Codeguru Update eNewsletter - August 19th, 2008

by Bradley L. Jones

What's geekier than a developers' conference? A gamers' conference! Find out details of GenCon, held last weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Earthweb.com Network
Tuesday August 19, 2008

This Week's Topics

Comments from the Editor

I attend a lot of conferences throughout the year. Ironically, the conferences I attend tend to have the geekiest of people you can find. These are often technical geeks and more. These conferences include Tech Ed, PDC, JavaOne, and more. Can you guess which conference is the geekiest and largest of those I attend? I'll give you a clue; I attended last week and it was in Indianapolis, Indiana.

You might have guessed Tech Ed up until I said that it was last week in Indianapolis. In truth, the largest conference I attend each year is called GenCon, which happens over four days in August in the Midwest. This conference is geeky; however, it is not the same type of geeks who attend computer conferences. Rather, this is a level of geek-ness that makes those at computer shows look normal.

GenCon is a gamers' conference. It draws around 37,000 attendees, which is over three times the number of people at a Microsoft TechEd conference. If you count each day individually, the attendance number is around 85,000.

What is the focus of GenCon? The focus is on anything related to games. This includes role-playing games (RPGs), board games, as well as online and electronic games.

What is interesting about this show is that it is very hands-on. In addition to a gigantic exhibit hall, there are a multitude of rooms for playing games as well as a life-sized dungeon. Within sessions, there are a number of game industry leaders who are willing to share their knowledge and help provide guidance.

I spent time in a session on game development where I learned a few tips. Although part of the session was focused on board games and RPGs, a lot of the session focused on developing multi-media computer games.

Developing a Professional Computer Game

If you are serious about developing a computer game, there was some great, basic advice to be had. The first bit of advice that was given was to incorporate. If you are going to be serious about developing a game and you are going to release it to the public, you will want a little bit of protection for yourself. It was stated that, with the chance of being sued, you need a layer of protection.

The second bit of advice was to develop a strong team. If you are serious, you should have the appropriate people working on your project. This would obviously include a programmer for an electronic game. It should also include an artist and designer. Equally important, you should include a businessperson. Even though programming the game might seem like the key task, it really can be overshadowed by the need to deal with the business aspects as well as the marketing aspects of the product. A lot of good products don't get off the ground because they are not marketed and presented appropriately.

Another bit of advice filtered from the presentation was in regard to using a publisher. If you choose to use a publisher for your game, you should do what you can to retain the ownership of your intellectual property (IP). Although a publisher might take total control of a project, if you control the IP, and the game is successful, the publisher will have to come back to you for a new edition.

The last bit of advice, which was really among the first bits presented, was to avoid mortgaging you home and other assets for a game. If you have a good idea, just remember that thousands of others also have good ideas. Only a few good ideas get to the level of making a fair amount of money. As such, the risk of failure is high, so putting your life savings into such a project can be foolish.

In Conclusion

It was stated that the gaming industry is continuing to grow. The popularity of a show such as GenCon seems to support this. When you can get 37,000 people to come to a small city like Indianapolis, that seems to support the popularity. Unlike wimpy computer programmers, many people at the GenCon conference start Thursday morning at the convention center and don't go home until Sunday. Sleeping is for wimps and this show goes 24 hours a day. Even at computer conferences, the geekiest attendees leave the bars and the parties and head back to their rooms before breakfast!

For more on GenCon, check out www.GenCon.com.

Until next week...

Bradley L. Jones

Recently Published Books

For those of you keeping up by reading books. The following are just a few of the new books that have been recently released. If you've read any of these, feel free to write a review to be posted on CodeGuru. See the submission guidelines.

C# in Depth
By Joe Skeet for Manning
424 pages for $44.99

Windows Server 2008 PKI and Certificate Security
By Brian Komar for Microsoft Press
780 pages for $59.99 w/ CD

Windows Server Resource Kit
By Microsoft MVPs with the Microsfot Windows Server Team for Microsoft Press
Thousands of pages for $249.99
This is a mega-set. It contains six books as well as scripts, ebooks, and digital resources. You get Internet Information 7.0 Resource Kit, Windows Administration Resource Kit, Windows PowerShell Scripting guide, Windows Server 2008 Active Diretory Resource Kit, Windows Server 2008 Security Resource Kit, and Windows Server 2008 Networking and Network Access Protection (NAP).

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This article was originally published on Wednesday Aug 20th 2008
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