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.


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