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Reality TV Drama About Game Development?


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#1 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14271

Posted 08 July 2013 - 06:21 AM

They’ve made a TV drama about fishing (Deadliest Catch), kitchen maintenance (Kitchen Nightmares), staying at hotels (Hotel Hell), etc.

 

Many of us would agree that there is drama taking place in game companies as well, especially near crunch time.

 

If a reality TV drama about game development were to be made, what would you expect or like to see in it?

What would be the overall theme?  What would be the point of tension building up to a final climax and then celebration at the end?

 

Cooking is not exciting in itself so chef Ramsey intentionally injects drama by yelling at and provoking people, so keep in mind that although it may be difficult to think about what could be dramatic about the creation of games, it can be artificially induced for the TV show, and enhanced with creative editing.

 

So think outside the box and think about what a reality TV drama about video-games would need to succeed.

 

 

A few of my own ideas are that it might need to be heavy on the documentary side as well, with a major selling point being that people get to see behind-the-scenes footage of major games pre-release.  For example broken AI, interviews with designers on what decisions they made and why, etc.

The contention between some people can be enhanced and exploited for the show.  In smaller studios there is often a lot more fighting between people and ego clashes.  Sometimes a programmer wants to do it his way against the designer, etc.

In my first job, a fellow coworker and I got the music samples back and listened to them privately in the meeting room and agreed they were perfect.  High quality and perfect for the atmosphere we wanted.

Then the CEO walked in and immediately said, “I just heard the music samples the guy sent.  It’s terrible, don’t you agree?  And completely the wrong atmosphere.”  A perfect moment for a reality TV drama documentary (I officially coin “dramacumentary” as a word now) as we slapped our faces.

 

 

So what would you want to see in such a show?

 

 

L. Spiro


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#2 walsh06   Members   -  Reputation: 662

Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:23 AM

How about it was more in line with masterchef where all the people are competing against each other with different tasks set each week and then an overall winner selected at the end. 



#3 Dwarf King   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1916

Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:03 AM


So what would you want to see in such a show?

 

I would not find such a program interesting. I hope no such a show ever will be made. In fact I would fear that many people would start to label all game developers from the behavior of the participants in the program.


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#4 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3983

Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:06 AM

They’ve made a TV drama about fishing (Deadliest Catch), kitchen maintenance (Kitchen Nightmares), staying at hotels (Hotel Hell), etc.

 

Many of us would agree that there is drama taking place in game companies as well, especially near crunch time.

 

If a reality TV drama about game development were to be made, what would you expect or like to see in it?

What would be the overall theme?  What would be the point of tension building up to a final climax and then celebration at the end?

 

Cooking is not exciting in itself so chef Ramsey intentionally injects drama by yelling at and provoking people, so keep in mind that although it may be difficult to think about what could be dramatic about the creation of games, it can be artificially induced for the TV show, and enhanced with creative editing.

 

So think outside the box and think about what a reality TV drama about video-games would need to succeed.

 

 

A few of my own ideas are that it might need to be heavy on the documentary side as well, with a major selling point being that people get to see behind-the-scenes footage of major games pre-release.  For example broken AI, interviews with designers on what decisions they made and why, etc.

The contention between some people can be enhanced and exploited for the show.  In smaller studios there is often a lot more fighting between people and ego clashes.  Sometimes a programmer wants to do it his way against the designer, etc.

In my first job, a fellow coworker and I got the music samples back and listened to them privately in the meeting room and agreed they were perfect.  High quality and perfect for the atmosphere we wanted.

Then the CEO walked in and immediately said, “I just heard the music samples the guy sent.  It’s terrible, don’t you agree?  And completely the wrong atmosphere.”  A perfect moment for a reality TV drama documentary (I officially coin “dramacumentary” as a word now) as we slapped our faces.

 

 

So what would you want to see in such a show?

 

 

L. Spiro

 

 

an intriguing idea, and considering the stress during crunch time, it's ripe with drama.  However, personally i stear clear of this types of shows.  making drama for the sake of drama is terrible tv imo.  look at shows like mythbusters, or pawn stars, or even american pickers.  it's not really about the drama, but humor as the people work together, their is not an overusage of editing to make it look like people are saying things they arn't actually saying.  In the end, it's more about watching people have a good time with each other, instead of swearing at each other just to make "tv".  I like to see teams that work together, sure their are disagreements, but don't make that the selling point of the show.

 

of course i seem to be in the small minority as those other shows are apparently making more than enough to stay on tv, so it'd probably be best to ignore me. 

 

For doing the show, you could defiantly choose a small-medium sized studio, and just film them all day, an hour long episode would probably take a fair bit of editing of a week or so of footage, but i think their is potential to pull off a great show from the idea, it's just finding the balance between making it interesting, and fun to watch..


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#5 minibutmany   Members   -  Reputation: 1679

Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:58 AM


Cooking is not exciting in itself

Well, perhaps it is not completely fascinating, but at least people can understand what is going on, and there is some movement.

Watching people programming, 3D modeling, and other computer work would be really boring, because most people would have no idea what is happening on the screen.

Therefore, most of the filming would have to be in situations where people are coming up with ideas, making concept art, and recording the game music and sound FX, which are things that most people can find some interest in.

A good format would be more like each week is a sort of Ludum Dare kind of event. Each week, each team of maybe 2 or 3 people would have to make a game based on certain criteria, or a certain genre. At the end of the week, each game is judged and one of the teams goes home.

This show would be fun for game-devs and gamer-kiddies to watch, but it probably wouldn't appeal to most middle-age and elderly people like a cooking show does. 


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#6 DareDeveloper   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 977

Posted 08 July 2013 - 10:57 AM

Damn, that topic would be even more interesting if it wasn't a reality drama we were talking about. Would love to see a Boston Legal like show ... kinda picking up what The Social Network did right (but completely fictional).

 

A reality show would need one famous person that leads the project and gives us a glimpse into the way they work and how they think (guess Carmack is the obvious choice).

A casting stage would be cool and it should not focus on drama - more on the vision and how cool any progress is.

They would show what tasks there are ... how the team tackles the challenges and, in order to appeal to me, they would have to release the code publicly as open source

(and make money another way - for example by creating and selling a very detailed tutorial series).

 

They could also invite VIPs for comments, reviews and inteviews.

And there could be a fan contribution part (how would the viewers solve a problem? Can they do a better job than the team? What can viewers do with the public code?)

... maybe in the main program or as a New Media Spin-Off that is somehow synced with the main show.

 

I don't think it would be boring or too confusing. People who don't know a lot about programming and only have a vague idea would get to see how slow progress is and how much effort goes into even simple seeming tasks.

And if there is some community aspect the indie developers who are watching could explain what is going on. They would need at least one person that can explain things very well.

 

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Edited by DareDeveloper, 08 July 2013 - 11:05 AM.

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#7 MarkS   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 887

Posted 08 July 2013 - 12:09 PM

I'm still waiting for that glorious day when the reality TV concept dies a violent, agonizing death.

#8 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2203

Posted 08 July 2013 - 12:44 PM

When I watch cooking shows they're usually the competitions where there's some secret ingredient and the chef's have a certain amount of time to come up with something. I don't really care what techniques they use or how delicate or time consuming something is, I'm just curious to see the results and variations in quality (such as the judges are able to convey).

So, my vote is for the Ludum Dare style competition where each episode covers a relatively short project (I just don't think large scale projects will be interesting). Teams may or may not be involved but of course you'd have the people that are jerks or the underdog to root for or someone you just hope wins because they seem nice. I think a big draw would be the potential for viewers to download the results.



#9 laztrezort   Members   -  Reputation: 972

Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:22 PM

I cringe at what mainstream TV would do to induce dramatization.  Something like this probably:

 

 

Except with more censored swearing, someone crying, and in general forced feuds of the grade school maturity level between characters.

 

Personally, I'd rather see more serious documentaries on game development.



#10 GaldorPunk   Members   -  Reputation: 1086

Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:47 PM

Someone already did that, and it was terrible.

 

 

Just to clarify, The Next Game Boss, from IGN, was a reality show about small teams who make games in a competitive reality tv show.


Edited by GaldorPunk, 13 July 2013 - 02:49 PM.


#11 Squared'D   Members   -  Reputation: 2258

Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:01 PM

I think this could work. The premise is more of a "making of a band" series, where the winners are a team. Six people can win (2 programmers, 2 3D modellers, 1 tradtional artist, 1 music guy) and they compete to see which teams can make the best game in like 1 or 2 weeks. Maybe days at the beginning of the show. The teams are not fixed until the final rounds. Until then, the teams are random and someone from the worst team gets voted off. There will have to be some rules guiding how people are eliminated. You wouldn't want only programmers or only artist making it into the final rounds.

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#12 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1776

Posted 09 July 2013 - 01:57 AM

I refuse to watch any reality TV.  If one of them comes on I switch on the XBOX.

 

I haven't really seen much drama inside game studios.  I turn up slam on a pair of noise cancelling headphones and zone out for 8 hours a day.   This would probably be very boring to watch.

 

As far as Gorden Ramsey is concerned his shows are actually a lot more subdued than the reality of working in kitchens.  I have worked in several restaurants and hotel kitchens when I was still a student and the chefs then didn't bother swearing at people they just physically assaulted people and set people on fire while their back was concerned.  I can even remember when one restaurant manager tried to quit because of depression so the chef just gave here a big bag of coke and a hand full of Es to get her to stay.



#13 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14271

Posted 09 July 2013 - 03:37 PM

Lots of ideas and takes on it, thank you all.

 

In my many years traveling the world in the game industry I have gotten many good contacts, and my contacts in the film/media industry have been growing over the past few years as well, and I am thinking about ways to combine these sets of contacts and make something happen.

 

I think there should be a way for a reality drama on making games to be made interesting, but the hurdles on how to reach the general audience rather than just gamers, combined with the fact that even within the gamer community people are fragmented on how it should be done might be insurmountable.

I can say if it can be done, it will require an idea that no one has ever had before, and one I certainly don’t have right now.

 

Plus the chain of permissions—your company may agree to filming but what about your clients?  If you have other projects you have be sure they never accidentally get shown in the final print.  If you will have a secret dev kit in the film, such as the PlayStation 4 dev kit, you have to get permission from Sony, etc. (though that would not be hard to get since the video may be filmed while the new hardware’s specs are secret, but not released until after they are revealed and public knowledge).

 

Plus if you were to film a larger project over 2 years of development, who funds that for that whole time?

 

 

 

I don’t see anything happening here I guess, so let me leave with a more open-ended question: If you had a stack of high-profile contacts in the game industry and another stack of contacts in media, ranging from directors, to producers, to agents, to actors, to people with their own TV shows already, what would you do if you wanted to somehow make these 2 worlds meet?

 

 

L. Spiro


It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
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#14 SymLinked   Members   -  Reputation: 887

Posted 09 July 2013 - 05:30 PM

The day that happens, I'll be sad.

None of the TV-shows are realistic in any way. They introduce drama where none would have happened in reality, because that's what keeps people watching. Disgusting.



#15 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

Posted 09 July 2013 - 05:34 PM

While it might be very successful, there is a 99.999% chance I would cringe around every cinematic corner at the types of things that would most likely be injected into a drama about video games. Get passed the negative adjectives and think about the mainstream audience of AAA video games (which is huge). Most of them have at least had passing thoughts about making a game at one time or another, or at least what they would change in the ones they play. Games and gamedev are completely different. ESPECIALLY console games, which involve no significant modding scene whatsoever. Pretty much the over-the-top and ridiculous things we see in games (you know what I speak of) would be artificially reflected in whatever studio was the subject of the drama so that programmers, artists, and designers could relate to game consumers, between the two being a cultural and maturity rift that not many game players (let alone other folks) even know exists or understand. The creators of games are seen by (at least mainstream) game consumers to be at least somewhat similar to themselves. After all, aren't they the ones who create the Michael Bay gamer bro-fest they readily shell out tons of money for? The thing is, games involve unrelated and "boring" professions like software development (games don't make it magical), art, and business. Essentially this:

 

If the show were shown as is, even with injected drama, it would not fit the subculture of their main audiences and/or what is expected by their main audience.

 

The sentence I have conciously tried to avoid:

It wouldn't be "gamer-bro" enough.


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#16 BGB   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1554

Posted 09 July 2013 - 07:39 PM

I cringe at what mainstream TV would do to induce dramatization.  Something like this probably:

 

 

Except with more censored swearing, someone crying, and in general forced feuds of the grade school maturity level between characters.

 

Personally, I'd rather see more serious documentaries on game development.

 

why not?...

 

then the other 2 guys show up, and start typing as well...

 

4 people, one keyboard...

while another person does dramatic poses while holding two mice... (which somehow do motion tracking in mid air...).

 

 

actually, one show (Power Rangers RPM), had one of the main characters (the female engineer "Dr. K" character) often using a double keyboard (multiple keyboards taped together), which oddly, having two people type on it would actually make more sense than a single person trying to type with one hand on each keyboard and doing multiple-keyboard keyboard-shortcuts, or two people typing on a single keyboard...

 

can't seem to find any videos online of her using said keyboard, but alas...

 

granted, a random video does sort of summarize things (in general):

 

so, yeah, probably can't expect entirely realistic portrayal of programmers, and probably people taking a little bit of "artistic license" when it comes to things like computers...

 

odd... still... is cases when normal computer parts were occasionally used as props, and props were sometimes passed off as computer parts...

 

 

or maybe it starts off seeming vaguely plausible (IOW: timed Ludum Dare style contest), until things start getting weird...



#17 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1776

Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:31 AM

Can anybody remmember a sitcom called Jpod that was set in a games studio?



#18 Code Fox   Members   -  Reputation: 1809

Posted 10 July 2013 - 03:33 AM

My take on it:

Take a group of people who think that programmers have easy jobs and give them a crash course on coding.

After that put them into a "contest" were they are competing for a prize - each week they are given a different programming challenge to do .

 

 Throw in - them all living in the same "house" - some method to cause artificial drama  ... and you got yourself another "reality" show.


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#19 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2132

Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:07 PM

There is already a nerds reality tv show:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tbs-reality-show-king-nerds-300737

 

I caught a glimpse of it one day, it involves a group of people calculating math and physics problems, and whichever group has the closest answer, win that round, eliminate somebody, etc. etc. etc.



#20 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31851

Posted 12 July 2013 - 05:32 AM

Have you seen Indie Game The Movie?
It's got a good amount of drama, good pacing, and is almost an advertisement for why not to be an indie dev ;)
It also probably couldve been made as a short series rather than a feature film... But it's definitely reqlity as in 'documentary' -- "reality tv" these days implies completely fake/constructed scenarios designed to challenge/judge people, not 'reality' :/




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