F**KING LEARN TO CODE ALREADY!!

Like seriously, just do it. Get it over with already.

Many people, game developers and plebs alike, have a habit of instantly dismissing the idea of even trying to learn how to code. They feel it will be too difficult, too complex, or too hard for their little non-genius pea brains to ever fully understand, let alone master.

Whether you are a game designer, quest writer, modeler, or even a concept artist, being able to not only say that you know just a little bit about coding for video games is a huge plus in the games industry. It makes you more of an asset to studios, making it easier for them to select you for a job. It allows you to have a fuller understanding of both the possibilities and the limitations of whatever kind of game it is you’re trying to make. It permits you a window not only into the artistic side of game development, but the mythical technical side as well.

As hard as it may seem on the surface, coding is indeed a difficult skill to learn, but if you’re anything like me, it’s not nearly as hard as you probably think it is. Many among us think you need to be a math genius to code. They think that you need to know the ins and outs of every processor, every logic gate, every single, small, consecutive bit of a computer’s near-endless streams of binary, AND have a PhD in computer science, linear algebra, calculus, anddddd maybe one in theoretical physics… just for good measure of course.

…But what if I were to tell you that everything we think we know about coding…

…is wrong?

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. Take the blue pill, and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe about coding and game development. Take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you just how deep this glorious, gaming rabbit hole goes.

 

So, you’ve taken the red pill. Marvelous. Paul Elam will be pleased.

First off, being able to look at computers and coding from a broader point of view helps, and this is where knowledge of computer science can really come into play. However, let the rumors that you need to be a math genius be washed away! Let all theoretical physicists with their theoretical degrees be cast aside! Using this post found on Data US, we can accurately determine what skills your average computer programmer does and doesn’t need to succeed.

 

 

Hard math does indeed still play a role, but as one will find, skills like Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking, Writing, and quite ironically, Programming, hold more sway in the realms of coding than math ever could.

So what will be our great takeaway from all this after we’re through? Well, it helps to be a problem-solver, not a mathematician. 

You see my friends, coding is actually quite simple. You just need to first learn about 7-8 different robot languages equal to or greater in complexity to conventional human languages like Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic, use those robot languages to seamlessly knit strings of extensive elements from your 7-8 different robot languages together to sew the threads of a much larger, much more advanced electronic system stretching thousands of characters across your choice of a strange thing called a compiler or your poor, poor Notepad files, finally test them again and again for errors, always trying to go back and fix these errors with the full knowledge that every repair creates a new error no matter what it is that say or do, and finally, use Google for everything whenever you’re confused because all of this is too hard.

In the words of many of the programmers and coders I know, it’s like a cute little puzzle. Easy, right? Well, just in case it wasn’t, I am going to PROVE to you that it is. I will be using my amateur coding knowledge to show you, in the simplest possible way, how all of this really works behind the scenes. (And yes, I got pics fam)

DISCLAIMER: I am but a humble gaming journalist. Please, if you think I am getting a big head, remember I openly admit to the fact that I know nothing of programming. Please don’t hurt my precious feelings in the comments below );


ENOMVIEW PRESENTS…

HOW TO CODE IN HTML

(for noobs)

Ladies, gentlemen, let’s do this shit.

 

1) Our Elements and our Robot Language

To start, we will be coding in HTML (durr hurr). HTML, our robot language, stands for HyperText Markup Language. All that HTML is used for is to mark up text on a screen, usually for a webpage.

An element is something that you type to tell the computer what you want it to do. The <h1> element is used to show text in size 1 heading format, whereas the <p> element is used to show text in the paragraph format.

(You edit your code in Notepad or a special program called a compiler, credits to w3schools.com for letting me use theirs. This is what it looks like inside.)

(This is what it looks like on the other end.) 

Both of these elements have beginning brackets (<h1>, <p>) and closing brackets (</h1>, </p>) to signify when the text of a particular element should start and end. If we flipped the <h1> and <p> elements, our input and output would look like this:

(our input)

(our output)

I know, very difficult to understand, isn’t it? While you did get to see the output in its entirety, parts of the input were hidden to you.

(full input, as seen in the code editor) 

<!DOCTYPE html> = Something we type at the beginning of every HTML document so the computer knows that all the text below is to be read in HTML.

<html> = All the text in between these brackets are a part of the HTML code.

<body> = All the text that goes in the main body of your webpage.

I know, it gets harder by the minute. Just wait, it gets worse.

 

2) More Elements

Now we will introduce just a few more elements. We will also introduce an attribute, which is like an add-on for a larger element.

 

<img> = for image links. Unlike many elements, <img> does not have an ending bracket.

(src stands for source link/ file of the image)

 

<b> = used to make text bold.

(input)

(output)

 

Now, let those precious morsels of information ooze into your braincase for a moment. Let them absorb before moving onto the next step.

 

3) Building a Basic Website

So, to get the fullest understanding of all our tools, we are going to be coding a generic 1990s-lookin’ website centered around bears.

Here is all the information we need to code in:


(the background of the webpage should be pink)

Today’s Top 3 Bears (header)

Hello, internet. Here at Bears.com, we have worked especially hard to bring you today’s daily top-tier specimens.

#3: The Black Bear

https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-4617713b2614c4f9eaa7b222ec270b01-c (image link)

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. … American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.

#2: The Brown Bear

https://beartrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Bear-Den-photo.jpg (image link)

The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a bear that is found across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It is one of the largest living terrestrial members of the order Carnivora, rivaled in size only by its closest relative, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), which is much less variable in size and slightly larger on average.

#1: The Grizzly Bear

https://cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2018/04/28/c6cb470f-edb2-4329-a6ad-af3ad788c2d6/thumbnail/620×350/33556a377976d139b012d206c4908170/istock-695736858.jpg (image link)

The grizzly bear is a large population of the brown bear inhabiting North America. Scientists generally do not use the name grizzly bear but call it the North American brown bear.

All information taken from Wikipedia.


Now, like a puzzle, we are going to put all our pieces together using all the information displayed above.

 

4) Putting the Puzzle Together

First thing’s first, we pull up our code editor and put in all the basic stuff that we need for every HTML document like <!DOCTYPE html>, <html>, and <body>.

First, we place our header, “Today’s Top 3 Bears”, and the introductory sentence, “Hello internet. Here at Bears.com, we have worked especially hard to bring you today’s daily top-tier specimens.” down into the code. We nestle into the <body> element because it is a part of the main body of text of our webpage.

(input)

(output) 

Next, we add in our first small header, “#3: The Black Bear” and it’s accompanying image link, “https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-4617713b2614c4f9eaa7b222ec270b01-c”,  and text, “The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. … American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.” We will also make sure to bold the necessary words.

(input) 

(output) 

Then we do that same thing again two mores times with the other types of bears.

(input) 

(output 1)

(output 2:)


So then, it seems like we’re all done. Good job all around, eh?

But wait!! We needed a pink background! We don’t know how to get it, so where could we go to figure that out?

But of course. Google, you are my only true friend on this Earth.

And so, my search brought me to this Wikihow link.

Now, to apply the changes…

(input) 

(output)

Perfect. Ready for the net of ’97.


Conclusion

So, now that we have gone through everything in that little tutorial, what’s our great takeaway? Well, coding init of itself is something the large majority of people overthink. It’s true that many programmers need to be able to code in 4-5 different languages, but seeing to how they can all those languages can be very similar, things get significantly easier after you learn your first, then move onto your second and third.

Keep in mind, this was all in HTML. That’s not even technically a programming language, but a markup language. Things obviously do get MUCH more complex with the number of variables at play, and you’re VERY far from being a web developer, let alone a game developer.

However, the basics are all still the same. Fit the pieces together, use Google, and be a problem-solver.

Some handy resources:

w3schools.com = free online tutorials for languages like HTML, Javascript, and PHP. Used by university students looking to earn a degree in web development.

w3resource.com = additional tutorials and exercises to expand upon what you’ve learned on w3schools.com.

How to Code in C# = youtube video playlist dedicated to beginners who wish to learn one of game development’s most useful languages: C#

C++ Programming Tutorials = another youtube playlist explaining how to code in C++, another useful language in game development.

I choose to learn more about coding, choose to accept that you’ll make mistakes. If you’ll notice in my walkthrough, I failed to put my image links in quotations like I was supposed to. I also didn’t write my <head> elements out right off the bat with everything else before going to work.

Now you have a taste of what it’s like. You know how it can help you.

So fucking get it over with already. Learn. How. To code.

Liked this article? Check out our many other articles on Indie Development: https://enomview.com/category/indie-development/

Oh, and here’s a careful reminder from mini-Shia to remind you to just do it.

Top 5 Free Tools to Help Market your Game

Hey, my name is Max and I run a creative agency near London, UK, with team members and clients across the globe. In this article, I hope I can provide useful information about tools that greatly increase the effectiveness of your marketing, that I tried and tested. These tools are also focused on reducing the amount of time spent on marketing.

Marketing is never easy and in order to use these tools effectively, it is important to have the materials and resources in place. These include videos, gifs, trailers, promotional graphics and artwork etc. If you don’t have the time, or want to get these professionally made, be sure to get in touch to see how I can help you.

 

1. Presskit()

 

Press

Press Kit Example

 

dopresskit.com

Firstly, a press kit is a package of information and assets about your game that you can easily send to members of the press. It is a standard way to give everything a blogger may need to write about your game as fast as possible. Creating a press kit can require either web skills or a lot of wasted time. This is where Presskit() comes in.

Just by following a few simple instructions and editing the .XML file, you can have a fantastic looking and detailed press kit up in around an hour. Once it’s done, it’s done and you can send it out to the press!

 

2. Distribute()

 

Distribute

Distribute Example

 

dodistribute.com

Also from the creators (Vlambeer) of Presskit() is Distribute(). This platform connects your press kit with the press for you and is used to distribute press copies of your game. A member of the press or content creator can sign up and verify their email with the platform. Once logged in, they can request access to a copy of your game. You can see how popular they are and whether they fit into your game genre, then choose to deny or grant access to a copy of the game. This is a vital step to get people talking about your game. What is really great about Distribute() is how well it brings in new content creators, without having to do anything.

 

3. Hunter.io

Hunter

Hunter.io

This tool goes for all marketing and PR in all industries. This simple app helps you find the contacts you need to get an answer from a company. Sometimes a contact@email or support@email is just not enough. You want something more personal, maybe a member of the team at the company, or just the right email to contact. You first enter the domain name you want to search for into the search bar. Then, in most cases, you will be shown a list of email addresses associated with that domain (not all are necessarily still valid)

 

4. Discord

I have no doubt that many of you know the app Discord. Many of you may already be using it to its full potential. But for those who are not aware, Discord has become the number one messaging platform for gamers. This is important for 2 reasons. Firstly, it connects you with people who love playing games. Secondly, this will connect you with other game studios and creators, freelancers (contact) and other useful members of the community.

There are huge communities with thousands of gamers, press and content creators and other game studios all looking to engage with you. Make sure to use this tool properly and communicate like a human in these communities. There is no use just posting links to your game, get involved and get talking.

Here are some great servers:

Game Dev Network

Enomview of course!

IMFU

Game Dev League

Heiny Reimes

 

5. Steam Curators

 

Steam-1

How to find the tool

 

Steam has a whole plethora of so-called “Curators”. These Steam Curators bring together games all in one place, so gamers can find hidden gems and indies that are worth playing. If you are releasing a title on Steam, you will have access to “Steamworks”. Hidden away on here, you can find a tool to connect your game with hundreds of Steam Curators. I personally have not used this too much and so cannot verify the quality or effectiveness of this tool, but I sure know it is super easy to show off your game to the right people.

Steam-2

 

I really do hope this has been of some use and you learnt at least 1 new tool to get you going with marketing your game. If you would like advice or just to chat about marketing and your game, be sure to comment below or connect on Twitter, Discord, Facebook or email!

Max Louis Business Profile
Written by Max Louis
Creative Director at MLC.

How do I Game Writer?

I once read someplace here on the worldwide web that game writers are an often misunderstood sort. I read that we can be underutilized by designers, sometimes looked down upon by team members in other departments for fear of what we’d do with our dreaded cutscenes, etc etc etc. There is a point to be made that so many of the newbie writers on professional development teams know nothing about game development, that they stride in proud from the realms of a novelist, a screenwriter, or a comic writer, and think they’re ready to take over the whole development world. Oh, if only they knew better.

Indeed, in my early days as a fledgling game writer (which are actually still ongoing, lulz,) I think I learned the reason for just why this is, why so many writers (not designers) of so many experience levels couldn’t quite tell ya the specifics of what makes a good game story and what doesn’t. The answer: a lack of information.

Not to hate on other articles and outlets, but I feel that so many of them fail to touch upon the good, nitty-gritty, important details that all aspiring game writers crave. I’m definitely still searching for all of those answers myself, but I think it’s high time that I share some of the precious chunks of knowledge that designers and directors from all over the internet have been trying to beat and pound and force through my thick skull for over half a year now.

Choose Your Words Wisely

The worrisome look on Lee’s face when he comforts Clementine is not unique to Telltale’s The Walking Dead. No, it is the face a game writer makes on a daily basis, for in no other medium does a storyteller need to cut it down to bare essentials more so than in video games.

“But Dylan,” I can hear you asking now, “whatever do you mean?!” Well, let me introduce a concept that I call “the word count dilemma”. Whether the piece in question be a novella, (which is apparently the fancy term for a really short novel,) a novel (also known as a phat novella,) or a movie script, the average reader’s word count is about…

                 130 words per minute

Not a very huge number. 130 words when grouped up together seem small, and they most certainly are. Depending on how writing-heavy your team wants to go, you may end up with a story that’s 20,000 words long, (the same as a movie script,) or The Witcher 3’s absolutely monstrous 400,000 on paper, and that’s fine. But, very few people are going to be reading your story, aren’t they? What are most people going to be doing? Watching it unfold during gameplay. So what’s the problem?

Well, a very famous Youtube channel dedicated to game development known as Extra Credits (which I highly recommend every aspiring dev pays very close attention to,) once talked of this very same concept. The creators behind this wonderful channel couldn’t find a de facto study to determine the average WPM of most story-driven games, so they decided to experiment on their own. What was their average? The answer may surprise you…

                    16 words per minute

(The Extra Credits video on that can be found here.)

Isn’t that interesting?! Mind boggling?! INSANE?! It most definitely is! It is all of those things and so much more! Thus, it is important that every single line of dialogue is kept down to an absolute bare minimum. No fluff. No flowery descriptiveness. Just quick, dirty, and right to the point. The definitive litmus is making sure that every word matters and has some sort of relevance to the plot, the characters, the world, and the story.

Funnily enough, this is actually a very old concept in storytelling, and I bet that if you’re a seasoned writer, you’ve heard of it before: “Chekhov’s Gun“. Chekhov was a playwright and novelist who lived in the olden, pre-soviet Russian Empire. He had a saying: “If there’s a gun on the wall, it simply must be shot.” Simply put, how many of those lines are meaningful, and how many of them are meaningless? How many of them actually need to stay, and how many can be removed? If you can tell a good story that trims down on as many words as possible, you’re well on your way to gripping gamers with the gratuitous gift of good game storytelling. (How’s that for alliteration?)

You Are The Game’s B*tch

This is a different rodeo, cowboy. In a book, comic, or movie, things are much more “controlled”. The audience can’t do much other than watch and pay attention, so as long as your story’s good, it’s nice and peachy in the hood.

But this is a game.

Your audience members are not just audience members, but players. They can move, jump, sprint, kill, exploit bugs, travel to places you may never have intended for them to go, and do things (terrible, terrible things) you would have never wanted for them to do! Thus the plot can be totally turned on it’s head.

Hell, they make videos about all the crazy feats of brainstorming, planning, and testing that game developers have to go through just to save the players from…. (wait for it)…..

THEMSELVES!!

As such, you need to take all the things (ALL OF THEM) that the player can do that would interfere with your story into consideration. Not only this, but you need to build a story that’s still believable, even when the game’s mechanics come into question. Do you have a cutscene in which a character is killed by a single bullet? If so, would the player be similarly one-shotted if put in the same circumstance outside of a cutscene, or would they be able to absorb those bullets like a sponge absorbs all the tears that you’re shedding because you didn’t find this article sooner? A good game story does not work against these mechanics and player-based variables, but works hand-in-hand with them. As such, the GDD or Game Design Document, the physical blueprints of your game and all it’s features, should become your new best friend, and don’t be afraid to consult your resident designer.

This is a Game, Not a Movie

It had to be said. Unless you’re making the next Heavy Rain with your very own Shaun-screaming protagonist, you need to put the gameplay first. The player shouldn’t be made to sit through several minutes of dialogue, cutscenes, or quicktime events. They need to have a good story, of course, but the greater bulk of their time needs to be spent doings like engaging in combat, traveling across the world, moving through levels, stealthing around enemies, etc.

As a game writer myself, I spent several days bouncing ideas off another fellow game writer as we jointly constructed what we felt was the best possible plotline for a game like the one we were making. The characters had deep motivations, interesting dialogue and interactions, etc etc etc. But what did the director say when he saw our work? “The story’s great, but in real time, I could play through all of this in under two hours. This is an open world game, and two hours is nothing.”

And he was right. So incredibly right. Our in-game conversations were too long and needed to be cut down to the bare essentials. In our open world game, whenever the player characters reached a certain point in the quest and had to travel a long distance, we’d have a time skip when we should have instead been giving the players a quest marker and getting them to physically walk to their next destination. As such, we had to revise our plotline.

You need to tell a good story, but the story needs to work specifically for the format of a game. Even better, if you can set things up in such a way to where a player who doesn’t care all too much about a story can easily skip it and move on to the next level while also still making that story an essential part of the experience, then you’re absolutely golden. In conclusion, it turns out that, when people want to play a game, they don’t want to watch a movie; they want to play a game.

The Cutscene Controversy

This is a very shaky topic for a lot of game developers, but simply put, there’s a controversy revolving around cutscenes. I don’t have a definitive answer on how this should be addressed, but I feel all aspiring game writers should be aware of the debate. Long story short, some people have no problems with cutscenes and think they enhance the experience, some people think cutscenes should only be used in certain circumstances, (like when the player is made to feel helpless,) and others feel that cutscenes shouldn’t be used at all.

To elaborate, is often said that cutscenes are lazy because everything in your game should be done through gameplay in some shape or form. The player should be able to interact with the world because it’s better for engagement, not sit and watch a small movie.

On the other side of the coin, games like The Last of Us have cutscenes that span that, when put together in a single Youtube video, span the length of a whole movie. The Last of Us, despite this, is often regarded as having of one of the greatest stories a game has ever told. Never have I heard anyone complain of it’s cutscenes, just like I’ve never heard anyone complain of the cutscenes in Final Fantasy or Mass Effect. Heck, many of my friends (game developers and standard gamers alike,) hated the way how Bethesda overhauled the dialogue system for Fallout 4, but liked the way how it was made to be more like an interactive cutscene that happens in live action.

I’m not about to take a side in this debate, but I personally think the question of when to use a cutscene varies dependent upon the situation and needs to be a factor of Chekhov’s Gun, as we discussed earlier, more than anything else. If it’s necessary or helps in some way, use it. If it isn’t, scrap it. Only keep what’s necessary.

Extra Credits made three excellent videos on the subject which I recommend any aspiring game writer gives a good watch. One that makes a case for the good that can be done with cutscenes, one that talks about how they are an often underutilized tool, and one that discusses why Skyrim’s opening cutscene is no bueno.

A Gameplay Narrative vs. A Narrative in a Game

Probably the most challenging thing a game’s story can ever hope to achieve is a good game narrative, and this is something that’s done by more than just a game writer. When you read a novel, the words set a scene. If you’re stuck in a sewer, the floor is wet, the smell is rancid, and the world is cramped and dark. It’s not just a location, it’s a psychological experience. As such, your game needs to be doing the same thing, and this “game narrative” of sorts should play out through every aspect of your game, be it art, writing, design, SFX, etc, and it really boils down to a much more intense version of a common point in storytelling: show, don’t tell.

In The Last of Us, the world feels bleak and hopeless, but why? It’s not just the characters, who each have their own personal struggles and hard times dealing with life after the apocalypse, shaken to their cores by their losses. No, it plays out in every aspect of the gamer’s experience.

The art was modeled after Chernobyl, so the post-apocalypse looks so real in-game because it was modeled after an actual post-apocalyptic setting. We know that there is a lack of resources because every crafting component is rare (especially on higher difficulties) and so too is ammunition. You have to be very careful and strategic about how you engage your opponents, and more importantly, you have to take the path of least resistance (which usually means stealth). The clickers are terrifying outside of their raw appearance because of their grotesque movement animations, the creepy, creepy, CREEPY clicking sound they make, and their propensity to one-shot the player if they get too close (and the player doesn’t have the shiv master perk).

So why does this matter? Well, you may not have full control over all these elements if you’re just a writer, but you need to observe and work with them. Your story needs to work with the art, the design, sound, everything. It should be a part of a nice, cohesive bundle, and if your story’s standing out too much, you’re SOL bud.

Of all the videos I’ve seen on the internet, none explain this concept more thoroughly than this one on Youtube which compares Thief: The Dark Project to it’s contemporary cousin. Definitely worth a watch.

It’s Still Storytelling

 

And finally, this is the moment we (mainly just I) have been waiting for. This is the #1 thing that gets under my skin about most of the articles I read which talk about game writing. They give your strategies on how to tell a story, but not specifically for a game. As such, I’m no better typing in “how to tell a story” in Google’s infamous search bar.

Even if you execute on all the elements above, you need to have a refined understanding of just what a good story is before you can write one. You need to be able to take feedback, to understand concepts like character motivations, believability, relatability, and plot vs. story. The sad truth of the matter is that you’re not going to learn those things by writing specifically for games.

So what do you do? Pick another medium. Try comics, screenplays, novels, or anything that’s fun. Learn the ins and outs of whatever medium you choose, experiment with it, and never let yourself fall into a comfort zone. Always push the boundaries and always keep learning. Then, when you’re done, you will not only seem like someone that a studio will seriously consider taking on, but you’ll be more than ready to tackle all of the prior elements listed above. Storytelling is it’s own skill, and a wise man once said, it’s a practiced one.

(Wow, the tone of this article shifted somewhere midway. Dunno how that happened, lol.)


Dylan Russell has worked in over 10 different creative projects and as a game writer in over 5 different fan development studios.

The Importance of Sound Design

Hey, I’m Max from Max Louis Creative and I work with indie developers day in and day out to help produce and market their games. Sound design is one aspect, a whole handful of devs I’ve seen, just completely underthink.

Let’s begin with a mini quiz, before we discuss sound design.

When you think about the following games/TV shows, in your head, what are the first sounds you think of?

  1. PAC-MAN
  2. Super Mario
  3. Scooby Doo

Super Mario Model Sound Design

Ok, let’s go through each one. We assume that you have played/watched at least one of these!

  1. “WAKKA-WAKKA” may have been your first thought! This is the iconic sound of PAC-MAN.
  2. “It’s a me, Maaaario!” is likely to be what you thought of. Everyone knows this catchphrase!
  3. “Shhhcooby Dooby Doo!” or “Shwaggy” might have been your first thoughts.

So, WHY do we remember these sounds immediately when we think of these things?

Sound effects and music make certain scenes, in both game and film, memorable for people. Every time someone hears the sounds, they will recognise it straight away and remember where they heard it from.

Over time, indie games have been losing sight of the importance of sound design. Some developers don’t realise the power and impact that sound has on an audience. Even if you don’t actively notice the sound, it is making an enormous difference to your viewing experience and pleasure.

The Reasons Why Sound Design Is So Powerful

Sounds are as important as visuals. In fact, they work together and each element complements each other. Without one, the other wouldn’t be as effective. Imagine Jaws without the impending doom sound effects, but also imagine it with just this sound and no visuals. It wouldn’t make any sense for the audience! Similarly, having particular music or sound effects make a certain scene memorable.

Good sound design encourages the audience to connect more with what they are watching. It helps to understand the film scene/moment in the game and creates the atmosphere. In other words, sound appropriately sets the scene and can tell a story in itself. Every jump, step and crouch have a sound effect, which all create realism. Also, without us realising, it makes it more pleasing for us to play.

The experience of watching horror films is greatly improved in the way that sound is used. Sometimes they don’t even use sound in parts! It is used to create suspense and make the audience jump.

Sound design makes things more realistic. It brings life to games/films by adding the time of day and the mood.

People playing game sound design

What Our Sound Designer Thinks…

We asked one of our sound designers why they think that sound design is so important in games and/or films. Here’s what he thinks!

Both film and games are pieces of art that require multiple senses to usually enjoy or to get the full effect of emotion or thought to relay to the audience. Music helps flesh out the visual and mechanical aspects, in short, it helps provide context for the experienced interactive art for the audience.

Greg

So, sound and music help to enhance the audience’s experience, by making them feel the full effect of emotion. Greg’s point about “music helping flesh out the visual and mechanical aspects” reiterates our earlier point about visuals and sounds working together. This is so important to remember!

So, Why Do You Need To Do It Right?

Having carefully constructed sound design in a game or a film changes the whole viewing experience; it alters how a moment is perceived emotionally by an audience.

Take a look at this interesting article about how some well-known sounds in films and TV shows were actually created. Some of them are very surprising – my favourite was the Toy Story one!

Careful choices need to be made during specific moments in a game or film, to define the emotion and character of the moment.

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What Our Other Sound Designer Thinks…

What are the key things you have to think about when creating sounds for a game?

Picture a sailboat floating at sea.. you hear staccato, violin stabs which may signal impending doom or a shark attack (Jaws?). Now you hear whimsical, Studio Ghibli-esque score and you are put at ease. Finally, picture the sounds you would most likely hear, the ocean crashing, wind blowing, and maybe seagulls squawking. All of these moods paint a musical mosaic over other mediums of art and are essential to making a clear aesthetic. Art paints the surface, sound paints the space. The next time you watch a horror film, plug your ears during a jump scare, suddenly it isn’t so scary.

Most important techniques in sound design – Layering, reverb, sidechain compression, dynamic mixing, eq and filters, and layering. Did I mention layering? Layering. Combine all this with clever mic selection/placement, DAW mastery, and a good ear and you just might have good sound design!

Trevyn

Trevyn’s point about “art painting the surface and sound painting the space” is a brilliant way to wrap this blog up. Sound makes the visuals work and this definitely shouldn’t be forgotten about. Visuals will NOT have the same effect on the audience if there’s no good sound design behind it.

So, if you’re making a game or a film…

DON’T FORGET ABOUT SOUND DESIGN!

If you want some brilliant, well thought out sound design for your game (or anything else you’re working on!), then our sound designers would absolutely love to help you! Take a look here to see our work and be sure to contact us if you would like our help.

 

One on One with Developer of new MOBA, King’s Vessel

With the new year sending us into 2018, the indie game development scene has seen no shortages of new games entering the arena. Looking to tackle both new and old genres, we can expect one thing, and that is another great year for indie game development. Hello, EnomViewers my name is Reno Morgan, and I am here to share with you one of those new games: King’s Vessel by Natoken Entertainment.

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I had an opportunity to discuss the development of King’s Vessel with the owner and founder of Natoken Entertainment, Nagiliant (Soren Warnsdorf). The talk filled me with excitement for this upcoming MOBA. King’s Vessel aims to grab at the roots of what made MOBAs so addicting and yanking it right into 2018. One of the first things that attracted my attention had to be the fundamental gameplay for King’s Vessel. While I did not get a chance to enjoy it by discussing the game with Nagiliant, I gathered that it would either be a major success or it would fail to hook the dedicated MOBA community. Something Nagiliant took time to address when I asked the following:

“The MOBA genre is probably one of the most consistent compared to new wave games. Staying the same over so many years making it really difficult to change what the MOBA community already knows. Time has proven this after numerous major companies made attempts at revitalizing these type of games, for example, Paragon by Epic Games and Battleborn by Gearbox all recently shutting down development or closing servers despite being made by very reputable development teams. As an indie team, how do you think King’s Vessel can overcome the stubborn MOBA community, and how do you all plan to open people up to trying something new?” – Reno

Nagiliant reassured me that in order to properly break the cast set by modern MOBAs, King’s Vessel would need to reach way back to what made MOBAs initially addicting games to play. Sticking to the staples of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Angel Arena. Nagiliant wants to bring focus away from Tower Defence / Lane Pushing and go back to the “Arena” aspect of MOBAs. Focusing on eliminating the enemy team, and controlling the map with a series of capture points that will provide vision. While pushing the enemies towers will begin to limit their spawn territory, it is not a requirement to end the game. As long as your team generates enough points to spawn the enemy boss this way you can end the match without pushing individual lanes.

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While sticking to the fundamentals and mixing in what can already be experienced in MOBAs like LoL, Smite, and DotA, the map for King’s Vessel will look vaguely similar. Featuring two lanes, instead of the typical three with a larger jungle and some new objectives like the Control Points, it won’t feel completely alien to most of us. One of the focal points of the game is eliminating the enemy team’s players, and holding the three Control points which will eventually summon the enemy teams “Boss” at the center of the map. There are two within each teams jungle and one at the center when the boss is not summoned. Players will have to battle in an expanded jungle, while also protecting their territory which is held by the various towers on their side of the map (that can be destroyed). One of the major differences will be the spawn location relative to the main objective, which will no longer be right outside, but instead at the center of the map. This makes death penalties very severe unless you maintain your Lane Towers to use as teleport points. If your boss is spawned, and your team is re-spawning you have a good distance to go before you can reach the center to help defend it. I can definitely see mobility being one of the most vital factors when it comes to Hero/item choice.

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We also discussed hero development and item usage where Nagiliant introduced some of the additional features that will strike veteran MOBA players as a little odd. While players will have access to a variety of items you can purchase to reinforce your hero some of the more powerful items will have fall-offs. These items aim to help balance the more powerful passives and stats by providing players with the opportunity to sacrifice performance in another aspect for those benefits. We can only wait to see how these pro/con items will perform, but it won’t be too far off from items like the Divine Rapier in DotA that can be a great boon to you, or fall into the enemies hands and be your biggest enemy. Nagiliant went on to share how the goal is to see these items and not just to augment what heroes can already do, impacting how those heroes feel to play. Possibly opening up new corridors into the versatility of individual heroes to allow them to play in different ways. Along with these unique tweaks we can still expect to see stacking and evolving items.

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Some of the other features you can expect to see will be Hero (or Vessel) skins, and the idea of having skins for the team’s towers/boss was also shared. Hopefully, in the coming months, we will get to see more of what Natoken has planned for King’s Vessel.

With no expected release date for playtesting, or estimated release you can bet I will be circling Natoken Entertainment until the release of King’s Vessel to share with you all the moment you can get a slice of the action. I will provide you all with links to all the information and media for King’s Vessel and I hope you all give them a look! It has been a great time talking to Nagiliant, and I want to give a big thanks to him for providing all of the artwork and giving us permission to share it with all of our EnomViewers. All the artwork was done by one of the Natoken Entertainment developers, Marjaana. Thank you for reading, and see you in the next one.

Here is where you can find the Natoken Entertainment Patreon along with the benefits to the patron tiers I will provide below.

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(A little hint while Nagiliant did not want to make any false promises for digital in-game content included with the Patreon rewards he did say that patrons will be shown appreciation.)

You can click the following for links to the King’s Vessel media sources
Youtube
Twitter
Twitch
Reddit
Discord


Hello, EnomViewers my name is Reno Morgan a 21-year-old indie Narrative Designer, and University student out of the United States, NY. I only recently joined the Enom team and I write articles on upcoming Indie Games. I also do follow up reviews, and game critiques on the same titles I write up-and-comings about. In between writing for Enom, I also work on Indie Games as a story writer and character designer. I love everything video games, and I am as nerdy as you can get. Some of my personal favorites are Smite, FFXIV, and anything Square Enix. I am also an avid anime fan, and I love cosplaying. If you ever have a game you want to geek out and share with me feel free to message me at any time my Discord is 1D#0001 you can also email me at vindictris@gmail.com. Look forward to sharing the future of indie games with you all, hope you share something with me too! Thanks for reading.

A Guide to Failure at Game Development

There are many among us who would wish to succeed in game development. Article after article, seminar after seminar of what you should do as a game developer, how you can succeed.A daunting task, you might say. The video game industry, already oversaturated and mired with competition, has only grown more so in recent years. From an outsider’s perspective, it might seem impossible to get in. Harrowing. Unrealistic.

So instead of that, why not try something simpler? Why not find out the things that you shouldn’t do as a game developer, how you can’t succeed? Why not, instead of win, lose every skirmish and every battle and every war that a game developer must wage? Why not, my friends, do everything you can to weigh yourself down with the anchor of failure, stranding your ship out at sea until your sailors of progress die of starvation, madness, and scurvy?

My friends, if it be failure you seek, then failure you shall have. Here lie just a handful of the steps to the path of defeat:


Build Your Army

Whether you’re making a Pong reskin or the next World of Warcraft, (you should definitely be making the latter, but more on that later,) make sure you bring on as many people as possible. How much is enough to stifle progress? There’s never enough, of course! Projects with 3-4 more members than is realistically necessary to complete a task for a particular team not only fail to get things done, but tend to bog down on the strength of your most hardened soldier’s spirit. As an aside, make sure you never pay any of them, no matter what you’re asking them to do, when you’re asking them to do it, etc. etc. etc.

Fit lazy, unskilled, and inexperienced workers up together with their foil counterparts, the hardworking, skilled, and seasoned developers, and tell them to split work equally on a task. This will not only lead to a lack of progress, but in-fighting, tension, and a loss of morale. Soon enough, people will lose their motivation and laugh at your project, thinking it as something akin to a meme and want to leave. Success!

In truth, any size will do, but if you can break the 50+ mark, or better, the 100+ mark, you’re golden. As long as you aren’t keeping it down to an absolute minimum of who you need and don’t need, and instead bumping it up to a maximum, you’re well on your way to achieving that sweet, succulent, success-void soufflé.

Promotion Before Production

Always make sure that you get to promoting your work and thinking about how you can get as many people as possible to see it before you actually worry about getting stuff done. Simply put, googling “how to pitch my game to a publisher” before googling “how to use a game engine”. This one’s much easier than the last one, as it doesn’t take nearly as much effort as going on an internet-born membership crusade, but it’s still just as effective for its ability to turn into an endless cycle that you nor anyone else on your team can ever hope to escape from. It’s so beautiful in that way, isn’t it?

Know all those social media platforms you like to go on? Youtube? Google+? Twitter? Facebook? Make sure you make a page for all of those, and more still. Put an “official” at the front of the name for each of them as, after all, you want everyone to know that you’re not an impersonator. Through those accounts, emails, or some other means of communication, talk to bigger developers that are already established. Ask them to help with or promote your work so you can only further climb the ladder of fame and feel good while you’re doing it.

In keeping with the last tip, the one about bringing on as many people as possible, know that, in a way, this tip returns in form of promotion. As a part of your growing game dev armada, make sure that many of the people you hire are either translators or representatives from various countries all over the world. Make sure your studio has a member from every country there is to be a member of. Be it Denmark, South Korea, Singapore, or Iran, your soldiers should be a part of global, growing force.

The Invisodev

Make sure you’re damn near unseen by your colleagues, spoken of only in myth and legend. Remember: motivation is key in creative projects; they have a tendency to bleed and die when you lack it. One of the best ways to bolster that motivation is to establish a sense of comradery. It helps to talk to your teammates, keep up consistent communication, and care for them not only as a fellow developer, but maybe even as a friend. <<< So make sure you don't do that.

Don’t talk with anyone on your team unless it’s work-related. A sucky developer knows that the only topics that matter are those pertaining to the game they are making, and even those topics can take a back seat to whatever they’ve got going on at the given moment. A coldly professional, but lazy demeanor should be so radioactively present that it irradiates everyone around you.

If you ever do respond to people, make sure that response comes only after the grueling wait of hours, days, and weeks. A returning response should never be immediate, and almost always delayed. The only time it should ever be immediate is if it has to do with the two most important factors to the unproductive game developer: their reputation and their level of popularity.

Master this point, and people will swear you have 101 Sneak not only in Skyrim, but in the real world too. Ninja! 

Grow Your Neckbeard

Ever had dreams and aspirations of getting in shape? Well, go ahead and kill them immediately, as they won’t serve you well here. Stop going to the gym, stop working out, and just stop going outside in general.

You’re already going to be staring at a screen for long hours as a part of your work as a game developer, so make sure you continue the trend and stay glued to that screen for as long as you possibly can. Choose one room to work and, well, live in, and rarely ever leave it. Turn off all the lights to keep it as dark as possible. Sit in a chair that makes your back hurt, then slouch. Angle your head down as far as you can and keep it held down like that; using your phone for extended periods, dependent upon the physical position you’re in, is a great way to do this. Never sleep until you pass out, eyes always fixed to something that glows.

Take on a daily diet that consists of soda, fast food, and fried everything. Fried chicken, fried cheese, and even fried butter! (It’s an actual thing, look it up.) Eat what you feel like when you feel like it, never keeping track of what you put into your mouth.

Hell, remember those Twitter and Facebook accounts you started awhile ago? Put those to extra use and start getting involved in all the political nonsense that’s going on both platforms these days. Pick a side and fight ’til the end, riling yourself up with as many unsavory feelings for the human race as you can muster before taking to the arena, armed for a flame war to end all flame wars. Get obsessed with something you have absolutely no control over and let it become your life.

Oh, and to conclude, when you’ve made a habit of all these practices, make sure that you follow your instinct. Very important. The human mind is constructed in such a way that, if you get into the habit of living a corrosive lifestyle, you will continue and continue and continue to be drawn to pursue it.

Deadlines Are The Devil

Even when you’re doing your best to follow a routine, it can still be hard to get things done in a reasonable timeframe. The setting of a goal itself guarantees the possibility of failure from the onset, which is good. However, we can amplify the effect by making sure that, instead of working off a checklist, mandate, or deadline, you work only when you’re motivated to.

Motivation is a shifting, amorphous thing. It is not SMART, (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, for which you are Responsible, and Time-Bounded,) but instead, VAPID (Vague, Amorphous, Pie in the sky, Irrelevant, and Delayed). If you begin to do things only when motivation strikes, then it will soon feel as though completion for every goal that you set is like waiting on that one high-level construction project in Clash of Clans… except the construction finishes first.

When dealing with your coworkers, make sure to tell them to only “get it done when they can” or “get it done soon”. Setting a specific time for things and holding people accountable when they fail to get things finished when they’re supposed to is a sure path to success, so be sure to be vague about when you want it done, and like a teacher that can’t stand up to their students, let all the missed assignments slide under the rug.

The Corrosive Commander

A truly corrosive project lead is essential to poisoning progress, but what makes one, you might ask? Well, there all kinds of ways to be a planet-destroying director, of course!

If some of the members of your team are slacking or putting off work, then don’t try to hold them accountable for it. Instead, gradually build upon the belief that those people aren’t going to be very helpful in the future. Do not delegate assignments to them and instead work on it yourself. Become your studio’s design team, 3D team, playtesting team, programming team, and 99% of it’s writing team, for example.

Don’t be mindful by using proper manners or executing on effective communication. Either be so grimly professional that people will never be able to approach you, or if English isn’t your first language, speak with such broken grammar that people will never be able to understand you.

When someone says they feel you could improve upon your leadership or that you aren’t doing a good job, hit them like Shepard himself likes to hit that reporter. Feedback is one of the most crucial elements to getting better in any field, and thus is not at all acceptable here. Keep it up champ, and before you know it, you’ll be cultivating a galactic harvest ripe for the Reapers.

Dream Big

Oh yes, best for last, right? This point right here, more so than all the others, is an absolute project killer. It is the star destroyer of game development, the Hercules of bodybuilders.

Remember when it was mentioned earlier that you should be trying to make the next World of WarcraftWell, instead, try to make that and six sequels afterwards. Don’t start small by trying to make a portion of a single level in Mario. Give the world it’s next Assassin’s Creed, it’s next Grand Theft Auto, etc. If it can be made in Gamemaker Studio 2, then it shouldn’t be made at all. Shoot for something like Unreal in place of it.

This shouldn’t just be a part-time group activity, but the world-changing masterpiece you live and die upon. Advanced art, graphics, animation, and music. A story that will make you weep and mechanics that will give you cause for gaming addiction. If there was ever any one thing you could do to assassinate your progress from the inside, it’s putting your ambitions before reality.


A list like this may seem depressing. It might also seem like common sense. Who would just mindlessly speak with broken English, not set deadlines, or set their scope so high that they couldn’t see it above the clouds, I can hear you asking now. The unfortunate answer is “all kinds of people”. Not a single one of those points was something I pulled out of a magic hat. None were copypastas pulled from another site. These were all things I witnessed in the dozen or so creative projects I’ve been a member of, all things that drove those projects into the ground.

In the end, the most important thing to take away from this article is that common sense isn’t common. As a part of an experiment, studies have shown that over 47% less people died in hospitals that utilized checklists for the most basic of things, like washing your hands, making sure your surgical tools are clean, etc. Imagine how much more success we could have if we simply stopped, dropped, and made sure that we were fulfilling upon all the basics in our own lives and, of course, in our creative projects.

If you really want to succeed as a game developer, than simply look to the follies and pitfalls of those who came before you, as mentioned above, and do the opposite. (Oh, and check out some of my other articles about game development. Shameless self-promotion FTW)


Dylan Russell has worked in over 10 different creative projects and as a game writer in over 5 different fan development studios.

Survival Horror: Do’s and Don’t’s (2)

As said before, there are many things that developers do in order to make up the bulk of their survival horror game. While some of these elements can work, there are ways to do them, and there are most certainly ways not to do them. You most certainly can experiment and get creative with your game as a whole, but you need to be very careful not to fall off the deep end. Here are a few elements that can be used to the developer’s advantage, but can also lead to some disastrous results.

Heavy Artillery: Do not get me wrong. There are plenty of games that give you weapons, and still maintain their stance in the survival horror world. However, the use of guns such as machine guns, gatling guns, sniper rifles, lasers, whatever they are; these are things that just do not belong. When you give your player the means to wipe out monsters with air strikes and missile launchers, that fear and dread you mean to invoke are just not there. A big bad monster comes out of nowhere. Oh, I shot him. Well that was fun, what next? These are known as action games. Do not slap the genre “survival horror” on a game and give your player a magical one-hit sword. Most of the time, it just really does not work.

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Over Complicated Puzzles: Puzzles in survival horror are quite common, in fact, they’re in just about all of the noteworthy titles. However, there comes a time whenever you need to look at your overall story and ask yourself “How long will this puzzle take?” If you’ve done your job correctly, given your player a good amount of fear factor in an area, made your haunted house nice and spooky with that subtle tinge of fright, good on you! However, putting a Myst-level puzzle in the middle of a room with which to slow their progress is highly discouraged. After a while, you lose all feeling of uneasiness in favor of confusion. That confusion can turn into boredom very quickly if you are not careful. Then your player goes off to a walkthrough of the game and that just takes them out of the experience as a whole. Was it really worth it?

 

Fast and Easy Scares: Perhaps the most used and abused element of the survival horror genre. Before terror or eeriness sets in, we are treated to a big fat monster with scary fangs going booga booga! No… just no. There is a method to this, and popping out at the very beginning to scream at your player is not the answer. These things take time to build, they need to progress slowly before you jump the gun.

 

Atmosphere: Let’s face it, if you do not have the skills to create a truly unsettling atmosphere for your player to lurk, survival horror is going to be nigh impossible. This can be done in several creative ways, some ways need very little expensive backgrounds, but at the same time, the more creative you aim, the better you should probably be with your surroundings and the more time you should spend adding just that extra tinge of subtle paint on a wall that looks like it may or may not be blood.

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The Antagonist: Perhaps one of the most important things you can get right and wrong is the main villain of the game. Dracula is a very hefty example of this, so let’s use him, shall we? Dracula has been depicted in thousands of ways, whether it be the ancient Transylvanian vampire or a new age, bleak depiction of the vampiric lord, he can be menacing, or he can be an outright joke. Say you bring him into the fray and he does his thing, but then in walks his father. The bigger, badder vampire guy with the aura of mastery will overshadow our favorite blood sucker, and then all credibility will be lost. You just killed any vibes you were aiming for in favor of a new, scary bad guy with bigger shoulder pads. Well, what about Dracula? If he’s sitting there trying to impress his daddy, why do we care?

 

Or, let’s say you go a little overboard with his villainous traits, give him that evil laugh that we all know, make him just walk in, spout out some threats and kill a kitten. Well, now we’re just sitting there saying “Okay, we get it, we want to kill you. You don’t need to rub it in!” Subtlety, that is the key to giving us a fulfilling urge to reach the goal, and it also makes us fear this guy. We need to be afraid of his fangs and his power, and once we get into that final boss battle, we can truly concentrate and wonder “Well, crap, what do I do now? I need to pay attention. OH GOD! PLEASE HAVE MERCY ON ME!”

 

Helplessness: This can be completely abused and horribly mistreated. However, when done right, it can be the kicker that makes your game truly great! If you truly feel helpless in the eyes of a terrifying entity, but have that chance of escape/victory, the urge to survive will come to you naturally. Hence the name “survival horror.” You want to survive, and thus you will play every facet of the game in order to obtain the ability to do so. Even if you are given a pistol with which to defend yourself. If that pistol does not stop the monster, though it may slow it down, the horror is heightened! “Crap! What do I do now? I need to run! Please don’t catch me!” Boom! You have just successfully upped the fear factor and made your game that much better.

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Forced Fear: Finally, it is worth talking about one thing that many games seem to fall back on as a means to invoke some sort of reaction. Do not tell the player what they are feeling. Do not have a fear meter or some random character saying “This place is so scary!” We will be the judge of that! Telling us to be scared and driving it into our heads like you’re commanding us to emote just does not work. Yes, having the character we play show how scared they are can affect us, but that is only if it is done properly. There are tones you need to set, traits you need to build upon and relationships you need to cement into us before we truly begin to feel for what they are going through. Telling us when to scream is overstepping your bounds as a game, and usually draws an opposite reaction of perpetual eye-rolling.

 

You can have a great game with amazing game mechanics at your disposal. Good on you. However, before you start labeling your genre to the capacity of Lovecraftian horror of the survival variety, make sure you at least make an effort to bring us into that mindset. It is not easy, especially if you are aiming to truly make us bite our nails. You can throw in all of the jump scares you want, but unless you get us in that dark, abysmal place in our psyches that invokes those emotions we came here for, you have failed your mission. Pay attention to what truly brings out the scares and makes us delve into that world. You will be glad you did. But first, always remember to drink water.

Survival Horror – Do’s and Don’t’s (1)

Survival horror is perhaps one of the most slippery slopes in gaming. That feeling you get when you walk into a room you have never been in. You can barely see, the shadows in the room take on forms that look ominous, the silence in the room is louder than any noise that you will ever hear, and everything is still, motionless, eerie. There is a creeping feeling in your brain that tells you that you should not be there, and the darkness begins to take its toll on your nerves. There is a sudden flash from outside the black curtains in front of the window that makes you stop in your tracks as all of the forms of the room are brought to light for a single instant, but that only makes it worse as the darkness returns. One sudden motion, and your heart can skip a beat, you begin to feel the dreading that something is watching you, something is coming for you, something is about to crawl out from underneath the furniture that is covered in white sheets and grab your ankles, pulling you into a place unknown, a shadowy place of which there is no return.

It is up to the game developers to first capture that feeling in a setting for your character, and simulate that feeling of absolute helplessness. Do you have a weapon with which to defend yourself? Can you survive if something truly does lurk in the shadows? Well, that’s where we start to get into the true cusp of a much larger world, one that has captured the hearts of millions, but also caused some of the largest disappointments ever seen in the gaming world, rivalling that of E.T. for the Atari.

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Truly terrifying horror games are some of the most difficult things to write and develop. While there have been some terrific successes, there have also been some horrific failures that completely trounce the number of good games that are meant to invoke fear. When you step out from the middle of the trees, and get a good look at the forest for what it is, you can start to see where the successes bleed together. They have certain elements in them that are worth noting and if used properly, can truly give the player what they came to see and feel, true terror!

Horror movie fans are normally the target audience. Those people that go to the theater to see a scary film, even if chances are it is not going to be good, they are willing to risk it. These are the ones that want to take that extra step further and live in that world. They want to interact with that horror movie and be a part of it. If you can make your audience feel like that, you have won the race that is called survival horror, and you will be greatly rewarded for your efforts.

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Then there are attempts that just miss the point entirely, or do not have the means nor the know-how to truly make the player become engulfed in their dark, horrific reality. This could be from a lack of funding, a lack of skill, or just a simple lack of knowledge on the subject. Some people think it’s just as simple as shoving someone into a dark room and have people talk cryptic nonsense.

In the next article, we will go over some important items involved with making survival horror video games in detail. Stay tuned and be sure to keep an eye out.

Read Part 2, and in-depth list of features to include or not include, here: Part 2

Want to see more Game Development articles? Check out our article on Marketing your Indie Game, here!

Indie Game Marketing

It goes without saying that game development requires a lot of work. This ranges from how you will create the art and design for your game, all the way to how will you promote it once it releases. Of course, if you are an individual or a small game studio, you are likely to need an extra pair of hands when it comes to physically (and mentally) managing all of these different aspects of game development. Whether you are a small team or not, you can still have success in the game dev world.

My name is Max, creative director at MLC and I will be sharing our experience working with game studios to help market/build their games. Hopefully, our unique tips will improve your knowledge and understanding of how you can develop an incredibly successful game.

In this blog, we will focus on our most recent major project, Batch 17. We started by working on different resources to make it stand out online and look the best it could. Promotion on various platforms like Reddit was a great success, which you could even say, made the game as popular as it has become. Ultimately, when marketing a game there is one thing you need to have in your mind: There is no one way to market anything, it is all about persistence and creativity.

Persistence

Focusing on reaching the absolute maximum amount of people is very important. Set yourself a target of a potential reach of 1 million people. I know that sounds impossible, but it really isn’t too bad. There are plenty of subreddits with 80K+ people in them. Post in these subreddits, some Facebook groups, make sure your Twitter is buzzing and you will be well on your way. Even targeting smaller communities is effective. For example, letting a streamer with 1k followers have access to your game could end up being well worth your time and effort.

Creativity

It is important to think of new ideas to help reach that goal of 1 million people. It just isn’t enough to post your game on sites saying “Hey check out this cool game I made, it has guns and shit!”. That’s far too common. Think about what a player might be thinking. For Batch 17, we got our major success when we posted about our upcoming free alpha. Our Twitter was well organized and constantly posting, so people found it and were interested. I woke up one morning and we had been put on Metacritic, a blog had been written about our alpha and we had 400 sign-ups. Now their mailing list has 11,000 members!

What is important to learn from this is: target your audience like you would want to be targeted. Don’t assume someone wants to play your game, in fact, assume they don’t. It’s all about saying “hey look at me”, so draw attention to yourself using a great hook and kicker (great blog post about hook and kicker). Make a kickass trailer (or ask us!), run a giveaway or even partner with a Discord channel. Whatever you do, remember it’s all about that reach count. If your trailer isn’t being found and has less than 1k views, consider sending it to a channel like MathChief. Get other people involved.

 

Finally, make sure you know what you are selling. There is nothing worse than not even knowing what’s so fun about your own game. Get your ideas and stick with them. Copy and paste writing you have used on your store page, on your posts around the web (of course altering slightly). Make your game relate to what the audience wants to play – which is most likely what you want to play.

Get in touch

There is too much to marketing to put in one blog post. There are plenty resources online to help you learn more, but make no mistake, this is hard stuff. If you are really serious about your project it is vital you get marketing done properly. Feel free to contact me at sales@maxlouiscreative.com or message me on Discord at Max#2210 to have a chat with me 🙂

How to Make Your First Game

For just about every gamer there is in the world, there are about a half a hundred game ideas just waiting to be tapped into. If I had a dime for every time that I’ve heard one, I think I’d be rich enough to provide every cent that Rockstar needed to make GTA 6 a reality. For many, these are just ideas, but for others, these are the beginning baby steps into a long, glorious future in game design, and we here at EnomView want nothing more than to set those beginners on the right track. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:


1. Idea & Scope

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The first part of this step is simple enough: have an idea! Was there ever a game-related passion project you wanted to start on? A concept you wanted to make into something tangible? If so, then now’s the time to take that idea and practically apply it.

The second part of this step, however, is much more tricky.

>>>Think small.<<<

While you should definitely let your imagination run wild, you have to remember that this is the first time you’ve stepped up to the plate, bat at-the-ready. You shouldn’t expect your game to sell, nor should you be trying to make something comparable to AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed, The Elder Scrolls, or Call of Duty. Instead, shoot for something like a mobile app game, or one of the more simple flash games you’d find on Kongregate or Armorgames.

If you have some sort of other talents you can use, like art or writing, then by all means, use it. However, since you’ll most likely be working on this all on your own–and again–this is your first project, you’ll want to worry first and foremost about the gameplay and mechanics, not the stylization of it all. Record a basic synopsis of that idea somewhere safe and keep that synopsis handy.

There are lots of strategies to creating good mechanics, but if you want more help with those before you start or maybe just need some inspiration, then I’m going to recommend the following links:

Snoman Gaming (Quick videos going over examples of good game design in popular indie and AAA games)

GDC (Videos of lectures given by professional designers at the Game Design Con)

Extra Credits (A channel recommended to me personally by several designers who’ve been making games for years)

2. Game On

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Play games similar to the one you want to make, but don’t just mess around, analyze them. Try to break them, exploit their faults and glitches, figure out what they did right and what they did wrong. Try to look at these games not only from the perspective of a player, but a developer, and determine why the systems put in place were chosen. Use the knowledge you’ve gained and edit the information on your recorded synopsis as necessary.

3. Pick an Engine

Things weren’t this easy at this stage back in the old days, but thankfully times have changed. It’s now possible to make something that people all over the world will fall in love with and not even have to touch the code. Every one of the engines listed below has their perks. While you can truthfully use any one that you so please, certain engines will work better for certain types of games.

Gamemaker Studio 2 – Used to make games like Death’s Gambit and Undertale, Gamemaker Studio 2 is really the best all-around choice here. Platformers, RPGs, general flash games, and even 3D games can be made with GMS2. (Tutorial playlist links)

Gamesalad – Generally used for mobile app games, it’s not uncommon to see a featured download on the App Store that was made with Gamesalad. For games made to be played on a phone or tablet, Gamesalad’s where you’ll want to go. (Part 1 of Tutorial Videos)

RPG Maker – If you like old school RPGs, then you’ll love RPG Maker. If you’re making a game like The Legend of Zelda or Pokemon, then go ahead and use this one. (Tutorial Playlist) 

Unity  – Used to make 3D games like Kerbal Space Program, Rust, and Battlestar Galactica Online, Unity’s the first choice of several indie developers. It will unfortunately be the hardest on this list, and is usually only used for games with 3D models, but it should not by any means be dismissed. (Part 1 of Tutorial Videos) 

Once you’ve decided upon one such engine, play around with it. Use one of the tutorials linked above and get a feel for what you can and can’t do. Then, when you’ve got a basic feel for it…

4. Give it a Go

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Try and make it happen!

Set about with an idea that won’t take you any longer than a month, then give yourself half a months time longer to account for production errors. If you go over that month and a half-long timeframe, then it may be best to take a step back, figure out what you did wrong, and start again with something new. It’s far too easy to fall into a forever-unending development cycle, and you want to make sure that you finish your work.

When you’re done, ask a few people you know to play it, and collect feedback. Apply that feedback and make changes as necessary.

“And what about when I’m done? What do I do then?”

Start right over from the beginning, my friend, and keep making games over and over again until everyone you know is begging to play your latest release. And then, once you’ve reached that point, keep on going.


Looking for more articles like this? Check out our Game Development is Not Easy article!