[Veteran, possibly pseudonymous game developer Matthew Wasteland writes the 'Arrested Development' humor column for Game Developer magazine, and we're now reprinting his best insights on GameSetWatch. This delightful installment includes several useful excerpts from nonexistent game development tomes.]

Making Money With GameCube Ports: A Fast And Easy Guide To The Wealth You've Always Wanted!

Making Money With GameCube PortsFirst of all, you'll need to get yourself one or more "Dolphin" developer kits, which are the devices that are used to create GameCube games. I've had some success finding these in local landfills, but your luck may vary depending on location (I live in San Rafael, California).

Sometimes you see them for sale on Craigslist by a developer's divorced wife or estranged parent, who doesn't know what it is, and you can nab it for cheap. Ask to see it first, of course; you'll know it's a real Dolphin because it has a picture of a dolphin, along with an emergency-eject lever on the front. Hopefully you will never have to pull that!

Once you've secured yourself one of these boxes, you can start the porting process. Even if you've never programmed so much as your VCR before, you shouldn't be frightened at the prospect of doing a port to GameCube. The unique architecture makes it easy! Non-unified RAM keeps things simple, because you won't have to worry about all of the memory at once. The small, 1.5GB discs mean there's a lot less data to load and process.

If you're still afraid, consider this: A famous game industry technologist recently pointed out in reverse that GameCubes are essentially one-half of a Wii -- which means that they are about twice as easy to program! And I don't know if you've played any Wii games lately, but come on. How hard could those have been?

At some point during the process, the publisher will call to see how things are going. Tell them everything is fine.

Game Programming Turds, Vol. V

Here's a great example of a system that checks an entered player name against a database to make sure it isn't taken already.

void GUIUserManager::OnKeyPress(const GUIKeyEvent& e)
  {
    mUsername.append(e.key);
    mThreadMan-> StartNewThread(ValidateUserThread, &mUsername, UpdateValidUserGUI);
  }

void GUIUserManager::ValidateUserThread(void* userdata, ThreadManager::Callback_T callback)
  {
    NetDBConnection dbconn; // Open a new connection to the remote DB
    callback->CallWithBool(!dbconn->UserExists((std::string*)userdata));
  }


AAA+++ Video Game Production For Dummies

AAA+++ Video Game Production For DummiesThink "AAA+++" is a description for eBay sellers? Think again -- it's a type of video game! And if you didn't know that, this book is for you: the ultimate one-stop, no-nonsense guide to developing and shipping blockbuster titles. Inside, we'll comprehensively cover all the aspects of modern development -- from the exciting initial brainstorming sessions to the embarrassing cab ride home from the launch party.

As a simplified and easy-to-read primer, this book is ideally suited to managers and executives. Common production questions such as "What can we do to make our graphics competitive with those of other titles?," "How can a Visio diagram enhance my credibility?," and "How much can we exploit contractors before they sue us, and do the rules change overseas?" are all discussed and addressed.

And if you're intimidated by the industry's formidable technical jargon, like "ambient occlusion," "procedural," "spherical harmonics," or "work-life balance," don't worry: special care has been taken to explain these difficult concepts in layman's terms.

But if you're a seasoned pro just looking to brush up on the latest tips and techniques, you'll find those here too -- including a section, new to this edition, on how to tolerate casual game people.

Finally, if you've purchased this book because your own project is already on the skids, and are looking for immediate help, please feel free to skip the introductory material and go directly to Chapter 7: How to Turn Whatever You Initially Designed Into a Run-and-Gun Shooter.

[Mr. Wasteland also writes for his own blog, Magical Wasteland.]