Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Blasphemy

Putting some more of my comments on Gamasutra up here before they get deleted. These ones on the tension between group and individual in game development...


On a recent opinion by Raph Koster I said...

The thing I can't stand about Koster is his insistence on unifying the game industry into one giant homogenous monolithic singularity.

"We're building a lot of our worlds looking backward instead of looking at the world now."

"We have to change our definition of..."

"If you’re still reading 'Snow Crash,' you’re going in the wrong direction, because it's not 1992 anymore..."

What *we* need to do is shut the hell up and let individual designers free to do whatever it is they please. Leave the megalithic corporate-think to Microsoft or whatever. Game design is an art form, and it is the *Kiss of Death* to impose external criteria as if they are god-given-truth on creators.

On Gamasutra's recent list of 20 "developers" to watch - in which they didn't name the creators, only the companies, I said...
Who are the actual developers - the human beings - who are worth watching? Where's the detective work on this? We need to be interested in this game designer, that programmer or this artist far more than this or that company. Companies are just shells that own stuff. Games are made by people. Who are the people?
Then I followed with another comment...
From what I can tell the list reads something like this...

1.) Kyle Gabler
2.) Joseph M. Tringali, Jeremiah Slaczka
3.) Frank Lantz
4.) Katsura Hashino, Shigenori Soejima
5.) Tom Fulp, John Baez, Dan Paladin
6.) Max Hoberman
7.) Tim Schafer
8.) Goichi Suda
9.) Randy Pitchford
10.) Vlad Ceraldi, Joel DeYoung, Ron Gilbert
11.) Steve Fawkner
12.) Akihiro Hino
13.) Mark Healey, Alex Evans
14.) Mare Sheppard, Raigan Burns
15.) Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba
16.) Dylan Cuthbert, Kenkichi Shimooka
17.) Jenova Chen, Kellee Santiago
18.) Masato Maegawa
19.) Michael Booth
20.) Dave Gilbert
Chris Remo rebutted, telling me that game development is collaborative, and that it's too hard to pick out who these individual creators are. To this I responded...

Also, a football team is made up of a lot of people - however, that doesn't stop us from learning and talking about star players like Bret Favre, Joe Montana, etc.

Also, a film is made by many people - however, that doesn't stop us learning about key creators like William Golding, Steven Spielberg, Francois Truffaut, Roman Polanski, etc.

Also, many people are needed to construct a building - however that doesn't stop us giving recognition to key designers like Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Libskind, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, etc.

(Shall I continue...?)

There is no excuse for the game industry to obstinately refuse to acknowledge and celebrate the talent of those individuals who have exceptional talent.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Watching the Game Industry Come To Its Senses

I commented on a story about outsourcing on Gamasutra. Basically, some big companies are starting to wake up to the fact that outsourcing makes sense. And not just for the sake of efficiency - for the sake of effectiveness.

My comment?:

Needless to say I've been hammering this message a long time.

Outsourcing is the rule - not the exception. You would never consider having a doctor on staff in case your employees got sick; or a lawyer for all your legal needs; or a plumber if your building broke down.

The most important thing about outsourcing is that the focus shifts from production to creative - as it should. We have to stop letting production questions get in the way of trying out new creative ideas. The attitude should be we can always "crew up" to make it - no matter how risky the new design seems.