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Siolis

Computer Game Design Theory

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Original post by Dobbs
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You don’t read too well do you?
No, I think you just missed my point. I know the specific games you mentioned aren't important, I made it clear that it was only incidental that I didn't like them. My point was that playing good games in no way makes you a good game designer, but you apparently think it does:
Quote:
I play quality computer games ... snip ... so if I designed a game based on what I know to be quality of computer games, doesn’t it make sense to you that it wont be total shit.
I'd like to hear your reasoning there, because I don't think it's true at all. Just because you recognize good and bad design by someone else doesn't mean you yourself can design something good. And taking a bunch of good design elements from different contexts and putting them together doesn't mean they'll all still work and be fun. This thread is getting pretty far off-topic, so maybe we should start a new one if you'd like to continue this discussion.
Firstly i agree with you that no, a person who can see the Mona Lisa and like it or can read a shakespire play and enjoy is cant make something just as good because he can enjoy/like something for its quality, HOWEVER a person who can in some degree paint or write or program (like me) can firstly enjoy a good piece of well liked media, recognize its good and bad points, mix and match those good and bad points so they work together and produce something he enjoys which is based part from his ability to recognize quality and part in his ability to emulate and rework well liked material into a new product. I know for a fact that novel writing involves reading, decompiling of method and structure, analyzing and rebuilding of method and structure with your own ideas and method and structure to make original and brilliant work. Everyone who has every created anything since cave med drew on walls did the same. How can i say this as though i know its fact? Because of "Meme's", which are the names given to thoughts, ideas, memories and the fragments of human thought which comprise the consciousness of every thing with a brain, the better organic (biological brain) or inorganic (computers) processor for a meme is the superior life form, its why when it comes to it, humans with brains are second to no other organic life form on this planet. Coming back to our subject, meme's are generated by a human's genetically coded response to an outside sensor environment based on past experience which is generated second by second. Media is pure sensory food, eat media, recombine it with other meme's from everything from your daily life to other media and you give birth to new meme's which in this specific instance is a computer game you are designing. No, playing a game won’t make you a designer. Being a designer and getting ideas from other games will make you a grate designer IF you can recombine the meme's correctly which really depends on your ability to recognize quality games which your target audience will enjoy which you can only learn to do if you play what people say is a good game. If everyone liked Barbie’s dream house and I wanted to design a good game I would play Barbie’s dream house, see what everyone likes about it, analyze it and incorporate as much of what people consider to be good elements of it as I can into my own game and if correctly structured to what I would consider to be good quality game play then in theory people would like my game. Of course I could be an idiot and badly design my game but there in lies my skill to recognize quality of game based on what people like which requires me to play what people consider being quality games. You don’t like mining period, fine, don’t play a mining game. If you like mining then i personally believe that i can build a descent RPG/mining game which the majority of people who do in some degree like mining games, or at least like my design for one, will enjoy playing because i will enjoy playing it and i can in some degree recognize computer game quality and i am in some degree a good designer because of it. Do you disagree with what i have stated and if you do, on what grounds? Siolis

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The main flaw with this approach to game design is that if you only get your ideas from other people's games, then you don't have the capacity to innovate. To take your example of a "Barbie's Dream House" game, if all you do is take the components of that game that are great, then you will still end up with the same game (just possibly minus a few detrimental elements).

The second flaw is that everyone is different; I'm not sure whether I would 'get' what it is about the "Barbie's Dream House" game that makes it appeal to its target audience, because I am not a member of that demographic; unless a designer has a deep understanding of social constructs and human psychology then they are probably the same. It's not really a flaw if you make a game that you personally want to play, but you have to keep in mind that people have different tastes.

Now obviously a designer wouldn't just play one game for inspirations, but I am seeing a tendency in game design for all the idea stemming from previous game ideas; FPS games that are very similar to previous FPS, but maybe with a few ideas from an RTS thrown in. I think there's a danger for designers to only consider games as their source of inspiration, which is inimical to innovation. In my opinion it is very hard to come up with the next "big idea" in game design if all the input your mind is getting is other people's game designs.

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Quote:
Original post by Siolis

I know for a fact that novel writing involves reading...



Really? This is a 'fact' is it? I know a couple of published novelists who have a hard time getting fans and friends to believe them when they say they've barely read a word of any novel.

Hell, I spent 15-odd years in the games industry designing games, developing games, consulting on games and more. I've written scripts and stories for games too. Yet I don't read all that much -- or even play all that many games -- either. (I do have a bookcase full of books, but it's not a particularly big one. I'm very, _very_ picky.)

What's needed is a source of creativity that you can call your own, not merely the recycling of other people's ideas and material.

What you've described is what I would classify as an Interpretative Artform. This is most commonly exemplified today in visual arts in the form of collage -- often used now in graphic design. It is also heard frequently in the field of music: remixes, mash-ups, musique concrete, and that whole vein.

Interpretative Art is a secondary artform. It creates something from existing elements, rather than creating entirely new elements. While these existing elements -- be they photo clippings or looped audio samples -- can often be combined in new and interesting ways, there is a certain level of repetition that means you can only do this so often before your audience becomes jaded.

(Which is why sequels are so bastard hard to pull off well, regardless of the medium.)

There is no cry more soul-destroying in this forum than, "Hey! I can do better than that!" Hindsight is blessed with 20/20 vision. What this industry really doesn't need is endless, minor incremental improvements on the status quo.

What this industry needs to hear is wannabes shouting, "Hey! I can create something NEW!"

--
Sean Timarco Baggaley

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My take on well-designed games is that they're whole systems of components working beautifully together. They complement each other. It's the interaction of the parts that works well, not just the parts standing alone. Perhaps you can use successes and failures of other games to guide you, but true design (or what I think of as true design, ie original design) isn't just a matter of combining elements A, B, and C. You need a holistic view of your game's design.

I think 4x games are a great example of this, particularly Civilization. The further into a game of civ you get the more complicated decisions can become because of their unintended consequences. So you decide you want to declare war on the Persians. Great, but they're allied with the Greeks, with whom you trade. Without that trade income you may have a hard time financing your war. This might mean you have to divert resources from other areas such as Wonder construction but that may hurt you more in the long term than letting the Persians survive. And so on. If you just have the war component it's not much of a game. Ditto with the trading component, and civilization development. With more of these interacting subsystems the interesting possibilities can increase exponentially, maybe even geometrically. But that also means only using one or two of the subsystems in your game makes for a much less varied experience.

Of course this analysis doesn't apply to every type of game out there, but it could certainly be applied to many.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
game design must be creative, it msut try to create new ideas as it evolves. if you look at the nes days you will see that a lot of those games are fun, why? because they were being creative and coming up with new ideas. some fail, some go well. many people are starting to notice this and are starting to get irrartated with the non-inovation of todays games, most of which as simply rehashes of old game ideas.

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Excuse me for being cynical, but... saying you design games isnt really all that impressive. hell, even designing games isnt that impressive. Im sure 9 of 10 people who post in this forum have 'designed a game'.
Ill bet 1 of 10 people have actually written it out. It doesnt mean their ideas were neccessarily good or game-worthy. It just means theyve designed a game.

We've all got ideas, man. But to sit there and tell everyone else that they dont know what theyre talking about and that your opinions of game design are better because you design games is sort of arrogant. Just from reading your posts - the content and the sentence structure - I can conclude only one thing: I dont care for your game design style. So, please, stop trying to convince the world that you're the next Shakespear of the video game industy. Thanks.

And yes, theres alot more to game design than knowing what makes a good game. I know the rules of Baseball, but i cant throw a ball straight over a plate at 86 miles an hour. Knowing the game doesnt make me an athlete.

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I'm just posting to take a break. Feel free to ignore.

Obviously the first step to designing a good game is to enjoy playing them. And the more games you play, the more often you play them, the easier it becomes to realize what elements roll the ball. For you, and for every player like you.

I think the biggest trouble most developers have when they're trying to get started is forgetting what the hell it was they were trying to do in the first place. It's not an easy path to get through this crap. A long period of time can be spent crunching brain cells and honing other skills to get moving through your project. This frequent and constant time away from enjoying games might just be corrupting your fun filled thought patterns. I guess a much easier way to put that is simply: Play more games. It's pretty easy to see that there's too much tension around here.

Quote:
Original post by Siolis
.. the superior life form, its why when it comes to it, humans with brains are second to no other organic life form on this planet.

Heheh, that's what the aliens will say when they come down and enslave our inferior asses.

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For starters, all that rubbish about memes is mostly conjecture - even accepting that materialism is true (which you imply), we can't point to the brain as a computational device anymore than we could a potato.

And it's fairly simple to show that the recombining memes theory of game design doesn't necessarily (or even mostly) imply good games. Take the population of game players - it's fair to say that effectively all of them have a favourite/preferred game, which is to say that they all have a reference to a game that they consider "good". So "in theory" they could all make exactly the same claim that you make - that they recognise a game's good qualities and can therefore create a good game. Yet we know for a fact that some of them cannot design a good game (if you don't believe me, just download the demo of Coliseum).

So it's trivial to say that you recognise the 'good' qualities in games, because every game player can say that. And so basically you're just saying that you are a good designer of games. You might well be, or you might be like the designer of Coliseum - chances are no one will ever know, because few game designers actually create their dream game.

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Quote:
Original post by stimarco
Quote:
Original post by Siolis

I know for a fact that novel writing involves reading...



Really? This is a 'fact' is it? I know a couple of published novelists who have a hard time getting fans and friends to believe them when they say they've barely read a word of any novel.

Hell, I spent 15-odd years in the games industry designing games, developing games, consulting on games and more. I've written scripts and stories for games too. Yet I don't read all that much -- or even play all that many games -- either. (I do have a bookcase full of books, but it's not a particularly big one. I'm very, _very_ picky.)

What's needed is a source of creativity that you can call your own, not merely the recycling of other people's ideas and material.

What you've described is what I would classify as an Interpretative Artform. This is most commonly exemplified today in visual arts in the form of collage -- often used now in graphic design. It is also heard frequently in the field of music: remixes, mash-ups, musique concrete, and that whole vein.

Interpretative Art is a secondary artform. It creates something from existing elements, rather than creating entirely new elements. While these existing elements -- be they photo clippings or looped audio samples -- can often be combined in new and interesting ways, there is a certain level of repetition that means you can only do this so often before your audience becomes jaded.

(Which is why sequels are so bastard hard to pull off well, regardless of the medium.)

There is no cry more soul-destroying in this forum than, "Hey! I can do better than that!" Hindsight is blessed with 20/20 vision. What this industry really doesn't need is endless, minor incremental improvements on the status quo.

What this industry needs to hear is wannabes shouting, "Hey! I can create something NEW!"

--
Sean Timarco Baggaley


Oh Jesus O_O, you write something at 2am and assuming something’s implied and seven people more or less pull you on it. I don’t for a second believe AAA games should be made from bits of old games glue together. I assumed, from my original post, that it was implied that you should have your own game ideas THEN and only THEN take others successful ideas and incorporate them into your own. I mean you don’t write a book based entirely on other peoples ideas because a well read person would take one look and notice it straight off. I'm not saying however that it cant be done but Sean is right that the audience will become jaded to your work in the end however if you take your own ideas and add other successful ones from other games your game will benefit from it to some extent if the idea has not been over done.

My own game is based on improved sub games, such as mining, which are given the same design attention as the RPG components of my game. As well as being a Warrior or a Mage for example the player will also have the option to be a Miner in the same degree of game play, as in they could spend 10 hours hunting monsters and then 10 hours mining and enjoy in-depth game play during both equally. I’ve never herd of a game which did an in-depth mining game let alone hybrid it with other games in this fashion and yes I will be incorporating other peoples design ideas into both my RPG system and Mining system but it will still be unique.

Also just to make it clear, I make generalizations!!! I know for a fact that the majority of writers read a hell of a lot, not each and every one, but most ergo I also assume most game designers do in fact play games. It only makes sense that they do really but picking up on my generalizations is like me saying all Jewish people are good with money when in fact a lot are but not all but its what they are known for as a stereotype, you know it, I know it, but there’s no need to point it out (ps ok that may be a bad example considering I know nothing of Jews but it was on family guy so go watch that).

Siolis

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Guest Anonymous Poster
what Argus2 said is quite true, most designers never create thier dream game. but this is why i like indie game dev. because you have a chance. the only problem is with todays technology one person can't create a full GOOD looking and WELL programmed game with complete vo's, good physics, and other many many things. i know, i'm just a graphics designer and game designer whos dream is to create a Silent Hill type game, however i myself can't create this. i need a team, and just being a game designer does not allow you to make a good game. a game is a combining of multiple talents to create one workable interactive experience that if done right will be fun. If you want to be the best (like you think you are) siolis you need to deversify your talents. learn some programming, learn more about game design, learn graphics, character design. just knowing what makes a good game deson't mean crap, you need to learn about all of the elements of a game. and untill i register here i will simply use this name-Jarrod1937

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