Tales from the Dev Side: Making a Multiplayer XBLIG by James Petruzzi

The first time I had a chance to make a noticeable impact on the Xbox Live Indie Game scene, it was during the 2011 Indie Game Summer Uprising event.  I just didn’t play the part I had in mind.  Perhaps my expectations were a little too high, because what followed was one bad review after another.  I believe the term Cute Things Dying Violently developer Alex Jordan used was “assassinations.”  He then went ahead and had a panic attack when his game was up for review.  Okay, so the event wasn’t all that good, but there were a few shinning gems in it.  Cute Things Dying Violently was pretty good, and so was online shooter Take Arms by Discord Games.

I met James Petruzzi through Twitter, and our relationship got off to a rocky start in the form of a shouting match between us.  He didn’t like how rough I was being on his fellow Uprising comrades, and I didn’t like how crappy the games were so I was in a foul mood.  Needless to say, I don’t think he liked me very much.  However, we patched things up like two reasonably mature adults, and I think mutual respect for our roles in the community has been established.

I want to say this for everyone to see: of all Xbox Live Indie Game developers, the person I learned the most about game development from was James.  Long-time readers will remember that in the early days of Indie Gamer Chick, my policy when it came to multiplayer was “online or nothing.”  It’s one of the few positions I’ve backed away from since starting my site.  This came about after I had a conversation with James that lasted several hours, in which he educated myself and my boyfriend Brian on just what kind of bullshit a developer has to go through to get Live multiplayer on their XBLIG.  To say it was enlightening was an understatement.  So when I noticed a recent trend of players and critics commenting on the lack of Live support for the format, and I knew just the guy who had to tell everyone exactly what is up.  This is not your typical Tales from the Dev Side.  It’s highly technical.  It’s very complex.  It’s HUGELY educational.  Fans of the Xbox Live Indie Game community owe it to themselves to read this, just so they know what a developer goes through.

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