It's clear that 2013 was one of the most exciting and announcement-packed year for video games we've seen -- but which stories were the most searched for, the most read, the most popular?
Gamasutra has compiled a list of the 25 most popular stories from 2013, ranked by pageviews over the course of the year, and in ascending order so that you can have a guess at number one before you scroll down to find it. Go on, have a guess.
Hot topics included the back catalogue of Lucasarts, following the closure of the studio; Monetization tricks that may or may not be put to use by free-to-play game studios; And how the inner workings of Valve's company grind together to result in such resounding success.
25. Alternate Reality Game puzzle design
- Adam Foster, level and environment and ARG designer at Valve, discusses how to make impossibly complicated puzzles that people can solve.
24. Programmer, Interrupted
- There are many distractions at work, and unfortunately, our understanding of interruption and remedies for restoring focus are not too far from homeopathic cures and bloodletting leeches. But what is the evidence, and what can we do about it?
23. Defender's Quest: By the Numbers, Part 2
- Indie developer Lars Doucet takes us back for another look at how his game has performed now that it's received a massive update and, in the process, landed on stores like Steam and GOG, detailing both his gross revenue and what, on the developer's end, goes into generating those numbers.
22. The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 1: Documentation Guidelines for the Game Concept and Proposal
- Design documents sometimes fall short of their purpose. Make sure that your design document meets the needs of the project and your team by instilling procedures that will help you complete your game on time and on budget.
21. It's official: XNA is dead
- Microsoft has confirmed that it does not plan to release future versions of the XNA development toolset, although thanks to the open source MonoGame, developers won't be left out in the cold.
20. Clash of Clans' 5 keys to success
- With Supercell now raking in more than $1 million a day, Gamasutra talks to Clash of Clans
product lead Lasse Louhento about what makes the casual strategy game so popular.
19. Who's buying all these niche simulation games, anyway? We found out
- Hardcore simulation games like German Truck Simulator
and Farming Simulator
are often the subject of ridicule among U.S. gamers. So who exactly is buying these games, and is there really demand for them?
18. Video: Fixing toxic online behavior in League of Legends
- Toxic player behavior exhibited during online gaming sessions can be improved several ways, Riot Games' Jeffery Lin reveals in this analysis of experiments conducted in League of Legends
17. My Hardest Bug Ever
- This is the story of the hardest thing I've ever debugged, from Crash Bandicoot 1
16. Opinion: Xbox One is a desperate prayer to stop time
- Microsoft used words like "groundbreaking," "innovative" and "immersive" countless times as it unveiled the Xbox One, but Leigh Alexander argues that all we saw a disconnected prayer to stop time.
15. Dirty Coding Tricks
- When the schedule is shot and a game needs to ship, programmers may employ some dirty coding tricks to get the game out the door. Here are nine real-life examples.
14. How do I get started programming games???
- A response from Tommy Refenes to countless emails he gets because of Indie Game: The Movie and Super Meat Boy
, asking "How do I get started programming games?"
13. Video: Sexism and sexuality in games
- Dragon Age
lead writer David Gaider takes a look at how romantic characters evolved from Baldur's Gate II
to the Dragon Age
12. Opinion: The tragedy of Grand Theft Auto V
- With all the talk about "open world," "mayhem," and "power fantasy," it's easy to forget how confining the Grand Theft Auto
series now feels, writes Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander.
11. Select game developers used the Steam Controller. Here's what they said
- We talk to developers who've actually used Valve's upcoming stickless wonder. From its flexibility to its haptic feedback, people who make games are optimistic about the Steam Controller.
10. Dwarf Fortress in 2013
- Gamasutra speaks to Tarn Adams, creator of the iconoclastic and unique simulation game, about his future plans, why he doesn't fraternize with developers, and why he resolutely refuses to sell out.
9. Chasing the Whale: Examining the ethics of free-to-play games
- Free-to-play developers toss around the term "whales" -- but what are they? What are their lives like? And should designers stop targeting them? This in-depth piece examines the ethics around all angles on the issue.
8. Several out of work as Valve makes 'large decisions' about its future
- Several employees were let go from Steam and Half-Like
maker Valve, in what affected employees describe as the company making "large decisions" about its future as a business.
7. The SCUMM Diary: Stories behind one of the greatest game engines ever made
- It's rare that the mention of a video game engine can elicit emotions nearly as strong as the games that it powers, but SCUMM is special in a lot of ways. SCUMM co-creator Aric Wilmunder tells the stories behind the well-regarded engine.
6. Using SimCity to diagnose my home town's traffic problem
- The traffic in Gamasutra editor Mike Rose's hometown is pretty bad, especially during rush hour. Can he use SimCity
to diagnose the problem?
5. Why are We Still Talking about LucasArts' Old Adventure Games?
- What was it about the environment at Lucasfilm Games during the golden age of its graphical adventure games in the 80s and 90s? Why are we still talking about those games today? We polled our development community.
4. How Valve hires, how it fires, and how much it pays
- Valve economist-in-residence Yanis Varoufakis offers a rare glimpse behind the curtain of what may be the most unique management structure in video game development today, in which projects thrive with zero management.
3. Inside the PlayStation 4 With Mark Cerny
- When the PlayStation 4 was announced, lead system architect Mark Cerny called out its "supercharged PC architecture" -- but what does that mean? Gamasutra spoke to Cerny at length, and this article details precisely what the hardware is capable of.
2. The Top F2P Monetization Tricks
- Virtual Economist Ramin Shokrizade explains in detail the top methods used to trick consumers into spending in F2P games.
1. Dirty Game Development Tricks
- One of Game Developer's most popular features was our "Dirty Coding Tricks" bit from 2009, where the magazine got devs to open up about some of their ugly hacks. This year, we followed it up with new dirty tricks.