- Social responsability.
As every year, Alice does an awesome job when it comes to panel translation. Lorne Lanning said interesting things:
“I think a lot of us are so full of shit. Most action gaming is really sociopathic. What we do we do, we love blowing shit away, that’s sociopathic.”
But in real life how developers live is kinda sociopathic too: playing action violent games, gathering in small dedicated crowd, stuffing themselves with junk food.. Sometimes it’s necessary I’m ok on this, but do we really have to make it as “the true” game developer lifestyle? How can we make games be more responsible when we aren’t? With lifes as healthy as they were when we were in college? No wonder that our field is lacking women or that game developers girlfriends don’t really exist. No wonder why we don’t try to adress society problems like aging fast population and elderly market (man, it’s gonna be so huge in a few years). Our medium is powerful we all recognize this. Time to fucking grow up. We can be responsible AND childish. The second has been done for years now.
“The other thing is how well do you sleep at night. [When making Oddworld] we were told several times ‘you know, I feel great, I’m publishing a game that I can go home and show my kids.”
This is only true with non-sociopathic gamedev peeps, like a very few are. People don’t give a shit about responsability in the industry, it’s not something we’re searching for sadly. I tend to, trying to respect myself, having a normal life. That’s suppose people to get better at what they do, there is room but guess what they don’t. They want to do games as we make movies. 3D modelers often can’t stop dreaming about the big black screen for example. They move triangles all day and night long while having breaks watching Pixar trailers and playing sociopathic games.
the panel was apparently dodging a real good question:
“There was a last question about how the panel was dodging this idea that games can teach good, but at the same time can’t be held responsible for provoking realworld violence, which seems to be a paradox to many.”
It can be held responsible for provoking realworld violence, no question about that, we just don’t want to acknowledge this because we fear others medias would kill us all talking shit about how we badly influence young people with violent games, as they already do everytime they can.
Eskil’s Love game. Dude it’s code, we can do everything. Every. Things.
Madworld is all about destroying people but the visuals are meant to translate a dreamy world, like it doesn’t really exist. GTA IV plays the “it’s almost fucking real” card and no matter what people think, it’s not helping the medium.
But it makes large teams work for years on that kind of game production.
If we want less of that, less technical updates of games, less social responsability dodging BS we need people to get better at making games like suggests Eskil.
“Making games is a little like being a fashion designer. Fashion is not about making beautiful clothing, Its about making beautiful people. A successful designer is not the one who is in the center, but some one who makes the wearer the center. The story isn’t yours, its the players.”
This is why I totally focused myself on games, forgetting about movies. Forgetting about stories. Digging books on game design, stuffing my head with technical coding stuffs etc I don’t see a lot of designers doing so. They’re “artists” you know… Eskil wrote:
“Concept art stems from the idea that you need to quickly pre-visualize your game before you get to the expensive task of actually making it. Our goal should be to cut the cost of making the content so much that Concept art is no longer needed.”
I think that’s really true. Concept art is friggin’ slow! While I understand the “wow” effect for the old publisher-brick and mortar way to do business, designing ingame as soon as possible is way better to make it effectively in-game. This is why I just can’t stand the VIDEO before games, it makes people focus on the visual part of the medium instead of the game experience. Drives me crazy, it’s as stupid as saying bio vegetables.. Oh wait.
We live some stunning times don’t we? We need to put the obvious in front of things. This is not a mark that we are getting smarter if you ask me. Like the rest of the society, the industry has made a terrific job at making posers famous and all. But making games is hard and you can’t really fake it it’s almost automatically translated in a bad experience or something gamers are going to feel as wrong like a bad balance or heterogeneous assets.
This is where ease of developement is critical.
- On ease of development.
Iteration. This word I really learn about reading Raph Koster’s Theory of Fun, is the main thing: we have to iterate things, assets, stuffs, ideas, everything in the real game engine. As soon as possible, as often as needed.
For that coding and tools should be fast and efficient. And this is where open source is limited right now and still, because there is two cases from a game design point of view:
-You are not efficient on these technologies and you’re having hard times to tweak things that should work by themselves because they are just trivial from a gameplay perspective.
-You are super efficient on these technologies. For that you are digging so much tech that you are no longer working on a game, you are working around a game.
When technology is hard to work with, specialists are needed to do things. When technology is easy, generalists are better at achieving that. In small teams with rapid iteration process, the latter is much more useful.
With that in mind, it’s not difficult to understand why Capcom loves the 360, why Keita prototypes Noby Noby Boy on 360, why a polished game made by a dude alone is possible in one year and a half and a good framework, why the IGF winner is a game made by one man with MS tools (XNA once again), why a lot of GGJ games were done in Flash or DirectX, why Fmod rules the game audio world etc
Of course we tend to prefer open solutions, that’s a no-brainer. But being able to do stuffs extremely fast or with limited ressources (like on the game I work, toolchain made by one man in one month, full .Net C#) is the real key there.
Eskil-like people are way too rare, as he said on his blog.. But they are the real game designers. I do my best to be like that.