- It's midweek, so time for a round-up of notable features, interviews and write-ups from big sister site Gamasutra and other Think Services sites thus far - headed by David Hellman's explanation of creating a graphical style for Braid.

Other neatness in here includes the design thinking behind Mega Man 9's (optional!) sprite flicker-heavy retro stylings, another excellent Mick West technical article, new-school 'focused' news interview snippets from Valve's Doug Lombardi and Microsoft's Kevin Unangst, plus the new GCG Design Challenge, stats on Xbox Live DLC, and more...

Je suis un chapeau:

Gamasutra Features

The Art Of Braid: Creating A Visual Identity For An Unusual Game
"In this fascinating deconstruction, artist David Hellman explains his creation of the evocative, painterly art for Jonathan Blow's acclaimed downloadable game Braid, which debuts tomorrow on XBLA."

Random Scattering: Creating Realistic Landscapes
"Neversoft co-founder Mick West continues his acclaimed Gamasutra technical analyses by showcasing a technique (including source code) for procedurally scattering trees across a game level."

He Is 8-Bit: Capcom's Hironobu Takeshita Speaks
"Capcom's Mega Man 9 is, surprisingly, an intentionally NES-styled downloadable game - producer Hironobu Takeshita explains the artistic and design choices behind a retro franchise renaissance."

Gamasutra News Originals/Other

Microsoft's Unangst: PC Gaming Initiative, Blizzard Good For Windows
"A little over two years ago, Microsoft aimed to show its support for PC gaming with its Games For Windows Initiative -- but what's the status of the initiative when a company like Blizzard can achieve record success without participating? GFW head Kevin Unangst explains to Gamasutra..."

In-Depth: The ABCs of Xbox 360 DLC
"Downloadable content experts from Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division and the Xbox 360 content management team explain, in a recent Gamasutra-attended session, how to make the most of game extensions - with tips on hard numbers, customer longevity, and DLC certification."

GCG's Game Design Challenge: 'Hero'
"GameCareerGuide.com has posted the latest interactive design challenge for its readers of students and aspiring game developers. The task this week is to develop the next great video game hero. Readers discuss their creations on the site’s forum, and professional game developers are invited to participate, provide feedback, and give advice."

Q&A: Valve's Lombardi On Turtle Rock, Left 4 Dead
"Valve continues its twelve year evolution, recently picking up Turtle Rock Studios along with its upcoming zombie co-op shooter Left 4 Dead. VP Doug Lombardi talks to Gamasutra about the role the acquisition and the game play in the company's ongoing journey, supported by the success of Steam and the Half-Life games."

Microsoft's Unangst On The PC, Xbox 360 Multiplayer Cost Divide
"Microsoft Games for Windows head Kevin Unangst discusses with Gamasutra the company's reasoning behind the PC Games For Windows Live service now being free, while Xbox 360 multiplayer gaming is not - revealing a major PC-centric UI redesign for the upcoming Games For Windows Live Marketplace."

Lombardi: Doom Single-Player Mode Helped Birth Half-Life
"Valve's Doug Lombardi says the success of Half-Life and its sequel permanently set the company's quality bar, and in an interview with Gamasutra, he explains how Doom's influence helped the game find its "special place" in the era of Quake."