Game development: reading up

NAG may be your bread and butter for gaming news, but how do you find out about game development? I’m not just talking about those slice-of-heaven tutorials and handy beginner guides written by handsome NAG devils: I’m looking at interviews, indie game reviews, postmortems, industry analysis, and chocolate cake recipes.

I’m talking about being a well-read game developer.

“But wait!” you cry. “Are you not the be-all and end-all dispenser of ultimate wisdom (at least according to your own column)? I wanted to use X game development kit, so I’ve read up on the X tutorial. What else would I need?”

Quite a bit, actually, if you want to take game development seriously. And you can never start too early. Let’s have a look at just three examples:

Killer feature: Member blogs
Gamasutra is one of the first stops on the Internet for a game development enthusiast . Although it has quite a lot of content, one of the sections that I would wholeheartedly recommend for newbies is the recently-established blog section. Blogs can be started up by anybody who has signed up with Gamasutra (even you, you shy little bugger!) and represent a mixture of hobbyists and industry professionals who are all sharing their opinions on a daily basis. This is your chance to get to know what other people think about game development, and whether or not your own thoughts are on the right track.

Killer feature: Indie game reviews
The IndieGames blog is a very popular news stop for a lot of indie game developers, but what I find particularly useful about it is its daily pick of freeware and browser-based indie games. I cannot overstate the importance of getting out there and exploring indie games as an educational process. Try the following: pick at least one game every day from this blog, play through it and think about it afterwards. Identify at least one strength and one weakness in the product. Then eat a cake to celebrate.

Killer feature: Community
I’ve evangelised game development communities before, and I’ll say this again: TIGSource is my favourite bunch of game creators on the Internet (aside from the beloved home base at Game.Dev, of course). Not only does the TIGSource blog offer a variety of interesting insights about the game industry on a daily basis, but most of the reports stem from its very own community of eager creators, submitting announcements and newly-finished titles from within the TIGForums. Make friends and enter a community of like-minded development maniacs!

These are just a few of the many places that you can visit for more information on the game development industry. This weekly dose of NAG advice can give you a springboard, but if you want to take the art seriously, it’s definitely good to entrench yourself in loads of further reading, too. Want to find specific kinds of game development material? Leave your questions in the comment section. For now, have fun surfing!