All posts tagged industry

The Industry, the Union, and the Strike

“We spent 19 months trying to come to an agreement on this contract. That’s the longest negotiation in SAG-AFTRA’s history. We did not take going on strike lightly. We really tried to compromise and come up with an agreement that would be fair. But after 19 months of not being able to put safer working conditions in the contract and being unable to share in the prosperity of wildly successful Read More...

Over the past few days, my constant No Man’s Sky ramblings on Twitter have led to a number of interviews from domestic and international press about the game. One thing that really caught me off-guard was just how hard it is to pitch No Man’s Sky. I decided to spend some time today looking at Hello Games’ pitch for No Man’s Sky, and came away rather impressed at the care Read More...

No Man’s Sky didn’t send out review builds because the game wasn’t done. No Man’s Sky gets leaked by resellers breaking street date. Polygon, Kotaku, and numerous streamers obtain a copy before release date and play it. No Man’s Sky developer and the platform holder both say the game isn’t final. No Man’s Sky developers shows changelist for the Day 1 patch to stop this nonsensical discussion about a build that Read More...

Last week, I visited Tel Aviv to speak at GameIS, an independent games event run by a group of indies and volunteers from the Israeli games industry. It was a phenomenal event, filled with inspiring, aspiring and creative individuals. The event felt vibrant, and was full of interesting projects. Given my political views in favor of a Palestinian state, and my heritage as an Egyptian Arab, I was not surprised Read More...

One of the most interesting conversations happening in games right now is the controversy surrounding Fire Emblem: Fates, a Nintendo game in the popular Fire Emblem series. While the game originally launched in Japanese markets in June 2015, the US version of the game came out today (as of this writing, there is no mention of a EU release date), and it’s already one of the most controversial launches in Read More...

If you’re working on a creative project with multiple people, think about your essence statement. An essence statement is a single sentence that explain the core value and purpose of your product. It is not used for external communication like a product pitch is, but is mostly for internal communication in the team. It doesn’t describe the mechanics or aesthetics as much as it discusses what the goal of the project is Read More...

For work on the PlayStation build of Nuclear Throne, I need access to a PlayStation 4 devkit, a physical device much like a modified PlayStation. There’s one set up at our office, and I’ve ensured I can access it from anywhere through the internet via a VPN connection, which (simplified) makes a computer from anywhere in the world pretend it’s connected to the PlayStation devkit directly. Sadly, my VPN connection from Read More...

I spent some time today guest lecturing at USC, and one of the most common pitching errors I come across is the idea that you have to primarily pitch mechanics. Sure, you can pitch what the player does in the game, but that is far less important than what that makes the player feel or achieve. Think about that when writing your pitch, and avoid the usual hyperbole, quantifiers, numbers, Read More...

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the Dunning-Kruger curve before, the psychological effect of illusionary superiority by relatively unskilled people. I usually discuss the effect in terms of imposter syndrome, but that’s just one of the many implications of this simple law. Another implication of the curve is that if you place a lot of relatively unskilled people together, you create an environment in which a lot of information is exchanged as being Read More...

We were a bit late with preparation for the PAX South booth again, so the night before the event mostly involved racing around the San Antonio periphery visiting Best Buy and Target. Things went really well, and I quickly found a bunch of cheap televisions and computers, table cloth and power strips – but one thing I couldn’t find was chairs. Target’s entirely chair isle consisted of chairs as expensive Read More...

IndieBox made a Nuclear Throne box. It’s an amazing little box, and we actually waived our part of the box profit so the box could be even cooler than their normal efforts – which are already magnificent. The reason we did that is because we love physical stuff. It’s exciting to see merchandise become such a common thing in independent games, and to see the idea of physical editions come Read More...

The notion of player entitlement is a common one in the industry, and rather often an applicable one. The industry has often failed to inform the audience of the effort a lot of things take, and presented itself as flawless and perfect. That created unreasonable expectations, and aggressiveness was considered part of the culture – all of that inevitably led to disproportionately aggressive responses to balance changes, and other forms of Read More...

One of the things that hurt me most throughout my career in games was my complete inability to rest when I needed it. It’s a discussion that came up a bit when Witness developer Jonathan Blow posted a rather curious joke tweet, seemingly implying that he’d been working so hard he never had opportunity to leave his desk. Whether it’s truth, or an unfortunate joke isn’t extremely relevant – but Read More...

Polygon wrote an article on what I feel is one of the most common and underdiscussed topic in creative work: imposter syndrome. I’ve talked about my own extensively, and discussed how I believe it fits into the Donning-Kruger curve. While there is no right or wrong way to feel when it comes to making creative work, it can be helpful to understand some very common feelings aren’t discussed out of fear of Read More...

As of this writing, Steamspy reports the lovely OXENFREE has sold about 6,500 units in it’s first week or so. That’s a solid start, considering that recently most games made within what I’d estimate to be the $100K-$250K budget range have launched at around 2,000 units. 2,000 units isn’t bad, considering these games tend to sell between $8 and $20 – which is a revenue of about $25K. It’s not a Read More...

It sure would be a shame if something happened to your dreams of becoming a game dev.

As a frequent public speaker in the games industry, I recently had the honor of presenting at the lovely XOXO Festival in Portland. As a game developer that cares a great deal about the economical and technological democratizing game development, I tend to speak about the practicalities of the creative process and the commercial aspects of game development. XOXO’s venue challenged me to speak about something more personal, so while Read More...

The wonderful discussion around the IGF and the Game Developers Conference initiatives around scholarships for international visitors made the part of me that deeply cares about emergent territories a bit wary: the costs of visiting GDC are often trivialized, which tends to neglect the very real issues the EEMEA territories (Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa), South America and Asia have in attending the largest industry event in the world. Since these things also affect Read More...

Since I started receiving over a few hundred of them a day, I created a number of rules for handling e-mail. There is no perfect system, and while some of these self-imposed rules sound harsh, After experimenting a lot, I’ve found them to lead to my highest volume of e-mails answered in a qualitative way. My main rule for handling e-mails: try to avoid writing e-mails longer than three sentences. I have three rules Read More...

Over at my ask.fm, I received the following question: How does one sad IHOP? Sad IHOP is a tradition I’ve tried to keep over the past few years of conference-hopping, which I’ll start on again in less than 9 hours. The idea is really simple: conferences are full of life, people, interesting ideas, thoughts, inspiration, chaos and just all-around good things. One of my conference rules is to try and Read More...