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Game Developer Help List rallies industry vets to aid rookie devs

One developer put out a call on Twitter for experienced game-makers willing to make themselves available to help up-and-coming developers make their games. The response was so big, it broke Google.

Alex Wawro, Contributor

December 18, 2013

3 Min Read

Zoe Quinn makes games, and she wants to help other people make games too. So on Monday night she put out a call on Twitter for established game developers willing to answer questions from folks who are just starting out, then created a shared Google spreadsheet where they could leave their contact info as well as what they felt qualified to give advice about -- everything from ActionScript programming to tips on building a business plan. She called it the Game Developer Help List. The outpouring of support from the developer community was so large, Google interpreted it as a potential DDoS attack and temporarily blocked access to the list. “It blew up, and we broke Google,” says Quinn, in an interview with Gamasutra. “That was pretty cool.” Eventually the traffic died down and the spreadsheet became widely accessible again, but by that point over a hundred developers had already added themselves to the list. It's a diverse roster, incorporating folks from all sectors of the industry who have helped ship a wide variety of games -- from Skyrim to Ridiculous Fishing. “It’s really cool how supportive the indie community can be at times like this,” said Quinn. “There’s probably 220-250 developers in there right now, and that’s just the people who could get through without getting sick of it breaking constantly.”

Right now there are over 260 developers on the list, along with a separate tab for members of the press who want to share information that rookie developers and upstart studios might find useful -- contact info, who they write for and what types of games they prefer to cover, that sort of thing. Given that many developers seek help in figuring out how to best approach the press, inviting journalists into the project seems like a canny addition. The original spreadsheet is still being updated via Google Docs, but Quinn hopes to eventually migrate all that information into a searchable database that can be hosted in a more permanent fashion. “I’m working on a site called gamesareforeveryone.com, and I think we’re going to host [the help list] somewhere and we’ll redirect to it with that,” says Quinn. “Gamesareforeveryone.com is a thing I’ve sort of been working towards, to provide stuff like this for new people. Pixel Prospector does a great job of it too, so I also want to point people towards that,” says Quinn. “Sort of a thing that says ‘Hey, you’re probably one of the people who asked me a question about getting started in game development; here’s everything I could think of to give you in one really cool place that, hopefully, makes it easy to find useful stuff.” The whole project is still coming together, so we'll keep you updated if/when the Help List finds a more permanent home. In the meantime, there are plenty of additional resources for budding game developers looking to get into the industry that are worth bookmarking -- from the aforementioned PixelProspector to HobbyGameDev and Gamasutra's own sibling site, GameCareerGuide.

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