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Dwarf with Axe

Problems with designers - Why aren't they motivated?

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Perhaps motivated isn''t the right word. Well in anycase, here is my thought: Why, oh why, do people want to develop games so much when they have little or no experience? I know some people get paid to develop (sometimes) , but realistically speaking, if you aren''t an artist or coder, your screwed. One thing that has been irritating me a lot is a friend I have. He always has good ideas for games, and helps me develop some, but when it comes to help, he provides nothing. He doesn''t want to read tutorials, and when I ask him why he doesn''t learn something like C/C++, he just says "No one to teach it to me." Then I think to myself: There are a lot of people that I know who think like this. "No one to teach it to me" is the same as saying "I''m too lazy to learn myself, and if no one is going to show me how, then I say forget it." I''m sorry, I am just very disappointed at my friend right now. Do any of you know anyone like this? Thanks for letting me vent. ~Dwarf Complete amatures whose only relevant skill is programming undertake to design games with no further preparation than their own experience as game players. Those who overrate their own understanding undercut their own potential for learning.

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Sorry to say this, but me and the rest of the world are just like that. But the really sad part is I am an artist and I do use some logic for coding... my motivational drive is just not there.

I have friends, like yours, that come up with extraordinary ideas, I do too, but I need someone to work with. I need a purpose, a challenge. Someone that understands and can spark me to work more.... and not stop.

Currently I''m going to school for programming so that I can use my art evenly with my programming skills. (Next, I will need self motivational tapes to keep going.)

I believe if you start an idea/project, finish it. Even if it''s the worst thing you''ve ever created. You never know, someone else may love it!

-rharpe

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I realize the rest of the world is like that. I guess I just wanted to vent about my poor friend. I didn''t mean to offend or start a war with any designers out there (I''m one myself.)

~Dwarf


Complete amatures whose only relevant skill is programming undertake to design games with no further preparation than their own experience as game players. Those who overrate their own understanding undercut their own potential for learning.

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I wonder if there''s an amateur movie-making forum out there somewhere (BlairWitchDev.net, maybe? ) where people log on and post "I''ve got this cool idea for a movie... who wants to make it?"

I think half of the problem is that kids hear the term ''game designer'' and they instantly think "hey, I already design games". There is then this culture of thinking that coming up with the idea is all you need to be a valuable member of the game development community. But in reality, it''s not. It''s not that designers aren''t motivated - it''s that these people aren''t really designers. They just think that they are. Until they actually design something, they''re no more of a designer than a person who''s never written a program is a programmer.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost ]

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I second that!

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wootkoos

Rhott Studios
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email: wootkoos@rhott.com
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web: www.rhott.com
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My problem is that I have the motivation to do one big design project, and only one, at a time. But there are so many fun projects to do, and many of them are so much _shorter_ than a game design project, that it''s always tempting to say "The game can wait until next week - this week I wanna paint." Or sew, or draw, or make a manga, or write a story, or...

Obviously I try not to give in to this, but you have to work with your inspiration.

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rharpe, I don''t think Dwarf meant that the way you took it. He didn''t say you had to code to be of help, he said you have to help. Doing the artwork is fine. Doing nothing is useless.

This has come up a couple of times in the few months I''ve been here. Most of the time people who say "designers" must program really mean they gotta get off their duffs and do SOMETHING to give the game a "physical" form. Even though programming well is hard, it is still a learned skill. Good art/sound skills take base talent for the training and practice to build on, so it makes sense for a newb to start out coding. I think this is what was meant.

I agree, though, that it is a shame some people refuse to try to learn for themselves. I know from experience if you show me something once, you''ll never have to show me again, but if I learn it myself I understand the WHY''S of the task and can better cope with variations of the problem.


ShadeStorm, the Day_Glo Fish

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I agree and disagree. Here''s why:

When you look at a game like Rainbow Six (we all know what this is, right?), what do you see? I see a well-programmed first person shooter with a decent design, good textures, etc. But there''s something missing.

An involved and well-developed story.

Does it really take a rocket scientest to be able to come up with the idea of stopping terrorists? I don''t think so. It''s in this case that you can see the designer doing more than just designing.

But then, take a look at Final Fantasy 7. The artists did a great job with the graphics; you could tell they were talented, skilled, and more than likely, quite expierienced. The music was very well done and definately gave the game some "umpf." The programmers did a great job with it. But what stands out the most in Final Fantasy 7?

The involved and well-developed story ().

Obviosly, the designer devoted alot of his time perfecting just about everything.

Now, I''m not saying that the designer(s) of FF7 weren''t artists or programmers, but if they did nothing else but write the script, design the levels (the designer-ish stuff), would you have thought lesser of them? I wouldn''t. They did a great job, possibly the best job they could.

On the other hand, most people who claim to be designers think that being a designer means you have an idea. There''s alot more to it than that. You need to be devoted (and motivated). These people who "have ideas" tend to fail, mainly because they are usually impatient. They figured they could write their idea on paper, get a programmer and an artist and the game would be done in a week. Then they could go show all of their friends how good of a job they did.

What I''m saying is, I don''t mind if the designer can''t do anything else other than design, but, "by Moradin''s Hammer" (that one''s for you Dwarf ), they could at least do a damn good job of designing!


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Drizzt, I''m assuming you never read the book? Well, I realize that shouldn''t be a requirement but the story was there..it just might have lost something in the presentation.
And on that note, since when are designers and writers the same?

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In case you don't know yet, writers have a .1% chance of getting a job in the game industry, because large companies won't "waste" their money on writers when they can just have the designers and programmers do it.

Try to find someone who has been hired as a writer to work on a game (for a large company).

It's the harsh truth; personally, I think writers should have an equal opprotunity, but I don't really have say in that.

quote:

Drizzt, I'm assuming you never read the book?


I played the game, and I didn't want to waste my time. Anyway, I read other books by Clancy and I don't like his writing (not that it's bad, I just don't like it). I know the story is more specific than what I gave, but try generalizing Final Fantasy's story as well as I did Rainbow Six...

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Edited by - Drizzt DoUrden on February 17, 2002 10:11:45 PM

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quote:
Original post by Dwarf with Axe
Why, oh why, do people want to develop games so much when they have little or no experience?


Because people''s imaginations aren''t strictly bound by how much they know. In other words, while knowing certainly helps us to better imagine, not knowing doesn''t prevent us from doing so. It''s not absolutely necessary to have game development experience to come up with an interesting game concept.

The difficulty is not so much in coming up with an idea for a game, but in expressing that idea clearly and actually doing something with it. This requires a certain degree of discipline and experience, but some people would rather simply imagine, just like they''re able to.

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I don''t think we disagree at all, Drizzt.

I was talking about hobbyist and pro-hopefuls, not pro''s. I work for a small plant here in Texas making little apps for the engineers and the office (I double as the network guy and triple as the boss''s personal tech support). If they tell me to make something, I make it. If I were working as a professional game developer (which I will try to do when I complete my CS degree) it would be the same, though having a designer that knew what I was talking about when I bring up concerns with the graphics API we chose or the software we use could only help.

Your thoughts on writers is dead on, too, I''m afraid. You touched on the reason I don''t like most FPS games...no plot. I want a story. Hell, I wish for a story that is cohesive even in MP mode. Most of the time the writing is done by someone who "also writes", if you get my drift.


ShadeStorm, the Day_Glo Fish

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Drizzt you make a very good point (for an Elf!) but I was really talkin'' about them thar people who only come up with the idea and maybe, maybe think that they are helping.

It''s one thing to work with the design tools provided and create a thuroughly-thought out level so that the programmers and artists know exactly what to do, and it''s another thing to sit around and just dream stuff up...

What is really funny (might not be the right word to use), is that my friend just called me again and proposed that we sold a cool idea to a game company...

Now, how was I supposed to respond? I said "... You''ve got to be kidding me, right? Do you know how-" and he pretty much cut me off and hung up... Crazy people.

Anyway, the flower-eater, I mean Drizzt , is right. But I think that he and I both mean the same thing.

Designers should be working with everyone else while designing something. I knew a great guy who would say something along the lines of "Okay, the house over here has some fog around it, probably just enough so you can''t see the windows, but the glow from inside. There''s some birds that are flying around, and a simple particle engine could handle the fountain over here. The music should be eerie, and beat into a loud orchestra, making your heart jump when the monster bursts through the door. Now, the level is designed to only allow the player-" and so on.

I once read in the Bible of Gnomes that a true designer is someone who has educated themselves in all of the aspects of game development (i.e, the designer knows how to compose, code, knows what the players want, etc.)

Anyway, that was just my three shillings.

May yer axe be sharper than a goblin tooth,
~Dwarf


Complete amatures whose only relevant skill is programming undertake to design games with no further preparation than their own experience as game players. Those who overrate their own understanding undercut their own potential for learning.

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Eh...I don''t entirely agree with this.

Not everyone can learn from a book.

Some people learn by seeing pictures or models.
Others learn by just hearing it from someone.
And most of us programmers, I believe, learn best from books.

I also believe that game design is understanding how everything
goes together to make a complete game. The role of a designer
is more like a combination of a producer and a(albeit visually)writer.

Just coming up with the basic idea does not a designer make.
They should be designing how the interface looks and how it
works. They should be coming up with ways of different objects
to react with other objects. They should be designing what the
different objects ARE.

None of that necessarily requires artistic or programming skills.
They help, sure, but I think a designer can flesh out the game
well enough without them.

-Hyatus
"da da da"

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quote:
Original post by Dwarf with Axe
It''s one thing to work with the design tools provided and create a thuroughly-thought out level so that the programmers and artists know exactly what to do, and it''s another thing to sit around and just dream stuff up...


Of course, if you want a job like that, study 24/7 to become a genius, and you can be paid to sit in a room and write down ideas. I wouldn''t include any known game designers (other than the ones who designed Final Fantasy 7, and Dungeons and Dragons, even though it''s not a video game ) as geniuses.

quote:

What is really funny (might not be the right word to use), is that my friend just called me again and proposed that we sold a cool idea to a game company...


The better word would be sad. Does he know anything about game development at all? If designers can be paid to sit around and think of cool ideas, and do nothing else, than I want to be able to sit around and think of general functions and classes that anyone can use in their application or game, and get paid for it. I don''t think that''s going to happen, because any good programmer can come up with their own functions.

quote:

Anyway, the flower-eater, I mean Drizzt , is right. But I think that he and I both mean the same thing.



Read this. I''m not a flower-eater (druid)!

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You know, I''m sorry, and ashamed to say it but I think that I
fall into the same category that Dwarf''s friend does. Well
other than the fact that I''m trying to learn to code, and
design games. =P

I don''t know, I feel like my game ideas are valuable and that
I can make a nice contribution to the game industry but I
don''t think I can do it just yet. I think it''ll take several
years before I can do anything sadly enough. Many people
almost write to people like me and him ''Don''t even try, your
ideas are almost useless. Company''s prefer to get their ideas
from the inside.'' I mean maybe they dont say exactly that but
it sure sounds like it! You know what, I dont like the tone
of people like this... I mean sure its realistic to say that
you will not get a game idea realized by a simple oral or
written presentation without working in the industry, but I
dont know, I feel like it kills our youthful ideals a little to
hear things like that. I''m sure there are several people out
there who read that and said "Well screw that, I''m gonna be a
Network Admin and play MMORPGs all day." Maybe they had a good
idea. I also feel that original ideas these days arent so easy
to come by. Sure there are the ICOs and the Luigi''s Mansions
out there, but in General, if you hear the words FPS or RTS,
you know how to play and beat that game already.

So, I want to add a positive note for all the hopefuls out there:
Work toward your goals and someday you will achieve them.
I think basically I agree with Dwarf, but I want to say it in
a more positive light, because there are so many killjoys out
there.
Dwarf, tell your friend to either learn to model or to learn
to code. (If you havent already...)

And nobody who has a serious dream should give it up!

-=Lohrno

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OOC: Drizzt, I hope you know me axe waveth at yee in good humor. =)

IC:

My sig pretty much explains my thoughts...

But I do encourage people to learn and practice.



Drizzt: Err, When I says somethin like "It''s one thing to work with the design tools provided and create a thuroughly-thought out level so that the programmers and artists know exactly what to do, and it''s another thing to sit around and just dream stuff up..."

what I mean is that I like designers who know what your saying when they ask you to do something and you say "Bah! That''ll overload my +3 GreatStack of Memory!"

BTW, D&D isn''t just a great game, it''s life. =)

~Dwarf





Complete amatures whose only relevant skill is programming undertake to design games with no further preparation than their own experience as game players. Those who overrate their own understanding undercut their own potential for learning.

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The more I think about this issue the more I wonder if the views expressed in this thread don't have something to do with programmer psychology. Unless the programmers are getting paid for their work, a leader who isn't also a programmer will be looked upon as a lazy outsider who does nothing to contribute to the game, regardless of how hard he works on a game's design.

From the programmers perspective it looks like he's doing most of the work by himself, working for a boss without guaranteed compensation. Such feelings may often be justified, but I think there's a bit of prejudice by part of amateur programmers, who often consider themselves the most important members of a game development team. It's worth noting that an engine without a game concept is not a game at all.

Edited by - chronos on February 18, 2002 4:10:50 AM

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Chronos: the problem is, that most people that call themselfs "Game Designers" aren''t really anything special. Every single person on this forum has his/her own idea of the perfect game he/she will want to make.

So, when they are in a group, and have an engine, the amount of concepts for a game equal the amount of people on a team. There really isn''t a need for a special member to do the design. Rather, because it is an on-line team not working for compensation, everyone should have a say in the type of game they are going to create.

The same goes in the real industry. The only way to become a dedicated designer, is to be *really* exceptionally good at your task. When you aren''t, every single code-monkey out there can do your job.

The only real way to become a dedicated designer, I think, is to be a exceptional writer as well, and (if possible) an above-average artist.

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Ronin_54: Sure, many self-proclaimed game designers will say things like "let's make a basketball game... it should have a ball, some players, and my name in the credits", expecting results, and you can hardly blame the people who complain about this. Yet a talented game designer is a valuable asset often dismissed as a lazy bum who contributes very little to a game.

A lot of programmers like to tell themselves that just about anybody can come up with ideas for games, often a reflection of their own desire to assume the role of game designers (which many programmers see as a natural part of programming games). Yet the notion that anybody can come up with ideas for games is only true if playable, well-developed concepts are ignored in favor of commonplace ideas.

Edited by - chronos on February 18, 2002 6:06:52 AM

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No offense towards any programmer who do an outstanding job pushing the limits for what's possible in a game. But what you guys miss here is that there is more than just implementing a good idea that makes a game succesful or not. You have to consider interface design together with the logical structure. You have to check with gamers today what they feel they want.

As a Game Designer you have responisbility over all that too. Programmers have a tendency to dig into their own little problem and forget other important aspects. Believe me, I have been there myself since I know how to program. As a game designer you have to keep the distance to the project at the same time as you look at details. That's a full time job so if a programmer should do that too, he'd be doing 2 jobs. I'd like to see him pull that off since we all know making games takes alot of effort.

The Game Designer get's resonsability over the usability aspect fo the game too. I would like to see a game without usability be a success.

So the Game Designer is just as important as the programmer. But I can agree on the note that some ppl call themselves Designers just cause the have a nice idea. Being Game Designer is so much more than that. And it's nothing you can trivialize and say every programmer can do, that's not the facts today. I am in the middle of this, in work, so I know.!

- Captain_RB


Edited by - captain_rb on February 18, 2002 6:14:13 AM

Edited by - captain_rb on February 18, 2002 6:14:51 AM

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quote:
Original post by Dwarf with Axe
OOC: Drizzt, I hope you know me axe waveth at yee in good humor. =)


I know.

quote:

..When I says somethin like "It's one thing to work with the design tools provided and create a thuroughly-thought out level so that the programmers and artists know exactly what to do, and it's another thing to sit around and just dream stuff up..."

What I mean is that I like designers who know what your saying when they ask you to do something and you say "Bah! That'll overload my +3 GreatStack of Memory!"


So then, what you really mean is that game designers who can't program or model, etc, should at least understand what the programmers and modellers are capable of, so when you respond to their ideas, they know what you're talking about? That would be my ideal designer.

quote:

BTW, D&D isn't just a great game, it's life. =)


Well, for an Elf and a Dwarf, I would say so. I don't know about the humans nowadays though, they tend to drag themselves into the fake world called "Earth" and forget to return to the real world...(D&D).

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Edited by - Drizzt DoUrden on February 18, 2002 9:23:43 AM

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quote:
Original post by Captain_RB
No offense towards any programmer who do an outstanding job pushing the limits for what''s possible in a game. But what you guys miss here is that there is more than just implementing a good idea that makes a game succesful or not. You have to consider interface design together with the logical structure.


But if the game was designed at it''s best, it would definately be more succesful.

quote:

You have to check with gamers today what they feel they want.


When does this happen?

quote:

So the Game Designer is just as important as the programmer. But I can agree on the note that some ppl call themselves Designers just cause the have a nice idea.


No one said that designers aren''t important; we said that if they are going to call themselves designers, they should do their job.

quote:

Being Game Designer is so much more than that. And it''s nothing you can trivialize and say every programmer can do, that''s not the facts today.


Sadly, you are wrong. Programmers and artists are intelligent people. Artists are creative; isn''t that part of being a designer? Programmers have a great way of figuring things out, which would help them design levels, puzzles, etc. I mean, these are general stereotypes of programmers and artists, but they apply to most people. A programmer and an artist could put an hour or so a day away for going over the design, and the person paying them would be quite pleased because he wouldn''t have to pay a designer. The game would likely sell, if the main idea is voilence or a fight for power, etc.

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Simple DirectMedia Layer:

Main Site - (www.libsdl.org)
Cone3D Tutorials- (cone3D.gamedev.net)
GameDev.net''s Tutorials - (Here)

OpenGL:

Main Site - (www.opengl.org)
NeHe Tutorials - (nehe.gamedev.net)
Online Books - (Red Book) (Blue Book)

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