The September 2010 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 and digital subscribers and is available from the Game Developer Digital service
in both subscription and single-issue
This issue's exclusive postmortem looks at the creation of Raven Software’s Singularity
. During development, the Singularity
team experimented with a third-person perspective for the game but ultimately decided to return to a first-person shooter design:
"The first-person camera returned the focus of the game back to the TMD (Time Manipulation Device), instead of on the main character. We figured that the best way to use our limited development time was to reduce our scope and depth while achieving higher quality.
We stopped spending time trying to perfect a third person camera or a main character with a full set of interactive animations.
Instead, we put our efforts into presenting the TMD as our main character, and put more attention and detail to time-manipulating dynamic objects and enemies, environmental time shifts, and creating a completely immersive environment to bring the setting and back story of
Singularity to life."
Also in this issue is Lin Luo’s proposed server architecture that aims to bring 256 or more players into a persistent first-person shooter MMO. While traditional MMOs can host thousands of players at once, the technical requirements of an FPS are quite different:
"In a real-time game server system, we have to avoid any lengthy iteration logic inside each tick of the game update loop. Furthermore, when the number of connected clients grows, the server-side outgoing bandwidth requirement grows proportionally. So as the number of clients increases, the server tick rate will drop proportionally while the bandwidth requirement expands proportionally.
At some point, when the synchronization frequency drops below an acceptable figure for each client to maintain a reasonably real-time gameplay update, we have to stop adding more clients to the game session. That’s why most of the real-time multiplayer FPS games have a maximum number of players (64 is the largest number to date) that can be supported in one game session."
The September issue also features a look at player metrics gathering from Google developer advocate and Replica Island
creator Chris Pruett:
"I started with just two events: player death and level completion. Each time a player dies or completes a level, the game reports that event to the server. From this data, I was able to construct a pretty detailed overview of the game flow. I could see which levels took the longest, which had the most deaths, and which were unusually short.
By dividing my values by the number of unique players, I could also see what percentage of players died on certain levels, and the average number of deaths for each player. By looking at the spatial location of the event, I could tell the difference between a death from an enemy and a death from a pit. As a first-pass implementation, my simple metrics system proved to be pretty detailed."
In addition, our regular columnists and special guests including Steve Theodore, Soren Johnson, Vincent Diamante, and Matthew Wasteland contribute detailed and important pieces on various areas of game development.
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 September 2010's magazine as a single issue