Monday, 31 March 2008

Week 16 - Gaming Cultures

It's easy to say 'Gaming Culture' but i think this is to generalised, because there are so many different experiences avalible and with them come different people and different behaviour.

For example you have your MMORPGs, where communites are created and people will become submersed into a virtual world. On the other hand you have FPS', where teams and clans are formed and compete in a more competative nature.

There is also big money at stake with the major gaming leagues, where people and teams (depending on the game) will compete for vast amounts of money. The gaming leagues will show the greatest players and teams, but perhaps they don't have the same sense of community that an MMO game would have.

My experiences within a game community aren't that extensive but I was once a member of a clan, and a bloody good one at that. Not good as in talent-wise but because we were a good team. The game was Socom: U.S. Navy Seals on the PS2. It was more of a casual thing for most of us, we would usually have a clan match once a week and then play together whenever we were online.
Like I said, it was the people in the clan who made it. One guy, Taz, who was a bit of a loud mouth would ALWAYS blame laggers and would get really worked up sometimes (much to our amusement). We were all quite laid back and never took it to seriously, but when the match came around we would co-ordinate and used tactics to work well as a team.

It was a great game with a solid online mode, which proved to be a great foundation for (TUE) - The Ultimate Elite (ok so everyone thought it stood for Tuesday, but the name makes us sound good doesn't it?)

Week 15 - An Introduction to the Games Industry

Over the last 20 years the games industry has changed a great deal. Before it was all bedroom programmers and now it's large teams working together.

The success of games is the key to this. A successful game with large profits will mean a greater budget for the next project and so on, creating spaces for more employees and better technology. A game ten years ago would have had a budget of around $1.5 million, where as now a game tends to have a budget of $15-30 million. I Find it amazing how quickly the industry has progressed, and I am convinced that one day it will compete with the film industry.

The one word that is most feared by me when I think about the future is outsourcing. The process of recruiting people from outside the company, often from different countries, to work for you thus reducing the head count and salaries in your company. As a result, less job opportunities...eek!

But upon reading an interview with Pandemics Executive Art Director,
Carey Chico, I was slightly more reassured. He explained that they are always looking for talented artist, especially those who are capable of more than one task. He also shed more light on the outsourcing situation, by explaining that the artists are need to get the message across to the outsourced employees, they don't just hand them a brief and pick the work up a couple of months later.

Of course different companies vary and so will the industry 2 years from now when I'm job hunting.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Week 11 - The Elements of Game Design- Gameplay

The word gameplay gets thrown around alot out there, and probably has a hundred different definitions. So I'm going to make it a hundred and one by trying and describe what I think the term gameply means.

Every game has rules. If a game had no rules it wouldn't really be able to exist. For something like a game to function properly there have to be boundaries, places you can't reach, things you
can't do. We also need to be told what we can and can't do in a game. Different game genres usually have set rules, for example, a racing game has a track. This is the track you race and you have to stick to it. Of course people try to expand these rules, by letting you take different paths of giving you the illusion that you can go where you want, but they generally still stay the same.

Burnout Paradise did this by giving you a big city and letting you go where you want. But utimately it was just a bunch of tracks duct-taped together. You were still confined to a track and were still made to go a certain route if you wanted any chance of winning.

I think this is all relevant in the term gameplay. There are other more technical sides to it aswell, such as, what button does what and how much damage this gun does.

I think if I had to sum it up (which is incredibly difficult and probably unaccurate) I would say that gameplay to me, is the game designers giving us decisions to make. For example, how do i approach this battle, what weapon should I use for this situation or how early should I apply the brakes if I dont want to crash, unless I want to crash and see the car deform and explode, which happens all to frequently when playing Burnout.