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On Secrets

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Ravuya

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Bit of a rant today based on some moderations I've been overseeing...

Lately, I've noticed a couple of GDNet users being excessively secretive. Insanely possessive at times. This honestly always surprises me when it comes up, because I consider the indie gaming land (and particularly GameDev) to be an exceptionally open place about trading information about your game and technology. What really surprises me is that these users are being possessive about something that hardly matters: their stories and ideas. Most of the time, these stories or ideas already are stealing from another idea, using either our massive cultural bank of stories (Beowulf and Grendel) or genres (Doom, Final Fantasy). Hell, my game is set in an underground science lab besieged by zombies.

Compare this to the many lively and informal technical discussions you can see on GDNet. I share my technical guts with almost anyone. EDI does too. I'm not trying to get FSF-liberal here, but even those of us who are selling products are open and accessible about it. Is it a function of sheer age, of giving back to the community after so many years of posting frantically to the OpenGL forum asking "WHY THE HELL DO I HAVE WHITE CRACKS IN EVERYTHING?!?!"? The guys from Professor Fizzwizzle were posting some of their marketing research and buy-in numbers for various platforms. How does that help them?

It's just nuts seeing these new users come in here and act violently protective of a simplistic idea, even refusing to post it publicly so potential team members can get excited and join in. I wish I knew why there were such a disparity between the sharing of the super hard, differentiating technical stuff and the bitter protective secrecy of the fluff. I'm willing to chalk it up to inexperience, but we should work harder to drill it into these newbies' heads that the fluff is not the journey. Nor is it bankable. And it certainly isn't worth making enemies over.

There is an enormous culture shock between the self-deprecating, technically brilliant GDNet "journal" squad and the overly-serious, technically-and-physically-immature "ideas are life" crowd. Moderating IOTD has made me somewhat of an unofficial cheerleader for the various great projects that are kicking around here -- I've never been so enthusiastic to post on GDNet -- and I can see a problem brewing. Maybe this is why we have the one-post wonders that slam down their work request and leave when the going gets rough. At the very least, the pro-on-newbie flaming in Help Wanted was more or less culled a few months ago -- that was even more poisonous for producing actually functional newbies. I wish I knew how to fix this culture shock for good.

Anyway, just a bit of a rant for today. I'd like to see what you guys have to think -- why does this culture shock exist? How can we fix it?
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It's always been like this unfortunately. Although there seems to be more of it lately for some reason.

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Original post by Ravuya
Anyway, just a bit of a rant for today. I'd like to see what you guys have to think -- why does this culture shock exist? How can we fix it?
Because people are stupid. And we should kill them all, and their families. You know it makes sense.

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Original post by Ravuya
There is an enormous culture shock between the self-deprecating, technically brilliant GDNet "journal" squad and the overly-serious, technically-and-physically-immature "ideas are life" crowd.

Ability to pay a few bucks for membership makes a big difference, doesn't it?

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Original post by Ravuya
There is an enormous culture shock between the self-deprecating, technically brilliant GDNet "journal" squad and the overly-serious, technically-and-physically-immature "ideas are life" crowd.

Ability to pay a few bucks for membership makes a big difference, doesn't it?


Even the non-Plus journal commenters seem to be a lot more capable.

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Those who would stifle the free sharing and flow of information and creativity for selfish reasons and illusionary beliefs of their originality and greatness are not deservant of it. No one can claim to have had an original idea. If you are thinking of something you feel to be original right now, (numbers pulling commence) then at least 20 other people are thinking the same thing right now. Because it is not in fact original.

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At the very least, the pro-on-newbie flaming in Help Wanted was more or less culled a few months ago -- that was even more poisonous for producing actually functional newbies.


This is an interesting statement but if i understand it correctly then I find it confusing. The latter part seems to conflict with the positive start of the earlier half.

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It's the normal disconnect between people who think they want to be game developers, and people who actually have a goddamn clue what game development actually involves.

I think an awful lot of people have a totally warped view of how entertainment media works. You just grab a video camera, watch some people saying some stuff, do a little computer wizardry, and bam! Lord of the Rings. You just come up with a cool idea, draw a couple of pictures, scan them into a computer, type a couple of magic words, and out pops Final Fantasy MCCXXVII.

Part of this is due to a lack of education; honestly it's pretty rare to see any kind of "glimpse into game development" in the mainstream media. TV shows tend to do nothing but reinforce the idiotic misconceptions of the general public, largely due to the lack of incentive to actually portray things accurately. Magazines don't really do much either; usually it's such a cursory, high-level glance that it leaves all the really important details - like how the damn games are actually made - to the readers' imagination. And hey, guess what, that's just going to reinforce the misconceptions they already have.

That's not really some kind of special problem for us, though; it happens in just about every industry. Look at what TV shows like CSI have done to distort the actual business of forensic analysis, for example. Watching a bullshit dramatized version is "more fun" than the real thing, so people never learn the truth of how the real thing really works. And usually, that's because the majority of the real thing is hard work, and/or not that exciting.


I wouldn't worry too much about fixing the culture shock. Those who actually have what it takes to do game development are going to be able to find the truth for themselves, and deal with it. Those who just want to get rich quick by making the next Doom are going to shit themselves and run away fairly early on, which frankly isn't necessarily a bad thing - it keeps the non-serious people from wasting too much time.

What is important is providing information about how things really do work, in a format and location that is accessible to the newbies who really can hack it, and really are prepared to tough out the harsh realities of the gamedev scene. The journals are an awesome (and sadly still underused) conduit for that. Another great resource is game postmortems.

I don't know how many people I talk to that still don't understand game art, for instance. Very few people realize that artists have to create more art than just the stuff that gets shipped in the final game - and by more, I mean a couple orders of magnitude more. The amount of experimentation, modification, revision, and outright recreation that goes on is astounding. Yet most "budding game artists" seem to think that they just have to create their art once, slap it on the disc with the game code, and out the door it ships. That's the kind of educational problem that we're up against; there's just nobody out there who is actively working to correct those misconceptions. I think half the time that's because most of us don't realize just how deep the misconceptions run.


In general, though, I think the issue is one of time; it takes time to educate newbies. That's always going to be a factor. There will always be some generational churn as people move on to other things and others come up to fill their place. Some will last longer than others. Some might actually end up going someplace and doing something in the scene. As long as the veterans remain willing to step up and train the next set, we'll be fine.

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I don't see the problem. It's an open forum where geniouses and idiots alike (mostly, the latter) will come to post. In all practicality, there is no end-all, be-all solution. Personally, I never pay any attention to posts like those.

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Original post by Ravuya
Maybe this is why we have the one-post wonders that slam down their work request and leave when the going gets rough.


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Original post by Ravuya
How can we fix it?


Perhaps, it fixes itself.

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I agree Apoch, those who would create will. Those who would flaunt and and hide emptiness behind secretiveness and delusions of grandeur are truly not interested in creating but rather, managing. :p. Nothing really can be done but as you said, making education structure better.

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Well, I know about the disconnect between nooblar land and reality, but I just can't understand the secrecy. I guess it's probably due to the distorted view of the development process inflating the importance of the "magical idea!" component.

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This is an interesting statement but if i understand it correctly then I find it confusing. The latter part seems to conflict with the positive start of the earlier half.


Well, not so long ago we had Help Wanted and For Beginners posts that would get slammed by "pros" and other users; this had the effect of just making newbies run the hell away from GDNet. At least now we have persistent newbies, even though some of them are persistent idiots.

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I think we should probably just feel lucky that we've at least got a journal community that is enriching.

As someone who kind of began to shy away from the forum madness, and thus GDNet in its entirety - the addition of the journals brought me back because there started to be interesting things I could read about on a regular basis. And on top of that they were from people who knew what they were talking about, or at least had a grip on reality.

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Original post by Ravuya
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Original post by Pouya
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Original post by Ravuya
There is an enormous culture shock between the self-deprecating, technically brilliant GDNet "journal" squad and the overly-serious, technically-and-physically-immature "ideas are life" crowd.

Ability to pay a few bucks for membership makes a big difference, doesn't it?


Even the non-Plus journal commenters seem to be a lot more capable.



I think this is probably due to the fact that anyone who is actually in the Journal section knows what's going on, or knows the feelings of going through making games in the first place. I don't think those who dont know a think about programming go to the journal area because they probably will get more confused or envy or something, but that's just my view on it.

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