Game Development Reference
A download client allows players to search through a multitude of titles online
and purchase, download, and install directly onto their computer, much in the
same way the App Store and Android Market work.
Steam is a platform consisting of a software client that runs on desktop
computers and manages distribution, management rights, and multiplayer
functionality. It was developed by Valve Corporation (the famous
developers of the Half-Life games series) and released in 2003. Steam
currently manages 1250 titles and has over 30 million active users. It
manages games for both large publishing houses and small independent
developers. Information on Steam readying your game can be found at
Direct2Drive is one of a number of online game stores with their own
download clients. They are always looking to list and manage new game
titles, even from small unknown developers. They provide a digital
shop front in numerous countries and manage player purchases. Like
Steam, they too retain purchase records so players can download
their game at any time. This is a useful service that means the player
isn't misplacing DVDs and jewel cases with serial numbers on them.
It's all stored online and available as needed. Details of distributing
with them are available from http://direct2drive.com/staticpage
This chapter examined some of the external mechanics and forces that
drive game development in certain directions. If you are an independent
developer, there has never been a better time to get your game out into
the world on a desktop computer, on a mobile device, or in the Xbox Live
Marketplace. Relatively inexpensive high-quality tools, such as Unity, are
bringing power to the people, allowing small inexperienced teams to take
their first steps. And online stores are cutting out the publisher, allowing
a more direct line to the consumer. While publishing someday with one of
the big three might be your dream, there is no reason why your baby steps
can't start now.
In addition, the availability of software development kits and game engines
that access all the hardware functionality features of new mobile and
peripheral devices means, as a game designer, that you can let your mind run
wild. Finding clever new ways to interact kinesthetically with the virtual world
could just give you the next big thing in computer games.
Whichever path you decide to take, know that the face of game design
and development has taken the biggest turn in the past 5 years than it
ever did in the previous 40, and you don't need to be a computer scientist
anymore to work with the technology and create really amazing and
visually exciting games.