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Tacit

Prophetic

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A link of Chris Crawford''s site led me to this article about game developers written by Bruce Sterling. http://kulichki.com/moshkow/STERLINGB/catscan09.txt If you put out of your mind that it''s 10 years old, it could have been written yesterday. In some ways I find this encouraging but in other ways depressing that the industry has made so little progress in so much time. R.

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Prophetic, indeed.

A couple of thoughts occurred to me, though. Firstly, the parallels between SF and computer gaming were very interesting, and point to some similar patterns in the makeup of the people creating both.

More interesting, though, is the two points on where the industry is going and the lifespan of the work (esp. the effort required vs. how long it lasts in the culture).

wrt where the industry is going, the real question is "what is progress?" Are we designing to be popular, with the seemingly inevitable drawbacks that go with it (dumbing down and simplification). Or is it satisfying and financially viable enough to design a deep game that appeals to a small hardcore? How much have we progressed if we only break technical barriers, and not gameplay barriers? Or if we only break gameplay barriers, and not technical ones?

Also, the lifespan thing really bothers me. I can read old works dating back to the golden age of SF, and some works like those by Wells and Verne are still being widely experienced in one way or another by SF fans. But computer games are hypershort, which (at least for me) immediately guts some of the enthusiasm for creating them... esp. because the actual act of writing is a lot faster and less intensive than coding and asset creation.

It reminds me of the old quote, "the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long..." I''m not sure if that should be depressing or not. =\



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

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator

How much have we progressed if we only break technical barriers, and not gameplay barriers? Or if we only break gameplay barriers, and not technical ones?

...

But computer games are hypershort, which (at least for me) immediately guts some of the enthusiasm for creating them... esp. because the actual act of writing is a lot faster and less intensive than coding and asset creation.

It reminds me of the old quote, "the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long..." I''m not sure if that should be depressing or not




Regarding your first point, it seems that, at least for the past 10 years, the focus has been much more on the technical barriers than the gameplay barriers. Maybe that will change now...but it certainly won''t if consumers don''t demand it by rewarding those games with truly innovative gameplay.

As for the second point, I think this issue has become somewhat less serious since the article was written, what with the existence of MAME and the support for classic gaming. It''s just a shame that more of these old classics aren''t preserved in the popular culture with re-releases (not remakes) and whatnot.

I also disagree strongly with your statement regarding game development being a more intensive and lengthy process than writing a novel. Since writing is a relatively individual act, and offers much more possibility for personal emotional investment, I think that the act of writing a novel is a deeply intense and often hugely time-consuming process for the author.

Or maybe I''m misinterpreting what you meant my intensive. In any case, the article is interesting to me mainly because most of Sterling''s observations of the industry then could still be made now. In that sense, I think little progress has been made, or maybe rather than use a loaded word like progress I should say ''little has changed''.

R.

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
It reminds me of the old quote, "the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long..." I''m not sure if that should be depressing or not. =\



I''m always nervous that games will turn into the next comic books. They used to be real popular. They are still pretty good, but only like 4 people read them.

Dont add to my paranoia!!

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IMO, so long as Moore''s law holds, the lifetime of a particular game will remain limited to the viability of the hardware it was written for. SF remains viable because language doesn''t change that quickly. In the case of Verne and Wells, they were great writers in general, so it''s not surprising that their works still hold interest. As for comic books, it''s not surprising that their popularity has waned considering how ''comic book like'' most TV shows are.

Will the popularity of computer games wane as the different media merge? Probably, but gaming won''t. That is, the media will change, but games won''t go away.

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