Gdc

I don’t know anything about game design, but when someone makes a game for a particular genre don’t they usually look up some of the other titles out there? I mean I can name Hollywood Mogul and Movie Studio Boss right off the top of my head. Sure, they won’t be any real competition for him, but I would think that him, or someone on his team, would spend about 15 seconds on Google seeing what else is out there.

Molyneux obviously needs to play Wet: The Sexy Empire. ;)

Schultz: “I zee nuffing, I hear nuffing, and I know NUFFING.”

Whatever he does will be the best, first and only way. Rah! Rah! You can poop on the villagers!

Lets face it, if it cost less than $2 million then it really doesn’t matter. The only games that innovate or have good gameplay cost millions, that’s just the price of admission these days.

Lets face it, if it cost less than $2 million then it really doesn’t matter. The only games that innovate or have good gameplay cost millions, that’s just the price of admission these days.[/quote]

Yes, of course. Just like in Hollywood where quality is a direct relationship with budget…

Where did you guys see Molyneux quoted about farming the programming side of game development to India-based teams?

http://www.fairplay-campaign.co.uk/opinion2.htm

“PM: I’ll tell you what I’d do if I was starting out now. I wouldn’t even attempt to become a developer, not in the sense you recognise. I’d go to someone like Criterion and buy all their engine technology. I’d get in contact with some art houses in Hungary, which there are lots of. I’d hire one or two concept artists over here, get them to do the concept art, and then send all the middle stuff over to Hungary, and then I’d concentrate completely and solely on the actual gameplay without any of the technical stuff.”

FP: So what you’re saying, fundamentally, is that the solution to the industry’s problems is… third-world sweatshop labour?

PM: Well, it is, actually – that’s exactly it. It’s not quite THAT cheap, but Hungary will charge a quarter of what any studio here will charge, and that enables you to actually get something to show people, which you might not be able to do here."

So did PC Gamer actually bring up the other games? That would be more their responsibility than just letting Molyneux say that without commentary.

Anyway, I’m not sure if he’s heading up the design or not, but he wouldn’t be the first designer to do something like this. (And Molyneux would be particularly bad about this, since anyone that’s ever met him can probably agree that he’s kind of operating on a slightly different, slightly scattered wavelength.) The press, of course, can really do a lot to point this kind of thing out.

No – which was, in the oh-so-lame way to say it, “their bad”. At the very least, they should have set the Coconut Monkey in front of a Powerbook and had him Google to earn his bananas (or glow-in-the-dark boxer shorts, fruity drinks at Trader Vic’s, lap dances at the produce stand, Drakkar Noir, whatever coconut monkeys blow their money on).

Ah, the Blow Monkeys… that brings back so many odd memories.

Michael.

“Shakespeare never did this. He never… did… this.”

Here is game designer Greg Costikyan’s lengthy and somewhat apocalyptic perspective on this year’s GDC:

http://www.costik.com/weblog/

(The Monday, March 10th entry.)

I think you were at my talk. :)

-Raph[/quote]

Raph, I missed your talk and then heard afterwards it was great so I was kicking myself the rest of the day. I saw you had the slides on your site, wish there was a printable version somewhere…

Will Wright’s talk and J-Blow’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop were the highpoints for me, those two things were just unbelievably inspiring and energizing and totally worth the cost of admission right there.

/mc

That was an interesting article. Just to play conservative businessman, why should publishers fund titles they feel are risky?

Or to turn it around, why should developers expect publishers to fund that kind of thing. Nothing’s stopping developers from self-funding. As I understand it, publishers are much more likely to publish something quirky if you have a finished product you can hand to them.

So my question to Greg would be if the developers are despairing over being forced to work on Game IV, why not quit and self-fund what they want to work on?

Because the less risky approach, which is what they’re doing now, isn’t really paying off that well. Without risk, you generally can’t have high reward. In theory, you publish a bunch of low-risk games, fund a few high-risk ones that you hope payoff, and the former pays for the failures of the latter. That’s the theory, at least.

So my question to Greg would be if the developers are despairing over being forced to work on Game IV, why not quit and self-fund what they want to work on?

Because they don’t have the money.

The problem is for every Sim City, Deer Hunter and Roller Coaster Tycoon there’s a lot of unique games that are not successful like Torment, Anacrhonox, even Pikmin. Granted they’re not all critically acclaimed but predicting public responce on risky titles is … well too risky.

There are a lot of braindead clone, unoriginal games that are unsuccessful too.

Thanks for posting that, I really enjoyed it. The only problem I really saw is that the titles you see at the IGF aren’t always the best games submitted(this year was really solid though). C’mon now, Bad Milk? Did anyone actually enjoy playing this?

The other thing I find interesting is that the IGF is about rewarding innovation over quality, and yet Pontifex 2 made it to the final round while so many others did not. Sure, Pontifex 2 is a decent game, but it’s essentially the third title in the series. Sure, there are improvements but they aren’t exactly ground breaking.

I’m not even sure gamers are all that open to innovation. Certainly innovation alone won’t sell. I’d rather play EverQuest 2 than A Tale in the Desert.

This whole idea of valuing innovation so highly seems a bit off and edging towards the “games as art” land again. Playing games is a hobby. If I like flight sims, give me a better flight sim – don’t give me the Pencil Whipped of flight sims. Same with shooters, or RTSs.

I value innovation within a genre, like what Kohan did. I don’t think a game like Kohan would be hard to sell to publishers, especially if you could attach a license to it. Suppose the brains behind Kohan worked for EA and got to create a LotR RTS. I’m sure they could have gotten away with a lot of the innovative stuff they did. They made an RTS, after all.

I tried to find the source for what Molyneux, and could find none. Must have been hearsay. :oops:

Going to art galleries, watching indie films, and reading novels are hobbies too. Hobby status doesn’t necessarily relieve the burden of creativity from a product. It all depends on what you are into games for. If you’re into games to stimulate a twitch response and little else, then your demands aren’t going to be that great for innovation, storytelling skills, humor, etc. That’s not why I like games. I like games for the same reason I like other artforms. I like the ones that show creative spark, that show a unique mind or group of minds in action. The best show signs of genius. If I didn’t value innovation, storytelling (in games with plots), graphic design and interesting game characters, I’d be playing chess or cards or some other solid, proven game that’s been set in stone for the last hundred years. If Quake rocks your world, then great. I just prefer something else, something that shows someone has been trying to do something that hasn’t been done a bunch of times before but with “cooler,” more photorealistic graphics.

Greg Costikyan himself is an example of the type of mind that keeps me interested in games. Everquest seems designed by committee to me. A Greg Costikyan game has his fingerprints all over it, as did Bunten-Berry’s games, Bill Williams’s games (“Alley Cat,” “Necromancer,” etc.), Lord British’s games, Bitmap Brothers games, Llamasoft games, etc. When I play games by designers such as those, I feel like I’m interacting with a unique creative mind. When I type something obscure into an Infocom game and get a creative response that shows someone anticipated my action, that is the sort of moment I enjoy in a game. A creative interface between two people.

Have you tried either of those games?

This whole idea of valuing innovation so highly seems a bit off and edging towards the “games as art” land again.

I value innovation within a genre, like what Kohan did.

I realize it’s an insult to all of the working class people on this message board to even mention “art,” but really, innovation within genre is what everyone is talking about. There can only be a tiny fraction of “new” game types, so people are interested in innovative worlds and game mechanics. And they rarely receive them, I think, because there are too few truly creative people in the industry. Most can craft a game, a la a Raven, but few create something with, at a minimum, a unique look and/or feel.

I don’t think a game like Kohan would be hard to sell to publishers, especially if you could attach a license to it.

This is just lazy thinking, and it’s exactly what’s wrong with the industry. Where are the top selling licenses? Most of the big selling games are original IP created specifically for the platforms (and their sequels, of course).

Do you really think Kohan with the LOTR license would outsell the original Age of Empires, Command & Conquer, or WarCraft? There may be reasons why Kohan wasn’t as successful as those games but it probably had nothing to do with whether it was licensed or not.