Time to round up some of the best features and original pieces posted on big sister site Gamasutra and our other sites over the past week or so - and there appears to be plenty of neat stuff in here.

Some things I particularly liked - the feature analyzing 'Missing Gamers', as well as Matt Matthews' super-detailed NPD analysis and Jesse Divnich's database-trawling fun, plus our reports from the Unity conference in Denmark and the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO unveiling right here in the Bay Area.

Here we go:

Gamasutra Features

New, Better, More: Epic's Cliff Bleszinski on Designing Gears of War 2
"With Gears Of War 2 just around the corner, Gamasutra talks in-depth to Epic design director Bleszinski about the franchise's evolution, game prototyping, and expanding game narrative."

Game Law: So, What's the Dealio?
"In his latest column for Gamasutra, veteran game lawyer Buscaglia discusses developer and publisher contract negotiation shenanigans - urging an 'eyes open' attitude from the developer end."

Building Social Communities For Your Game: A Primer
"How do you create game ecosystems? Guitar Hero community creator Ryan references Halo 3 and Spore to show how data-rich websites and social features make games successful."

What Gamers Want: Missing Gamers
"Following Gamasutra's look at Family Gamers and Silver Gamers, we turn to a vital demographic - 'Missing Gamers'. What do adults who are no longer gamers want from today's titles? We find out..."

NPD: Behind The Numbers, September 2008
"Gamasutra's in-depth NPD analysis returns with a deep dive into September's U.S. numbers - exclusively revealing the full top 20 games, tie-in ratios, and plenty more on key hardware and games."

Gamasutra Originals/Others

Erickson: Star Wars MMO Akin To Multiple Full-Length BioWare RPGs
"EA BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic is trying to solve the problem of story in MMOs by employing twelve full-time writers to flesh out the universe -- lead writer Daniel Erickson tells Gamasutra why, explaining: "[EA has] come to me and said, 'Your budget is what?!' but nobody has ever said, 'Why are we doing this?'""

Atari's Harrison: Democratizing Development Is An Industry Must
"At the Unite 2008 developer conference in Denmark, in a roundtable discussion with developers and members of the press, Atari president Phil Harrison has been speaking to Gamasutra in more detail about his vision to "democratize development" by using tools such as the low-cost Unity game engine."

Riccitiello: Prioritizing Profits Can Be 'The Beginning Of An End'
"When it comes to the Guitar Hero and Rock Band rivalry, EA CEO John Riccitiello finds it "fun for people," and talks to Gamasutra about what gives music games competitive edge -- and then segues into discussing the danger of getting hooked on the "drug of profitability" above all other considerations."

GCG Readers Design Jumpless Platformers
"Gamasutra sister educational site GameCareerGuide, which runs a weekly game design challenge, has named the top three submissions to a recent challenge, in which the task was to design a platformer with no jump button - also asking readers to design a new lemming for the classic game Lemmings."

The Divnich Tapes: Which Genres Provide Male-Only, Female-Only Protagonists?
"In a Gamasutra-exclusive market analysis, EEDAR's Jesse Divnich follows up yesterday's analysis on games featuring playable female characters by looking at games that limit players to only controlling male characters or only female characters."

BioWare, LucasArts Talk Design, Chastise MMO Genre In Old Republic Session
"In a Gamasutra-attended Q&A session following the announcement of BioWare and LucasArts' Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO, lead designer James Ohlen, BioWare Austin VP Rich Vogel, and studio co-founder Gordon Walton discussed solo-ing and story for "BioWare's biggest game"."