The convergence of the game industry and the metaverse will be a Big Bang for the 3D web, but if you’re coming to this from the metaverse side of the fence and not a hardcore gamer, wrapping your mind around the mechanics and current state of the game industry can be pretty challenging.   It’s a deep dive worth taking – one that can inform metaverse and 3D web endeavors of any stripe.

Here are some resources and sites I’ve found to be most useful and interesting.

First and foremost on my list is Game Theory Online with Scott Steinberg.  From a newcomer’s perspective, I found their video series both fascinating and incredibly informative, as they probe their own industry veterans about recent developments, challenges and opportunities.     I thought “The Future of Digital Distribution” was interesting from a metaverse perspective, but perhaps one of the best pieces – the one that initially drew me to the site was “Interactive Fiction: Video Game Storytelling.”  The whole concept of narrative architecture is pretty intense, and incredibly relevant to any 3D web development.  On the metaverse side, check out the innovative work being done by ‘Startled Cat‘ – formed specifically around the idea of narrative and storytelling in immersive media.  If the combination of games  and metaverse industries do in fact catalyze the Big Bang for the 3D web, the discovery of new dimensions in immersive storytelling will undoubtedly be at the epicenter.

Another great resource is the magazine Game Informer and it’s website.  The steady stream of news and articles provides a useful insight into current events in the game industry.   Be sure to check out the Madden blog during half time today (if you’re into American Football ;-), as described in their post “First Madden 12 Blog Coming Super Bowl Sunday.

Joystiq is another great site, but more focused on specific games than on the broader issues of the industry itself.  That’s where I learned about the hidden Angry Birds level code to be revealed during a Super Bowl Ad…  I hear it’s a great game, lol.

Indie Games is of specific relevance from a metaverse perspective, given that the growth of Indie or ‘DIY’ game development is probably the closest relative to the kind of work being done in virtual worlds like  Second Life, Blue Mars, and OpenSim.  As I’ve written before, two of the major engines making moves toward encouraging indie development are Unreal and Unity3D.  Check out the new look of ‘Closure’ as described on IndieGames.

DIY Gamer is another good one – which covers “news and events surrounding the indie, independent, and student game scene. This includes opinion pieces, news, and reviews.  Their DevLinks are worth checking out.

There’s a seemingly infinite array of blogs and independent sites related to game development, but I find the personal perspective of concept artists in the game industry to be particularly interesting.  For example, Alex Chin Yu Chu’s blog and site offer a unique insight into the life of a game industry artist: http://www.conceptsofalex.com/blog/ Alex was responsible for a lot of the conceptual art of Halo: Reach.

Gambrinous Blog is great stuff.  From there, I found Jeff Vogel’s blog – which Gambrinous calls “A treasure trove of insight for indie game developers already, and will only get better.”  Indeed it is.

Gamasutra is a familiar feed for game developers, covering all kinds of topics that are (or should be) important to metaverse developers as well.  For example, love’m or hate’m, this interview with Zynga’s general manager provides a useful insight into the world of social games.  As much as 3D developers might want to dismiss Facebook games, I think we can glean important insight into what makes these games tick and how we might borrow some principles toward driving greater adoption and engagement.

Game Career Guide has some good stuff – such as “How to Get Started with Unity3D”  Speaking of narrative, check out their narrative reviews, such as this recent one: “Game Narrativew Review: Half-Life 2

Finally, I’ll conclude with another video from Game Theory Online, “Reinventing the Video Game Industry.”   The game industry is in serious flux, the metaverse is struggling to find its footing, Indie and DIY games are gaining traction, and Linden Lab’s new CEO, Rod Humble, came to them from a a former position as EVP from EA Games.

The most interesting narrative to emerge from these industries might actually be the story of how these industries collide… I think it’s going to be epic.

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