Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Game Design - Inside Tip

Game Design - Inside Tip

Let me give you an inside tip.  Game designers, game developers, game programmers...none of us sit around and debate to each other about some kind of weird mythical set of guidelines that define whether what we make is a 'game' or not.  This whole stupid debate around needing a fail state, needing gameplay, needing player choice or player motivation in order to make something a game?

None of us are talking about that.  We are talking about metrics, UX design, UI design, narrative, story, character driven scenes.  We're talking about tuning numbers, watching playtests, coming up with concept.  We are staring at code, long sheets of xml data, inputting weird database numbers and looking at what comes back.

We're watching lines of graphs printed out for us in real time and trying to draw conjecture out of it.

But let me tell you, none of us are sitting around asking each other if what we're making is a game or not.  Nobody cares.  We're making it, if it has any kind of interaction at all, and isn't a piece of productivity software, it's a game.  We don't debate that part, we just make games.  Lists of assets come down, milestones get declared, we tune the controls, replace big grey boxes with interesting things, watch people play and take notes.  Not even the dumbest intern at the lowest level of EA ever asks some senior dev "Is this really a game though?"  It just doesn't happen.

Just because you didn't like Gone Home? Just because you thought To The Moon was too linear? Just because you thought there's no difference in the narrative to Journey?  That's your problem.  Those games, perhaps are not for you.

I have a secret, not all games are for everyone.  In fact, I would even posit that many games are not for many people.  There is A game out there for everyone, but not every game is for every one.  That's a sad truth of the matter.  Some people like more guns, less guns, more blood, fewer jump scares, more jump scares. Some people like more variety in the art, others don't care about pixel art, maybe some people like vector, or painted styles.  Some of us like voice over, others are perfectly content with blocks of text.  Sometimes you want hip hop music in your game, I would think you're crazy because I like orchestra or minimalism, but I get that you like hip hop in your game.

Does that make sense?  Just because someone else sees the value in a game doesn't mean their opinion isn't valid.  But having weird little internet arguments over what are subjectively 'good' or 'bad' or 'not even' a game, games?  That doesn't even make any damn sense.  And beyond that, you're actively treading on people's REAL LIFE agency.  You're telling them what they can or can't love.  And why.  And the reasons you are presenting are stupid.

Criticize tangible things, like disagreements about flow, or textures, or functionality.  Criticize community, or policing, or the company's EULA.  But you want to tell a developer that their game isn't a game?  Well my immediate response to you will be "Your face, isn't even a face."  I mean what?  Your statement doesn't even make any OBJECTIVE SENSE.

Get over it.

And stop being so offended that I muted you that you went to harass my friends.  We're not in grade school any more.