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Landfish

Landfish.com

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Fer: I know the mistake you THINK I''m making, and I assure you, I am not making it. You''re confusing the creative and the developmental processes. The creative process is a helter-skelter one, it goes where it pleases, as S&S describes.

The DEVELOPMENT PROCESS, of actual coding and art and design and music, is straightforward. I would never think to have two projects in the works at the same time, but it''s always good to THINK about where you might go next. In the text that I will put up on the porjects page, I will stress the word tenative.

But the fact is, when you''re dealing with a whole creative team, sometimes you have to just let the ideas fly, and file them away for a later date. That''s what I''m doing. DEVELOPING Multiple projects at the same time would be suicide, and I know it.

Graylien: You should have seen the original design for the site. It was a parody, Bad idea. All we ever did was tell people what we weren''t going to do and we did so in a biting, sarcastic tone. It got to so much that we scrapped it. Good thing, too.

But at the same time, much of what I want to do in games is a result of what I don''t want to do, so I don''t think mine is a completely horrible stance to take. I speak of revolution, and you can''t revolt without something to revolt against, right?

Though I really appreciate all the input, I''d like to keep it to the nature and writing of the website, not the nature of my team. I''m intimately familiar with the small likelyhood of my success in this venture, and that is one of my driving inspirations. Telling me it won''t work won''t help, ''cause I know that already. Stick to criticism of the site itself, please...

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Landfish, one thing I think that needs to be determined:

What is the main purpose of landfish.com. Is it mostly to document your projects and views about the game industry and how Landfish is going to be different, or is it more to attract potential people to help fund Landfish''s projects?

Because I think our opinion of the website has much to do w/ the intentions of it. Personally, I''m unsure of your intentions.



"'Nazrix is cool' -- Nazrix" --Darkmage --Godfree

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Landfish
The DEVELOPMENT PROCESS, of actual coding and art and design and music, is straightforward.



PLEASE! Now you are really underestimating every one else''s work. Coding, art, design and music is NOT straightforward. First it is very complex and second it is not something that can be done from the beginning to the end without reiterating underway.

A game is not "done" when ideas have been laid out. It is here the fun ends and the real work begins. If you just want the fun part then you should write books, not games.

If I was you I would read some books on Software engineering, the subject on how to manage a software team/project and making it succeed in the end. This is no simple task and as a writer you do not have the qualifications to do so, namely because you do not have the proper training.

I am myself a programmer/designer (not a writer) and I think you should not underestimate the technical complexities inherit in building commercial class games.

quote:

Fer: I know the mistake you THINK I''m making, and I assure you, I am not making it. You''re confusing the creative and the developmental processes. The creative process is a helter-skelter one, it goes where it pleases, as S&S describes.

I would never think to have two projects in the works at the same time, but it''s always good to THINK about where you might go next. In the text that I will put up on the porjects page, I will stress the word tenative.

But the fact is, when you''re dealing with a whole creative team, sometimes you have to just let the ideas fly, and file them away for a later date.


I am not confusing anything. I am even saying you should not THINK about other games once you start working on one. If you can''t keep your minds focused on getting the all your creative ideas into one game then maybe that game isn''t going to be that good after all. You should use all you energy on making that single game the highest quality possible. What happens in two or three years when the your first game is complete nhobody knows. That is a long time from now and the needs in the computer industry may have changed in the meantime. Do only one thing, but do it good. Do waste time in the meantime discussing ideas that won''t be realized in a long time. It is really a waste of time - except of course that you may learn from it.

All this of course assumes that you intend on making a commercial class game. If not, I you all are just doing it for fun and can keep your ambitions down then the work needed to write and develop the game is much less and might succeed.

Jacob Marner

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From the Theory of Constraints, one of the most influential management techniques of the moment, there is one item of paramount importance in running ANY kind of project:

Clarity of Goal



If you are working on more than one project at a time, with the same team, you no longer have clarity of goal. Your people cannot be focused, and cannot be sure what is important in the organisation. ( Do we have to do this brainstorming right, or do we have to finish that other game? )

Commit to ONE of those, all through the process there will be plenty of opportunity and necessity to do further creative brainstorming WITHIN THE SAME PROJECT. It is only when part of your team will no longer have to contribute anything to a particular project that they can move on to another.



People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~

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MadKeithV,

I agree totally.

I think a general problem with new development teams is that the leader/coordinater often do not have a proper background in management and therefore do not have the knowledge and compentance to complete the project satifactory and on schedule.

I do not have this kind of training myself, so I stay away from management. One should only do what one is good (or even trained) at, but having a bit of knowledge in the other areas is also good.

Jacob Marner

Edited by - felonius on October 4, 2000 9:36:14 AM

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quote:
The DEVELOPMENT PROCESS, of actual coding and art and design and music, is straightforward...


Not to be terribly adversarial, but that just simply isn''t true. Programming, art, music, and everything else is just as easy to go off on tangents with as design and writing. Perhaps using this as an excuse to spread your design efforts thin over many projects is not such a good idea...

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Felonius - are you a professional game developer? You SOUND like one, I''ve just read your comments on the design document thread, and now you''re agreeing with me on management techniques...
Are you running a company?


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~

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ghhhh, I''ll have to disagree here.
"Ce qui se conçoit bien, s''énonce clairement" (what is clearly conceived is clearly enounced).
When you design clearly everything, the actual process of doing it becomes *MUCH* easier. You still need to have constant feedback, but a good design in the first place will leave MUCH much less room for personal interpretation, hence more "stragithforwardness" in the making process.
Now, we are not actually talking abour *art* when we talk about game art, or music, or programming. It''s more illustration, code typing, etc. And that''s a **big** difference.
If you give me some specs for a character, if you tell me that the guy is to be blond, that he is wearing a full plate armor of a late 17th century style. I''ll do that, filling the gaps where they need to. That''s where the design is essential. If the design was saying I shouldn''t be drawing any particular symbols, or patterns on the armor, because they could imply things the designer don''t want, then I don''t draw the fancy celtic patterns I like to do so much, and I stick to a plain riveted metal look.
For an artist, it''s pretty much a straightforward process to do the drawing, if everything is already said and specified through a good design.
For programming, well, it''s the same... it''s engineering after all.
For music, I dunno, I am not a musician myself

As for team management, project management, yuuuk. There are courses for learning that. I did, and I am not the guy who''s gonna get headaches doing it This suck major a*s. But it''s necessary evil if you want to bring your team anywhere near completion.
Yeah, I am gonna be an amateur all my life, I don''t like the constraint of commercial software (not just games).

Ahw ell ... what can I do ?

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Actually, I enjoy management, and reading/learning about it. I guess I should be the one to get a team together huh


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~

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MadKeithV,
No I am not a professional, although I work hard to get the education to do so. Why are you asking? We have mailed personally Joris? You are a CompSci ph.d. student in image processing and I am a graduate student in CompSci and specializing in computer games. It is pretty certain that I will be developing commercial games in a year or two (in fact the censor for my thesis is a developer in a game company - so I hope to get a job offer already at my master''s graduation)

Is it no so strange that we agree. We have the same kind of training, and like you are try to learn everything that I can to become good.

And ahw,
I that is what is meant "straightforward" then ok, developing is more straightforward, but in my sense of the word being "straightforward" == "trivial", in which case the original statement absolutely is not true.
It might be that developing games (*not* being creative that is) is a craft, but that doesn''t make it simple. In my opinion, there is a very thin line between being creative and performing a craft.

If drawing art that is determined somewhat beforehand is craft then making some new RTS and making a good balancing is certainly also a craft. There is no "real" creativity here.

In fact, I don''t really believe in creativity. This is just a personal opinion. Everything we do or say is deriavations of input we have gained elsewhere. Nothing new is created out of limbo, except if you are really talented (or crazy?) like for instance Einstein, Picasso, or Leonardo da Vinci. "New" stuff is made by combining old stuff in new variations to achieve good results. If this isn''t a craft, I don''t know what a craft is.

Jacob Marner

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Hrm, just noticed your signature and remembered the name
I guess that our training does indeed mean that we tend to see things more from a practical perspective - "How do I make this profitable".

People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~

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felonius : I read somewhere that geniuses don''t have bigger brains, as some may think. Rather they have better connected brains, they use them more efficiently, and can make connections between things people would have never connected, hence the cool ideas they can come up with.

As well, I never assumed coding was easy. Otherwise there wouldn''t be newbies, and lecturers, and I would have no hope of getting a job if you can learn everything on your own.
I was just pointing out that as a professional, or at least someone with l33t skillZ, when you know what you have to do, the ''doing'' is purely a question of time, and practice. The ease of the task is of course proportional to the skills you''ve got. But you can''t really say that you are having a hard time doing your job, otherwise, well, what are you doing there ?

I have been bothered long enough by my lecturers to know that most of the stuff we do in computer games is not real Art as defined in schools of Fine Arts ...
now on the same line of thought, Leonardo Da Vinci painted his Mona Lisa as a commanded work ... (not that I think this is a masterpiece, but people like to refer to that one), Michael Angelo was commanded the roof of the Sixtine Chapel, etc.

We are just artisans doing a high tech job. It''s a hard job you have to learn slowly, but it''s just a job. The ideas now ... *that* is another story.
And that''s where you need a creative guy. And a person who can explain those ideas, and put them so that other people, with skills in various domains, can make them come true. Hence, I assume, the overall importance taht LF is giving to the designer. If you don''t design the ideas properly, all the skills of your makers (graphists, musicians, programmers, etc) are wasted.

youpla :-P

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But, by that standard, you have only said that designing a game is around the same skill level as actually programming the game, which contradicts the "we''re working on several designs, but only programming one" strategy that Landfish.com seems to be taking. They all (programmers, artists and designers )need to obey the "Clarity of Goal" law - people should only be working towards a single, clear goal at a time.


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~

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I dont think LF said they were designing several games, I think he said that while discussing, some ideas arise that are stored to be used (or discarded) later.
Well, this is what I understood, feel free to correct me if you see things otherwise.

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quote:
Landfish, one thing I think that needs to be determined:

What is the main purpose of landfish.com. Is it mostly to document your projects and views about the game industry
and how Landfish is going to be different, or is it more to attract potential people to help fund Landfish''s projects?


I agree with this. What is your intent? It doesn''t look good for a moderator to start a forum and make an ad for their own site. One could ponder if the forum was created to recruit possible candidates to your projects. I am sure this is not the case, but it is not entirely clear.

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quote:
Original post by ahw
felonius : I read somewhere that geniuses don''t have bigger brains, as some may think. Rather they have better connected brains, they use them more efficiently, and can make connections between things people would have never connected, hence the cool ideas they can come up with.



Yup, you are right. My wife soon graduating a medical doctor and she have had taken a year of to do some brain research (We are hoping her article gets accepted in Journal of Comparaitve Neurology within a few months) and there is many surprising things in that field:
* Alcoholism does NOT kill neurons.
* Brain size has nothing to do with intelligence - but then again this really depends on what you define as intelligence. Einstein had a small brain.
* Males have a higher ratio of of white matter fibers to neuron than females, so with this it is actually likely (but not certain) that males are more "intelligent" than females - this one result is political incorrect and is not referred to in the media. But my wife told me so I believe it.

quote:

I have been bothered long enough by my lecturers to know that most of the stuff we do in computer games is not real Art as defined in schools of Fine Arts ...
now on the same line of thought, Leonardo Da Vinci painted his Mona Lisa as a commanded work ... (not that I think this is a masterpiece, but people like to refer to that one), Michael Angelo was commanded the roof of the Sixtine Chapel, etc.



Aren''t you saying here that what we call "fine arts" are really craftmanship?

quote:

The ideas now ... *that* is another story.
And that''s where you need a creative guy. And a person who can explain those ideas, and put them so that other people, with skills in various domains, can make them come true.



A person that can explain other people is also a craftman.

I know we will never reach consensus here, there are no true right and wrongs in the case I think. But I really don''t think this "creative guy" is there. Throwing gaming ideas around is something that you get better at with training and I call it a craft like anything else.

For instance, I times past I was a dedicated Dungeon Master in AD&D for years and I must say that the quality of the scenarios that I made really improved over the years. This had nothing to do with creativity - it was a matter of training - learning how to use things that I observed in book movies and my life to put them into a story. As I said, I don''t really believe in creativity. But this is a religion thing - so it has hard agreeing if we believe different things.

I actually do not believe in "intuition" either. In my opinion "intuition" is the occurrance of skills or knowledge that are subconscious to the person having them. "Intuitive" things are something that cannot be argued but are true to person having it. In my experience the problem with intuition is that it often turns out to be wrong. It is only when some piece of knowledge rises from the intuitive level into the conscious level and you can bring forth arguments for what you decide and conclude that it can be called reliable knowledge. Put simply, you might say that something you only know by intuition to be right you don''t really understand.

Jacob Marner

PS: Ahw, this is really some powerful discussions we are having here in this topic and the other one on design documents. It is great. Cheers.

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felonius : ahaha, medicine doesn''t care about politically correct, or media coverage. It''s the media that turn an idea into something political... (my father''s a doctor, so I am a bit aware of all the bullsh!ts going on in Medicine ... uuugh, ugly).

fine arts are different from craftmanship. I was actually trying to say that some of the works considered by the public like masterpieces, and work of art. Are actually more craftmanship than art. They were created with the skill of a genius, but in essence are not creative as such. Of course, a real artist can always put his creativity in the gaps left by the command (like the background, in the Mona Lisa.)

yes, I am not gonna turn you into an artistic, intuitive guy, if you are of the engineer, logical type. wouldn''t you be a Virgo by any chance ? The creative guy, as I see it, would be the person coming up with ideas, and motivating his troops, leading them. I believe that you have to apply to what you are the best at, to be effective. And some people are more effective at being original, finding ideas, generating thoughts, motivating the people around. Then you need people who can turn the volatile ideas into tangible things : code, artwork (illustrations, that is ), music, etc. ("Il n''y a pas de sot métier", there is no stupid job) There is no *best* job, or bad job.

A skilled artist with no ideas is worthless. A creative idea without the skills to realise it is nothing more than an idea.
Sometimes I try to do everythng by myself, but I perfectly know that it''s not the best way to do it. I jsut haven''t found the complementary people I need, yet.

As for the intuition thingie... well, you *have* to be an Air sign, it''s just so typical Some people don''t understand what intuition is, and thus can''t use it. Just don''t
For me, the more I listen to it, the better I work. When I stop to think too much, I f*ck up big time ...

Complementarity is the key.

Now of course, I am completely off topic, but hey !

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Hmm, we are getting really of topic here ahw...

quote:
Original post by ahw
yes, I am not gonna turn you into an artistic, intuitive guy, if you are of the engineer, logical type. wouldn''t you be a Virgo by any chance ?



No, I am a Capricorn.

quote:

The creative guy, as I see it, would be the person coming up with ideas, and motivating his troops, leading them.



I can do that. In fact I love it. That why I am into gaming in the first place and not database application development (very boring but pays better).

By the terms you describe creative, I see myself as creative, but I really can''t the difference between that and craftmanship. In those terms I am very creative when a design the architecture for a game engine.

quote:

Some people don''t understand what intuition is, and thus can''t use it. Just don''t



I have used my intuition and I still use it, I just don''t trust it as well as good arguments. And as an instructor at my university I have seen so many failed reports because people had an intuition about something and it turned out to be wrong.
For myself, it was especially in my Math classes that I realized that intuition is not to be trusted. My intuition (or "hunch") was very often far for the what really was going on.

Take for instance a sailor; he has a good intuition about what happens at sea in various situations. This is knowledge has and has gained over many years, putting it in his mind but he can''t express or explain it. Because of his experience (again it is about training) his intuition may be very fine, but say some new situation occurs that he hasn''t tried before. He may now very well think that he is experienced and trust his intuition for the solution, but if he hasn''t tried it before you cannot be certain about the outcome and he may be wrong. Intuition is kind hubris. By saying this I mean that intuition is worst when you think you have it in some area but don''t. And if you have a well developed intuition and you have academic degree you ought to be able to explain why you make some dicision. I if you can do that then it is no longer intuition but knowledge that you are truely aware of. Software development attempt do things that hasn''t been done before so by definition you are doing something new all the time. For the new parts intuition does not hold because you have no experience.

Haven''t you heard the saying that you really learn something when you have to explain it to others. This forces you to think on "why" something is instead of just accepting it. This brings something from the intuitive level to the aware level.

For many things in my daily life and just use my intuition - for instance in how I act with other people - but when doing something that takes much time and has high stakes I think it is important to play safe and don''t trust it. It is good for initial ideas, but they should be weeded out of they can''t hold in an argument.

quote:

For me, the more I listen to it, the better I work. When I stop to think too much, I f*ck up big time ...



My point is, could it be that by stopping up and thinking you might actually stop something early that otherwise would be f*cked up anyway but at a later state. It is better to stop bad ideas early than bring them to the end. If you can''t argue for some idea, and why it is good, you are taking a risk that it is bad, but if it is thought through the chances of success are higher.

The problem with intuitiion is also that it usually gives one complete solution to a problem or only gives one idea in a certain topic. If you just accept this you might very well miss alternatives. And if you have several alternatives you shouldn''t use the one that you intuition tells you, it might not be the best.

Jacob Marner

Note: Sorry landfish for this off-topic discussion in your thread, but I think it is quite interesting.

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Alright, I need to clarify. The website is a piece of Brochureware, nothing more. It clarifies for people what we''re doing so that instead of taking an hour I just point them to the site.

As I said, I am not looking for a critique of my strategy, this is how I work. If it wasn''t working for me, I wouldn''t do it. If I fail, so be it, you will all have the last laugh.

As for writing, programming and art being straighforward, they ARE. That doesn''t mean they are easy! But these people in a development context are doing what''s been laid out for them, not laying out what must be done. I am a writer, I would not berate the task. But straighforward it is, at least by comparison, when you''re writing to a design doc.

I can understand the purpose of clarity of goal, but I don''t agree, and several writers and educators of writing, painter, screen writers, will disagree as well. As syd field wrote, "sometimes when you''re trying to write one screenplay another decides it wants you to write it, and it won''t leave you alone. Don''t fight this. You type up the first three pages, and file it away for another day. Then get back to what you were working on."

It needs to happen, for some people, maybe not for you. My team and I are pretty sure of what we''re doing, and we have NOTHING to lose, we all have lives. We think we can do it, and that''s the only real measure.

(BTW, the clarifying text has been added to the projects site, if anyone wants a looksee...)

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quote:
As for writing, programming and art being straighforward, they ARE. That doesn''t mean they are easy! But these people in a development context are doing what''s been laid out for them, not laying out what must be done.


That just isn''t true! Take programming for example. How many projects do you think are defined by the technical limitations of what the programmers are able to accomplish. Many times the ENTIRE design of a project will be changed due to the programming side of things. Saying that those people are just responsible for doing what''s put in front of their faces on a silver platter is somewhat underestimating their position in the grand scheme of things.

As another example--have you ever tried to develop a complex piece of software using object oriented methodologies? This takes as much creativity and design as anything that writers or game designers are responsible for. It is ANYTHING but straightforward.

Landfish, this thread has piqued my curiosity. Do you have experience on the technical side of things, or just the writing/creative side?

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I''m neither, and both. I''m a producer.

I have always been a defender of the creative principles of programming. I really understand just how open and creative a process it is. At least as much as writing or art, if not more (probably not more...).

BUT the context in which I was describing, after the most skeletal of structures is layed out, IS straightforward when compared with the SAME process being used to form a good idea for a game. It just is. Straightforward doesn''t mean easy, just that it''s always readily apparant what must be done, even if not HOW to do it.

I''m not even taking a side in this statement, and it is a matter of opinion so why fight it?

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I think it was with felonius I was discussing the Software Engineering side of things, wasn''t it ?

So I''ll add my pennies to your discussion. you *can* develop a project without ''real'' methodologies (other than prototyping and constand feedback). And OO methodologies are an absolute pain in the a$s. You really need to have crashed a project because of insufficient methodology to realise that you need one. Otherwise most of the time, you can get away with it.
On the other hand, it''s a good thing to have a nice methodology. It''s jsut it takes more time, and while learning the methodology, you don''t really do the projects. But since you are planning different projects, I think it would actually be worth your time to check out the different methods you could use to manage projects. It''s not really creative, but a projet leader needs to be a ''leader'' type, like you LF. So I think that would be a good read for you.
Not that I can blame you for not knowing SoftEngineer ... even the poor teacher gets bored trying to convince us it has its use.
But it has, rest assured it has ... my former employers probably didn''t realise, but I sure did

(or maybe I am totally off topic)

youpla :-P

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quote:
Original post by ahw

I think it was with felonius I was discussing the Software Engineering side of things, wasn't it ?

SoYou really need to have crashed a project because of insufficient methodology to realise that you need one.



Hey ahw,
What are you doing?!? :-)
You are arguing for my side of the discussion :-)
Have you been provoking me all along? :-)

Jacob Marner - the engineer type of guy


Edited by - felonius on October 7, 2000 10:03:02 AM

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