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Growing Blogosphere Around Indie Game Development

Although I have been using Bloglines and RSS feeds to gather my Web news for a couple of years now, until I launched Make It Big In Games, I didn’t realize that such a vibrant game development community had sprung up in the Blogosphere. But, the link backs I have gotten to MBG in the five weeks since I launched with my first article have really opened my eyes.
Blog Link Map
Most of my feeds to Bloglines are the usual stuff, i.e. New York Times, Gizmodo (now canceled… way too much of a time waster), and Digg (I canceled Slashdot). I also had quite a few feeds from the “A-list” bloggers, but have been canceling more and more of them as I realize they have little to say, and it is just a cesspool of linkage and pimpage about “Web 2.0″ and trying to drive their traffic, Technorati, and Google rankings higher. I don’t want to hear anymore about good ‘ol Doc Searls, or Om Malik, or Jason Fried. These guys were early to the party and now their whining and attitudes have grown tiring. Besides, I’m a game developer, not a web developer.

More to the topic of this post, a great game development community is growing up where we can do our own ranting, pimping, and use our own cross links to drive up our traffic, Technorati, and Google rankings :) Here are links to some sites that are doing great game development blogs along with why I think they are great:

GrumpyGamer Ron Gilbert of Lucasarts/Monkey Island, Humongous/Freddy Fish, Putt Putt fame. I went to Ron’s site when it wasn’t really a blog, but just a website before blogs became cool. You have to read Ron’s site because he is a great writer and artist. Oh, and he has been around the industry long enough (but, I’ve been doing it longer) that he is even grumpier than me, but WAY funnier. Some day, Ron will finally realize that a LOT of people still want to play adventure games, he’ll make one, and then he can have the pleasure of running a big company again.

Phil Steinmeyer Phil used to be CEO of Pop Top Games, maker of Railroad Tycoon II and other box titles. He just released Bonnie’s Bookstore which is a big hit in all of the download portals. I have never met Phil, but I read hisblog all the time. He has great insight into the industry having been a successful non-indie as well as a successful Indie.

Poo Poo Platter Danny Ngan used to work at Dynamix, and is now a full time 3D animator at Amaze. Danny has been a big supporter of GarageGames for all of our history, and for that I sincerely thank him. Danny is my “canary in the coal mine” for blogs. His blog was the first personal and game development blog that I ever subscribed to. He is always trying out new technologies, toys, software, and techniques then writing about them. I get a lot of useful info from Danny.

Lost Garden Not sure what “Danc” the writer of this blog does, but his profile says he worked for Epic and Anark. Sometimes this blog has extremely insightful posts about the methodology behind game design. I have to admit though. Even though I have been doing game design and development for a long time (let’s see, Danc was 12 when I started), sometimes his posts go right over my head. I can’t tell if it’s because I just don’t get it or if he’s shooting a little too high (in a good way though). For instance, the post on coming up with a game design notation, similar to notes for music was intriguing, but I can’t for the life of me begin to see how this could be accomplished. Cool idea though.

GameProducer.net Juuso posts a lot about the basics of getting into the games business. His best posts are where he is compiling sales figures of Indie games. Hey, Juuso, please shorten the name of your blog so my Bloglines aggregator works. Put the “daily ideas, tips, hints…etc.” text in the blog sub title.

Jay Is Games Actually found this site from my constant surfing, RSS adventures. Jay Bibby reviews tons of small Indie and Flash games. Great writing and a kick ass site design. Well worth the trip.

Though the above blogs/sites really stand out in my mind as great resources for Indie game developers, any of the sites listed in my blogroll are worth subscribing to. A quick mention of the Bloglines blogroll Javascript is worth mentioning here. All of your RSS feeds coming in to your Bloglines feeds can be marked as private or public. You can then put a very small piece of Javascript in your blog template, and all of your public feeds will automagically be displayed on your blog margin (or where ever you put them).

-Jeff Tunnell, Game MakerMake It Big In GamesGarageGames

  • http://www.har0ld.com harold

    Thanks Jeff.

    I’d like to add some feeds that are around yours in my rss reader:

    http://www.costik.com/weblog/ Greg Costikian’s blog, Game*Design*Art*Culture

    http://www.jesperjuul.net/ludologist/ Jesper’s blog The Ludologist

    Very interesting…

  • http://www.zoombapup.com Phil Carlisle

    Jeff, me and Dan (danc) used to do little games together way back before he got his gig with Epic.

    Dan is probably the single most professional and competant game designer and artist I’ve ever known. Seriously, he is both an amazing artist (check out his gallery on his blog page) and an equally amazing designer.

    Sure, since he got his MBA he’s started trying to sell us all on “product design” :) but he definitely has thought things through that most of us just gloss over.

    I never really thought too much about blogs that way. I never found enough feeds from people that interested me. Having said that, there are some that are really worth subscribing to.

    Have you tried the guy who wrote all those mahjong games? Thomas Warfield (sp?), I think his blog was called “a shareware life” or some such?
    I just realised I didnt check that you didnt already have those.. :)

    Whats that image from btw? Some tracking thingy?

    Phil.

  • http://www.gameproducer.net Juuso – Game Producer

    Updated. Btw – now it’s your time to reply to my email, I’ve been waiting for it ;)

  • http://www.gameproducer.net Juuso – Game Producer

    P.S. the trackback seems to be out of order…

  • Pingback: GameProducer.Net » Blog Archive » GameProducer.net Statistics for February

  • http://www.addictingentertainment.com m3mnoch

    amen, jeff. both on the navel-gazing ‘a-listers’ and some healthy links for the video game world.

    one of my favorites is actually sort of an aggregator thing. it’s http://www.gameblogs.org/. sort of an easy stroll all day long through both design and mainstream (bloggy type) game sites. great resource.

    m3mnoch.

    p.s. almost forgot. i wrote up a review of marbleblast ultra on the 360. mmmmm…. butter. nice work on it, dude.
    http://m3mnoch.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/marbleblast-ultra-like-warm-butter/

  • http://forevervoyaging.blogspot.com Mike Drips

    “I don’t want to hear anymore about good ‘ol Doc Searls, or Om Malik, or Jason Fried. These guys were early to the party and now their whining and attitudes have grown tiring. Besides, I’m a game developer, not a web developer.”

    Woot! That is so on target! I am overdosed by the amount of “let’s link and backtrack to each other’s A list blog”. It makes me think of a room filled with dogs all sniffing each other’s butt.

    Well I am a big time gamer and really find your blog interesting. Yes, I do have a real life, but I still like your blog.

  • http://www.johngreenart.com John Green

    Sorry this is in a random post but your comments were acting weird and I couldn’t find an e-mail.

    Anyway, I just wanted to ask you to please make an updated version or sequel to PROJECT FIRESTART. ‘Twas my favorite C=64 game ever.

    And maybe another Willy Beamish game. You know, once the adventure game market picks up again.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.thosestupidgames.com Chris Capehart

    Jeff,

    Hi, I was reading through your blog today and I appreciate all of the advice. I’m new to this industry and am always looking for good advice. I recently developed an online flash game site. It is different from most in that it is basically making fun of the myspace banner ad games. The thought is to make funny, simple games that are addicting. I would appreciate it if you would check it out and would love to hear any feedback you may have. Thanks. The site is http://www.thosestupidgames.com

    Chris