Tuesday, 16 December 2008

you've already hit the wall

Game play is essentially how the game plays but it isn't necessary that simple; if a game have a very simple interface then this may make the game restricting and boring but if to complex then the game becomes unplayable. A good definition of game-play is ‘the quality of the players interaction with the game’ in my opinion good game-play has controls which you don't have to think about so that your hands move subconsciously to the keys/buttons. This is especially important in racing games as by the time you realise that you have to brake then found the button you've already hit the wall. The best games are designed by people which enjoy designing games but also have a thorough knowledge of producing them. But also testing games you might be overlooking something that is fundamentally wrong which sticks out to another person. Everyone involved in making the game plays a part in its success, some people have more responsibly than others but this is it be expected. To the games developer it started with a good concept and moves on with trial and error, a game needs to be refined to make it better. When i play a game i like to be absorbed by it, i want to be able to learn the controls quickly, i like puzzle which aren’t impossible. (after spending three hours on the same part i tend to give up on the game completely) To a certain extent different genres requires different design principles, for a racing game hour long levels would be tedious and unless its your thing but its a niche market, however if a strategy game level is only three minutes long then you cant get into the mind set of the game. All games need the basic elements of reasonable graphics, game-play and sound.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

New Games Journalism

New games journalism is personal, sometimes brutal and subjective but it’s honest which is rare to find, it’s about how the game makes them feel instead of just statistics.

Project Gotham City Racing 3 article is unrealistically complementary. Throughout the review he is saying how wonderful the game is and then when on to give it a8/10 which if he likes the game as much as he makes out that he does why not give it a 9 or 10/10. Well I when on to read the comments on the article and one stood out particularly ‘as good as it is, its loading times are obviously a problem. Especially having to load to restart.’ This wasn’t mentioned in the review but that’s not what bothered me ‘boomboxdan’ replied saying this was an issue but that he would now give it 9/10 which seems insane why after recognizing a fault would you want to grade it up.

So I figured I should look into Eurogamers scoring system (the score is the opinion of the writer on the overall company) a 10 is supposedly reserved for a game which they believe is the best to date in that genre. They on average give a way three 10’s a year which does seem quite a lot if they are following the ‘best in genre’ policy. 10’s are classed as a must buy as with a 9. A 1 is classed as something you should avoid and is about as much fun as anthrax. The scoring system seems unnecessary but if is going to be done it should have a strict scheme so that a high quality isn’t rated the same as a mediocre game.

I agree with kieron Gillan on ‘the worth of a game lies in the gamer not the game’ everyone is different and as a result different turn on and offs. If in the morning your partner looks like a zombie then a zombie game will probably seem less scary and just funny. This is something that statistics can’t gauge or predict so in a way they then become redundant.

I think there should be a middle ground between both types of journalism something which shows personal views whilst doesn't sound like their talking to a neighbor. But on the whole I prefer new games journalism; it’s at least entertaining!

The Future......

Games are becoming more and more expense to create and of involves massive teams, the problem with this is that smaller companies cant afford or cant find the funding for some of theses multi-million pound projects and are a risk of being swallowed by larger companies.

Games Developers are driven to create good games which are intuitive and exciting however publishers on the whole are looking for large returns and sure fire profit makes.

Games which have been based on movies or comics already have a captive audience and therefore are more or less guaranteed to make a profit, there is a similar situation with Sequels of pervious games such as Devil may Cry and Devil May Cry 2. if games enjoyed it the first time round then they are likely the buy the sequel.

This is all well and good for a while but there is only so long this can happen before there isn’t any new game to make sequels of. New games are needed to create diversity and a fresh look. Sequels as often within the film industry often don’t live up to the expectations of the audience. But from a publishers point of view new risks could mean possible losses and also require more advertising. EA games only released one new title this year and there the giants, they have the money to and should be investing in new and different games.

Due to pressures from publishers Developers are having to create more cross platform games in order to get their funding, as a result of this new software has been introduced to make this slightly easier, one of these programs is Citroen’s Renderware 3D development (Burnout 3:Takedown used this program)

I would like to see games in the future to have better Narrative and creativity so they weren’t so generic. I like RPGs but I also like a reason for the Violence instead of the whole game is based on the idea that everyone must die which in itself seems like Sadistic satisfaction.

Middle history

In July 1980 Atari released the infamous Asteroids which was one of the first games ever to be copyrighted. Asteroids along with Pac man and Space wars became invading everywhere in the form of coin operated arcade games. Adventure, RPG’s and strategy games became to popping up everywhere such as Empire and Age of wonders. Towards the later 80s fewer games where released however new companies started to arise such as Lucas Arts.

When the 90s hit new ideas started arriving about the ways programming, the interface and Graphics. Along with theses new ideas new companies started arriving which are still recognisable today such as Westwood and Bullfrog. Games were becoming more and more popular and actually started to become profitable which is in part due to the popularity of games such as Doom and Underworld.

Pac man was release in Japan in May 1980 and was a simple but compelling maze. Pac man is a 2D maze were the character ‘Pac man’ eats the dots whilst avoids the ghosts which kill the character. As the levels progress the levels become gradually harder but there is no real end to the game however on the 255th level a bug makes the level almost impossible as only half the screen is visible.

Doom is a RPG were the player takes the role of a hardened ‘space marine’ and have to travel to different planets and destroy the evil creatures which threaten to destroy anything, finally he has to go to hell and destroy all the creatures…alone.

Both Doom and Pac man both have been amazingly popular but the advancement in technology has allowed for completely different kind of game play in doom. There is only 13yrs between the games but in the short history of games this is like a century. Pac man has short levels which have a simple goal, the whole level is also visible, doom is more like a novel, it is split with episodes and within each episode are the levels. The creatures are satanic and the game goes out of its way to scare the player.

Games and Technology have always gone hand in hand, as computers became more advanced so did the games, however a side effect to this is that less attention is being paid to the narrative and more to the Graphics. I have come across some visually stunning games but if the game is shallow with little narrative I lost interest quite quickly, nowadays we should look back on these games and try and take some of the qualities to create somewhat more compelling games.