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loftyideals

playing versus desiging games...which is art?

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I put up a topic that was instantly closed. I''m not exactly sure why, except maybe that I was misunderstood. I''m going to try an articulate my thoughts more clearly and to answer some of the comments posted: yes, I have designed games, and no, I''m not saying that the fighting in gladiator games was the art form and the colloseum was not. I''m saying that what was appreciated by mass audiences was not the game design. my post was something like: I''m not yet convinced that computer gamer are art. (This is not a negative statement.) Is is the making or the playing of them that will contstitute an art? Am I nuts? (the answer to that is... yes.) Where this comes from is the idea of systemic game design (as proposed by games like Deus Ex) and some observations I had watching a baseball game. What people appreciacte about baseball, football, or any other professional sport is the art of playing that sport. The rules are in place only to provide laws to govern the situation. The actual construction of the laws is not what is appreciated on a mass level. I think this is correct. Systemic game design involves creating a system of laws that are constantly referenced to. Creating a brilliant and crystaline set of laws that provide fun and interesting gameplay are INTEGRAL to the game; however, they are not what is appreciated. The laws that govern most art forms are natural laws, not man-made ones. In essence, the "games" are already in place. When you go to create a sculpture, write a piece of music, or paint a picture, the laws are not in place. Literature is limited by the fundamental laws of communication, as well as the laws that define our own comprehension. I apologize if my first post was misleading or inflammatory, I just wanted other opinions before I fleshed out my own ideas. devinmaxwell

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EDITED BY MODERATOR
Is it too much to ask to stay civil? If you disagree with someone's opinion, state why. Judgemental comments really don't add anything to the discussion, and really aren't acceptable.

[edited by - Wavinator on September 3, 2002 5:53:14 PM]

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I really don''t understand your point.

Are you saying games are art forms? Or that they are not?

A few example to back up whatever ideas you are trying to "flesh out" might make it easier to comprehend the incomprehensible.

"The laws that govern most art forms are natural laws, not man-made ones. In essence, the "games" are already in place. When you go to create a sculpture, write a piece of music, or paint a picture, the laws are not in place."

To me this is just self-contradictory.

"Literature is limited by the fundamental laws of communication, as well as the laws that define our own comprehension."

The laws that define my comprehension have been breeched, sorry.

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He's just opening up a discussion, who cares if in some ways he is self-contradictory?

Computer games represent mathematical and procedural repeating patterns in most cases, which seems to be the opposite of art.

YET, the way animation moves, the music plays, the social satires, flavor and attitude of existence, etc. can be very palatable in a game that is designed to express such things. In other games, you don't get those variables until multiplayer is introduced. It really varies.

I think there is art in games, certainly. Some games are a better expression of art than others.

I suppose if there was a game that really stuck out as an art form to me, I think I would have to say Freespace 2. Now I could think of other ways in which games could be artful, but the graphics and special effects (fully fantasy) created a vivid universe and a wonderful backdrop for taking part in space battles.

I'm sure that's not the best example of art in games, but to me it's a darn good one.

Battlezone 1 had a lot of sublime-level art for me. The AI wasn't all that smart, and the graphics might not have been stupendous, but that game just had an expressiveness about it that kept me coming back.

You don't get games like that just slapping a bunch of graphics and special effects together. I really think you have to plan such things, otherwise something could seem out of place within it all and throw the whole thing off.

EDIT: By the way, I think what was meant by the laws not being in place, is that the pieces for creating all art are already there, floating around in the univrese, we just choose which natural laws to incorporate into it to bring those things together and create a unique sculpture. Pretty deep, probably more than necessary. I guess that's ok, just as long as you don't analyze things like that to the point where you realize even the simple notion of being thankful is a waste of time


[edited by - Waverider on September 2, 2002 8:09:29 PM]

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i think that if you are going to compare games to art, neither playing them or making them is art, it is the actual game that is the art, i would be like saying looking at a painting is art, which it isnt

,Matt

-= kill one your a murderer, kill thousands your a conquerer =-

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The thing with computer games is that there is no true player performance.

Taking the baseball example, the player is more like the coach on the sideline, telling the baseball players what to do.

You, as the gamer, don''t actually do anything in the virtual world where the game takes place. All you do is command the computer to do something for you.
"Okay, computer, when I hit the spacebar, you make the virtual character jump up in the virtual world."
(like "Okay, runner on base 1, you attempt to steal base 2 when I touch my nose, then tap twice on my knee.")

If hitting a baseball is what it considered the art form of baseball, then writing the right commands in computer programming is the art form of a game.
quote:
Systemic game design involves creating a system of laws that are constantly referenced to.

But there is one step you are forgetting: someone has to code all those laws that are created. Just like literature uses a language, computer programming uses a language. But the person that writes a book is identical to the person coding a game.

It''s the code that is the art, and the coder (and everyone involved in the process) that is the artist.

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"The laws that govern most art forms are natural laws, not man-made ones. In essence, the "games" are already in place. When you go to create a sculpture, write a piece of music, or paint a picture, the laws are not in place."

I made a mistake. This should read:

The laws that govern most art forms are natural laws, not man-made ones. In essence, the "games" are already in place. When you go to create a sculpture, write a piece of music, or paint a picture, the laws are already in place.

sorry!

samosa. Interesting point. Art then is something that someone appreciates. Neither the maker, nor the participant can decide or has anything to do with that designation other than catching the appreciation of a 3rd party. Interesting.

sivermyst. I think that you could perhaps (and maybe I''m stretching things here) make an analogy between the baseball player''s brain and his body and the gamer and the computer interface. If we define ourselves by what our brain can think of and what our body can execute, there is a very large gap between what is possible and what is not. I cannot do all of the things I can comprehend. In the same way, I am limited to what is possible in the within the laws of the computer game because what I can excute is severely limited. That is why professional sports players and artists are appreciated. They''ve created a more direct link between what they can comprehend and what they can execute. That''s why we appreciate their actions and products as some sort of art. They''ve done more to transcend the human condition that most people can.

I have to go now, but thanks for getting this discussion started is a less negative way.

devinmaxwell

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I thought he had a kind of valid point (even if he didn''t present it well) and that his previous thread was unfairly closed. Depending on how it''s presented, playing a game (even a current game) can be art (of some sort), especially if you do something with the game that trancends normal play. A lot of early machinima (which is a considered an artform) was just people playing Quake (Quake Done Quick, or whatever.) IMO, stuff like the Halo jump video is art in a way, and that was just guys playing a game. I really don''t want this thread to become a "what is art" thread, because those always go nowhere, but if you define art as something that people can express themselves with or something capable of conveying emotion I think that both playing the game (using it for something creative, not normal play), and the game itself can be considered art.

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quote:
Original post by Impossible
I really don''t want this thread to become a "what is art" thread, because those always go nowhere...


Okay, I''m willing to experiment. If this thread doesn''t stray into that territory, then I''m happy to leave it open. Otherwise...



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:

Okay, I'm willing to experiment. If this thread doesn't stray into that territory, then I'm happy to leave it open. Otherwise...



this is gonna be hard

OK now lets see. IMHO playing is not an artform. like samosa said. playing a game is like looking at a painting. now the painting is actually art. so the real question here is "are videogames an art form?" well id say yes they are.....(Man now i have to back up my answer i suppose). well here me goes.

first of all game design is not obvious art. its not like a picasso where u go "oh look at that piece of art". if u see a painting, a poem, maybe a play, maybe even designer clothes, sculptures, pottery, youd think to ur self "Art!", but if u saw a videogame most people do not think "Art", they think "entertainment". the difference between videogames and the other mentioned "art forms" is that the role of the audience in all the "other" art forms is passive. whereas in videogames its active. thats why i think its less obvious for game design to be taken in as art.

(man its really hard staying away from what wavinator said to stay away from )

so yes games are art. why? because a lot of creativity is involved in designing a game (and the _bottom_ line is that art involves creativity some way or the other), whole new worlds are built from scratch! its even harder then making those little other paintings because there are just so many more factors at play in videogames. (no offence). its not just about the brush strokes (and how old the painting is, and who made it), its about the polygon count, the smoothness, the colors, the realism, the eye pleasingness, the fluid controls, the immediate responsiveness, the fun factor, the gripping story line, the "making this game work on as many hardware configurations as possible, and still achieving the goal", theres just so much at play when it comes to designing videogames. theres also the art part the programming part, and the music part. u have to design for both parts. you cant just slap together a game engine it probably wont be useful. same way with drawing, nothing will magically appear on ur white paper, you have to work at it.

-if u consider painting art. then yes videogames has that it just uses digital colors instead (based on paper sketches/drawings)
-if you consider sculpting to be an art form, then videogames have that too. (3d modeling and what not)
-if you consider music to be art, the videogames has that too.
-if u consider architecture an art form, then u have to build whole worlds in videogames.
-if you consider novel writing an art form, then for ur information i thought the story in xenogears was better then 99% of the "paper" novels ive read.

so u see. videogames has so much from the art world. it takes all the pieces of art (music, painting, sculpting..etc) and puts it all together to create a "new earth" if u will.

baboosh im tired. enough typing for me today. ive done a lot of typing today for some reason (on these forums i mean)

chow

EDIT: Incase anyone is intrested, there's an article on "the art of game designing" its not that great, but it has some (maybe useful) information. its on my old site. just keep in mind that I wrote it quite a while back. its in the videogame section, in menu, choose articles, and choose game design, and ull get it

EDIT: DOH! I forgot to give the address of my Old Site



"We call em 'natural disasters' but 'he' (or she?) calls them memory leaks!!"
Al
** MY HQ**

[edited by - alfmga on September 3, 2002 7:16:47 PM]

[edited by - alfmga on September 4, 2002 4:41:30 AM]

[edited by - alfmga on September 4, 2002 4:43:08 AM]

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the fundamental conflict here is between paradigmatic (art) choices and syntagmatic (story) choices: technically, you can''t have art and game simultaneously.

eg. it is very difficult to play a FPS in a "watchable" way: you either move too fast and confuse people watching on or you move slow and get killed.

that said, certain games are more watchable than others. most of MGS is entertaining whether you are playing it or not.

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quote:
Original post by Impossible
I really don''t want this thread to become a "what is art" thread, because those always go nowhere


To be honest, I fail to see how this thread can go anywhere else.

In order to decide whether something belongs in a category, you first need to define that category. Otherwise you are just wasting time.

''Art'' is an incredibly subjective term. Something that is considered art by one person could be considered a heap of useless junk by another. So attempting to define ''art'' to everyone''s satisfaction is also a waste of time.

I don''t think it is particularly important whether playing games are ''art'' or not. (unless the US government is considering banning games like Greece apparently has, and you are looking for a constitutional loophole to avoid it ) I''m not entirely sure what loftyideals is getting at, but a couple of important ideas seem to be lying just below the surface of what he is saying: namely, the concept of emergent complexity from simple rules, and another, perhaps less understood idea of giving the player the ability to play the game with style .

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well i might as well post my 2cents...
IMO there are 2 sides to game development. the technical side and the artistic side. naturally the artistic side is to do with, stories, models, textures and sound. while the technical side covers what is needed to put all that artwork together to make a game. to some degree they need to know the details of the other side. but to call game design itself an artform...

game design effects both sides of development. it dictates what the programmers need to program and what direction the art team is going to take. so its sort of a mixed bag. i''d say 50/50.. there will always be those people who will disregard game making as an art form for quite some time.

but then again, game making has been around what 30yrs? mean while, the more mainstream artforms, painting, music etc, have been around for centuries. you cant expect acceptance in the art community straight away.

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Why is this even worth discussing? What difference does it make? Are you going to stop making games unless someone agrees to call it art? Are you going to start making games if they do? Do you get some sort of government funding if you can get a certain number of people to call it ''art''? I really don''t see any merit in this line of thinking. To some, it''s an art form, and to others, it''s just a way of making some money. Who cares.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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Something that might add to this discussion. I''ve been going to a lot of game publisher sites and a lot of them have on-line or off-line tournaments that are giving out quite a bit of money for being the champion of Unreal, or Madden NFL, for instance. These may be indications of a shift where in X amount of years, all the ideas for games have been exhausted and combined into massive online universes, where ALL of the creation and creativity takes place between the players.

Any takers?

devinmaxwell

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Computer games represent mathematical and procedural repeating patterns in most cases, which seems to be the opposite of art.

No, that is what computer programs are. In one aspect, computer games are computer programs, certainly. But they are also more than that. It''s like describing a book as "ink on wood pulp". I believe computer games are art, just as books or paintings or music is art. That doesn''t have to mean all computer games must be what you would think of as art. Just as books, music, and paintings can vary in quality and depth, so can games.

As for whether playing a game is art, this depends on the game, I''d say. I mean, you can call your game "Visual C++" with the goal "Make something fun!" and ''playing'' it would be art. It just depends on what the game is.

To use an example you can believe more, take a game like SimCity. Playing the game is sort of art. Right now I don''t think the game is sophisticated enough for the player''s city to be considered art, but the game could theoretically get to that point. Playing any game where you design things can be considered art. Any other game cannot, in my opinion.

~CGameProgrammer( );

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the simple fact that movies are considered an art will
force me to say that games are a form of art...
they express a creative design put forth by multiple entities...
much like most movies we see. not all movies are good, not all
games are good.. likewise, some movies are made strictly for
profit (ie: STAR WARS), while others attempt to project an
emotion or underlying message (ala american beauty).
playing a video game isnt art, just as watching a movie isnt..

my formula is this:
art = creativity + message/emotion

that''s my take on it anyway.. i''ve always considered myself
an artist, i draw/paint, write music, and code.. game programming
is the single medium i can express myself using all of these
methods.

-eldee
;another space monkey;
[ Forced Evolution Studios ]


::evolve::

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I dunno, some paintings (considered modern art) are just a mess of color spots on a fabric... are those paintings more artistic than a single frame of Monkey Island III ?

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quote:
Original post by Kylotan
Why is this even worth discussing? What difference does it make? Are you going to stop making games unless someone agrees to call it art? Are you going to start making games if they do? Do you get some sort of government funding if you can get a certain number of people to call it ''art''? I really don''t see any merit in this line of thinking. To some, it''s an art form, and to others, it''s just a way of making some money. Who cares.


I totally agree that labeling games as art is pointless, but to discuss such matters helps us (at least me) to look at games in a different light. Some games "feel" like art. They move you in some way or they grip you and keep you coming back for more. As game designers, this is an important aspect to study. I couldn''t care less whether someone calls me an artist for creating a game but I want the audience in my grip.

Keep one thing in mind: art is an abstract concept. You really can''t define what it is and to do so is anti-artistic. To me, art is when you''ve opened your soul and touched someone elses in doing so. I''ve never considered calling a baseball player an artist... and I still don''t. He may play a badass game but he hasn''t opened himself in anyway. But damn if I''m not entertained! =) Mike Tyson unleashed his anger on his opponents/victims (hehe). Perhaps, this makes for artful boxing? I dunno and don''t really care either.

I think the issue that everyone seems to have with loftyideals is that hes confusing art with skill. Like I said, I won''t try to define art. Some art requires skill and some skills seem to be art. I''ll leave it at that.

My main interest is what it is that gels a game into an artful piece (seemingly =b). Games certainly contain art but programming is purely a skill (my opinion as a programmer). What is it that brings it all together?

- Jay

"I have head-explody!!!" - NNY

Get Tranced!

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Kylotan:
much the way a painter would paint whether people liked his work or
not- so a game developer will probably continue to develop games.

why this discussion?
to give credit where credit is due...
most people see game design/development as another ''computer''
job, when its a bit more elegant than that...

i guess it''s a discussion of symantics.. but that''s not really
the point.

-eldee
;another space monkey;
[ Forced Evolution Studios ]


::evolve::

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from spanish dictionary, poorly transalted with itranslator.bowneglobal.com :

art (l.)
1 amb. Group of procedures to produce certain result (in opposition to science, considered as pure independent knowledge of all application, and to nature, considered as power that he/she takes place without reflection): ~ mechanics, that in that mainly is needed the manual work or the use of the machine; Liberal arts, group of university studies of the Half Age that understood the trivium and the cuatrivium; those that pralte. they require the exercise of the understanding.
2 ability, dexterity to make certain things: the ~ of living.
3 caution, knack, cunning: to make use of bad arts.
4 human work that expresses symbolically, by means of different matters, an aspect of the reality understood aesthetically: ~ conceptual, artistic manifestation of the decade of the seventy that propugnaba the displacement of the artistic work as object toward the concept, the idea or, at least, the conception of the work; ~ I sum up, it works based on the abstract concept of the geometric thing; ~ polemic, the one that has for object to present a trial or critical analysis, either denouncing a reality, or ironizando on her; ~ minimum, American artistic movement, born in 1966 as reaction against the exuberant vitality of the pop art; Fine arts, those that have for object the expression of the beauty; seventh ~, the cinema.

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Geez, I just looked up art in the dictionary. Rubbin'' one out could be considered an art by definition. Check it out:

1 : skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <the art of making friends>
2 a : a branch of learning: (1) : one of the humanities (2) plural : LIBERAL ARTS b archaic : LEARNING, SCHOLARSHIP
3 : an occupation requiring knowledge or skill <the art of organ building>
4 a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : FINE ARTS (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art
5 a archaic : a skillful plan b : the quality or state of being artful
6 : decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter
synonyms ART, SKILL, CUNNING, ARTIFICE, CRAFT mean the faculty of executing well what one has devised. ART implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power <the art of choosing the right word>. SKILL stresses technical knowledge and proficiency <the skill of a glassblower>. CUNNING suggests ingenuity and subtlety in devising, inventing, or executing . ARTIFICE suggests technical skill especially in imitating things in nature . CRAFT may imply expertness in workmanship <the craft of a master goldsmith>.

The part I like best: "ART implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power". The key word being "unanalyzable".

- Jay

"I have head-explody!!!" - NNY

Get Tranced!

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