Articles

A collection of things I’ve written.

10 Incredible CSS Resources

3 min read

CSS is becoming a very popular part of web design these days. Most designers now offer CSS design as a part of their services, and even amateur designers are learning all they can about CSS. The best part about Cascading Style Sheets is that the pages load quickly and the layout it very easy to change. So if you are looking for some tips, tricks, and cheats for CSS, the list below should help you out.

1. CSS Level 2 Revision 1

For those who feel they can tackle the technical language, this site is the place to learn all you need to know about CSS. Those who are new to CSS can still benefit from this, although it might take a bit of work. Reading over the sections a few times, then attempting to complete CSS designs, and then re-reading the instructions is a great way to become familiar with the language. Just keep in mind when reading through this site that it also gives instructions on how to use CSS for other media designs, such as posters or brochures.

2. CSS Tutorial by w3schools.com

If you are not interested in learning CSS by deciphering the technical speak, this site is a great place for you to learn the basics as well as some more advanced tips. W3schools.com also provides CSS colors, a reference section, web safe fonts, and more.

3. CSS Reference by SitePoint.com

SitePoint.com provides a wide range of CSS references, including CSS properties, selectors, AT-rules, concepts, and examples. This website also has HTML and JavaScript references if needed. You can also check out blogs, articles, books, kits, videos, and more while on this site.

4. 50 Extremely Useful and Powerful CSS Tools

Need some tools for your CSS design? Smashing Magazine provides an extensive list of sites on which to find CSS tools. Plus, the divided up into organized sections, making it easy to find exactly the tool resources you need. Find CSS Typography, Online Tools, Handy Kits, In-Browser Tools complete with Firefox Extensions, Coding and Programming, Frameworks, Bookmarks, and Layouts in this very helpful article.

5. Web-developer’s Handbook

This is an amazing site for both beginners and advanced users of CSS. It has everything from getting your creative juices flowing to tools and services to usability and accessibility. Although this website also contains information for XHTML, JavaScript, and more, much of the resources are related to CSS. So whether you need some daily reading or CSS navigation menus, this is the place to go.

6. Listamatic

Do you need some ideas or inspiration for CSS lists? Listamatic provides plenty of Plus, there are also some layout generators as well as a browser support chart to help with your list design.

7. CSS Layout Techniques

If you need some help making the switch to CSS layouts, this site will help you out. The layout techniques listed are cross-browser and all sites listed have been stripped down to their very essential codes, making it easy to see exactly how a layout was created.

8. Position is Everything

If you are frustrated by trying to figure out the browser problems encountered with CSS design, this site will help to end your troubles. The creator of this site, Big John, explains about common bugs found in browsers as well as gives CSS techniques that work with any browser.

9. CSS Tutorials from Html.net

This site provides free tutorials for building a CSS website. Plus, it gives an explanation on how CSS works and what it is. Don’t want to wade through English instructions? Choose to read the tutorials in your native tongue with translation options that include Dutch, Arabic, French, Spanish, and much more.

10. CSS Layouts: 40+ Tutorials, Tips, Demos, and Best Practices

Another very helpful article from Smashing Magazine, the resources for CSS layout found on this page are sure to contain what you need. Sample page layouts, step-by-step layouts, best practices, templates, and more can be found to aid you in your CSS experimentation and design.

All games should be free!

2 min read

(mobile post) Theres a debate raging over on LinkedIn about protecting the relatively high price of iPad apps when compared to iPhone apps and i have to say i disagree. I got so far as: Games should be free!

Why would I say this even though I derive a living from games along with many thousands of other game developers?

Because it’s entirely possible to make money from ‘free’ games with a caveat that some aspects of the experience can be embellished, enhanced or sped up at a price. OK, I suppose I exaggerated the first point but I think you understand the point I’m making. :)

This freemium model has been proved to work time and time again but the old guard want to protect the old ways. Sadly the traditional locked game design is lazy as the current thinking about freemium requires just that, some thinking. Notice I say “current” thinking as this has been around for a few years now. It’s proven to work and is well documented including books like ‘Free’ that explore the reasons why Free is such a radical price.

Here are some quick examples to get you thinking:

  1. Think about items that decay over time, ultimately perishing once expired. E.g. 6 week ownership of a car, squad members contract
  2. Items that give you extra capacity but require regular payments to keep. E.g., a garage that allows you to have more than 3 cars, football physic that improves your squad performance
  3. How about items that have a single use. E.g., refuel mid-race, distract referee
  4. Maybe you want to skip 10 levels of XP with your 3rd character? Join the game straight into the Premier League

I can guarantee a lot more people will play your ‘free’ game than would pay £5 for it. And the more of people play it, the more some people are likely to drop you a bit of cash for some bits and that’s the beginning of a torrent.

This extends into add-ons too, there’s similar evidence to say that releasing free DLC for a game has the effect of stalling trade-ins and also improve up take as they increase the perceived value of your game.

The hard part is getting a game that people really want to play, and keep playing, and recommend their friends play too.

If you have faith in your game design, let it free.

I assume if you’re reading this you make games, do you agree with this? Is this selling you down the river?

Using Odesk For SEO Tasks

3 min read

SEO or search engine optimization is a technique used to rank up high in Google. Deciding to hire a search engine optimizer is a big decision that can potentially improve your website, as well as, help you save valuable time, money and benefit your internet business further. If you’re thinking of hiring freelancers to do SEO tasks such as link building and article writing, then you may consider oDesk freelancers. oDesk freelancers can provide clients with valuable service and it is advisable doing SEO earlier to get maximum benefits.

The best time to hire is when you’re planning a site redesign, or considering to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can make certain that your site is designed to be optimally search-engine friendly from the bottom up. Also, a good SEO can help develop good websites content.

Competent employees are considered lifeblood of any business and finding those honest, hardworking and knowledgeable employees can sometimes be frustrating. This is mostly true when searching to employ outsourcers. Whether you are lucky enough to find a qualified candidate or not, you have no uncertainty wasted with your much precious time and money. If you are looking for a faster, easier and cost-effective solution to finding competent outsourcers, then there is no doubt that you can find them in oDesk.

First advantage of hiring an oDesk freelancer is you can definitely save time and money. The most costly part of running any internet business is its employees. This does not refer to their salary, but the cost of finding them, training and retaining them. There are also other costs involved like overtime, health care, office space and finding dedicated individuals for certain projects. Using oDesk freelancers to create a virtual workforce answers these problems and frees up your capital to help manage your internet business.

oDesk can help you post job position and search through thousands of competent applicants. It also gives tests to make certain each applicant has the required skills needed to do the work required. You can look further into an applicant’s work history by carefully reading comments from previous employers and viewing previous work samples. oDesk has streamlined the interviewing and hiring process, making it simple to employ short-term, long-term employees or build a team of freelancers.

When hiring odesk freelancers, you can manage your team as if they were working beside you. One of the main problems with hiring outsourcers or any worker for that matter is making certain that they are basically working and staying well-focused on task assigned. oDesk comes with advanced technology where you can monitor your team’s activity on your wide computer screen. Every minute that a certain task is being worked on is as well, logged into the system giving you total control over your staff, even more so than having all of them in the office beside you.

oDesk does charge a little percentage of the money you make to pay for their valuable services. The quantity is stated when you apply to a job and is included to your bid requested so you can glimpse what your employers would pay in full if they hired you.

In terms of payroll, odesk has also done it very easy for you. The difficulty of paying outsourcers is taken care of in one easy line. You get well-detailed reports on each oDesk freelancer at the end of every week and have the chance to object to any hours billed. If you are in favor to all the hours billed, then payment is done through your credit card or bank account that you specify. oDesk gives you total control of your expenses at a touch of a button.

Using oDesk is simple and hiring qualified freelancers is easy and free without the frustration you have come to imagine from seeking to find qualified outsourcers. Setting up your own account will only take less than five to ten minutes and you will certainly be on your way to searching your next star employee.

What can we learn from location based games?

2 min read

Location based games have really taken off in the last year or so and they’re only going to get better but do those ideas have to be constrained to gps devices? Can you do location based game play on a fixed console such as ps3?

For a while now I’ve enjoyed using the likes of SCVNGR, Gowalla and FourSquare to discover new places and share tips. I’ve also enjoyed the game side of these, in particular 4SQ badges and Mayorships.

For those that don’t know about these the badges are much like achievements or trophies you find on console and are awarded for doing something extraordinary such as the ‘Jobs’ badge for visiting 3 Apple stores or one for visiting a pub on a “school night” or one for travelling on a boat+train+plane. Whilst these are using rewards were used to seeing on consoles the potential of something like Mayorships is interesting.

4SQ awards “mayor” status to a person who checkins in at a location more frequently so you can become the Mayor of your local coffee shop, school yard or bar. Retailers ace jumped onto this and some like Starbucks are now rewarding their Mayors with free real-world incentives. Just turn up, show your mayor badge and get free stuff. Imagine all those extra visits the store gets from the mayor trying to stay on top and all of the underlings trying to usurp the incumbent mayor. Genius!

Fixed location ideas?

Many of the fixed games have expansive online worlds so why not bring some of those ideas in there too?

Imagine how powerful a game mechanic this would be in a game?! Areas of your game map can have the equivalent of a mayor, even tracks, levels, bunkers, vehicles, avatars or anything else. Your mayor gets extra game benefits that they’re going to need to stay ahead of the thousands of people trying to displace them.

Naturally the mayorship would need to decay over time to enable new players to stand a chance and prevent someone being untouchable.

Both mayorships incorporate the social mechanic of recalling the existing mayor if they’re displaced to try and claim their seat back.

There are some fantastic things that we can learn if we continue to explore all aspects of our world bringing the best elements into video games. We shouldn’t just look at other games and try and emulate them as your naturally going to be 2nd best if you want to play that game.

(this is a mobile post)

Games As A Service: Do You Really Know What It Means?

5 min read

I was looking at the schedule for Develop Conference 2010 ( @developconf2010 ) to see if there was anything I should pick up on regarding game production and development and I’ve spotted a couple of tasty things that I have experience so I thought I’d jump the gun and share a little before July comes along. Some of the content we’ve seen before from prior conferences and here’s what I’ve learned:

Games As A

Service: Do You Really Know What It Means?

Online games have been around for a while now and we all know the key mantra “It’s a service, not a product.” Or do we? Very often, in the haze of development, teams may lose their focus from this truth; especially as the concept of service is not that clearly defined to begin with. As well as fleshing out the concept of Online Game Service, this lecture will provide a practical overview on how its components should be designed and integrated in the production cycle to form an optimal player experience.

Well, I’ve done a lot of service related game ideas lately and here are a few ideas:

The game is just the start

In a nutshell, the players journey with your game starts before they put the disk in the console, download it from PSN, XBox Live, Wii or download and install via Steam. Your audience already has an expectation based on prior marketing, reviews and many other means of communication they’ve received up to this point. They’ve probably talked about it with their friends.

It’s true to say that the game content delivered up to this point is largely fixed, it was probably made months ago before it went through QA, format submission, mastering, distribution and sitting on the shelves in the store. Or at least some of that process if you’re totally online.

So as a player, you’ve waited months, saved up, bought the game, you’ve played it through. Now what? You’ve had a fantastic time and you need more content now! If this were a book or a film then that would be it, you’d be waiting for the sequel at some point in the future, probably years away.

Thankfully we are blessed with an opportunity to maximise everyone’s enjoyment and if the developer and publisher are clever, then they’ll have a whole slew of things to keep you busy and invested in the game. Downloadable content such as levels, characters, vehicles, maps, whole new features, tracks, music, new season data all keep the game fresh and alive and are all part of the service we offer.

Why is this important?

So, why not just package up your game and move onto something new? Well, I’m sure you’ve slogged your guts out and put a lot of sweat, blood and tears into making this the best game it can be and you hope your audience appreciates it. Why not maximise all of this effort and keep it going for longer, after all you’ve written the tools, have experience of how to get things in the game and your team are probably producing patches anyway to sort out those last-minute niggles.

It’s almost trivial to make this content. I’d also guess that during the late parts of production from Alpha through to Master Approval that you’re creative team have been twiddling their thumbs whilst the bugs are ironed out. Making add-on content can be a fantastic way of focusing the team, stopping them adding stuff to the version that’s shipping and allow them to expand and maximise the experience.

All of these extras help create an attachment with your game and a thirst for more content, it’s up to you if it’s free or paid for; which is a whole other discussion.

Bolting on upgrades and DLC also makes it harder to part company with the game itself when it comes to trade-in time and you’ll see lower trade in figures for games that actively promote a long-term connection with the game.

The ultimate service

The ultimate service is user-generated content, which really binds authors and players to the game, giving them an emotional involvement and volume of content you’ll find hard to surpass as a developer. It’s also self-promoting as authors actively encourage their friends to dive in a try the thing they’ve just made, either by demoing it locally or pointing them at it so they can play at home.

You’ll find UGC authors in forums promoting their content and obviously the game is good too (which is why they’re making content for it). All of this drives long-tail sales of your game. For these reasons, you’ll rarely find a copy of LittleBigPlanet traded in.

Integrate Early

These are all great ideas and you really need to plan these in early as I know from experience that retro-fitting the highly modular requirements of supporting DLC into a hard-baked mess of legacy code is a nightmare and probably one that will just be a barrier to you ever making it happen. I’m sure many of you will have had that same experience and wish to leave it long behind.

From an architecture perspective, everything has to be dynamically queried, validated and loaded into the game. You should treat your game as a tool or framework into which everything plugs-in, nothing should be hard-coded or you’re not going to be modular enough to cope with a future of upgrades and DLC. How can you integrate another character (avatar) if you’re selection screen only supports 8 characters? You’ll need to design expansion into your game from day 1.

Away from the game

The ‘service’ can also expand out beyond the game experience itself and incorporate regular touch points such as social networks like Facebook, mobile phones running OS like Symbian (good luck!), iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Mobile. Here are some examples of more extensive game amplifiers:

  1. Browser games
  2. public league & competition systems
  3. In-game auction houses reflected onto the ‘net
  4. Training your game character online then playing them on console
  5. Clans, factions, guilds
  6. Managing your team for tonight’s game
  7. News feeds into the game and out again

The list goes on and on and I’m sure there’s some things you could add to the list too.

Summary

There’s a really easy way to remember this - “The game is just the start”. It’s a mantra that suits every occasion and really encapsulates what “game as a service” means.

We want to engage with game players for longer, enabling them to get better value from the games we make, after all they’re not cheap to make or buy. Game players and developers have a symbiotic relationship and we should nurture it over a long period of time for both our sakes.

Further Reading

Develop Conference 2010 - Evolve - Thomas Bidaux will be covering this topic

Gabe Newell on ‘entertainment as a service’ - DICE 2009

Blog - Game Development Social Media Partnership

Fellow Game Development bloggers

We all know that after writing a great post and hitting the publish ?button we’re not even halfway finished!

There can be a seemingly endless marketing job to do by submitting a ?blog article to various social bookmarking sites like Digg, ?StumbleUpon and Delicious. We can also choose to submit to social ?networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

But after we’ve done this there is no way of knowing that our efforts ?have paid off! The article will sometimes sit on the bookmarking site with just ?one vote and therefore unseen by the majority of the ?site’s visitors.

Here’s where the Game Development Social Media Partnership Google Group comes in…

Promote your fantastic posts!

After you have written your blog post you can post the link and ask people to vote, bump, ?thumbs up, or generally big up your post. Maybe you can provide the ? just click away very quickly to promote your ?article. I’ll write an example post to the group to show you what I mean by this.

Using the universal “I’ll scratch your back…” rule, people will be ?compelled to vote for your articles if you’ve voted for theirs. You ?may like to send them a private mail through the group to let them know.

Joining the group is easy with your Google ID and posting on the group is as easy as writing an email. You are, of course, completely at liberty to vote for the articles you ?consider good enough. Remember, this isn’t confined to designers or developers, any blogger who wishes to promote their latest masterpieces can join the group.

Happy blogging, happy voting and I hope you enjoy being a member of ?this group! Thanks to Rob Cubbon for this idea.

Guest Post – Three Ways to Zap Stress During Crunch

5 min read

Stress is a fact of 21st-century life, and all the more so when you’re working on big, high-pressure projects. I’ve worked in a projects environment for most of the past 20 years, and I know how it gets. You start to become irritable, forgetful, you may find yourself dreaming about work, you’re tired but you can’t sleep well, you might even start to find loud noises and bright lights painful. It’s not fun.

Basically, what’s happened is that what is meant to be a short-term response for getting you out of immediate physical danger, increasing your concentration and memory and awareness of your environment, has kept firing off over a long period, and now those exact responses are getting worn out - as if you’d kept lifting a weight with the same hand, over and over, until your muscles get fatigued and stop working properly.

So what can you do? On the principle that a problem well defined is half solved, let’s start with a definition of stress.

What Stress Is

This is my simplified version of the Kim-Diamond definition (in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2002). It has three parts.

  1. Something is measurably winding up your physical state.
  2. You don’t like it.
  3. You don’t feel in control.

All three parts are important. If you love riding roller-coasters, for example, part 2 of the definition isn’t fulfilled, and even though you’re physically stimulated and you’re not controlling the roller-coaster, it’s not (by this definition) stress.

Funny story, by the way. I was talking about stress to the local Rotary club, and had accidentally left my notes at home. At one point, having already told them that there were three parts to the definition of stress, I realised when I was about to give the third part that I couldn’t remember what it was. I started in on the sentence anyhow: “And the third part of the definition of stress is…”

Fortunately, by the time I got that far I’d remembered it. (Take a look above at what the third part is and you’ll realise why this gave me a laugh later on.)

What You Can Do About Stress

As I hinted, the definition contains important clues to three ways to reduce stress. There’s something we can do about each of the three parts.

  1. The physical approach starts with calming down your body. The very simplest way to do this is with breathing. After all, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be breathing (if you’re not, you have worse problems than just stress), and while we can’t stop breathing voluntarily, we can consciously control the depth and rhythm of our breath.The old advice to take a few deep breaths in a stressful situation works. The reason is that when your body gets into its “stress mode”, it starts to breathe shallowly and rapidly. You can turn that around and feed it back, so that by breathing deeply and more slowly, you signal the brain to calm down and switch back into “maintenance mode”, where it can repair itself, digest food and do all those other useful processes.

    (The parts of the brain that control breathing and the parts that deal with strong emotion are practically next to each other, along with the areas that control heartbeat and blood pressure.)

    Other physical calming techniques include progressive muscle relaxation and meditation.

  2. The emotional approach addresses the fact that you don’t like the stress, that you find it unpleasant. There are so many emotional techniques that I’m creating a whole course on them (the Emotional Circuit-Breaker Toolkit), but here’s one simple three-step process that works extremely well. It’s called the Welcoming Practice.Step 1 is to become aware of the location of the emotion in your body. Something will have tightened, be vibrating, be warm or cool - you’ll know it almost as soon as you pay attention to it. Just be aware of it for now. Take your time.

    Step 2, when you’re ready for it, is to name the emotion and accept its presence. The form of words I use is “Welcome, anger” (or fear or sadness or whatever it is - there may be several emotions, in which case I welcome each of them by name). Saying the name sets up a circuit between the inner “emotion feeling” parts of your brain and the outer “word processing” parts in the cerebral cortex, and drains off the activation (Liebermann et al., Psychological Science, May 2007). “Welcoming” the emotion (not the circumstances, by the way, just the emotion) releases your resistance to it, which is a big part of what is causing the stress.

    Step 3, again when you’re ready, is to gently let go of the emotion and allow it to subside. In effect, you’re telling your brain that the emotion isn’t needed right now, and so it can go back to its normal state.

    I used this to great effect not long ago. I was driving along the road and some idiot in a Mini pulled out from a side road, completely illegally, right across my path. I braked and swerved and just managed to avoid a crash. Now, at one time the fright and anger would have stayed with me for an hour, but by using the Welcoming Practice, I was fine within a minute or two.

  3. The cognitive approach emphasises that, while you can’t always change the outward situation, you can change the way you think about it - and that increases your sense of control.Newman & Stone wrote up an interesting experiment in Annals of Behavioural Medicine, June 1996. They showed two groups of people the same stressful silent film, and asked them to make up either a serious narrative about it (group 1) or a funny narrative (group 2). They had pre-tested their participants for sense of humour, and had deliberately put both high-humour and low-humour people in both groups. What they found was that, regardless of their score on the sense-of-humour test, the “funny narrative” group not only said they felt better but were less stressed, according to standard physical tests, than the “serious narrative” group. The film was the same - only the story they told themselves about it was different.

So there are three approaches to reducing stress. Whether you coach yourself to physically relax, shift your emotional state, or change how you think about the situation, by using these practices you reduce harm to your body and mind and put yourself more in control.

Maximise your Developer Evolution

5 min read

Well, the inevitable has happened and by the time you’re reading this I’ll have travelled 250 miles to start the next phase of game development career in Guildford, the hub of game development in the UK. This prompted me to reflect on how things have gone over the last few years and what advice I can give.

Why do I think that migrating to a game development  hub is inevitable? Because you cannot makes games in a vacuum and both your career and your business need talent to feed on or you will starve.

(BTW pretty much all of my posts are scheduled, but don’t tell anyone)

I have long supported game development throughout the whole of the UK and Europe along with  it’s self-sufficient pockets but ultimately the larger your studio becomes or the further your career progresses the more you need to have access to talented people and lots of options.

Long, long ago

I cut my teeth in the video games industry around Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK. In the late 1980s there was of companies to choose from and lots of people wanting to get into game development. I worked for 5 companies in the area, all with varying degrees of success but we all indirectly relied on the mighty Gremlin Graphics (later to become Infrogrames) to underpin the area. People went in, people came out, they trained people and we trained developers for them. It was a symbiotic relationship that was replicated throughout the UK. We needed each other.

These hubs of game development exist and can attract developers and talent from far and wide, after all if things don’t work out then there’s plenty of other opportunities. Both as a developer looking to work on great games and also as a studio looking for talent. The cream slowly floats to the top and the detritus sink to the bottom and eventually leave.

Micro-climates

These symbiotic collections of game development studios and talent are carefully balanced micro-climates and it only takes one thing to go wrong and the whole thing implodes leaving people reeling and trying to make amends.

The collateral effect of this implosion is often a collection of small studios all competing against each other for a dwindling talent pool as the developers leaving seek stability. Some stay behind but new talent is hard to attract, experts are expensive and you need quite a big studio in order to fund this kind of beast, which is beyond the reach of many small studios unless those experts are the ones setting up the studios.

As a developer, it becomes a high risk strategy to relocate yourself into such a dwindling zone for a single job with no alternatives should it not go quite as you, your employer or your staff imagine. This becomes even tougher if you have family in tow.

Regional Development is Key

For this reason, I had many meetings with the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Development agency to try to encourage them to stop promoting individual companies and to nurture the region. At the time, they were wandering off to E3, GDC and pretty much everywhere saying “Come and work for Company A”, “Why do you graduates come and work for Company B”. Why would anyone? We’re not stupid and we want to be making games for a long time, not just until this bubble bursts and we have to relocate, again.

Far, far away

I am aware that there are some developers who struggle because of their isolation, I have talked to them, been asked by friends about going to work for them and considered them to do business with when I was looking for games to develop. This is primarily a concern for publishers looking to commission games with developers who need to expand as this only makes sense if they can get talent.

You cannot ignore this isolation and the distances involved in connecting with the hubs as it can be a blocking issue. The prize has to be very special to warrant the personal investment in both sides.

Here’s a choice if you were commissioning a game: a) Developer A - easy to get to, has ability to tap talent to expand and game is “sure-fire hit”. b) Developer B - 6 hour one-way journey door-to-door, only “local” people work there, game is “amazing”

Which one would you choose?

Sticky Bad People

There is of course another aspect to this where lack of local options can cause bad people to hang around rather than move on. They start out great but soon they get bored,  stagnate, begin to rot and become entrenched in a “job” doing “work” because they now need money to pay the mortgage and they can’t get a job anywhere else. Employment law makes them nearly impossible to remove so you have to be vigilant and pro-actively fix this before it becomes a problem.

Thriving Communities

Thankfully, there are still a few pockets that are thriving and have proper regional development with protection of their micro-climate and these remain good pockets to aim for: North East UK and South East UK are the hubs right now with the strongest pool being Guildford. Bullfrog, then Electronic Arts was the fuel that the Guildford development community burned to get itself into orbit as a regional star.

From personal experience, sadly my home region is now dead. There’s pretty much 1 developer there now and if you don’t want to work for them then it’s a 1hr trip to the nearest one. This makes it pretty much impossible to choose a nice stable location to setup.

Where should you be?

As a startup business, once you get your game up and running and you start to need more talent to progress you obviously need to be somewhere where there is an existing pool of talent you can tap into. Then the only risk for your staff is the project, not what there future prospects are if you don’t make it.

Think: “If I need 10 people, why would they come and work here?”

As your personal career progresses, you’re likely to want to settle down and to do this you need options so you can keep fresh and hopefully mitigate the threat of redundancy without the need to uproot your life and move somewhere far away. Therefore, settling into a hub seems the right choice.

Non-UK developers - Is this an international phenomenon?

I can only really share my observations of the UK industry but what do you guys think of this internationally?

I assume that the fact that most major publishers and platform holders have their offices in the UK or USA must affect you?

Summary

I’ve watched many developers and people make the wrong decisions they need to make to maximise their potential. I hope this post gives you a broader view on the nature of choosing your physical location within the games industry and the impact it has.

Let me know how you feel about this too.

Linchpin Manifesto

### **Yes. Now.** I am an artist. • I take initiative • I do the work, not the job. • Without critics, there is no art. • **I am a Linchpin. I am not easily replaced****.** • If it’s never been done before, even better. • The work is personal, too important to phone in. • The lizard brain is powerless in the face of art. • I make it happen. Every day. • **Every interaction is an opportunity to make a connection****.** • The past is gone. It has no power. The future depends on choices I make now. • I own the means of production—the system isn’t as important as my contribution to it. • I see the essential truth unclouded by worldview, and that truth drives my decisions. • I lean into the work, not away from it. **Trivial work doesn’t require leaning.** • Busywork is too easy. Rule-breaking works better and is worth the effort. • Energy is contagious. The more I put in, the more the world gives back. • It doesn’t matter if I’m always right. It matters that *I’m always moving*. • I raise the bar. I know yesterday’s innovation is today’s standard. • I will not be brainwashed into believing in the status quo. • **Artists don’t care about credit. We care about change.** • There is no resistance if I don’t allow it to defeat me. • I embrace a lack of structure to find a new path. • I am surprising. (And often surprised). • I donate energy and risk to the cause. • I turn charisma into leadership. • The work matters. • **Go. Make something happen.**
**Source:** <http://www.squidoo.com/linchpin>
**Book:** [Linchpin: Are You Indespensible?](http://game-linchpin.com/8y)