameKit Studio is currently in beta, but is available for purchase for a discounted price.  You can learn more about AppGameKit Studio here.  See Studio in action in the video below.

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Zombicide coming to mobile next week no big deal

So you may not be aware, but Asmodee Digital launched a newsletter last year. I can’t exactly remember when but it was early 2018 I believe. By and large, it’s not the most useful newsletter in the world – it’s infrequent, a lot of the stuff it talks about we already know or is repeated, and generally it’s a bit vague even at the best of times. We do appreciate getting it though.

Case and point, the most recent newsletter lists these games are being ‘In Development’:

AD In developmentI mean this is fine – the Gloomhaven icon has a link to the official page, but the others don’t have anything. Some of this we knew, some of this we didn’t, but without any information regarding platforms, price, time-table etc… it’s just a bunch of icons at this point. Again we appreciate it, but we can’t always do anything with what it contains.

Then, every so often, there will be some utter bombshells, dropped in ever so casually:

Zombicide MobileSo yeah, Zombicide. April 24th. Mark your calendars I guess… we knew this was coming, but there hasn’t really been a peep out of the studio on this since it was announced so to suddenly learn it’s release next week is a bit of a surprise. The “finally” comment throws me me a bit – I mean, it’s not even out on Steam, so it’s not like we’ve been waiting around watching our PC-based brethren play this while we clutch our mobile phones in frustration. Unlike with their legions of other PC-only digital board games.

All that aside, another milestone in board games is only a week away. It’s good that we’re seeing both iOS AND Android ports at the same time. We’ll try and have a review ready for when it drops.

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Watch the lead devs of Inkle crack open Heaven’s Vault

Heaven’s Vault, the ambitious, archeological adventure cooked up by 80 Days developer Inkle, has finally launched on Steam and consoles. It’s a unique game with an entire hidden language to unlock set in a nebulous future civilization that’s surrounded by thousands of years of history. 

To mark the game’s release, lead developers and Inkle co-founders Jon Ingold and Joe Humphrey dropped by the GDC Twitch channel earlier today for a chat about the making of Heaven’s Vault. It proved to be an insightful look into the writing (and tooling!) that helped the game come to life. 

If you’re curious about the making of Heaven’s Vault, you can now watch the full conversation with Ingold and Humphries in the video above. And for more developer interviews, be sure to follow the GDC Twitch channel. 

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Video: A classic game postmortem of Panzer Dragoon

While the first Panzer Dragoon game was created 25 years ago, the developers behind that classic Sega Saturn title believe that the lessons they learned working and struggling with the then-cutting-edge system can still be put to use by developers today.

Yukio Futatsugi and Kentaro Yoshida, two of the minds behind the Panzer Dragoon series, sat down at GDC 2019 to walk through the development of three games in the series, including the original and the rarely discussed Panzer Dragoon Zwei and Panzer Dragoon Saga.

It’s an hour-long talk that walks though the concepts and art design of the Sega Saturn games as well as conversations about the thought process that went into planning the world’s unique atmosphere, decisions that influenced the art style for the dragons, and what they had intended to create when first setting out to create an unusual shooting game that combines dragons and homing lasers.

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC or VRDC already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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Xbox merges Live Gold and Game Pass under Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox has announced Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, an upcoming monthly subscription that rolls the offerings of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game pass into one.

It’s a move that aims to consolidate the two big subscription services into one monthly fee, and likely make enrolling in the subscription-based Game Pass program a more attractive option for those already paying for a Gold subscription.

The new $14.99-a-month service comes with all the features of Xbox Live Gold, like online multiplayer and monthly game freebies and sales, as well as access to the Xbox Game Pass library. For those paying month-by-month, subscribing to Game Pass Ultimate would save about $5 every time since each service on its own currently comes with a $9.99 per-month pricetag.

For now, it looks like the 2-in-1 service is being offered in addition to the existing monthly plans rather than a replacement for either. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is set to go live at an unannounced point later this year, though Xbox has plans to open it up to select Xbox Insider members as a test run prior to that full launch.

Unity 2019.1 Released

Hot on the heels of their 2019 GDC presentation, Unity 2019.1 was released today.  The 2019.1 release saw several of the key pieces of technology announced back in 2018.1 finally come of age, losing their preview tag and now considered appropriate for use in production environments.  These technologies include:

  • Light Weight Render Pipeline (LWRP)
  • Burst Compiler
  • Shader Graph

Unfortunately the HDRP isn’t quite ready for production use, but it did receive several new features in this release as well.  Additionally there were several new or improved packaged in both experimental and preview formats including GPU lightmapping, new DOTS based rigging, DOTS based physics, DOTS based audio and much more.

Oh… and the Linux editor is now out of experimental and is now considered preview.

You can learn a great deal more about this release on the Unity Blog, or read the full release notes available here.  Or you can watch our hands-on video available below.  Unity 2019.1 is available for download right now via the Unity Hub.  The Linux preview is available for download here in AppImage format.

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