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Game Devs Burn Another House Down 47

Another year, and another session of the 'Game Developer's Rant'. Last year saw Warren Spector making some comments that were heavily talked about for months after the GDC had ended. This year, some more talented people got together to talk smack about the industry they work in. (Cussin' and afightin' behind the link, be warned.) From Alice's transcript: "The name of this conference is 'what's next'. This year they're gonna tell me, I'm going back to my desk, I'm going to know what to do, and it's going to be easy! Right? Iwata-san. Totally inspiring. Can't wait to see the Revolution happen. Went to see Will Wright. Love him! Love his process! So intimidated. But his stuff was so hard to think about. I lost some brain cells thinking about it, so I want to say thank you to ATI and the art institute for showing me what's next in games: hawt chix! ?"
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Game Devs Burn Another House Down

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  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Friday March 24, 2006 @01:35PM (#14989073) Homepage Journal
    Compelling experiences are carved out, made of gaps. We have bathrooms in our environments because it's more realistic. One day someone will think eating and shitting should go into a game because there's a bathroom to use. This is not a good idea.

    I agree. The game experience for me is about two things: suspending disbelief and living a fantasy experience. Games that try to mimic life, to me, create complete disbelief. I tried the Sims and all that, but I'm thankful that Civ4 doesn't have toilets. My favorite games still go back to text mode, though, because I prefer my imagination over the "one-size-fits-all" imagination of 3D designers. I'm amazed at the visual quality levels of games today, but they don't suspend disbelief just because they look real.

    We don't have an Oscars. We don't have an academy.

    Be thankful. The Oscars are a self-serving joke for a cartel-driven industry. The gaming industry does have their own oscars: it is called game sales, game profits, and happy consumers.

    You guys are the future, and it's a beautiful future if you open your mind and actually think about business a bit more.

    See my previous point. The idea of thinking about business more is of massive importance. Profit for a product you make means you have happy customers who want your product. They're exchanging their store-of-time ("money") for your time, and if they're happy, they'll happily pay. En masse.

    We need to make games that people care about so much that people can't not play them.

    Yes! We gamers want not just to play a game, we want to be able to have a desire to play it. Most games today look cool, sound cool and have all the jazz but I want to not play them because they don't offer me the experience I desire. Have you seen the drive to return to table-top D&D gaming? That is an RPG. A keyboard and a mouse are not RPG-efficient in my mind, because my mind is not part of the interface.

    Maybe we need to become fossil fuel for the next generation to come along and show us how it's done.

    They will, but I think it will be taking a step backwards. The more hardware that is needed to play a "coolness-factor" game, the more bugs I find, the more difficult it is to play and the more it works to create disbelief and take me out of the picture.

    I have to tell ya, there's nothing better that can be done because the games industry is d.e.a.d.

    GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    We put food in, shit comes out.

    See previous 2 points.

    The second I'll just mention that I'm going down the corridor to the maternity room where there's an infant that has a better future than the games business and it's called interactive storytelling.

    For me a big part of interactivity is letting my brain create the image I believe I will soon see. That is part of fear, part of desire. If I am fed everything, I won't be hungry for what is ahead. Games have to create a hunger and a thirst every step of the way.

    Your number one beef with the industry or your job. And tomorrow.. no,, Saturday.. hahah.. do something about it!

    Actually, the market will cause you to do something about it. Your paycheck might be great, so that means there are customers. But the big part of a job is also being satisfied in your work, and that might mean taking a paycut in order to find new markets.

    but I realise that the people in the audience are actually very intelligent here and only stupid people think that patents is a good idea, so that'd be a waste of time.

    Whoa, did your friendly neighborhood anarcho-capitalist [] just say that? I don't think I did!

    I didn't wanna rant, I wanted to rave. Games are really totally amazing.

    Yet when I complete a game, I am only happy when I realize that my mind is truly am
  • Re:blah blah blah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 24, 2006 @02:08PM (#14989350)
    All of this is dumb.

    Good games only need one thing. Just one thing. They need to be fun.

    If its fun, everything else will follow.

    Im getting tired of these overcomplex rants about videogames, when at the core they are simply fun toys to pass time. Developers, authors, the entire industry really only need to focus on games staying fun. If people say "hey, this is fun!" everything else should follow.
  • The problem with interactive story telling is that to be broad, you need either a lot of well-thought voice recordings and renderings for each variation of the scene, or just strip the audio and keep text dialogs.

    As I said before in another story, we need the technology to provide good voice synthesis, as to provide us with "virtual improvising actors" that will act differently depending on the circumstances.

    An example I like to talk about is FF-X (not X-2, it sucked), a game I liked a lot. I loved the story, and the greatest motivation i had for going on with the game was wondering what happened next.

    But in the end, it was just pre-recorded clips - inside a linear game. But what if we could have a non-linear game, with many different endings and different events happening? This would add a lot of replay value. I would like for example, to make the game change such that Tidus would fall in love with Rikku instead of Yuna, and Yuna would come to become a secondary character. What if Yuna and Rikku could chat about Tidus and what they think about him, or what about some emotional screw up that would split the party and open different possibilities in the game? (Like your quest is to travel thru the mountains so you could simply apologize to your loved one and go on with the quest - yeah, I know, it's crazy, but at least it'd be interesting to watch). Kinda like Silent Hill games where you can unlock different endings, but I want the character interactions and not mere key objects to do the unlocking.

    I'm talking about AI. Not basic AI like intelligent enemies, but an "emotion" engine where characters could change their mood and give you different answers, or do different things.
    The problem is that with voice actors and pre-recorded audio) this would be either impossible or beyond budget/time. We've reached the point where innovation is IMPOSSIBLE with the current technology.

    Game programmers need to stop relying on old formulas and start developing more tools for better games:

    * a good emotion engine for character AI
    * efficient speech synthesis so that characters can express ideas and emotions without needing a voice actor to have every possibility recorded
    * perhaps a better script (as in camera, action) engine for cutscenes

    This would work at least with RPG's.
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @03:25PM (#14989973) Journal
    but I'm thankful that Civ4 doesn't have toilets.

    Me too. I was a little deterred by GTA:SA's concept of including food. By all accounts it's still a good game, but it seemed like they were struggling for new ideas. What would have been better would be better people interaction, different personalities to choose from at the start of the game (RPG style - pick the attributes you want). But these are hard. They make it a lot harder to balance the game. Gimmicks are easy.

    The gaming industry does have their own oscars: it is called game sales, game profits, and happy consumers.

    Sales are one thing, but the movie industry judges commercial success to a fair degree as well. Sales are not a true indicator of quality. Some genuinely innovative ideas that don't get the publicity they deserve. 25 to Life got large sales because of the publicity. And the movie industry isn't the only industry that gives awards to itself. Everything does. Did you know that electrical appliance salesmen have their own annual awards ceremony? A well publicised and well recognised awards ceremony would benefit innovative companies considerably.

    I think a large part of what's missing is lack of decent story. Games need to borrow more story telling ideas. Too many games just have a very predictble run round a maze, shoot at things, with a gradual difficulty progression. The original Tomb Raider did things quite well. I was never expecting a Tyrannasaurs Rex after lots of big cats and wolves. Nor did I expect to be dumped in a level with no weapons at all. This was all good. It made the game less predictable. Too many games are simply too repetitive. (And it's always been the case. Side scrolling shoot-em-ups jsut gave way to first person shooters).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2006 @02:31AM (#14996683)
    if i can get Yuna to fall in love with Rikku i will buy it.

    Seriously, in NWN I'm playing a female character and none of the female hookers in the brothels will give me the time of day. No, there's one guy hooker that they try to pawn me off on. Look, I'm a bad ass halfling rogue with an attitude. I don't want some used up tired out old mangina.

    Besides, what percentage of female characters are really female.

In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.