I very recently discovered a reference to the Gibbage site from a post on nullpointer.co.uk. The promised set of How to Make a Game articles from PC Zone sounded too good to be true, and actually were when I found that the original link from the post to gibbage.co.uk now leads to a waste disposal company (which is why I’ve not hyper-linked that bit). This lead to some serious internet hunting and eventually I found the WordPress copy of the original site – copy unfortunately meaning cut short at about 12 months of posts with broken links and missing images due to the loss of the gibbage.co.uk domain.
What’s so special?
It didn’t take long before I really started to enjoy reading the articles. Dan Marshall is self taught bedroom coder that focused on writing a game and shared the game and the story of its making with the world -that game being Gibbage. I think his writing style reflects his Britishness (or rather Scottishness) with lots of references to things that are part of my generation with his writing – he reminds me a lot of those I’ve worked with who developed games in the 80s. There’s also times when he reminds me of Zero Punctuation. I like to think that my writing would be similar if I let myself swear more often.
It’s not only the making of the game that he blogs about, but there’s a lot about the reviewing too – to summarize, good review = genius reviewer, bad review= rant! The other thing you experience on the site is the marketing which is pretty relentless with each post having a link off to Gibbage with a suggestion that you buy it, well until the forums are introduced, then he typically links to there instead.
Some of my favourite posts
The actual How to Make a Game articles from PC Zone are posted on the site (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and then are extended in several more posts later (starting here). Those posts are worth reading even if you don’t think you’d be interested in the rest of the site.
As an independent developer who has put so much into writing his own title, Dan Marshall has strong feelings about indie development and the quality of indie titles. His first cross over review of another indie developer’s title isn’t the lovefest that you’d expect from developers that are solely interested in mutual marketing of their own title. Later, in his Indie Game “Not Shit” Shocker post, he expresses the joy in finding an enjoyable game in Professor Fizzwizzle (now hosted on shockwave.com).
There’s quite a bit about the development of the game design of Gibbage in a few posts: initially in Writing your own Game… Phase Three and then later in Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor. He also requests feedback of a work in progress demo which seems like an easy question to ask, but his Feedback Feedback followup post where he berates those unable to follow simple instructions with his tongue firmly in his cheek later gets an aggravated response from another site leading to his classic Feedback Feedback Feedback Feedback post.
The posts where he explains some of the inside jokes in the levels (Gibbage Fanboy Humour #1, #2 and #3) highlight a sense of humour common to many a geek – you’ll probably end up nodding along like me.
Where to next?
If you want to keep reading Dan Marshall, he now appears to be at Size Five Games – that’s where I’m off to next.