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Gamasutra Expert Blogs: From Indie Un-Innovation To Dwarf Horses

In the latest highlights from Gamasutra's Expert Blogs, industry notables argue that indies don't have to be supremely innovative to be successful, with pictures of insanely cute dwarf horses rei
In our weekly Best of Expert Blogs column, we showcase notable pieces of writing from members of the game development community who maintain Expert Blogs on Gamasutra. Member Blogs -- also highlighted weekly -- can be maintained by any registered Gamasutra user, while the invitation-only Expert Blogs are written by development professionals with a wealth of experience to share. We hope that both sections can provide useful and interesting viewpoints on our industry. For more information about the blogs, check out the official posting guidelines. In this set of highlights, industry notables argue that indies don't have to be supremely innovative to be successful, with pictures of insanely cute dwarf horses reinforcing the point. This Week's Standout Expert Blogs A Theory Of Cuteness Ian Bogost Video game academic Dr. Ian Bogost takes a succinct look at the idea of what we consider "cute". Japan's idea of cuteness proliferates gaming, and is mainly based on appearance (those big shiny anime eyes, for example), but a "Western" version of cuteness might be more about behavior. What makes things like a miniature dwarf horse so intensely cute? Not Against Indie Innovation, But... Imre Chroncsik Imre Chroncsik argues that indie developers don't necessarily have to chase innovation in order to be successful. Using the tower defense game FieldRunners and the platformer Cave Story as examples, he explains that an indie can polish and improve upon a proven mechanic to great success. Startups Unite! Dan Goodman Dan Goodman with consultancy firm Robotic Arm points out how addressable markets for small startup companies are becoming increasingly crowded and competitive. Maybe the answer is a modular strategy that has various startups of various expertise combine into a Voltron-like entity? Strength in numbers... What I Would Tell The FCC About Games Steve Augustino The Federal Communications Commission needs to develop a National Broadband Plan by 2010. Telecommunications lawyer Steve Augustino shows how game industry professionals can play a direct role in shaping this plan through the attendance of important upcoming workshops. Here's what you should say if you attend... Improving Gameplay Testing In The Console Game Industry Travis Johnston Online PC games have the advantage of robust, pre-alpha play-tests that give developers helpful feedback on a large scale. Airtight Games lead programmer Travis Johnston says the console manufacturers have the same large-scale play-test capabilities with services like Xbox Live, but developer access is limited. There must be a better way than the free pizza party/bring-your-gamer-friend-to-our-play-test method of gameplay testing, he says.

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