Saturday, 2 July 2011

Long Live The Art of Game Design


With the advancement of social games, and networked blogging, folks in the game industry are constantly trying to quantize a gamer's experience via Live metrics. In the unholy quest to improve product placement, gamers experience and thus the overall game - metrics for everything is now available to a large extent....

BUT, this is only a tool.

It cannot replace hardcore experience of making and producing a good polished game.

Just look at the release of semi mediocre sequels of existing titles these days, and you will know personally that rarely do any of these series title improve on its predecessor in general.

SCIENCE - the new religion

There will always be those wanting to quantify an experience - be it the mystical, spiritual, the unknown, commerce, gambling, human behavior and pattern recognition.

To a extent, it can be observed and classified. But science is NEVER absolute. A law is only a perceived truisim. Newtonian physics only works to a certain extent. Gravity is a quantified experience but we still do not really know how it exists...much like electricity (that we were taught in school) we still do not really know how it works at the nano level.

We think we are reasonably good and labelling and categorizing our immediate everyday experience. that we have mapped out the entire known world. That everything can be rationalized and explained.

The fact is, the more we delve into out science, the more we seek to understand our experience. Our journey in live. And thus, similarly with games we seek this unholy grail of how to make a super game with metrics. But this is really not a great way to go about making games.

What was it our forefathers and early legends understood that made iconic games still a great experience to this day and age, re-birthed on portable gaming  and tablet devices.
No one really knows, but they will sure keep on trying.


And then...there is the Art.

Intuition, a gut instinct, human amalgamation of life experiences, anaecdotal, science, humanities, perfect geometry...these all become distilled into the Art that is a greater sum of all its parts.

And thats what is great about being creative about Design. It does not adhere to some law or observe facts (for too long). Maybe it can help fine tune a experience..but it only goes so far. Because at the end of the day, its the individual uniqueness of each designer, each game team that makes a game product unique.

DONT fall for the sheeple sameness mentality.

Be strong, on your own. Design games for gamers.
Even if it means going in the opposite direction. Rules are just tools and with each shift in a game front, are made to be broken.

Metrics can help, but only so much. It should not be evangalised as the way to success or how to make a game good. Thats as naff as using focus groups to make a core character only for it to turn out vanilla 9/10 times (anecdotal evidence).


Players want to enjoy the experiences and richeness we bring to the fold. So, lets just remember that.
Uncharted 2, Bioshock, Mass effect, Little Big Planet, World of Goo, Journey, Sword & Sorcery are gold standards of recent times we can allude to. It says, that in this short (gaming) life, we can achieve greatness by being true to your core audience and with polish, the experience and thus the end gamer enjoyment will enjoy true success.

Monetary gain is a beneficial side effect.

Long live the art of making games!

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