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Rants and Rambles

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Most of my time has been spent screwing around with design aspects. Wondering how to give the player more enjoyment, the importance of avatar customization and specialization as a sense of gameplay variety. Not much to say except that I have several pages of design rantings since last update. But I don't have much to say on that front.

The state of the industry somewhat frustrates me. There's not enough good innovation going on. It's all the same old stuff (this coming from the man making a hex-based strategy game.) But really, I think everybody sees it, and everybody's annoyed by it. No self-respecting designer looks at the state of the industry and smiles at the massive budgets, heavy restrictions placed upon developers, and the high rate of failure with creations of interactive entertainment.

So what's the solution? I see many people complaining, but nobody actually doing anything about it. Maybe I'm no better. But I still think there are ways to improve the state of things. Namely production costs.

Why is it that in order to create the content for today's games, we're using 10 year old methodology? Say what you will, but I 'm willing to bet that 3D modeling techniques haven't changed in the last decade that much. We're still dealing with vertexes and polygons and edges and such things. This was fine back when 3D models were kind of simple and basic, but now we're trying to make models with thousands of polygons in them, and we're still ultimately screwing around with individual vertexes. It's a joke. To use such old methodology in such a rapidly developing field is just poor.

I see people looking at Will Wright's little "Spore" thing. The idea of procedurally generated content is much older than some people may realize. We were doing it with random map generators. We were doing it when we started replacing sprites with pre-rendered 3D graphics. We were doing it when we made sprite rotation routines, hell, we were doing it when we put dice in our games as a sense of randomness. This stuff isn't as new as some people would have you believe. It's an old concept of doing something in a different method because the old method is starting to take too long.

But it's sad. It really does have a lot of potential. But we're not taking advantage of the concept enough. I think that's one of the reasons why the industry is in the state it is today. Maybe if people started using different content creation methods, we'd have lower costs, and maybe we'd be able to afford taking more risks. I'm sure what I'm saying isn't new. I HOPE what I'm saying isn't new. But maybe if it's coming out of one more mouth, people will start applying it more.

I believe the key to developing great design tools is to look at the most tedious parts of a job, and then getting the computer to do it for you. That's why we made computers in the first place, isn't it?

Good hunting.
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I agree totally, especially about the desire to see more procedurally generated content. Personally that's one area I'm dying to experiment with - once I feel I've got a sufficient grasp of the basics to have something to work with. While the ability to generate large numbers of assets is great, I also like the capability for a player to customise their game to their tastes. I certainly think more can be done than just randomly generating maps for increased replayability.

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