[Colleagues including teh awesome Brandon Sheffield and Jeff Fleming just debuted this month's Game Developer magazine, and I think it's one of the best issues for a long time - the Golden Axe postmortem is honest and interesting, to boot. Here's the relevant info.]

The February 2009 issue of Game Developer magazine, the sister print publication to Gamasutra.com and the leading U.S. trade publication for the video game industry, has shipped to print/digital subscribers and is available from the Game Developer Digital service in both subscription and single-issue formats.

The cover feature for the issue is an exclusive and frank postmortem of Secret Level's action game Golden Axe: Beast Rider. The article offers insight on the challenges and struggles Secret Level faced while developing the expensive, flawed title. The piece is described as follows:

"In one of the most honest postmortems in recent memory, Secret Level producer Michael Boccieri takes us through the troubled development of a $15 million game with an aggregate review rating of under 50 percent. Boccieri explains how the studio ultimately turned this frown upside-down, strengthening the team along the way."

Alongside the postmortem is the Game Developers Conference 2009 Preview, which covers the must-see sessions at the March event in San Francisco, as follows:

"If you like the idea of a bunch of smart-alecky editors telling you what you should like about GDC, this is the article for you. Herein, we defend our top picks (as of press time) for the latest edition of this seminal conference."

In addition, Eutechnyx game programmer David Hawes offers an in-depth technical feature on the Stackless Python scripting language:

"As a scripting language, Stackless Python is meant to serve the needs of multi-threaded environments, namely each of the current gen home consoles and PCs. Here, author David Hawes details how to get the language working in-engine on consoles."

Finally, in "Good Morning Class!", Valve technical artist Bronwen Grimes provides another useful technical piece on how to successfully introduce new tools to your art team:

"Introducing new tools to artists who just want to get on with making their game is no easy task. It can be done, but it takes a lot of finesse, a lot of understanding, and maybe a technical artist or two."

In addition, our regular columnists contribute detailed and important pieces on numerous areas of game development.

This issue, we include Bungie's Steve Theodore on tiled textures, Noel Llopis on dynamic memory allocation, BioWare Austin's Damion Schubert on focusing innovation, LucasArts' Jesse Harlin talking with female sound designers, and Matthew Wasteland with his monthly humor column.

Worldwide paper-based subscriptions to Game Developer magazine are currently available at the official magazine website, and the Game Developer Digital version of the issue is also now available, with the site offering six months' and a year's subscriptions, alongside access to back issues and PDF downloads of all issues, all for a reduced price. There is now also an opportunity to buy the digital version of February 2009's magazine as a single issue.