Holiday Gift Recommendations

Likhita Suresh

‘Tis the season to hunt for holiday gifts! It may be easy to order scented candles or a cookie basket online, buuuuuut if you’re buying for the nearest and dearest game dev in your life (whether they be student or already employed)…let’s just not. 

Instead, end their year in style and get the presents they want but wouldn’t necessarily buy themselves. Here’s a short list of A+ presents to purchase this holiday, that a game developer would be happy to see under the tree!

1. Assets – Art Models/ Animation

Most people who receive “assets” as holiday gifts are getting stocks, bonds, or good ole fashioned greenbacks.  For game developers, our assets are prebuilt shapes and designs that can be easily incorporated into the game directly. It saves the developer from having to design everything from scratch. Assets are great for anyone who is more inclined to designing the game play itself rather than the aesthetics, or for those who want to speed up game production. Assets include everything from figures and objects to full-fledged landscapes.  Good assets can noticeably turn around the look and feel of the game. Gaming companies such as Unity have many popular assets that can be purchased and gifted.

Shop Assets

2. Tools to Rig Models

Nope, it’s not the ropes for a sailboat – rigging in this case is a series of tools that facilitate game animation.  Games heavily based on human like characters require a lot of attention to detail and this can be quite demanding at times. With the help of these tools that automatically rig these characters and animations, development can become more enjoyable to someone who is not very art-inclined. An example would be Maya LT, a 3D modelling tool that provides features like Quick-Rig. This facilitates more realistic character motion and can better the quality of the game.

AutoDesk Maya LT

3. Programmable Mouse with Extra Keys

Unlike a regular mouse, these mice have an ergonomic design that helps developers use it for a stretch of time without causing strain to the wrist. More importantly, they come with extra buttons that can be mapped to handy and not so obvious controls. Common controls include zoom-in, zoom-out, switching between tools.

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Similar presents include noise cancelling headphones, and programmer keyboards. Developers could always do with an extra monitor too.

4. Graphics Tablet

A graphics tablet is essentially an input-only device that supports a stylus.  For someone who is classically-trained in illustration and likes to hand draw figures, animations and graphics, this is a great device that can help digitize it all. There are many kinds of drawing tablets available, all with unique added features of their own. Common variations include pressure sensitivity, active area dimensions and compatibility with various operating systems.

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5. The Art of Game Design

The Art of Game Design authored by Jesse Schell is a highly recommended read for everybody looking to get into game design and development. The book throws light on the principles of game design and elucidates how video games initially stemmed from card games and board games.  This book picks nuggets of information from a variety of fields such as psychology, music, architecture .By the end of it, readers are guaranteed to become aware of special techniques and how to use them.

 

Buy The Art of Game Design

6. A Game!

Finally, here is the best recommendation of them all – an obvious one: an AWESOME GAME. That said, the idea is to get them to play games that are slightly out of their forte. It is a known fact that plunging into a different realm is inspiration-evoking. There are multiple award-winning games that are known to be stimulating and engaging. However, a little research about their pick of games prior to the purchase is recommended.  Graphics for some of our favorite recent releases are below:

 

 

 

 

 

With thoughtful presents like these, it sure could make a newbie game dev’s holiday!