The December 2008 issue of Game Developer
magazine, the sister print publication to Gamasutra and the leading U.S. trade publication for the video game industry, has shipped to print/digital subscribers and is available from the Game Developer Digital service
in both subscription and single-issue
The cover feature for the issue is a fascinating compilation of excerpts from Game Developer
postmortems spanning the current generation. The piece highlights some of the most commonly-cited stumbling points that crop up during development, accompanied by illustrative recollections from industry professionals.
Examples include communication problems, overambitious scope, outsourcing, and crunching, and cited studios include Harmonix, 2K Boston, Square Enix, Insomniac, and more:
"Over the years, postmortems start to echo each other. The same problems are encountered, and fixed, or dealt with. Here, we've compiled the 10 most common difficulties of the last three years for your reading (and cringing) pleasure. Just as the Salary Survey is intended to be saved in the face of your boss come raise time (or to hide if you're paid more than the average), this feature should hopefully go part of the way toward fixing some common development missteps."
Also featured this month is a separate full exclusive postmortem of Twisted Pixel's Xbox Live Arcade action/adventure game The Maw
, written by CTO and co-founder Frank Wilson and introduced as follows:
"Twisted Pixel went from an under-construction warehouse to a urologist's office during the development of The Maw, and lived to tell the tale. Here, the author discusses the difficulty of Lua and Luabind memory allocations and XML load times, not to mention the difficulty of greenlighting a new project to begin with."
Former Sega designer and co-creator of Sonic the Hedghog
Yuji Naka spoke about his past and future in a two-page interview -- touching on his ideas about game design as well as why he left Sega:
"Yuji Naka was once one of the biggest names in Japanese game creators, as the man beind Sonic the Hedgehog. Since his era of prominence, Naka has made a purposeful shift from manager back to creator, and is now launching a series of simple, easy-to-play games for the Wii. In this interview, conducted at the recent Tokyo Game Show, we discussed his new company Prope, as well as his latest work, Let's Tap, which doesn't even require the players to touch the controller."
Finally, our regular columnists contribute pieces on numerous areas of game development: Bungie's Steve Theodore on consolidation in the tools market, Power of Two's Noel Llopis on data alignment, BioWare's Damion Schubert on writing design documents, and LucasArts' Jesse Harlin on compressing audio for iPhone. As usual, Matthew Wasteland contributes his monthly humor column.
Worldwide paper-based subscriptions to Game Developer magazine are currently available
at the official magazine website
, and the Game Developer Digital version of the issue is also now available
, with the site offering six months' and a year's subscriptions
, alongside access to back issues and PDF downloads of all issues, all for a reduced price. There is now also an opportunity to buy the digital version of December 2008's magazine as a single issue