A developer's perspective; the current generation of consoles

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#41
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2 years ago#42
SigmaLongshot posted...
But alas, I do not speak for every gamer nor every game developer.

I think the hilarious thing is that people seem to think games development is some sacred rite, when in reality it's more like a technician's job.

Sadly, it's no longer like "This should be a game, let's make this a cool game!" and it's now, because the gaming world has warped to this notion, the "the cobbles in this street don't look sandstoney enough. Spend the next fortnight applying the correct filters and exporting the files with the most exasperating series of actions known to man" job.

The shame is that about five years ago even a QC tester could say something about the game - ie, "this is broken, it'd be easier if the character could see treasure on their map"or something - but now, no such luck. Just, "make it higher res! Higher frame rate! All money to make this SHARP AND FAST! SHARP AND FAST BOLLOCKS!"


As you've said before though this is more because of gamers than companies. Look at poor Knack. The game wasn't built to look pretty, it was built to be a fun game, but gamers have panned and blasted it left and right simply because it doesn't "look AAA enough". If enough gamers look at every Knack and Rayman and go "lolno, it looks like crap!" then the problem isn't going to go away this gen, it'll only intensify.

The problem starts with the gamer, it only ends with the companies in question, who do what they do because we demand it and that's how they successfully stay in business.
2 years ago#43
And thusly the problem remains. People refuse to look at new things.
It's not this way in other media; think about animated movies for example. Polar Express came out the same year as The Incredibles, and though both were well-written, I think we'll find Brad Bird's very exaggerated, very comical effort is superior.

Polar Express was very, VERY pretty, but not so entertaining, whilst the caricatures of the Incredibles proved so amazingly endearing. The problem quite clearly is that people are, at the moment, unable to suspend belief. People are fully invested into the reality and physicality of what's on-screen....If a character starts a fight and explodes into a plume of smoke, do you expect a Hanna Barbera punch-up, or a completely-rendered particle cloud with the individuals fighting in complete high definition with crisp, perfect fidelity? If only people were willing to accept that sometimes the former is far, FAR more beneficial to the medium - we'd make some damned progress in games.

And this sentiment isn't solely aesthetic, it refers to uncanny valley in story canon and game mechanics too. People are so, so intolerant that before long nothing will provide anything more than banal amusement.
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Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
2 years ago#44
NewMoonShadow posted...
SigmaLongshot posted...
But alas, I do not speak for every gamer nor every game developer.

I think the hilarious thing is that people seem to think games development is some sacred rite, when in reality it's more like a technician's job.

Sadly, it's no longer like "This should be a game, let's make this a cool game!" and it's now, because the gaming world has warped to this notion, the "the cobbles in this street don't look sandstoney enough. Spend the next fortnight applying the correct filters and exporting the files with the most exasperating series of actions known to man" job.

The shame is that about five years ago even a QC tester could say something about the game - ie, "this is broken, it'd be easier if the character could see treasure on their map"or something - but now, no such luck. Just, "make it higher res! Higher frame rate! All money to make this SHARP AND FAST! SHARP AND FAST BOLLOCKS!"


As you've said before though this is more because of gamers than companies. Look at poor Knack. The game wasn't built to look pretty, it was built to be a fun game, but gamers have panned and blasted it left and right simply because it doesn't "look AAA enough". If enough gamers look at every Knack and Rayman and go "lolno, it looks like crap!" then the problem isn't going to go away this gen, it'll only intensify.

The problem starts with the gamer, it only ends with the companies in question, who do what they do because we demand it and that's how they successfully stay in business.


I'm glad someone else gets it. The gamer is his or her own worst enemy when it comes to the stagnation of the medium; the consumers will only buy the same thing again and again, but continue to want improvement - and when it's the same damned thing, the only way to make it "better" is just to polish it up time and time again. When they realise they're buying the same thing albeit a tad shinier, they call out for something new, something obtuse, insane, fresh and exciting.

"Give me something ELSE! Just something DIFFERENT!" they'll cry out, and the developers take this on board, PLEAD with the publishers to allow it to happen, and after grovelling enough to give the people what they want, nobody ends up buying it. What then results is the publishers give our studios a massive "I TOLD YA SO!" smack on the wrist, and we end up making the same super-safe game three or four times in a row to make up all that lost revenue.

I am something of a romantic, it's why I got into this field of work in the first place, but it's becoming harder and harder to remain optimistic when you realise this is a genuine crossroads we've reached; where consoles can either be reborn as a viable, unique, quirky and fresh gaming experience, or potentially prove themselves to be nothing more than the stale repetitive action that has caused many a PC fan to call out the consoles as "weak PC pretenders". They shouldn't be TRYING to be PC-lites, they should be trying to utilise their unique qualities as stand-alone gaming platforms - but if all people end up wanting is the same thing again and again, then it will not be too long before we see another gaming crash - this one being the last one.
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Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
2 years ago#45
SigmaLongshot posted...
I'm glad someone else gets it. The gamer is his or her own worst enemy when it comes to the stagnation of the medium; the consumers will only buy the same thing again and again, but continue to want improvement - and when it's the same damned thing, the only way to make it "better" is just to polish it up time and time again. When they realise they're buying the same thing albeit a tad shinier, they call out for something new, something obtuse, insane, fresh and exciting.

"Give me something ELSE! Just something DIFFERENT!" they'll cry out, and the developers take this on board, PLEAD with the publishers to allow it to happen, and after grovelling enough to give the people what they want, nobody ends up buying it. What then results is the publishers give our studios a massive "I TOLD YA SO!" smack on the wrist, and we end up making the same super-safe game three or four times in a row to make up all that lost revenue.

I am something of a romantic, it's why I got into this field of work in the first place, but it's becoming harder and harder to remain optimistic when you realise this is a genuine crossroads we've reached; where consoles can either be reborn as a viable, unique, quirky and fresh gaming experience, or potentially prove themselves to be nothing more than the stale repetitive action that has caused many a PC fan to call out the consoles as "weak PC pretenders". They shouldn't be TRYING to be PC-lites, they should be trying to utilise their unique qualities as stand-alone gaming platforms - but if all people end up wanting is the same thing again and again, then it will not be too long before we see another gaming crash - this one being the last one.


Even if the consoles end up failing, I don't see the gaming industry dying altogether. It'll regress for sure. Revert into a smaller, more larval form, but if the consoles do go down I don't think they're taking the PC gaming services like Steam and GoG (and even independently run websites for specific games) with them. Steam has built up a userbase that circumvents the console conundrum, an audience who is willing to play games that don't follow the normal blueprints. Maybe the "SteamBox" will be the console that revolutionizes the industry, or maybe it will fail and Steam will keep chugging along as it has for a long time now. Even big PC-focused developers like "CD Projekt Red", "Bethesda", and "Blizzard" will probably manage to survive.

Thanks to the internet, whatever happens, until there are no longer game creators, there will still be gaming.
2 years ago#46
I wholeheartedly agree. Gaming as a hobby will always endure; it is the new third-act to books and movies, and each has a place in our current world. The credibility of gaming will no longer be in question beyond this generation - beyond that we will see entire acceptance of gaming as a medium, but it will take the ripple-effect of the blinded, thick-witted politicians to be the voice in order to finally explain that we are not the scourge of humanity.

The current generation of consoles, I believe, will be a true turning point in how we see videogaming- no longer will we see machines with the capacity for evil, but instead we'll se interactive, innovative ideas finally finding a platform to stand upon.

The issue is that people assume games are simply inappropriate trials that the socially inept endure. In reality, they are unique obstacles we face that we can apply to our own psyche. Any sane person would never act upon them, of course, but they are truly important.

As we question what healthy humanity is, it is important to consider that a mind that has endured hardship may indeed be more important and more healthy than those that have never experienced such conflict.
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Double Jump Game Comics: http://doublejump.thecomicseries.com/
2 years ago#47
So which game from the last generation (360/PS3) did you find to be the most unique game?
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Gamertag: Biggy DX
2 years ago#48
SigmaLongshot posted...
I am a developer working for a large games studio as I have been for several years now.


*checks, not a VIP account*

Which studio? Gonna need something more than "I work for an anonymous large games studio", that's about on par with "My uncle works for Nintendo"
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2 years ago#49
SigmaLongshot posted...
Raycon posted...
SigmaLongshot posted...
This statement wasn't referring to port-overs, but rather, unique games.


I don't think that's a console-specific problem. Being "unique" is risky. There just isn't any guts or originality to start with. Sticking to trends and the successful templates we've seen so far is a much safer investment, and in all likelihood, what we're going to get.


And though I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, I think that this is where I bring up the "I love my workplace" card, because in the past few years they have taken more risks than their peers when it comes to risky new IP and gameplay anomalies.

Sure, it has it's cash cows (see: Assassins Creed) but Watchdogs, the reboot of Rayman in a colourful "super 2D" style, Child of Light, Child of Eden and others?! Those are just too wacky for say, Activision or EA to green-light.

The sad story is that these titles are mostly inventive and really do lose the company a huge amount of money. They take risks and listen to our designs, but more often than not it's... and I really hate to be this much of a dick, but it's true -it's the consumer's fault. If you look at the sales numbers for the "experimental" titles, you'll see they sell less than a quarter of the big names. It costs a lot to be the guy that does something new, and you fall VERY far for doing so.

But that said, I remain optimistic that the future is not simply multiplatform sequels dimension and rather, interesting-new-IP-that-sells-everyone-every-console-because-people-love-fun land.


Ten to fifteen years ago it was easier to be innovative because developers could take risks since they were paying for development themselves, with budgets that were manageable. But videogame budgets have gone the way of Hollywood blockbusters, making it almost impossible for developers to develop a game without the support of a major publisher-EA, Ubisoft, etc. And with that comes restrictions of what developers can and cannot do with their games. Like you said, innovation is risky for the publisher, that is why they stick to their winning formula, not because the developers don't want to do something different, but because the publisher wants the sure thing.

I still, vividly, remember when Activision announced that Call of Duty was changing into modern warfare, people just lost it. They said (mostly fanboys) that it was suicide. That it was stupid and that the game wasn't going to sell, but man, were they wrong. Then, modern warfare became the cash cow it is now, and I attribute that to the publishers not wanting change. Part of me feels that Titanfall is/was the next iteration of Call of Duty. However, Activision's big wigs shot it down, causing the departure of many of Infinity Ward's most talented developers.

Unless the budgets for games decrease, publishers--not developers--are not going to want to take risks, especially when they have hundreds of millions invested in the game.
2 years ago#50
Evel138 posted...
I loved the combat of The Witcher 2. Not to pat myself on the back (lie), but I beat it on the hardest difficulty. To me, that's the measure of great gameplay, if its fun on hard.

Loved every minute of it.


How the hell did you beat the assassin of Kings the first time you met on the hardest difficulty? He totally destroyed me on normal. I had to change it to easy just to beat him.
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