Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A day in the life of a Game Designer

Though the role of a game designer is vital to the development of a game, and as interesting as it might be to come up with the plot for a game and the basics of its world and everything in it, the prospect of writing a 500 page document of my heart and soul for then the team avoid reading it at all costs and my superiors deciding whether to keep or chuck my book based on its weight made me oh so grateful that I choose Game Art!

However, although game designer’s write the basic components of the game, which artists’, animators and programmers need to skim read to know what they’re doing, the issues that arise by their work ultimately mean that the game designer’s document must be re-written several times in order to correct these issues. In a sense, once the designer has written the initial design, the team go on to lead each other.

Initially in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was possible for one person to design a game all by themselves. Though as games have become more complex, and the basics of level design are no longer basic: larger levels shrouded in plot tying in all the levels, difficulty changes and what goes with those changes . Thus specific levels designers are needed for this job alone. Game design now is no longer a one man operation.

As important the design and development job in the games industry is, it’s obvious to me that I would much rather have the pressure of scrawling character designs, concept sketches and 3D modelling than prodding a room full of people trying to make them make a game how I want it.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Yey for reviewing stuff

Today the biggest issue facing game reviewers has to be their leniency towarss the status quo. Traditional games journalism, although clinical in nature, serves the purpose of informing the intended audience of the facts behind the game: levels, character playability, items and plot outline, with or without spoilers. Having grown all too comfortable in taking appart a game trying to understand how it works, the introduction of the pivotal example of New Journalism "Bow Nigger", though highly offensive in title, was a well written and captivating example, though not necessarily appreciated by classic journals.

Although, traditional methods of review had been successful in magazines over the past decade, their objective and often over-zealous judgements under the pase they must work at, their popularity has begun to dwindle due to the growing popularity of gamers wanting to express their own experiences of games through the internet. With the internet now the number one source of information, New Journalism has become increasingly popular and threatans the standardised ways of assessing games.

New Journalism rejects the traditional means of breaking down the aspects of how a game is composed and how it came to be. It is less about the same and the experiences it creates for the gamer. New Journalism is linked in with the term "travel journalism". The idea that as appose to a journalism making a physical journey, their minds are taking a mental journey through a vertual world. The result is far more narrative, descriptive and more importabtly, includes the term "I" making the reviews subjective as appose to objective. Naturally New Journalism is far more opinionated, but gives a better insight to the gaming experience and the emotions invoked by decisions made by the player.

Thogu, if a reviewer was to combine both techniques of journalism, together with a standardised scoring system with which to mark each game, reviewing would serve both as a form of factual information and delightful reading which surely would appeal to a wider readership and help slow or stop reductions in game magazine sales. =)