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Russell's Quarterly # 5 [jan. 09]: Smb


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#1 tomrussell

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 05:44 AM

For several months now I've been working on the premiere edition of Russell's Quarterly, a magazine devoted to the art and appreciation of video games. While the magazine covers all areas of the art form, I think it is of special interest to members of the Game Maker community, as four of the five reviews at the end of the magazine are of Game Maker games.

The Game Maker games reviewed are: Hunter's Island, Fedora Spade, Death Worm, and Shush.

Also present in this first issue is a discussion of power-ups and a spotlight on the classic Nintendo platformer M. C. Kids.

But, like I said, the reason why I'm starting this thread are the reviews of Game Maker games. Future issues will also heavily lean towards Game Maker creations in the reviews section, and I am more than happy to do reviews by request.

Here are the download links:

Issue 1: M. C. Kids
Articles: Power-Ups, Purposeful and Arbitrary Difficulty
Reviews: Hunter's Island, Fedora Spade, Death Worm, NetHack, Shush
Download

Issue 2: The Problem with RPGs
Articles: Mimetic and Non-Mimetic Elements
Reviews: Wolf, Albero and the Great Blue Emblem, Shotgun Ninja
Download

Issue 3: "God" Games
Articles: Controls, My Wife Asked Me to Write This, DAVID SIRLIN'S Rethinking Story Games
Reviews: Immortal Defense, The Power, Viking Bazooka Bloodbath, Elements of Escape
Fiction: Paper Games by August Poole
Download

Issue 4: Boss Battles
Articles: High Concept, Common Narratives in Non-Narrative Games, Promoting Systemically Cohesive Variety
Reviews: Cactus Game Arcade, Lost in the Desert, agalaG
Fiction: Three Button Combo by Daphne Whitaker
Download

Issue 5: Super Mario Bros.
Articles: Chance vs. Skill, Sprite Substance, PAUL ERES'S Miyamoto's Framework
Reviews: Pinball Panda, Alternate Path
Special Comment: Gaming with One Hand by Peter Jurich
Download

BlackMage/NightmareLink is giving Tom and the Quarterly some webspace over at Dopterra.com: here.

And thanks most of all those who give me their feedback and comments. That's what's going to keep me doing this, however long I keep doing it.

(It would be a bit easier if I could find some other writers, hint-hint. ;-) )

Thanks, everybody! Enjoy!

Podcasts | Website | Elite Indie

Enjoy!

Edited by tomrussell, 16 January 2009 - 12:01 AM.

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#2 JTR

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 06:03 PM

Awesome mag! Really interesting articles. Even a NetHack review! Quality stuff.
Thanks for the DW review, I liked it!
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#3 pgg

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:26 AM

Amazing magazine. Simple design. Quality writing.
Can't believe there has been so little response to it here.
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#4 King Killa

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:29 AM

I lol'ed when I read the part of your post that said "The Classic Nintendo Platformer Mc Kids".

Anyway, I'll download, and read soon, and edit this with my "review"!

EDIT: A good, simple layout, making it easy for the reader. Plenty of content - quality content at that - to keep the reader entertained. Good job.

Edited by King Killa, 17 February 2008 - 10:46 AM.

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#5 Nailog

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 05:11 PM

That was certainly worth reading. You get extra points for interviewing the guys behind MC Kids.

Thank you for deciding to strike out on your own, not submitting articles to other "established magazines". You created a straight-to-the-point, professionally written document filled to the brim with useful information on game design. Information users here (myself included) should take to heart.
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#6 tomrussell

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 05:46 PM

Awesome mag! Really interesting articles. Even a NetHack review! Quality stuff.
Thanks for the DW review, I liked it!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If you enjoyed the magazine a tenth as much as I enjoyed Death Worm, I feel that I've done my job.

Amazing magazine.  Simple design.  Quality writing.
Can't believe there has been so little response to it here.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thank you very much for the kind words. As for the responses, well, it's been downloaded by over a hundred people-- a first for me-- and I'd like to think that they're all still reading it. :-) After all, it is over seventy pages, and they're text-heavy pages at that.

Maybe I'll be getting more feedback after people have had enough time to process it. I dunno.

But I surely do appreciate all the love I've been getting in these comments from everyone.

I lol'ed when I read the part of your post that said "The Classic Nintendo Platformer Mc Kids".

Anyway, I'll download, and read soon, and edit this with my "review"!

EDIT: A good, simple layout, making it easy for the reader. Plenty of content - quality content at that - to keep the reader entertained. Good job.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thank you! I'm glad you were entertained. Persons elsewhere have said it's a bit too stuffy or scholarly-- which it very well may be, it's certainly a valid complaint-- but I'm very pleased to hear that you found it entertaining.

That was certainly worth reading.  You get extra points for interviewing the guys behind MC Kids.

Thank you for deciding to strike out on your own, not submitting articles to other "established magazines".  You created a straight-to-the-point, professionally written document filled to the brim with useful information on game design.  Information users here (myself included) should take to heart.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thank you very much! I'm going to use that quote over on my webpage, I think!
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#7 RoboBOT

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 07:10 PM

I have to admit that at first I thought this was just another poorly executed attempt at a Game Maker magazine, but now I'm glad that I gave it a chance and actually downloaded it.

The first thing I noticed is that this magazine uses proper grammar, correct spelling, and appropriate writing style. THANK YOU (seriously).

Secondly, I found the content to be excellent. You obviously have a sophisticated understanding of game design, and your Power-ups article was extremely interesting and insightful.

My only recommendation is to shorten your articles a bit (maybe provide fewer in-depth examples). I was interested, but my attention starting waning after several pages of the same article.

I look forward to next quarter's issue!

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#8 anonymouss

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 08:05 PM

Well, I figure I could basically rewrite what RoboBOT said, or I can just say that that is exactly what I was going to say. <_<

However, Quarterly means every Quarter year. Is that really how un-often you plan on releasing it?
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#9 King Killa

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 09:38 PM

I lol'ed when I read the part of your post that said "The Classic Nintendo Platformer Mc Kids".

Anyway, I'll download, and read soon, and edit this with my "review"!

EDIT: A good, simple layout, making it easy for the reader. Plenty of content - quality content at that - to keep the reader entertained. Good job.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thank you! I'm glad you were entertained. Persons elsewhere have said it's a bit too stuffy or scholarly-- which it very well may be, it's certainly a valid complaint-- but I'm very pleased to hear that you found it entertaining.

Maybe so. Or maybe those other people can't be bothered reading that much, in-depth information, so they look for an excuse <_<

Can't wait to see the next issue - hopefully as informative and in-depth as this first issue.
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#10 Wirodeu

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 09:51 PM

To be honest, I tried reading it, but I soon found myself skipping everything untill the parts with the screenshots, the layout seemed better there, and I read some bits of it.
How good the content might be, if its not possible to read it in a relaxed and easy way, then I'm not going to read, sorry.

So please work on the layout, re-release the same issue with the same content, but with a better layout. <_<
Also spicing up your first post will earn you a whole lot of more views :D
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#11 tomrussell

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 09:56 PM

I have to admit that at first I thought this was just another poorly executed attempt at a Game Maker magazine, but now I'm glad that I gave it a chance and actually downloaded it.

The first thing I noticed is that this magazine uses proper grammar, correct spelling, and appropriate writing style. THANK YOU (seriously).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You're extremely welcome. <_<

Secondly, I found the content to be excellent. You obviously have a sophisticated understanding of game design, and your Power-ups article was extremely interesting and insightful.

My only recommendation is to shorten your articles a bit (maybe provide fewer in-depth examples). I was interested, but my attention starting waning after several pages of the same article.

I look forward to next quarter's issue!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thank you, and you may be right about the article length. I sometimes strive to present too complete of a thought and I need to work on being slightly more concise.

Well, I figure I could basically rewrite what RoboBOT said, or I can just say that that is exactly what I was going to say. :D

However, Quarterly means every Quarter year. Is that really how un-often you plan on releasing it?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'm afraid so. With my weekly reviews and my own short fiction over at the usenet newsgroup rec.arts.comics.creative, filmmaking, my own game design and spending time with my adoring family, I don't have the time to make it a monthly or bimonthly at this time.

This also ensures that I have plenty of time to get an issue into shape and to ensure it's a quality publication. A monthly schedule, for example, might end up rushing things and the quality would suffer.

To be honest, I tried reading it, but I soon found myself skipping everything untill the parts with the screenshots, the layout seemed better there, and I read some bits of it.
How good the content might be, if its not possible to read it in a relaxed and easy way, then I'm not going to read, sorry.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Sorry to hear that. I was going for more of a substance-over-style approach, and I know that might turn off some readers. Ah well.

==Tom

Edited by tomrussell, 17 February 2008 - 09:59 PM.

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#12 Wirodeu

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:05 PM

My last post actually only contained my complaint, lets give a suggestion too.

Try not to focus all screenshots on one page, or a set of pages.
Spread them evenly, and that way you can keep the readers interested all along.

Also try to use a better to read font, it hurts my eyes ._.
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#13 blobstah

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:25 PM

it wont open for me it says its corrupted or not supported...
EDIT: i just had to get the new version of adobe reader GREAT magazine nice design and great articles.

Edited by blobstah, 17 February 2008 - 10:34 PM.

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#14 Kapser

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 12:31 AM

I didn't read all but it's a nice magazine, keep it up!
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#15 anonymouss

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 12:36 AM

...Lots of stuf...

Well, I figure I could basically rewrite what RoboBOT said, or I can just say that that is exactly what I was going to say. :D

However, Quarterly means every Quarter year. Is that really how un-often you plan on releasing it?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'm afraid so. With my weekly reviews and my own short fiction over at the usenet newsgroup rec.arts.comics.creative, filmmaking, my own game design and spending time with my adoring family, I don't have the time to make it a monthly or bimonthly at this time.

This also ensures that I have plenty of time to get an issue into shape and to ensure it's a quality publication. A monthly schedule, for example, might end up rushing things and the quality would suffer.
...Lots of stuff...
==Tom

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, couldn't you just release it unscheduled? Like, whenever you feel the magazine is good enough, just send it out?
Or you could always make a website where you release your articles early <_<
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#16 Jeggi

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 01:21 AM

Very nice magazine indeed. It's really nice that you dig deep into a single subject. I'm not done reading yet, but I am already looking forward to the next issue, so I can read a bit about the problems with RPGs.

Oh.. Big thumbs up for the amount of time(Or just writing skills) you used on the language and grammar. It really adds to the reading pleasure.

- Jeggi
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#17 Tepi

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:46 PM

I kind of fell into the same pit as wirodeu. pure black on white pages and pages on is not the most interesting thing you know. despite that, the writing is very professional , the content is very interesting and you have good points with what you're saying. keep it up! <_<
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#18 Andy

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 01:58 AM

Very nice mag you have here, keep up the nice work! :(
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#19 tomrussell

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 07:50 AM

[Well, couldn't you just release it unscheduled? Like, whenever you feel the magazine is good enough, just send it out?
Or you could always make a website where you release your articles early :(

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I actually like using magazine style layouts-- the two columns of black Baskerville text on white with a few pictures. It makes it easier to read, to follow, and to find one's place again than a website or blog with one long continuous scroll.

I generally try to print things up if I'm going to read them, as being on the computer reading for too long hurts my eyes. This PDF approach should make it easier for others who want to follow suit, though I'd suggest that they skip printing up the two cover pages, as that might exhast their black ink supply.

I'm going to stay away from the white-text-on-blown-up-background picture technique I used for part of the M. C. Kids piece-- it didn't work out nearly as well as I thought it would and that, too, would be difficult to print.

But, as to the scheduling-- having a schedule, even a quarterly one, is more appealing and habit forming than releasing it unscheduled. An unscheduled magazine you might miss an issue if you're not looking for it, whereas with a scheduled one, you can look at the last issue and determine about when to expect its successor.
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#20 rinkuhero

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 02:23 PM

You're a pretty good writer (even if I don't agree with everything you write), and it was an entertaining read, good work.

Nice review of Fedora Spade too -- one note is that the third episode (you reviewed the first two only there) does have a lot of red herrings and diversions, which you mention in the review. I agree with you also about the idea of having multiple ways to prove something with different pieces of evidence, but Hardi seems to think that'd be a lot of work or some such (it would multiply by several factors the amount of writing you need to make a game of similar play time) -- but my own Tomato Engine game (New Detail, which is still in production) is much more non-linear, and not about detectives, which I agree is kinda inherently linear.

If you still have room doing reviews on request, you could look at some of our other games (Immortal Defense, Alphasix, etc.) -- links in my signature.

Or, since you're doing RPGs, Sword of Jade, at http://studioeres.com/games/jade

Edited by rinkuhero, 22 February 2008 - 02:26 PM.

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#21 F1ak3r

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 03:36 PM

Wow. Fantastic magazine. I read it cover-to-cover, which is not something I do with all magazines. Great job!

Your article on powerups had a very interesting ubuntu (I am, because you are) concept.

The one on MC Kids was also a good read. That must be a great game!

Your review of Hunter's Island inspired me to try the game again, as I didn't like it the first time. And I'm quite enjoying it.

The Fedora Spade review was very insightful. I really gained from it, seeing as I'm working on an adventure game myself. I'm thinking that your "all roads lead to Rome" (multiple paths, one ending) might work for my game. Thanks for the idea.

Anyway, great magazine! Can't wait for the next one!
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#22 erthgy

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 05:04 PM

As a writer to Mark up magazine, I do have to say that even though you are sort of our competition (not directly but sort of), I am indeed impressed.
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#23 tomrussell

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:31 AM

Wow. Fantastic magazine. I read it cover-to-cover, which is not something I do with all magazines. Great job!

Your article on powerups had a very interesting ubuntu (I am, because you are) concept.

The one on MC Kids was also a good read. That must be a great game!

Your review of Hunter's Island inspired me to try the game again, as I didn't like it the first time. And I'm quite enjoying it.

The Fedora Spade review was very insightful. I really gained from it, seeing as I'm working on an adventure game myself. I'm thinking that your "all roads lead to Rome" (multiple paths, one ending) might work for my game. Thanks for the idea.

Anyway, great magazine! Can't wait for the next one!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'm glad that I was of some assistance, and that I got you to give Hunter's Island a second look. Thank you very much for the kind words.

As a writer to Mark up magazine, I do have to say that even though you are sort of our competition (not directly but sort of), I am indeed impressed.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well...

Because of my quarterly, I've actually been asked by GM Tech to contribute short articles on a monthly basis, and have accepted. My first piece should appear in their twelfth issue. So, in a way, I guess I am your competition. :-)

But thank you very much for the awfully kind words, and also for your high-quality magazine.

==Tom
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#24 erthgy

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:48 PM

But thank you very much for the awfully kind words, and also for your high-quality magazine.

==Tom

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You too friend :(

Edited by erthgy, 29 February 2008 - 01:48 PM.

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#25 tomrussell

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:45 PM

Issue 2 of Russell's Quarterly is now available. This issue's cover feature, "The Problem With RPGs", is comprised of a brief discussion of the classic role-playing video game and game design.

There are three reviews in this issue, all of games made with Game Maker: Wolf, Albero and the Great Blue Emblem, and Shotgun Ninja. Our summer issue will feature a review of Immortal Defense, among others.

As always, we are willing to do reviews by request. Do you feel that you've made a solid game that's been ignored? Drop us a line, and we'll see if a review might not raise its profile. Be warned, though-- we can't promise that a review will be complementary any more than we can promise that the reviewer will stay on topic. But if you're willing to take that risk, then we'd be happy to help you.

You can download our second issue here:

Download quarterly2.pdf

==Tom
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#26 Jeggi

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:49 PM

At last :ph34r:
I loved the first issue, so hopefully this will be as good !
Btw.. Any thoughts about making a "The Problem With Platform games" article ? The one about power-ups was really really good, so I would love to see one about platformers ;)
Anyways.. Time to read.

- Jeggi

Edited by Jeggi, 05 May 2008 - 10:50 PM.

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#27 Coffee

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 12:18 AM

It was...kind of boring. Pages after pages of RPG stuff and the layout was also bland; all white. Well, at least you have quite a lot of content. 4/10
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#28 anonymouss

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 12:22 AM

I'll have to print that RPG section for reading. Really in depth and intellectual, but too long to go through in one sitting.

Contrare to Coffee's rating, I say 8/10. I'd like to see an Arcade feature sometime in the future. If anyone is willing to write that up, I'd be glad.
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#29 Broxter

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:52 AM

81 pages... :ph34r:

Another awfully long and well detailed magazine. I will probably never get round to reading all of this. ;)
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#30 AdilFaQah

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 09:18 AM

You have managed to achieve what most of these magazine starters are still trying to. Quality content. Good job!

However, the bland layout of the magazine prevents it from being very entertaining. Create a colorful layout, add a variety of content (not just focus on one topic). Furthermore, add more images; it will certainly liven up the magazine.

Once again, good job and good luck for the future!

-AdilFaQah
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#31 alex_pof

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 12:45 PM

Could you please check your download link. When i download it the file is empty and corrupted.
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#32 tomrussell

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 02:44 PM

Thank you everyone for the comments so far.

I am experimenting with a new layout, but it's still going to adhere to the black-text-on-white aesthetic. It's the easiest for people to read, it's the easiest for people to scroll through (less lag), and it's the easiest for people to print (less ink).

Next issue should encompass a wider variety of game design topics; I'm afraid that, in choosing to tackle the RPG genre, even as briefly as I did, I ended up without much space for other topics. One of the other two pieces I promised in our first issue-- a short editorial on Ice Levels-- will appear in the thirteenth issue of Game Maker Technology Magazine. My article on Boss Battles should appear in either my third or fourth issue, but I think I've learned that if I make no promises, I can't break them. :-)

My philosophy regarding pictures comes down to this: does it count? Does it add something to the piece? Does it illustrate some kind of point? You'll notice that some pages had quite a few pictures on them, and that's because I felt those pictures were warranted. In the last section of the RPG article ("The Future"), there weren't really any pictures that could illustrate any of those points. And so that section is bereft of pictures.

Not bereft, I think, of ideas.

And I have to say, for me, the substance of what I'm talking about is so much more important than the style. Perhaps these days substance only appeals to a certain esoteric few. But I'd like to think there's still room, and still a hankering out there, for my approach.

alex_pof, I just checked it and it seems to work fine for me. I'll see if I can't upload it to another file host, though, in case that's what's giving you trouble.

==Tom
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#33 pgg

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 03:31 PM

^_^ The file appears to be corrupt.
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#34 OpticalLiam

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 07:13 PM

An excellent magazine, well written and well presented. Wonderful use of typography and columnar layouts. The only thing, as others have mentioned, is that some readers may not find the 'solid walls of black text on white background' look very appealing or exciting. I suggest at the very least you use some more images here and there to keep the reader engaged. As far as the content though it's excellent.

I only wish I had the time to read it all.
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#35 skinnyeddy

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:48 PM

Wow, this is pretty good stuff! 7/10.
I think War and Peace might have competition ^_^
(for those not in the know, War and Peace is apparently the longest book ever written, bar the bible.)

Edited by skinnyeddy, 06 May 2008 - 09:05 PM.

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#36 fire_soul453

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 09:03 PM

Man 79 pages of content. There is no way I would have the pacience to write all that by myself. Good job and good magazine. I got to get reading.
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#37 hasser

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 09:29 PM

Wow, I'm only 15 pages through this but it's really good. I really want to go from try to make good games via refinement, to looking at he core of what really makes them entertaining. Keep this up!

now for complaints or requests... Damn, I can only think of 2.

1. spruce up your main post, and provide maybe a screenshot of what to expect, or actually, a bulletpoint list, so more people will read further.

2. (big issue) with a pdf so sparse, why cant you put it into HTML, that way people will be able to read it on portable devices (i.e. my iPod)... Pleeeease?

Edited by hasser, 06 May 2008 - 09:29 PM.

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#38 erthgy

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 09:51 PM

This owns baby! This owns!
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#39 tomrussell

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 12:50 AM

An excellent magazine, well written and well presented. Wonderful use of typography and columnar layouts. The only thing, as others have mentioned, is that some readers may not find the 'solid walls of black text on white background' look very appealing or exciting. I suggest at the very least you use some more images here and there to keep the reader engaged. As far as the content though it's excellent.

I only wish I had the time to read it all.


Thank you for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

One reason why I broke the article up into five parts, with sub-headings, was so that someone could come back to it at another time and more-or-less pick up where they left off. I understand it's quite a time investment, but I hope it's worth it.

Wow, this is pretty good stuff! 7/10.
I think War and Peace might have competition ^_^
(for those not in the know, War and Peace is apparently the longest book ever written, bar the bible.)


Thanks. :-)

Man 79 pages of content. There is no way I would have the pacience to write all that by myself. Good job and good magazine. I got to get reading.


Thank you. It does require quite a bit of patience, and effort, and will power-- I think if I was doing it at any pace other than every three months I'd just about kill myself trying to get one done.

Wow, I'm only 15 pages through this but it's really good. I really want to go from try to make good games via refinement, to looking at he core of what really makes them entertaining. Keep this up!


Will do. :-)

now for complaints or requests... Damn, I can only think of 2.

1. spruce up your main post, and provide maybe a screenshot of what to expect, or actually, a bulletpoint list, so more people will read further.

2. (big issue) with a pdf so sparse, why cant you put it into HTML, that way people will be able to read it on portable devices (i.e. my iPod)... Pleeeease?


I'm certainly looking into it. I need some time to figure out how to convert it without it looking ugly/playing hoc with the images that I do use. Perhaps more pressingly, I need to find a website to put it on. :-)

This owns baby! This owns!


Thank you! :-)
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#40 theweirdn8

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 06:26 PM

nice dude
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#41 Serprex

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 01:38 AM

I commend you for such delicious prose, and prose which is juicy with content at that
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#42 icuurd12b42

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 05:24 AM

Well, I have a few suggestions.

1) Please put the article name in the header so I don't forget what the heck I'm reading
2) Make sure your links actually work
3) Too verbose for me... I find myself noding off on the first page... And forget what I was reading about on the second (Reason for #1). you must be a great engineer.
4)Try to get to the point faster then elaborate, but not so much as it becomes repetitive. More snapshots/examples of what you mean with smaller blurbs about the example...
5)You need to format/write the article in a way so I can skip ahead without having to skim through what no longer inerests me.


Great stuff though. From what I was able to read... The style reminds my of this guy I knew.

Edited by icuurd12b42, 10 May 2008 - 05:26 AM.

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#43 Serprex

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 02:43 PM

Icuurd, did you read his introduction on the first edition? He says he doesn't like how so many have short pieces of text with mainly images everywhere. One must choose their audience, and you are of the audience which has already been catered to
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#44 erthgy

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 03:10 PM

Icuurd, did you read his introduction on the first edition? He says he doesn't like how so many have short pieces of text with mainly images everywhere. One must choose their audience, and you are of the audience which has already been catered to

Yes, but who can deny added images? It's not like they destroy explanations, but rather enhance them. Besides, it would help if he added a diagram or two of what he was saying...
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#45 GStick

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 03:40 PM

I agree. His writing is really good, but no doubt could be just a bit more to the point/shorter with a few extra images. And images that don't take up a whole lot of room, but rather off to the side next to the text.

I was extremely interested in the RPG article, but after a few pages I sort of just...



But really, its fine that the magazine is more of a read than most. Thats what sets it apart, thats whats different. But shortening up the articles just a bit couldn't hurt, and would probably make it a more interesting read in the end anyway.
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#46 icuurd12b42

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 04:27 PM

Icuurd, did you read his introduction on the first edition? He says he doesn't like how so many have short pieces of text with mainly images everywhere. One must choose their audience, and you are of the audience which has already been catered to


It was, I hope, constructive criticism. Where he states other magazines left him craving for more, this magazine filled my stomach very fast, having had enough on the first 2 paragraphs... the other extreme. The Steven Kingest style is not for everyone.



If you really want to keep the style, which is yours and I don't blame you, you own it.

Tweak the following:

1) Use another font please. Like Bookman or Century or Book Antiqua. No need to have people's brain over heat reading through that darn Roman style. It's a hard font to read. It's not a font style compatible with your writing style.

2) Either forgo the multiple columns or change the font size to 10 and decrease the spacing between the 2 columns to 1/4 inch with a vertical divider maybe.

3) Consider colors for the font... a very dark blue could help or possibly even a dark grey instead of black

and 4 and 5 are mentioned in other post.


I hope you donā€™t see this as me bashing your style. I think the suggestions I gave will help you keep the audience interested for a longer period of time.
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#47 tomrussell

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 04:26 AM

I want to thank everyone for their comments, and I want to say that I've been following this latest exchange-- regarding style and layout-- with some interest.

I am planning a redesign starting with the next issue-- switching the font from Baskerville to Trebuchet and cramming an extra hundred to two hundred words on a page. I have given the comments about pictures some serious thought, and I certainly see the utility of using images to illustrate or underscore certain points.

The reason why, for example, that there weren't any images in the last fifteen pages or so of the RPG article is that a lot of what I was talking about was hypothetical stuff-- a lot of "what-ifs" that don't have games that illustrate them-- at least, not yet.

My biggest challenge, and one I'm taking on explicitly in the next issue, is to strike a balance between content and the way in which that content is communicated. Some people in these parts feel that I've failed in that regard, others that I've succeeded. And I see the points from both camps, and while I'm probably more likely to cater to persons who, like me, seek out that level of depth and don't mind-- and in fact, are excited by-- pages of two-column text, at the same time I don't want to get to the point where I'm examining games pixel-by-pixel, and I don't want to lose members of that target audience.

So, we'll see how I do, come the summer.

==Tom
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#48 erthgy

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 04:36 AM

My biggest challenge, and one I'm taking on explicitly in the next issue, is to strike a balance between content and the way in which that content is communicated. Some people in these parts feel that I've failed in that regard

Don't listen to people who claimed that.. It's just that they don't have the dedication or vocabulary to read your articles.

Any sneak peaks on issue 3? :P
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#49 icuurd12b42

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 05:32 AM

I want to thank everyone for their comments, and I want to say that I've been following this latest exchange-- regarding style and layout-- with some interest.

I am planning a redesign starting with the next issue-- switching the font from Baskerville to Trebuchet and cramming an extra hundred to two hundred words on a page. I have given the comments about pictures some serious thought, and I certainly see the utility of using images to illustrate or underscore certain points.


Good choice of font and at size 12, for people who don't like to use the zoom feature, it's very easy font to read.

The reason why, for example, that there weren't any images in the last fifteen pages or so of the RPG article is that a lot of what I was talking about was hypothetical stuff-- a lot of "what-ifs" that don't have games that illustrate them-- at least, not yet.


I hear you. I wanted to make nice pictures to illustrate the how my command stack worked... Simply did not have the skills

My biggest challenge, and one I'm taking on explicitly in the next issue, is to strike a balance between content and the way in which that content is communicated. Some people in these parts feel that I've failed in that regard, others that I've succeeded. And I see the points from both camps, and while I'm probably more likely to cater to persons who, like me, seek out that level of depth and don't mind-- and in fact, are excited by-- pages of two-column text, at the same time I don't want to get to the point where I'm examining games pixel-by-pixel, and I don't want to lose members of that target audience.

So, we'll see how I do, come the summer.

==Tom


Yes, a tailored audience is fine. Being very educated has its flaws... See below.


My biggest challenge, and one I'm taking on explicitly in the next issue, is to strike a balance between content and the way in which that content is communicated. Some people in these parts feel that I've failed in that regard

Don't listen to people who claimed that.. It's just that they don't have the dedication or vocabulary to read your articles.

Any sneak peaks on issue 3? :P


I feel a bit pointed out since, yeah, I said a lot.

First off, don't let my simple words fool you. I am very crafty myself and well read. But I chose, 20 years ago, not to use this skill when I realised that, when talking to groups or very intelligent people, most could not make heads or tails of what I was trying to convey. Mainly it's because the group was almost always comprised of people with English as their second language. It hit me when this very smart American guy told me he did not know what ameliorate meant. I suddenly realised that, if a well educated English person could not figure what I was saying, it was very likely the reason the rest of the crew had trouble; the reason for their dumbfounded looks.

So I went for the lowest possible common denominator and used the most basic words, still applying my writing/speaking style.

I knew I got it right when a technical writer told me I could be a tech writer myself and that he had never seen anyone be able to explain things so well. I felt proud about that.

Anyway, enough said. Itā€™s a good magazine. And with the new font, it'll be better. I'll check it out then and see if perusing through it will be easier; it's something I like to do.


BTW, it's only fair you get to critique my stuff. My Command Stack Article can be found here.

http://www.gamemakin...MarkUp XIII.pdf



Keep up the good work.
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#50 F1ak3r

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 05:34 PM

Once again, amazing. I spent the last hour or three reading through it. Contrary to most other people, I LIKE the format. Pictures and short articles are the reason we have things like ADHD. I read through the fifty page cover feature in one sitting, and enjoyed ALL of it, because it was ALL necessary for the article to feel complete. DO NOT ever cop out with short articles. EVER.

I've never personally liked RPGs much, and, in some ways, that article showed me why. It's the grinding, and the lack of player skill, the reliance on time investment and numbers, and the slight element of chance. But I certainly would play an RPG that used some of the ideas you spoke of in that last section - especially that second-last idea, that was mind-blowing. If someone pulls that off... wow.

The reviews were nice, and all of them of games I've already played a bit (I play too many GM games; there are 500 or so in my games folder at the moment, all downloaded within the last year). I really liked the Wolf review, it showed me how little attention I paid when I played through the game. Either Banov intended the game's feeling, or he has a terribly short memory :P.

I feel I should contribute to this fantastic periodical, but I just don't know what to write about.
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