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Who would consider a game interface an art?


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#1 nyv   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:10 AM

Hello and welcome

I am in my last year of BA studies and as such I have to be all academical and such. I have to write the very important paper, all the university kids have to write. Being mostly interested in Game Design and User Interfaces and since I am studying graphic design I thought it might be a good idea to search for a topic somewhere in between.

Currently I am trying to find out Who would consider a game interface an art and why. Because of that I go to you! If you could answer as much of these questions I would be eternally grateful. Your opinion matters and this paper should help clarify the topic.

Please, also note, that all of these questions are meant to be what you personally think or believe so. If your believes are similar to a book that’s fine as I am not necessarily looking for originality, but rather for a personal opinion. Of course if your opinion ends up being unique all the better.

So here we go:
  • Would you consider a game interface an art? Why yes/not? If yes, can you show/tell any examples?
  • Do you have any background in arts – university/hobby…?
  • Can you imagine a sole game interface hanging/running as a video in a gallery at some point in the future?
  • To what extend do you think is game interface an integral part of a game?
  • Do you consider a game art an art?
  • Do you see any difference between design and art?
If you work as a user interface designer/game designer/artist, could you also please answer some of these questions:
  • Where do you work? (company name or just industry is fine enough)
  • What is your process? (do you think it is closer to a designer or an artist)
  • Have you ever been mistaken for an artist if you are a designer (or vice versa)?
  • Have you ever considered you could express yourself with user interface? How did it go? Can you show/tell me?
I really appreciate if you took the time. Thank you very much. I am most possibly going to be responding to each of you at some point, but as this is not the only source I am using, I apologize upfront if it takes some time.

Once again, thank you for taking the time reading this and sharing your opinion.

Sponsor:

#2 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10396

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

I may be veering into dangerous territory here, but art isn't just something that can be hung in a gallery. To my mind that is a very narrow, ivory-tower view of 'art'.

Even programming is an art. There are elements of engineering (performance/space/etc.), but in the end no two people write code in the same way, except in so far as they learn from the same 'school' of programming - that individuality in a common pursuit is the very essence of an art form.

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#3 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:04 PM

Would you consider a game interface an art? Why yes/not? If yes, can you show/tell any examples?
-This one is a tough one. The toughest one. As art is used to convey a message, to communicate with the viewer, it's obvious that an interface should be considered art, right? But what is it communicating? The information for the game. Is that what the artist wants to convey? Is that an emotion that they want to thrust in the face of the viewer? Personally, I can see someone putting thought and design into the interface, but it would lack the personal communication; the emotion that most traditional art is said to have. So I'd say, could you call it art? Sure. I wouldn't call it 'good' art. Maybe low art, but it's still "art".

Do you have any background in arts – university/hobby…?
-I have a BAS with a focus in Art, specifically History, Theory, and Technique. I've been a professional artist for something like 12 years now and have been published as an illustrator for technical manuals, children's books, instructional guides, and scientific journals. For now, I'm more a cartoonist with a passion for character design than anything else.

Can you imagine a sole game interface hanging/running as a video in a gallery at some point in the future?
-Yeah, if it's done with a raw emotion not seen in games or its part of a game centered exibit on a really slow season at the gallery. The general view of art community and the game community have a little bit of over-lap, but not enough to really have a deeper understanding among everyone. People believe making a game or a Jackson Pollock painting is easy. There is over-lap there, but people are coming around from both sides.

To what extend do you think is game interface an integral part of a game?
-Well, if you didn't have an interface, it wouldn't be a game, now would it? I say this because viewing the game at all would be considered an interface. Watching a blinking pixel on the screen is an interface. If you had no way of interacting with the game; even by just watching something or even a blip from a speaker, then it has no interface and isn't a game. Maybe you need to expand your view of what an interface is and isn't or perhaps define the limitations you're looking for.

Do you consider a game art an art?
-Yep. Art is used to communicate. Games can communicate better than words by letting the viewer see and feel the reasons behind actions.

Do you see any difference between design and art?
-Yep. Design is used to facilitate function. It can be pleasing to the eye or not. It doesn't need to communicate. Art does.

If you work as a user interface designer/game designer/artist, could you also please answer some of these questions:
Where do you work? (company name or just industry is fine enough)

-Free-lance Illustrator/Graphic Artist/Consultant with experience in print, web, and interactive design. Currently 9 months into a 3 month internship to help cover school expenses and under contract for a local design firm for play money.

What is your process? (do you think it is closer to a designer or an artist)
-My process? For what? I draw, sculpt, model, paint, design whatever is asked of me. I have been doing it for so long that I don't really think of my work; I just do it. If something doesn't look right, I fix it. If a work isn't doin' it for me, I scrap it and start over; sometimes never coming back to that idea. I sometimes sketch out ideas before going into photoshop or flash, but I usually just skip that and go straight for the jugular and work on a first draft of the final product.

Have you ever been mistaken for an artist if you are a designer (or vice versa)?
-A designer needs to be a bit of an artist to help pull that emotion into the design and an artist needs to be a bit of a designer in order to make as many people understand their message as possible. I've been called a designer and an artist. I prefer artist, but both are okay with me. Posted Image

Have you ever considered you could express yourself with user interface? How did it go? Can you show/tell me?
-Yeah, I have considered it, but that's about as far as I got, sorry.

Hope I was able to help you out by answering your questions. Good luck!

Edited by DaveTroyer, 02 November 2012 - 01:05 PM.

Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#4 Tobl   Members   -  Reputation: 364

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 05:59 PM

Hello,


In my opinion, this all depends on where you draw the line between art and design, so I'm going to start with that question
Do you see any difference between design and art?
While there are many ways to separate these two, I do so according to the motivation that led to the creation of the design/art. Design is being done because of a need from outside the creator, whereas art is being done because of a wish from inside the creator. A little more controversial example to demonstrate: If someone paints a painting in order to have something he can sell so that he has something to eat, even though the buyer intends to hang it on his wall as "art" it actually is design, because the creation was triggered by the need to eat that came from outside of the creator.

Would you consider a game interface an art? Why yes/not? If yes, can you show/tell any examples?
Generally speaking: No, since it's clearly being created because of the need to have interaction between the player and the game. However, games themselves are much more likely to fall under my definition of art (not all of them of course), so if you take an artistic game like Today I die where game and interface are pretty much the same, yes, you might argue that the interface is art.

Do you have any background in arts – university/hobby…?
In arts? No. But I am studying interaction design (design of user interfaces and, to a lesser degree, user experiences).

Can you imagine a sole game interface hanging/running as a video in a gallery at some point in the future?
No. Just as a still image cannot convey an artistic movie, a video following a predefined course cannot convey the interactive nature of an artistic interface. I could, however, imagine hand-on-exhibits, on a small scale of course.

To what extend do you think is game interface an integral part of a game?
I know not many will agree with me on that, but theoretically speaking are the interface and input about as important for the player-to-game channel as visual style and aesthetics are for the game-to-player channel. Actually they're quite similar; both are mainly noticed as dissatisfiers (you notice the unbelievably ugly character design of a sidekick or the impossibly counterintuitive button-layout), but if done exceptionally well they may define the entire atmosphere and experience of the game. Yes, I know, interfaces are kinda lacking on "exceptionally well"-part, but I do believe it is possible or else nobody would have ever bothered with the Wii and all the other stuff that came after that.

Do you consider a game art an art?
Given my definition of art and design, that depends on the individual case. I'd say both can be found in current game art.
---
If you work as a user interface designer/game designer/artist, could you also please answer some of these questions:
I'm just a university student, but I'll do these as well if you don't mind.

Where do you work? (company name or just industry is fine enough)
Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd ("University of design" Schwäbisch Gmünd), in Germany

What is your process? (do you think it is closer to a designer or an artist)
I'm definitely a designer. The process we use most often is a semi-standardised model consisting of research - concept - design - prototyping - evaluation and many iterations back and forth between the different stages.

Have you ever been mistaken for an artist if you are a designer (or vice versa)?
Fortunately not, but I'm pretty sure I'll be in the future. Other common misconceptions we have to deal with are that every designer does fashion or marketing.

Have you ever considered you could express yourself with user interface? How did it go? Can you show/tell me?
Most of the time we deal with design assignments. I did try to insert personal preferences in there before, but those experiments have shown that that's not an advisable approach. If the problem comes from outside the designer, the solution should be based out there as well.
However, I have at least one private project of which I chose the goal myself and that is certainly an expression of my own desires, even though it still covers an (admittedly not all that common) need.


Hope I could help you with your paper,

bw,
Tobl

Edited by Tobl, 02 November 2012 - 06:02 PM.

Think my post was helpful? Want to thank me? Nothing easier than that: I sure am are a sucker for reputation, so just give it a little keycode 38 if you like. ^^

#5 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8658

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 06:07 PM

Once upon a time, art wasn't really a word or a thing. People made stuff, that's it. Cave paintings, carved sticks, whatever. They didn't make it to be all hoity-toity in their stupid art magazines. Grok didn't look over at Blorg and say, "Blorg make carved stick, not rock people; carved stick not art. Blorg dumb." Blorg was probably dumb, but Grok's no-carved-sticks-are-art rule was still stupid. If some ass-hat can crap in a can and call it art, then game interfaces can be called art as well. Your average game interface certainly takes more creativity and skill to create than pooping in a tin can.

Edited by JTippetts, 02 November 2012 - 06:09 PM.


#6 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:25 PM

Once upon a time, art wasn't really a word or a thing. People made stuff, that's it. Cave paintings, carved sticks, whatever. They didn't make it to be all hoity-toity in their stupid art magazines. Grok didn't look over at Blorg and say, "Blorg make carved stick, not rock people; carved stick not art. Blorg dumb." Blorg was probably dumb, but Grok's no-carved-sticks-are-art rule was still stupid. If some ass-hat can crap in a can and call it art, then game interfaces can be called art as well. Your average game interface certainly takes more creativity and skill to create than pooping in a tin can.


While I agree with you, the art community has a difficult time understanding the meaning behind the interface. Yes, it helps you control or understand the game you're playing, but it doesn't insight emotion in the viewer. To many in the art community, communicating a personal message or belief to the viewer is the goal. That tin can of shit may make the viewer disgusted and that may be the "artist"s goal. Then again, they may have some huge, convoluted manifesto attached to that little can filled with feces and have some really stupid reasoning behind it. But does the interface that the artist was asked to make? Did they have a personal attachment to that interface that has made them stay up nights? Were they fixated with the interface, drawing it hundreds of time until they wept at the perfection they perceived?

Art is pretty tough to define. It really is. But you react to the tin can of shit. You react to the items you say aren't art. And that makes them art. Most people that don't get it think all art has to be pretty or make the viewer feel warm and fuzzy inside and for those people, I feel bad for them. There is a lot of interesting pieces of art out there that will make you rage, will depress you, and confuse you and that is the beauty of art. It is something that is manipulated to communicate the emotion/message/ideas the artist wants to share. Good interface design is designed to be a part of the game; to communicate and feel natural to the game. So in that sense, it isn't art as you're supposed to glean information of the game without the interface slapping you in the face. It really depends how someone views things, simple as that.

Unless you wanted the academic definition, in which case interface design would be probably categorized between design and craft with a dash of outsider art. Meaning it is designed for many people, (design) and is created for an express purpose instead of a message, (craft) and usually is created by someone without an in-depth knowledge or education in the arts (outsider art).

That's just my little lecture on art. Take it as you will. Posted Image

Edited by DaveTroyer, 05 November 2012 - 01:28 PM.

Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog





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