Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Convoluted Ideas

I wanted to write my last blog article about this, but as I started writing I forgot because I got caught off guards by Kotaku. Ironically enough, it was Kotaku again that reminded me of this point. The best videogames (or at least game stories) are made by either one person or a team of very few. I can explain why this is because of the experiences I've had going to school for my bachelors degree Game Art and Design:

I've worked with numerous design projects, game mods, what have you, and the usual outcome is not great. A bunch of people will get together, all with their own ideas of what can be good (this is especially bad if you are all trying to get together 'just to think up a winning idea') and they all go at it. One person pitches and idea, and then another person pitches something and that gets added, and then another person changes that for a new idea. It sounds reasonable, but as everything starts to morph along with every new addition, the original idea gets beaten into obscurity.

I enetered into a design club while in school and they were looking to create a really ambitious mod project. Everyone had really nice ideas at the start, but then as everyone plugged in their own ideas, it became the same old game you see 100 times on the shelf at any store. It's kind of like when the WWE reinstituted ECW for the last time. One night for ratings they had 4 of their top guys face eachother in a 4 person matchup. The problem was, all 4 guys were so egotistital that they had to hit their finishers before the match ended. So these 4 guys go out of their way to throw people around, setting them up for these moves, which they all eventually hit. The match just became a huge mess because no one wanted to let the other man come out on top in the audiences eyes. If one of those wrestlers however would have just held back, took one for the team, and got hit with a finisher and rolled off to the side to open the stage for another, the match would have flowed so much more smoothly.

The same thing occured in this design club. If we would have just took somebody's one idea and ran with it, making minor changes here and there, but sticking close to the original concept, I think it would have been a better project.

If I had a team of 6 working to create a game, and all of them had really good ideas, I would rather we take the vast amount of time to make 6 original games than spend time making one big convoluted one.

This is the same reason I feel uneasy in a game studio where the head states that every employee has a voice in the game creation process. The entire company meets in order to give their two cents in order to make the games. I think it should be the opposite. I think they deisng heads should be the only ones that put the game ideas together, and if another artist really has a good addition, so be it. But the head designers should be forced to have to change a lot of things just to fit that one artists idea into the game.

This is my opinion based on past experiences I've had. They could change once I land a job in a higher end studio, but for right now, this is how I see it.


Friday, March 4, 2011

King Tutlr

That is a picture of a new character I'm working on. I actually made that the other day after a couple hours of screwing around in Zbrush. I haven't had a chance to continue working on it, but it should be pretty cool when it's done. There are a lot of new ideas for stuff I want to model and things around me are starting to change which is giving me a boosted work ethic.

I've started making a LOT of prop models for Vteractive's Facebook game Questinations. They are all up on my website on the props page. We're breaking into the Easter stuff now so I have some eggs and baskets to make next. I also finally finished that mobile crane for Flaming Brain studios. Speaking of which, Flaming Brain has just redone their site and it's looking pretty snazzy, so check that out.

I'm going to spend the rest of this entry venting about the gaming news site Kotaku. Kotaku is a site that I love because it gives gaming news in a fun way. It "was" easy to read, very simple, and had people that are passionate about what they are writing about. But in recent months, the site has gone through a lot of changes. The visual changes to the site are very different, but that kind of thing I can get used to. What I'm a little upset with is the changing in the actual articles. I don't know if they have always been like this, or if I'm just getting older and starting to think about things more. I'm going to make mention of a couple in particular that bothered me.

The first comes from the writer Stephen Totilo and the article is called 'A Plea For Games To Grow Up". Stephen was at GDC this week and he walked into a presentation by David Cage (founder of the company Quantic Dream and creator of Heavy Rain among other games). Totilo explains how he started listening to Cage before dismissing the speech as "information he already knew" and so he moved on to another presentaion across the hall that interested him more. This is perfectly fine in my opinion. I probably would have done the same thing if another panel interested me more, but Totilo explains how he returned to Cage's presenation and found that it was a pretty moving speech. People were all abuzz on Twitter about how great it was, and so Totilo felt he had made the wrong choice by skipping out on the speech. He tries to make up for the fact that he missed it at the end of his Kotaku article, but honestly, there is no reason to, and I don't really care anyway. I understand that you are upset and a little embarassed that you missed the speech, but then why even add any of that to the article? Why not just report on what it was that Cage talked about and leave the rest out? Is that so hard? You shouldn't be so hard on yourself anyway, Totilo, because I think you were right in your original accusation: that the speech was all information you've heard before. I think you are just overcome by peer pressure.

Another article that I read just this morning is called "Why All The Call Of Duty Hate?" and it's written by Mike Fahey. This article takes the cake. The last one was just a little irriating, but this thing just angered me. Fahey talks about Call of Duty (CoD) and how people "hate" on it for no reason. He even goes as far to say that "In my honest opinion, I think these comments are because, well, they are horrible at the game." Fahey actually blames haters of the game because they "aren't good at it". Are you fucking kidding me? That is a response that a 14 year old would make. The fact of the matter is, everyone has their opinion, so Fahey can say whatever he wants, but belittling the people that play games, people who don't like the games that you like, and the readers of your own articles is a pretty shitty way to be a journalist.

People like Mike Fahey are the reason I don't like to play shooters. Not because I'm "not good at them". Not because they are or aren't "the same thing every time". Because assholes like Mike Fahey are fans of them and then spout off on professional web blogs about how shitty everyone else is because they don't like the same things he does. Grow up, ya big poop face.

And while I'm on the topic of poop-faces. Go to my friend Reuben's blog: http://reubnick.wordpress.com/
This kid is about 6 years younger than me, but he writes like a pro (and not really a poop-face). I only wish I could write blogs well as he does.

Maybe then someone would actually read this one........