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CaptainVG

Is Extra Credits reliable to learn Game Design?

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Granted, they have experience but from what they teach and express, its very vague to call them as designers because they only cover topics that they feel are important to the industry which is arguablly again vague seeing that most of their discussions aren't fully thought out. Like Witcher 3 is the best detective game? Really?

 

 

 

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Is Extra Credits a company, ...blog, ...youtube channel? This is the first time I'm hearing about them.

 

YouTube channel. Three core people, plus artists to animate the videos.

 

They do videos about game design ("Extra Credits"). They also do occasional (and informal and unpolished compared to their other videos) reviews of games from a design-focused perspective ("James Recommends"). They also have recently branched out into general history ("Extra History"), focusing more on presenting the history in an entertaining and writing-inspiring way with less concerns about nitpicking the finer facts, but still factual.
 

I highly recommend them.

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But I do care that their videos are informative and provoke me to think more. In that sense, their videos are immensely helpful to me in thinking through design. For that reason, they are valuable to me.
 
I also appreciate that they are compact and value-dense. It seems like many videos, articles, blogs, and even books get padded out with additional fluff before getting down to the one or two real insights the creators have - Extra Credits is much better at packing alot of insight into a short amount of time, and presenting it in a clear way.

 

But they talk stuff like Witcher 3 being the best detective game ever made. How is that even logical to think? Also from what I've heard, most of the research and information that they get are false.

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its very vague to call them as designers

'designer' is a very vague term to begin with.

I, as a hobbyist, prefer the term "game mechanic engineer" for gameplay-related mechanics. Note: I don't consider myself a game-mechanic engineer, nor do I want to be one. (I consider myself more of a hobbyist world-designer, and I'm also a programmer)
 

because they only cover topics that they feel are important to the industry

They put out a video or two a week - so, they can't possibly cover everything. Are they supposed to cover everything, but poorly, or cover a sub-set of things, but more skillfully?
 

which is arguablly again vague seeing that most of their discussions aren't fully thought out.

They don't have discussions, they make videos giving their views and opinions and experiences. A discussion is what you and I are having right now - a give and take of opinions. Their videos are pre-written presentations of their views.

And many times, they cover the major points, but don't feel the need to cover every tiny ramification - which I'm glad for. I don't need them to make videos that are 15-20 minutes (instead of 5 minutes) to cover more obvious results.
 

Like Witcher 3 is the best detective game? Really?

I haven't watched that specific video (or played that specific game), but usually they don't make as absolute statements as the title of that video. But again, they are presenting their opinions, explaining why they think that way, revealing different lines of thought from my own perspectives, which are very valuable from a design standpoint.

Occasionally, they deliberately make certain statements to provoke thought, and then follow up in a later episode (they mention this in the "God does not play dice" episode). But sometimes their views are just different than mine.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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But they talk stuff like Witcher 3 being the best detective game ever made.
How is that even logical to think?

As far as 'detective games' go, one game has to be "better" from a game mechanic perspective, than others, even if it is "worse" in other areas.

Saying blue is a better color than red is subjective and not worth discussing. Arguing that Halo 3's gameplay mechanics are better than Quake 1's gameplay mechanics is also subjective, but absolutely worth discussing. Sometimes these discussions happen through picking a mountain top, making a claim, and defending it. Even if ultimately proven wrong, the discussion itself brings greater exploration of what makes X good and what makes Y better or worse or different or the same. And we learn from it.
 

Also from what I've heard, most of the research and information that they get are false.

According to people who disagree with that research, presumably. smile.png 

Find any scientific study you want. Wait six months. You'll find dozens of people (even "experts" in the same field) who disagree with it, and many other scientific studies that contradict it.

They usually don't issue edicts from on high saying X is a Fact. Instead, they just give their views about what makes games more enjoyable. Even when I disagree with their views, it's still valuable to me, because it helps me think through and refine my own views.

Extra Credits, if you are a game designer, is absolutely absolutely worth watching. Even if you disagree. Especially if you disagree - we have a tendency as humans to surround ourselves with people whose viewpoints agree with our own, which then reinforces our views - even when they might be wrong - and then use the views they have in common with us as "evidence" and "facts" that our view is correct. Surrounding ourselves with differing views helps promote growth in ourselves.

Has watching any of their videos gotten you to think about game mechanics more than you otherwise would have? That's valuable.
Then it's just a matter of does it provide enough value relative to the amount of time you invested in watching it. Now if you find something that provides a better value return, then go watch that instead of or in addition to Extra Credits (and share the link with us!). By "better value", I mean provokes more thoughts and helps you develop more. I don't mean things that are already in agreement with your existing views.
 

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Edited by Servant of the Lord

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If your question is whether or not the things they advocate doing are practically useful or not, then why don't you just imagine trying to make a game that explicitly does NOT do what they are advocating? Depending on what you can imagine, you may be able to identify whether or not what they have to say really has any merit. Ultimately, it is whether what they say proves useful to you as a designer. The design process itself is highly collaborative / iterative / interdisciplinary. Personally, I find many of their videos to be highly thought-provoking and useful, but it's not as if everything stated by every designer is "the ultimate truth". People simply design according to what they believe will make a great game. How much of their advice you intend to use is up to you.

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