[Just a note that he December 2009 issue from our colleagues at Game Developer magazine is now available, including an exclusive postmortem of Double Fine's Brutal Legend and a host of the customarily neat high-level analyses and columns.]

The December 2009 issue of Game Developer magazine, the sister print publication to GameSetWatch and the leading U.S. trade publication for the video game industry, has shipped to print and 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 postmortem of Double Fine's heavy metal adventure Brutal Legend. The article, crafted by executive producer Caroline Esmurdoc, offers insight on the challenges and successes experienced by the independent studio. It is introduced as follows:

"Brutal Legend is Double Fine's sophomore effort, and like its first title Psychonauts, was fraught with publisher shifts and new platform adjustments. Here, the team discusses testing bots, lawsuits, metal gods, its use of middleware in conjunction with homegrown tools, and the problem of real time strategy on consoles."

Also featured in the issue is a roundup of government-sponsored game development financial incentives:

"A number of national and regional governments around the world offer tax rebates, grants, and other perks to game developers. In this feature, compiled from a longer Game Developer Research article, we outline the major institutions in the Western world that could help you make your next game on the cheap."

In addition, Virtual Heroes art director Takayoshi Sato discusses the importance of imperfection in believable art:

"Modeling characters in 3D is an art in the true sense, and it's quite a challenge to make these characters appear realistic. Takayoshi Sato, who created all the original Silent Hill CG by himself, finds that adding flaws helps to create something believable -- but those flaws can't be random. They must be carefully tied to the character's personality and backstory. Here, Sato shares his thoughts about the creation of compelling characters in games, something more than your average vacant space marine."

And as usual, our regular columnists contribute detailed and important pieces on numerous areas of game development -- this issue, we include Bungie's Steve Theodore on the unknown, Neversoft's Daniel Nelson on aim assist, Maxis' Soren Johnson on difficulty versus frustration, LucasArts' Jesse Harlin on musician unions, 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 December 2009's magazine as a single issue.