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Best Of Member Blogs: From Isolation To Colossus

Showcasing highlights from Gamasutra's Member Blogs and comments, we hand out lifetime Game Developer magazine subscriptions to posts on isolation and writers as designers.
In our weekly Best of Member Blogs & Comments column, we showcase notable pieces of writing from members of the game community who maintain Member Blogs on Gamasutra, or post responses to them. Member Blogs can be maintained by any registered Gamasutra user, while invitation-only Expert Blogs -- also highlighted weekly -- are written by selected development professionals. Our favorite blog post of the week will earn its authors a lifetime subscription to Gamasutra's sister publication, Game Developer magazine. Similarly, we will choose one blog comment, responding to either a Member or Expert post, and its writer will also receive a lifetime subscription. (All magazine recipients outside of the United States or Canada will receive lifetime electronic subscriptions.) We hope that our blog sections can provide useful and interesting viewpoints on our industry. For more information, check out the official posting guidelines. This Week's Standout Member Blogs - Introduction to Shaders (Atul Sharma) Due to their incredible versatility, shaders have become a ubiquitous part of game development as well as all other branches of visual computing. In this very readable and heavily-illustrated piece, Ubisoft India developer Atul Sharma presents a handy primer on shaders, covering the fundamentals of how they work as well as their basic components: color, incandescence, specularity, and reflectivity. For his effort, Atul will receive a lifetime subscription to Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine. - Drawing Out the Fencer: A Design's Evolution (Ron Newcomb) As Ron Newcomb points out, postmortems generally deal with broad issues and team-wide or discipline-wide snags. Here, by contrast, he presents part one of an examination of the specific design choices that plagued a project inspired by fencing lessons -- ending with quite the cliffhanger. - Anticipation in Games (Christiaan Moleman) In the years since its release, Team Ico's Shadow of the Colossus has been discussed in great depth with respect to its scale, its design minimalism, its atmosphere, and so on. But here, animator Christiaan Moleman proposes that not enough attention has been paid to how it manages player anticipation. - Games as Experiences; Or: Why I'm In Love With Rez (Adam Bishop) Fantasy fulfillment is a frequently-cited goal of video games, and one the medium does better than most -- but the experiences they provide, let's face it, tend to be from a fairly specific list. In this piece, Adam Bishop looks at acclaimed classic Rez from an experiential standpoint rather than as a piece of explicit escapism or synaesthesia. - Journeying Through the Apocalypse: The Use of Isolation in Fallout 3 (Sumantra Lahiri) Bethesda's Fallout 3 is a lonely game. And while it's certainly not the first lonely game, freelance writer Sumantra Lahiri argues that it integrates a sense isolation into its core experience better than any game to date -- and that sense is all the more increased by the inclusion of potential companionship. This Week's Standout Blog Comment - Jacek Wesołowski on Adam Volk's The Case for Writers as Game Designers This week's highlighted blog comment comes from Jacek Wesołowski, responding to Expert Blogger Adam Volk's post about writer-designers, a role once fairly common but becoming increasingly less so. Wesołowski replied with a general sense of agreement, but argued even more broadly for generalists in leading development roles, pointing out that "interdisciplinary teams are useless if members cannot understand each other."

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