Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Load Tubes One and Two!

Okay, I've had enough of this silence bit. So many people complained that I was all talk, so I put away the black hat and put out a real first-stab at a real high-level business design. I've gotten some real, serious feedback, some offline interest, and a few of us are mucking about on our own time looking at that.

Then I shut up.

But my blog seems to have gone blahhh...

So let's light up some targets again!

Here are a couple comments I made on Gamasutra recently...

On Simon Parkin's examination of numeric rating systems for game reviews:

Think of all those great works in other media - films, novels, music, etc - that were trashed, ignored or otherwise misunderstood when first released but, after time, were "rediscovered" and then went on to become masterpieces and extreme commercial success.

Once again, I have to say we need to pry the reins of creative-decision-making in game development out of the hands of the short-sighted beancounters.

(Note: Somebody later commented against me, mistakenly believing I was criticizing the author. Actually Parkin and I were in agreement.)

On Will Wright's optimistic view of games being accepted as a form of expression:

"We are a couple years away from being respected as a form of expression, but it's not a battle we need to fight. We'll win anyway."

Yeah right... Kind've like the Civilization model of R&D: just keep pumping "research points" into a new tech (which, somehow you know is coming even before it's been invented), passively, and sooner or later the new tech just pops out of nowhere.

Guess what?: in the real world radical discoveries don't happen that way. They are far from inevitable... They come from unexpected directions, by people often looking for totally different things. They meet great resistance.

The reality is new advancements don't just magically happen. Anymore than in cinema the auteur system - and with it respect for the medium of film - appeared. The auteur system which brought respect to film occurred because of an act of government to break the monopoly of film studios. Similar accomplishments require great work.

I wonder if Mr Wright would speak so free and easy if he were a just-starting-out designer today. Without the immense power his name carries. Let's say Sim City had never been invented - and thus the entire genre of Sim-like games didn't exist. And he went as a lone designer (much as he did back in the late 80s) with the proposal for such a radically new design. If he didn't have all the firepower of a working 3D demo behind him - which is de rigeur today - would he have gotten anywhere? Or would some suit at a publisher say "How quaint? However, we're trying to fill out our roster of military shooters, so we'll take a pass..."

One wonders.