- This topic has 109 replies, 15 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 1 month ago by Anonymous.
March 9, 2004 at 8:43 pm #3033AnonymousInactive
Why does everyone seem to think that innovation is the only way to create a successful game? To me it’s just an oft misused buzzword which people use to try and sound like they are on the pulse of what making games is all about.
Sure, it’s great to come up with something new, but innovation is a long way down in the list of things that make successful game, well after such things as marketing, IP, and company reputation. Would most games not benefit far more from using the time to advertise themselves – create online communities and spread the word of their game as far and wide as possible in the hope that it will catch on as one of the next big things?
People also seem to think that by creating an innovative game that they are creating a good game. You might have a completely new gameplay idea that would instantly set the games world alight – but sadly you spent too much time innovating and forgot to make the game fun. Even Lionhead are now cutting dramatic chunks out of their games to get them out – all because they innovate too much?
Lastly, there are companies out there who have the funding to create innovative content, and there are companies who have traditionally sold themselves as true innovators. (Sega/eyetoy and Lionhead/b&w as respective examples). These companies have multi-million dollar r&d budgets which no Irish company will have for the forseeable future. Is it not better for to let these companies “innovate”, and spend that extra time you gain on alternatives to getting your published game to jump off the shelves – marketing, advertising and polished gameplay?
March 10, 2004 at 4:21 am #10823AnonymousInactive
I think the biggest problem is that ‘innovative’ is a relative term. Just how much change is required for something to be derivative or innovative? What aspects of the game are you using to classify the entire project as one or the other (eg. It might have a wonderful new physics engine but still be a standard FPS, does the ability to interact to a greater level with the environment now make this game truly innovative?). I think the term is often misused in gaming circles these days in that any refinement that manages to really turn heads is referred to as Innovative, whereas mostly (being a refinement) it is actually a derivative component, albeit a very useful and well implemented one. In this case then ‘innovative’ can mean a better game.
Truly innovative however, exploring new aspects of gaming as a whole, as I believe you mean is not in itself a way to better gaming, true. Just because an idea is original doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s most usually (excepting rare evolutionary jumps) the later refined derivatives of those ideas that are succesful.
Look at Halo. Arguably one of the finest games ever made (on the Xbox anyway, the PC version was such a loss of potential). But there was nothing really innovative about it. It took components from many predecessors and melded them into a game that to most folks is so much more than the sum if it’s parts. I still take it out and play it through every few months, something I never do with more ‘innovative’ titles like DeusEx or Morrowind (even though I would rank both as higher quality productions).
March 10, 2004 at 7:37 am #10824AnonymousInactive
I’d tend to agree with you, Ahriakin.
Another example would be Age of Empires – nothing original in itself, but it brought together lots of good ideas from other RTS games… it’s ‘innovation’ was that it had all of those good ideas (other people’s good ideas(!) or derivitives thereof) in a single game
Also, Dave, are you not contradicting yourself when you say “innovation is a long way down in the list of things that make successful game, well after such things as marketing, IP, and company reputation”? Surely innovation in content, gameplay or technology IS IP! In fact, can you innovate in the games industry outside of one or more of these 3 areas?
One last point, Skyclad – I don’t think that the generally accepted view is that “innovation is the only way to create a successful game”… more that most of us would rather create something original and wondrous (on the way to untold riches and glory) than tread a well-worn path.
Having said that, it kind of makes you wonder why so many developers and publishers seem content to release so many ‘me too’ titles…
March 10, 2004 at 7:40 am #10825AnonymousInactive
p.s. Dave, it’s good to see someone actually remembers some of the conversations we have in pubs!
March 10, 2004 at 9:55 am #10826AnonymousInactive
Yup, have to agree with Ahriakin. Innovation is a relative term. Lionhead are the who take innovation to the furthest, and due to their long development times, online communities just seem to appear for their games.
On the smaller scale, innovation to me, is something new thing new in a game. That ‘new’ thing doesn’t need to have never been seen before, but just put into the correct context of the game.
Some recent titles…
Star Wars: KOTOR – innovation for me was the shear scale of the game an the emmense interaction between all the characters with new missions being found depending on which characters you brought with you. Innovative fighting style ?(not sure if that was done before)…maybe worked, maybe didn’t
Beyond good and Evil – Nothing really new, just a really innovative way of putting everything together perfectly under a great story.
The innovation doesn’t have to be something super new, its justing that feature just right.
March 10, 2004 at 10:44 am #10828
and to add the ole academic view..which I have discussed with Dave in a pub sometime too…
there is an entire sub-discipline within economics called innovation studies and innovation is also studied within sociology..recent work would suggest that innovation which usually attached to ‘something new’ can mean both radical innovations (something newly introduced to a marketplace) and incremental innovations (a slight improvement on something else)… in some studies incremental innovations can mean one is adjusting the product/service to the marketplace and can result in better sales..one could I guess look at games which are serialised and released each year with only slight adjustments in this light…
Innovation, in theoretical terms, is also not just applied to technical or content innovations because it is now recognised that innovative marketing and organisational structures can also contribute to success in the marketplace..so while popular and in many cases political discussion of innovation often limits it to technical or content innovations, this application of the term is not used in academic circles..
in this context an idea is not an innovation..only when it gets made into something can it be called an innovation…
and then there are the theories about national, regional and international systems of innovation..but that is for another day…
March 10, 2004 at 11:14 am #10830AnonymousInactive
more that most of us would rather create something original and wondrous (on the way to untold riches and glory) than tread a well-worn path.[/quote:3353b456c1]
True, so would I. What I am trying to say is I would prefer to create “yet another clone” on the way to staying in business rather then taking the big plunge on the way to developing content that no-one has ever thought of with all the associated risks that it entails, and that it is far from necessary to innovate (for good or for bad) to create a successful game.
Surely innovation in content, gameplay or technology IS IP![/quote:3353b456c1]
Content will lead to IP if it can be considered to be a step above anything else anyone is doing – which is pretty tough. I dont see technology as adding to IP – the speed at which technology evolves means that what was good last time around will never be good again – thus technology might lead to reputation, but not IP. And that still doesnt say anything about marketing, or the relationship between for example film IP, which will always be stronger then gameplay/character based IP.
If anyone hasnt played the UT2k4 demo, make sure to give it a try. Its the same graphics engine, same gameplay, same weapons, so what have they done? Expanded gameplay types and re-added old ones, stole the best parts about vehicles from Halo and Bf1942, increased the poly count a bit and have come up with what looks like is going to be quite a storm as a game. Nothing massively innovative, just solid, well honed gameplay.
March 10, 2004 at 1:29 pm #10833AnonymousInactive
What I am trying to say is I would prefer to create “yet another clone” on the way to staying in business rather then taking the big plunge on the way to developing content that no-one has ever thought of with all the associated risks that it entails[/quote:fd04fdeb0d]
of course. to do so otherwise would not make good business sense. However, if every developer took that approach there would never be anything new – no Ico, no Rez, no Beyond Good & Evil…
and that it is far from necessary to innovate (for good or for bad) to create a successful game[/quote:fd04fdeb0d]
have to agree with that too – unfortunately. I would argue every clone of Command & Conquer, Tomb Raider, Quake, etc. that doesn’t innovate, on no matter how small a scale, is a game that could have helped the industry reached a wider audience and grow the market – never mind break sales records, revolutionise gameplay, or create a new genre… The market can only bear so many FPSs set in space!! If yours isn’t doing something new in either the content or technology space, WHY are you developing it?? Perhaps, more to the point WHAT publisher in their right mind is going to publish it…. unless there is still a demand in the market for it… or (for example) the Gamecube needs an FPS…
Content will lead to IP if it can be considered to be a step above anything else anyone is doing – which is pretty tough[/quote:fd04fdeb0d]
if by ‘step above’ you mean ‘original or new’ then i agree – it is tough. to succeed in any marketplace it is impaeratrive to differentiate your product from your competitors. but a ‘fresh’ approach to an old idea, much as you describe below with the latest version of Unreal, can also win in the marketplace.
BTW, all content is IP by the very nature of the toil & creativity that went into creating it and by the fact that it’s copyrighted. Whether or not it’s VALUABLE IP, is entirely another matter. Anyone remember Daikatana?!!
I dont see technology as adding to IP – the speed at which technology evolves means that what was good last time around will never be good again – thus technology might lead to reputation, but not IP[/quote:fd04fdeb0d]
would have to disagree with this… And I think you’ll find the growing industry reliance on middleware (and the increasing number of middleware vendors) would tend to lend weight to my argument also. Indeed, the technology being created by these vendors is IP, in itself – regardless of whether it is licensed out or kept proprietary for the productivity gains it generates in-house – similar to the tools Lionhead have developed in-house for Project Dmitri and which they revealed at the Trinity talk
Not having to reinvent the wheel each time leaves the developer with more time (in theory) to polish the content & gameplay, enhance the general player experience and allow innovation. As a case in point, DeusEx used, what I believe, was a heavily customised Quake engine to produce a new player experience. So, by customising (creating tech IP) a previously built engine licensed from id (original creators of the middleware – also tech-based IP), Ion Storm innovated a new stlye of play (content-based IP). Fair enough, you could argue that Ion Storm can’t license their version of the Quake engine to other developers, as they are restricted by the terms of their license with id – however, they are able to use their proprietary innovations to kick start further projects also utilising this engine
If anyone hasnt played the UT2k4 demo, make sure to give it a try. Its the same graphics engine, same gameplay, same weapons, so what have they done? Expanded gameplay types and re-added old ones, stole the best parts about vehicles from Halo and Bf1942, increased the poly count a bit and have come up with what looks like is going to be quite a storm as a game. Nothing massively innovative, just solid, well honed gameplay
may not be massively innovative, as you say, but it is innovation, albeit of an exisiting brand – an evolution rather than a revolution
March 10, 2004 at 1:44 pm #10834AnonymousInactive
thought I’d share with you a model we use in Intel, and particularly one in use in the IT Innovation Centre. This is more of an aside to the current discussion, but I thought it might be informative.
Feel free to skip it if you’d prefer to stick with the main thread – you won’t be missing much :D
A system can generally be thought of as having 3 components: people, processes and tools (tools being software, in this case)
People obviously cannot be considered IP; however, both processes and tools can. In the case, of games ‘tools’ could be considered as both the technology and/or the content. Whereas content can be copyrighted technology must be patented – which is a lengthy, exhausting and expensive process. So much so, that some companies don’t bother with it (at least not as much as they could) and instead rely on confidentialty and secrecy to protect their assets.
Generally speaking, if a process or tool generates revenue, contributes to generating revenue or has the potential to generate revenue it is considered IP – and protected in whatever manner the company sees fit.
As Aphra pointed out above and Dave eluded to, innovation can and does occur on the marketing and process side – and is not always visible to the players, and is therefore often discounted in conversations such as the one we’re currently enjoying.
March 10, 2004 at 2:12 pm #10835AnonymousInactive
What I am trying to say is I would prefer to create “yet another clone” on the way to staying in business rather then taking the big plunge on the way to developing content that no-one has ever thought of with all the associated risks that it entails, and that it is far from necessary to innovate (for good or for bad) to create a successful game.[/quote:4499b4acb5]
You should work for EA.
Although I have heard some promising rumours
Indeed, the technology being created by these vendors is IP, in itself – regardless of whether it is licensed out or kept proprietary for the productivity gains it generates in-house – similar to the tools Lionhead have developed in-house for Project Dmitri and which they revealed at the Trinity talk[/quote:4499b4acb5]
In theory thats IP, but I would put it more towards copyright. The idea of the implementation would be IP, but the tools are more concrete. Someone else could implement the same tool without infringing on IP.. 3DStudio/Maya
March 10, 2004 at 2:34 pm #10836AnonymousInactive
Of course, one area where innovation is all too rare is in terms of plot and settings. Fantasy worlds in computers games, especially western ones, tend just to be sub D&D derivative stuff, while mainstream fantasy writing has moved way past that orcs and elves phase.
Strangely enough, that’s the sort of innovation that makes the most sense for starting developements. Which is better, make a game with the same setting as Warcraft et al, and your own innovative gameplay mechanics, or use proven mechanics and come up with an original setting?
March 10, 2004 at 2:41 pm #10837AnonymousInactive
In theory thats IP, but I would put it more towards copyright. The idea of the implementation would be IP, but the tools are more concrete. Someone else could implement the same tool without infringing on IP.. 3DStudio/Maya[/quote:4ff9429852]
yes, but you can’t copyright or patent an idea – only the expression of the idea, ie. how it manifests (tangible asset, eg. software) or is expressed (eg. branding, representation of a character, etc.)
patents are stronger than copyright in that they are more easily protected, and so companies will generally press for patenting where possible. As a general rule of thumb you can’t patent content, merely copyright or register as a trademark
In the case, you’ve mentioned, I could replicate the functionality of a given application or game and as long as I can prove I didn’t have access to the source code of the original app or re-use any of it’s code I’d be fine. It would be the same idea, but expressed or used differently… which is why such a high premium is put on being first to market – or on innovation in general
But regardless of patent protection or copyright – it coould still be counted as IP if it contributes in any shape or form to a company’s bottom line. Alas, it always come back to bean-counting in the end… ;)
March 10, 2004 at 3:43 pm #10839AnonymousInactive
[pedantic] DeusEx 1 used a modified Unreal 1 engine [/pedantic] ;)
March 10, 2004 at 5:24 pm #10841AnonymousInactive
patents are stronger than copyright in that they are more easily protected, and so companies will generally press for patenting where possible. As a general rule of thumb you can’t patent content, merely copyright or register as a trademark[/quote:b696d1c958]
Not for games they wouldn’t. A patent takes so long to process that the only patenting that would go on would be brand name/logo. Patenting also provides that you release all information about said product/idea which a game developer wouldn’t like to do. It will give you exclusive use of said patent for X years, but its going to be redundant before then anyway, so its not much use. Registered trademarks, copyright and IP are the main ones in game dev.
March 10, 2004 at 6:35 pm #10844AnonymousInactive
You should work for EA.
Although I have heard some promising rumours
Aren’t they the biggest, most successful publisher out there? They’re probably the best example of what I’m trying to get at.
Originally posted by Idora
Not having to reinvent the wheel each time leaves the developer with more time (in theory) to polish the content & gameplay, enhance the general player experience and allow innovation[/quote:0030a0f7cb]
But equally, there is a raft of games coming out, all based on the same Havok physics engine which all look and act the same. And does it not become far more difficult to innovate once a significant part of your engine reacts identically to so many other ones out there…
March 10, 2004 at 6:39 pm #10845AnonymousInactive
Aren’t they the biggest, most successful publisher out there? They’re probably the best example of what I’m trying to get at.[/quote:674c698162]
Given the choice…play an EA game or a UbiSoft game….which would you choose?
I’d choose UbiSoft every time. Success doesn’t mean good games.
Just cos the majority of the population is game ignorant and buys the most advertised games, doesn’t mean they are good. Its bringing the industry into a bad era.
March 11, 2004 at 10:41 am #10847AnonymousInactive
I think there is some misunderstanding on the patenting/copyright issue…
– you can NOT patent content, brand names or logos
– but you can register a trademark for a name, logo or strapline
– and you can copyright-protect content (ALL content is copyright of its creator by default; protecting it is the issue)
The whole issue about the reluctance of games developers to patent their games was covered earlier. But I was referring to the many middleware and tools developers who would be foolish not to have filed patents for their technology, as that is their sole IP
Patenting also provides that you release all information about said product/idea which a game developer wouldn’t like to do[/quote:fcd9782b91]
eh…. no, it doesn’t. Patenting means that your proprietary technology is now registered with an independent body and gurantees protection should someone be foolish enough to rip off your code. Hence reverse engineering and legal quagmire surrounding it. Whe you patent something the only thing that ends up in the public domain is a description/overview of it
March 11, 2004 at 10:42 am #10848AnonymousInactive
thanks for the correction, Ahriakin
and there’s nothing wrong with being pedantic… especially when you’re right ;)
March 11, 2004 at 10:47 am #10849AnonymousInactive
Given the choice…play an EA game or a UbiSoft game….which would you choose?[/quote:b25b674ae6]
I’d choose the good games and wouldn’t care less who had published them
March 11, 2004 at 10:53 am #10850AnonymousInactive
I’d choose the good games and wouldn’t care less who had published them[/quote:fb62bf86b5]
my point being EA, in my opinion anyway, haven’t produced a ‘quality’ game in a long time while UbiSoft games are pretty much always of high quality.
March 11, 2004 at 12:22 pm #10854AnonymousInactive
But “Need For Speed – Underground” was just so good ;)
March 11, 2004 at 1:25 pm #10855AnonymousInactive
EA have produced many excellent games, but amongst them, like anyone else, there will be a few poor ones.
They also cater to the widest market of gamers, with all manner of sports games, downloadable games, racing games etc.
Are the comments directed at EA some sort of elitist “They’re the biggest, they must be the worst” rather then a realistic gripe against their product? Also, are people judging their products by howwe rate them as a hardcore gamers, or how they should be judged, which is as part of the mass market?
March 11, 2004 at 2:35 pm #10858AnonymousInactive
my point being EA, in my opinion anyway, haven’t produced a ‘quality’ game in a long time while UbiSoft games are pretty much always of high quality. [/quote:8bc67b5363]
They are publishing Harvest Moon for the Cube soon, so they are really in my good books now.
Has anyone tried out the 3D “Need For Speed – Underground” on the GBA, created by Pocketeers (The guys who did those Quake demos for GBA)?
It looks good apparently with licensed music….I think
March 11, 2004 at 2:42 pm #10860AnonymousInactive
Nope, not elitist.
I was jsut recently checking out their website for games they did that I’d like to buy…..I couldn’t find one. I also noticed I didn’t even own any of them
Also, are people judging their products by howwe rate them as a hardcore gamers, or how they should be judged, which is as part of the mass market[/quote:39e8a84418]
I’m judging on quality and value for money, not as a hardcore gamer. I’ll give them the Sims…I found the game completely non interesting, but thats just my opinion and I take the fact that it actually did suit other tastes.
EA Sports – FIFA, used to be good, and EA will admit themselves, they’ve really let it go and Pro Evo is better. NHL & NFL, supposed to be very good.
My main gripe is with EA Games
Need For Speed Underground…not a god game, i don’t care what the charts say.
Bond, can’t say about the new one, but the others weren’t great
Harry Potter….kiddie game from what little I saw, so had no appeal for me
Quidditch – I heard that even kids got bored of it after a few hours
Medal of Honour – its a fps…i’ve played better, and the new one, Rising Sun, is supposed to be crap.
Lord of the Rings – Played some of TROTK. Its okay, wouldn’t rate it any higher, a lot of issues with it.
So, no, as you can see, i’m not elitist….i just dont like their games. I could go on….
March 11, 2004 at 2:44 pm #10861AnonymousInactive
Just to add…
back in the day, EA really did some some great games…Desert Strike, Jungle Strike, Urban Strike, etc
It just feels like they’ve gotten big, brought lots of francishes and don’t worry about consumer quality as much anymore…
And if they offered me a job tomorrow, I’d take it….
March 11, 2004 at 6:33 pm #10867AnonymousInactive
March 11, 2004 at 7:39 pm #10868AnonymousInactive
Oops, wrong thread….Ignore
March 11, 2004 at 8:12 pm #10872AnonymousInactive
You still don’t see them trying anything new.
Timesplitters, burnout….both recognised proven games…ie another franchise. Last time they went out on a limb was with Black and White, but that was with Molyneux and because of that alone, was a guaranteed sell.
You may not be EA’s fan, but I’m not EA’s enemy…I’d just like to see them do more. They have the power to make things happen…wouldn’t it be nice to see them do something with that power to power some really good games rather than another Bond, Harry Potter….
I just wish…..
March 12, 2004 at 8:55 am #10875AnonymousInactive
It was announced last week (at DICE in Las Vegas, I think) that EA will publish a game based on the Godfather (both book and the movies)…
While this is another licence for them it will only be the second ‘M’/adult-themed title they’ve published, the other being Clive Barker’s Undying
March 12, 2004 at 8:55 am #10876AnonymousInactive
It was announced last week (at DICE in Las Vegas, I think) that EA will publish a game based on the Godfather (both book and the movies)…
While this is another licence for them it will only be the second ‘M’/adult-themed title they’ve published, the other being Clive Barker’s Undying
Not terribly ground-breaking or innovative to be sure, but a move in the right direction – no matter how limited – is to be welcomed
March 14, 2004 at 4:01 pm #10896AnonymousInactive
Using the forthcoming Harry Potter game, The Prisoner of Azkaban, along with the EyeToy for PS2, EA are planning a novel movie tie-in. Is this an example of innovation within a franchise?
“Electronic Arts has allied with Sony to become the first third-party publisher to make use of the EyeToy peripheral, the two companies announced today, in a collaboration that will see Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban utilise the popular peripheral, including its little-used microphone aspect.”
March 15, 2004 at 9:59 am #10898AnonymousInactive
Yup, its true…heard about that.
Reckon its going to be pretty basic at this stage, but tis promising.
March 15, 2004 at 10:00 am #10899AnonymousInactive
Forget about that – Tekken 5 will be at E3 – omg1!!!1!!! Is it too late to book my tickets!?!
Well sarcasm aside, I think the 3D Fighter genre doesn’t need a another Tekken, since Virtua Fighter 4 is the bees knees. Unless they go Tobal 3D or something
March 15, 2004 at 4:27 pm #10905AnonymousInactive
EA publish a far few good games.
March 15, 2004 at 5:47 pm #10909AnonymousInactive
I’ll give you NHL & NFL
Name 5 more…
(and The Sims plus 4 expansions don’t count!)
March 15, 2004 at 5:58 pm #10910AnonymousInactive
Leaving out expansion packs –
(1) The Sims
(2) Battlefield 1942
(3) Medal Of Honour: Allied Assault
(4) Alpha Centauri
(5) Sim City
(5) Black & White
(6) Command & Conquer Generals
(7) Freedom Fighters
… and at a stretch:
(8) LOTR: ROTK
March 15, 2004 at 6:17 pm #10911AnonymousInactive
wouldn’t it be nice to see them do something with that power to power some really good games rather than another Bond, Harry Potter….[/quote:1c2c63f947]
As the thread starting post argued, they dont have to. They are being the most successful company out there by not innovating. The mass market dont need to see constant innovation to enjoy their purchases. What they do want to see is a decent version number that guarantees them that the game they are about to buy has been refined an added to over the course of a successful span of games.
It’s far too easy to go down the path of “what we want to see” rather then “what the public want to see” and maybe EA are the only company out there that still have a direct line of sight on their market?
March 15, 2004 at 6:26 pm #10912AnonymousInactive
And incidentally, why cant sequels and franchises innovate? Granted, most of the innovation will be graphical and design based since the gameplay is already established, but the Medal of honour series is doing some very beautiful things now, we all know Black and White 2 will be completely off the wall, and the sims expansions (from what ive seen of them) do really expand the world in which you play in.
March 15, 2004 at 6:28 pm #10913AnonymousInactive
(1) The Sims – Not my cup of tea, but okay
(2) Battlefield 1942 – Haven’t played, it but heard good things
(3) Medal Of Honour: Allied Assault – Wasn’t impressed
(4) Alpha Centauri – haven’t played it
(5) Sim City – Fair enough
(5) Black & White – yeah, but Lionhead soon left EA after that…and Ivan is going to be disagreeing with you soon…
(6) Command & Conquer Generals – thought i heard it wasn’t as good as the others
(7) Freedom Fighters – never played it
… and at a stretch:
(8) LOTR: ROTK – too much stretching
It’s far too easy to go down the path of “what we want to see” rather then “what the public want to see” and maybe EA are the only company out there that still have a direct line of sight on their market?[/quote:8624580e58]
Can’t it also be argued that the public are buying what is being mass advertised and so, that is all they know about and as a result are missing out on gems like Rez and other such games? Thats how I see it anyway, not targetting the public, but giving the public a target bigger than any other. When you are assured of the result of the mass marketing, the same amount of effort isn’t required.
March 15, 2004 at 6:33 pm #10914AnonymousInactive
why cant sequels and franchises innovate?[/quote:f0619e2610]
They could, but the problem is convincing a publisher that its a good idea to change something that already worked. Response…yeah yeah..lets just stick with the original idea and not change it?
And sometimes, it doesn’t work….going WAY back…. Turrican 2 was an amazing game on the Amiga, they brought out Turrican 3, changed it around, and it wasn’t half the game. They tried something new and it didn’t work.
Alternatively, with GTA3 it worked, the inovation was making it fully 3D and, boy did it work!
Some changes are good, some are bad…convincing a publisher that its good and getting it right is is the problem.
March 15, 2004 at 6:48 pm #10916AnonymousInactive
Can’t it also be argued that the public are buying what is being mass advertised and so, that is all they know about and as a result are missing out on gems like Rez and other such games?[/quote:fb1063f486]
Thats exactly what I am arguing. Time spent innovating could be spent making good gameplay and marketing it correctly.
March 15, 2004 at 7:01 pm #10917AnonymousInactive
but the Medal of honour series is doing some very beautiful things now, [/quote:7f7b686981]
Now? Do you think Rising Sun is a beautiful thing? [sick]
March 15, 2004 at 7:19 pm #10918AnonymousInactive
Rising Sun looks incredible.
[edit – what I meant to say was Pacific Assault. bloody franchises :( ]
March 15, 2004 at 10:03 pm #10921AnonymousInactive
Rising Sun looks incredible.[/quote:2d34d0ca8a]
It does? Was I playing a different game? :confused:
Are you taking the piss?
March 15, 2004 at 10:06 pm #10922AnonymousInactive
Time spent innovating could be spent making good gameplay and marketing it correctly.[/quote:ad48e97e8c]
To me, making good gameplay is innovative enough these days. I see what your saying that trying to be innovative could be seen as being diferent for the sake of being diferent, but ultimatly its trying a new approach that improves the gameplay to be its own.
And for the majority of games out there, publishers do the marketing not the developer. That part of the pub-dev contract. and likewise publishers don’t work on the innovation or the good gameplay.
And Rising Sun is ment to be pretty generic, but good production values, sounds familiar….
March 16, 2004 at 9:20 am #10923AnonymousInactive
Time spent innovating could be spent making good gameplay and marketing it correctly.[/quote:fd163255e8]
But thats not happening, its just the marketing and not the gameplay. Thats my gripe.
March 16, 2004 at 10:37 am #10927
March 16, 2004 at 12:06 pm #10928AnonymousInactive
I also heard someone saying that his nephew and niece got bored of the quiditch game within a couple of hours.
And as for the eye-toy….it will be pretty basic i guess. Can’t see it attracting anyone to buy the game that wouldn’t have bought it anway.
The HP francise is so huge they have to make it work. It feels like they keep pushing it to make the deadlines that there are many flaws when it is released.
This is a prime example where way to much effort is spent on marketing than on gameplay
March 16, 2004 at 2:19 pm #10933AnonymousInactive
OK innovators put your mouse where your mouth is ;)
March 18, 2004 at 2:40 pm #10967AnonymousInactive
Skyclad, what you seem to be saying is that a company can make a successful game without introducing any brilliant new concept or intellectual property, where success is defined by number of units sold. I don’t think that’s a terribly controversial statement nor that anyone could sincerely disagree with it.
What I will say is that the talk of innovation arises for two main reasons. Firstly this industry is young and most of the spurts in sales have arisen out of leaps of innovation. Gaming began with Pong, Spacewar and Rogue, hugely innovative games for their time and each generation of games machines after that has been graced with the presence of further innovations. Mario Brothers and its successor, Mario 3, were hugely innovative games at either end of the 8-bit era. Streetfighter II was the selling point of the 16 bit era for many new consumers. DOOM not only sold amazingly well on PC but launched two whole genres which are now widely alive and kicking – FPS and multiplayer games.
So whilst it is possible for an average game to sell well, the big winners have traditionally been great games that displayed great innovation and created or defined a genre.
Secondly, I would argue that a small development company up against the likes of EA are better off focusing on their resourcefulness rather than their resources. If they’re going to market their games in the same channels as EA then they’ll more than likely be shouted down or crowded out. They don’t have the money to make the impact you’re talking about and would be better off incorporating innovation as a core value in their company. That way it will pervade their game as well as their marketing (people love clever ads!). Their property is as likely to sell by word of mouth as it is by advertising.
I’m not saying that’s the best strategy for every company out there. Just suggesting that this is why you hear so much talk about it.
March 21, 2004 at 1:20 pm #10980AnonymousInactive
A thought on innovation and art. Games that aspire to be pieces of art run into immense trouble when it comes to innovation, because arguably all innovative ideas about art have already been tried out. Player choice and multiplayer? They’ve all been done before, and some developers may be wasting their time either trying to re-invent the wheel, or pursuing a goal that is ultimately pointless, because some other form of entertainment will always be more accessable or flexible.
March 21, 2004 at 2:43 pm #10982AnonymousInactive
March 22, 2004 at 9:52 am #10984AnonymousInactive
March 22, 2004 at 11:25 am #10987AnonymousInactive
Why not, not release every year (expect for maybe updating players mod at a cheap price) and instead work for 2 or 3 years on creating a better version??[/quote:749a180b27]
There is more money to be made in releasing incremental versions of games.
March 22, 2004 at 11:37 am #10988AnonymousInactive
You see, I don’t understand why someone would buy Fifa 2003 and then buy Fifa 2004 the next year, cos so little will have changed. I know so many people will actually do this, but for me, it just doens’t make sense…
I’d prefer a better version of the game, which doesn’t really happen at the moment…
March 22, 2004 at 12:44 pm #10989AnonymousInactive
March 22, 2004 at 1:06 pm #10990AnonymousInactive
March 22, 2004 at 1:25 pm #10991AnonymousInactive
Going back a bit….
Games that aspire to be pieces of art run into immense trouble when it comes to innovation, because arguably all innovative ideas about art have already been tried out.[/quote:9937fe9603]
All games are art…they don’t need to aspire.
If games are not considered to be art, we are screwed. Not being ‘art’ loses a lot of protection in form of free speech.
March 22, 2004 at 1:35 pm #10992AnonymousInactive
Is a good game a game that more people enjoy less, or less people enjoy more?
One mistake I noticed many years ago when running card events was that the organisers tended to work for their core market (the dedicated gamers) far too much at the expense of the less dedicated people. The end result was that as the old players dropped off, there were no new players there to fill the gaps, and the market slowly died.
The same applies to Fifa 96-03/04/05 etc – what the core audience wants is not a massive improvement in graphics, gameplay, etc – what they want is to play with Raul, Beckham, Henry and everyone else. If the FIFA series were to focus on massive gameplay improvements (as opposed to consistent, but good ones), then they might be serving the interests of the core gamer, but not the greater masses who are the ones that make the product profitable.
March 22, 2004 at 1:40 pm #10993AnonymousInactive
Originally posted by omen
I agree, but the reason isn’t one that I personally like. Its all about mass marketing, and not good games. *sigh* [/quote:60412e2577]
EA DO make good games. Lots of them. Maybe they make some bad ones too, but the again, so have Ubi. And whether or not you like it, they also have the best marketing engine of the lot.
In short, they are getting more people to play games then ever before, and that, to me, is the most important thing.
March 22, 2004 at 1:53 pm #10995AnonymousInactive
Regarding Fifa, ask anyone who’s been playing it for years, I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was Fifa 98 or something like that is regarded thes best and since then the playability has gone down. EA have realised this and are trying to improve it, but they will admit, they really let that title slip
March 22, 2004 at 1:57 pm #10996AnonymousInactive
But I really am getting bored with this EA bashing…I bare grudges against them, I would like them doing some things, but hey, unless they hire me, I’m not going to be in a position to do anything about it…lets get away from this.
One last point before I sign off on this…
In short, they are getting more people to play games then ever before, and that, to me, is the most important thing.[/quote:8e1300e842]
I see this being about spending mass amount of money into marketing and less so about the quality of their games, to the hard-core gamer or the mass market.
March 22, 2004 at 2:16 pm #10999
I am interested in the cultural specificity of innovations in games…why do some games only do well in their country of origin…for example many of the Japanese games. How does that change our discussion.
March 22, 2004 at 4:12 pm #11002AnonymousInactive
Japan as a nation has far less social stigma attached to the playing of games, especially by older people (17+ age group). People can gain the same respect for playing any game or sport well, not just those which have become part of the social “norm”. (Kung-fu funnily enough means “master of an art”, and while the thoughts of a Kung-fu chef has always amused me, it is quite normal to the Japanese psyche) Thus, there is no “closet gaming” – people playing games, but being afraid to admit it socially.
The same logic held true before computer games came to the fore with anime, and the preponderance of japanese games which feature this artistic style probably brought gaming into the light quicker then the rest of the world too.
My 0.02c anyway,
March 22, 2004 at 4:43 pm #11005AnonymousInactive
March 22, 2004 at 4:57 pm #11006AnonymousInactive
Take a look at South Korea. The country doesn’t do console gaming. They are a nation of MMORG’ers. Very few people own PCs there, so they have basically network farms where lots of people go to use PC’s and play games. In that environment MMORGs are the king.
In comparison to this, Ireland doesn’t have a broadband infra-structure and so cannot develop a substantion online community to aspire to anything like this.
Another thing about the Japanese is they seem to be fascinated by gadgets. This leads to them having a culture of different controllers in games, as you’ll see in an Japanese arcade (check out ‘Lost in Transition’). This is really epitimised in Steele Battalion from Capcom with the great controller that was created for it.
March 22, 2004 at 5:07 pm #11007AnonymousInactive
Innovation is games is always good in my opinion.
If you are a small studio and putting all your efforts into trying something new, you’ve really got to make it work. True, you may go bust, or you may make a million, but hey, thats the game isn’t it.
My point is that, so it doesn’t work, the idea could spark an idea with someone else and they could make something better from it. Without innovation, we have stagnation.
I know you are saying ‘some’, but you are still looking at the negative side. Negativity leads to reluctance, leads to stagnation. I just don’t like that mind-set, and will vehemently disagree with anyone on this point.
I personally have a plan for my life where I would like to take that step to create my own company in the future and should that happen, I’m going to want people to be as innovative as possible. Maybe I’d lose everything, but at least I’d have tried ot do what I believe in.
If you were hiring staff and you had 2 poeple coming to see you. A fully competent developer from Core and one from say EA. Are you saying you’d take the one from EA over the one from Core, just cos they produced a bad game? He could have been the one strong link on the project, but you’re discarding him cos of the team/the project/the management. Negativity again…I really don’t like that….
March 22, 2004 at 5:22 pm #11008AnonymousInactive
March 22, 2004 at 5:40 pm #11009AnonymousInactive
Why are you speaking from a neutral perspective, this is a forum where people should be sharing personal thoughts to promote mass thinking. No one wants to read the same monotone agruements all over the web…be yourself!
Ah, it won’t crash, you’ll always have EA :p
And as for speaking about the intricacies about Core, you really don’t know the situation there, so you really shouldn’t speculate. There was a hell of a lot of publicity put on to it by the Circle crew while Core stayed quiet and did their own thing. From what i can see, Core as come out of it from a better position, although there is now a lot of pressure on them, but it had gotten to the situation where every game they did was ‘another Tomb Raider’ and that can’t be good for moral.
Although, I’m biased….but i’ll get into that later…
March 22, 2004 at 5:59 pm #11010AnonymousInactive
March 22, 2004 at 11:11 pm #11011AnonymousInactive
March 23, 2004 at 9:49 am #11016AnonymousInactive
Games as art (well maybe technically true in some respects) [/quote:891578fa98]
Anyone who listened to the Jason Rubin speech will understand what I meant by this. Let me just clarify – The games industry is full of artists. Lots of people have mored from hollywood to games for one reason or another. In Hollywood, their work is described as ‘art’. How have they lost their artisitic tendancies by moving to the games platform, don’t they still perform the same roles as artists and directors?
The problem is that games are not socially as art. Being dubbed as art allows a certain freedom of speech, and not having that freedom could hold us back in the future.
but you are sure not going to get a ball of shi*t either.#[/quote:891578fa98]
Need For Speed…..
Currently enjoying a break out in the sun (wireless networking is magic :~) @ GDC. [/quote:891578fa98]
In Scotland we don’t understand what the sun is…
As for Core….I can say that I was talking to them last week and they were explaning some of their history of the last year, and I have heard some now some of the Circle staff would like to re-join Core. I will be talking to them again in the near future, but I’ll probably be under NDA at that point.
March 23, 2004 at 4:13 pm #11028AnonymousInactive
In the games industry we see people all the time taking an existing design model and tweaking it, bringing varying degrees of success. Effectively this is bending or breaking other people’s rules.
When I was learning graphic design back in The Day, there was a phrase being thrown about that went, “You know the rules, now break ’em”. I realise that you get this in lots of industries and artistic disciplines, but the important thing about this in the early 90’s was that graphic design was coming out of a pretty boring era and neat, regimented styles of the 80s were passe.
So breaking the rules of the 80s was considered innovative for the 90s, and led to a handful of designers being briefly famous for their bold “new” styles (although they seemed to forget that Punk did the same thing a little over a decade before). It all sort of blurred together in a few years and there was so much rule-breaking everywhere it all started to look the same again.
The whole time I was watching this happen, I was completely lost, because the original “rules” were glossed over when I was being taught them, so I never really knew what all these rules were, let alone how to break them. Breaking rules for the hell of it seemed to just lead to weak, useless design. I came to the conclusion that breaking the rules was bad advice if you wanted to be either innovative or successful — and that’s true even if you believe they are mutually exclusive terms.
What the people who made some success out of the above mantra were really doing was not actaully rule-breaking. They were inventing new rules and sticking to them. They were completely ignoring what was in vogue, yet creating their own rules still led to strong design (a little like what Will Wright did with the Sims). Turning someone else’s material on its head will only yield success (and possibly some praise for innovation) for a short amount of time for the first person to do it, but it’s still working with someone else’s material. Do it again and again and everyone gets bored.
If we are talking about games as art — and if you like Scott McCloud’s definition, that’s anything that doesn’t directly lead to our survival or reproduction — then all games are art, regardless of profits or quality. If we are looking at games as art then we need to have a well-rounded definition of “success” as well. It’s not just about money and even if it is, it’s sometimes worth sacrificing a few quid on a bold idea with limited financial reward if the Kudos can keep you in business for later financial success– the “Thief” series fits this example to some degree. (Though obviously, losing money is never a good idea;) ).
“Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.” : Erma Bombeck
April 2, 2004 at 7:11 pm #11241AnonymousInactive
Is sport art? Is poker art? They use art for uniforms and card designs, but the games themselves? I’d say no.
I think I’d back up the idea that the essence of gameplay is learning through experience, not just in terms of learning the game system, but also through artificially representing stressful situations in a safe manner. “Pure” gameplay could be regarded as having nothing to do with art.
The difference is the one between competitive sport and the staged soap opera of some wrestling.
Viewing games as art isn’t bad, it’s just worth considering them as games as well.
April 6, 2004 at 11:37 am #11337AnonymousInactive
April 6, 2004 at 11:58 am #11338AnonymousInactive
I believe it was me who said NFS was sh*t, so i’ll just offer my reasoning for this and look at the rest of the post later on….
1. All tracks in one city….lack of variety
2. That one city looks very repetitive…again, lack of variety
3. Joypad controller support of PC extremely lacking…couldn’t adjust sensitivity.
4. When the car spun, it tried to automotically face the right direction, but did this in a non-sensical way, usually turning the direction you wouldn’t choose, which meant it went against the direction you were turning to try right yourself.
5. Add on parts didn’t have desired effects on car.
6. No damage
7. Dodgy collisions
Its been a while since I’ve seen the game, but thats all I an think of at the moment. There is an upcoming game called Street Racing Syndicate being developed my Eutechnyx. This was due for release at Xmas but they changed publishers and the date was delayed. This game looks everything that NFS couldn’t aspire to be. To me, it looked like EA pushed NFS to try beat SRS.
April 6, 2004 at 1:25 pm #11354AnonymousInactive
April 6, 2004 at 2:25 pm #11360AnonymousInactive
My god, you don’t post often, but when you do, you put a lot of effort into it don’t you!
One point I will put into it this is one specific to EA. You talk about feature lists and dropping things…this is a known and accepted fact. But with EA, they have bucket-loads of cash and if a game is running late, they can pump money into it to get things done. This is not some random musing on my part and a thought of what the should do. This is a point that was made to me by Vice-President of Production of EA and as such, I would expect more from EA games…but anyway…
As for ‘sh*t’ vs imperfect….shall we call it personal opinion :)
Why did people buy NFS….I think a lot of it had to do with marketing..it was everywhere. There are not very many underground street racing games on the market, none that I know of worth mentioning. Project Gotham is a different kind of racing game.
Games like TR:AoD died horribly due to their imperfections really hurting gameplay. Character based games require the character to be done correctly with a good control system. From what I’ve heard the control system was constantly changing during development for it and subsequently damaged the game severly.
I think a lot of people see EA as a bastion of great games….why else would they have such big displays in shops…christmas comes along, parents go into the shop ask for advice of whats a good game, staff have been told to promote EA stock and so parents buys EA games happy that they made the right choice. Just my thoughts….
April 6, 2004 at 3:22 pm #11364AnonymousInactive
I think that EA ‘s stock updates every year that are inevitably going to be among the top sellers (Medal of Honor, FIFA et all) are proof that innovation is not required for success.
Personally I think innovation is subjective. What one person thinks is fantastic and new and cool may be just ordinary to someone else. There are very few examples of games that have gained widespread recognition as being genuinely “innovative”, Deus Ex and the first Legend of Zelda on the N64 are good examples of games almost universally loved for innovating.
My point, yes developers should always try to innovate, but they should never forget that they may just be preaching to the converted.
April 6, 2004 at 3:44 pm #11366AnonymousInactive
April 6, 2004 at 4:40 pm #11379AnonymousInactive
April 6, 2004 at 5:48 pm #11401AnonymousInactive
April 7, 2004 at 9:19 am #11416AnonymousInactive
April 7, 2004 at 9:23 am #11418AnonymousInactive
And might I just add…
Ladies and Gentlemen….
Mike Griffen, your GD Salmon of Knowledge!
When he posts, you’ll know about it!
April 7, 2004 at 12:34 pm #11435AnonymousInactive
April 7, 2004 at 12:53 pm #11438AnonymousInactive
From all these musings, I’ve been thinking….could there be a case made that the speed of hardware advancement, be determental to gameplay innovation?
Developers really get to grips with their current platforms and suddenly its all change with next gen where everyone has to go back to square one again, but this time with higher goals.
is gameplay innovation important to the mass market game buyer?[/quote:1931c2988a] Unfortunatelly, its probably not high on their priorities. Graphics is probably number one requirement, branding number 2 maybe?
I was going to list a number of ‘great game-play’ innovations, but unfortunatelly, my list is very short. Then again, once something is used once, you can usually find it in many games there-after and so it becomes commonplace and harder to think of innovative back in the day. The only one that I can think of that fully stands out is Max Payne’s bullet-time, being almost a trademark of the game.
I’ve forgotten what i was talking about so, i’m going to stop now…
ps, weren’t you bringing all this into a new thread yesterday, mike?
April 8, 2004 at 11:32 am #11455AnonymousInactive
In their 100 plus years, movies have ‘internally’ evolved though; Better Acting, Better lighting, Better camera work etc…
Movie makers (apart from visual effects and production values) are on a pretty level playing field.
So to a degree games will ‘internally’ evolve until a certain point and then cool off.
/I need to explain this in person :p
April 8, 2004 at 11:55 am #11457AnonymousInactive
April 8, 2004 at 12:31 pm #11459AnonymousInactive
I’m not saying that’s the best strategy for every company out there. Just suggesting that this is why you hear so much talk about it. [/quote:03eadc3f27]
I think the reason people talk about innovation so much is because we see ourselves as a very creative bunch of people, and we want to come up with something new and exciting. But in doing this we are ignoring the mass market which is happy to buy versions 2,3,4,5 and 6.
So every time we mention innovation, are we not just trying to fulfill our own egos as game developers, and thus missing out on what we should be doing, which is providing an enjoyable gameplay experience for the consumer?
April 8, 2004 at 12:36 pm #11461AnonymousInactive
I believe it was me who said NFS was sh*t, so i’ll just offer my reasoning for this and look at the rest of the post later on….
Does this mean that Need for speed Underground, a sequel, made by EA, should never have been made?
April 8, 2004 at 12:58 pm #11463AnonymousInactive
April 8, 2004 at 2:04 pm #11469AnonymousInactive
But in doing this we are ignoring the mass market which is happy to buy versions 2,3,4,5 and 6.[/quote:eb0af51207]
But would they be happy buying version 33 ??
Does this mean that Need for speed Underground, a sequel, made by EA, should never have been made?[/quote:eb0af51207] I’m not even going to answer that :p
April 8, 2004 at 4:34 pm #11475AnonymousInactive
Is it better then version 32? Does it have the latest graphics, or al latest season transfers, or the new Ferrari that hasnt even seen the light of day in real life yet?
Then yes, they will be happy buying it. Happy in the same way that there have been 12(+) Final Fantasy games, that the Hardy boys series of novels is now on number 105, that there were over 60 Fighting fantasy books published, or that James Bond is still pulling in the numbers even after outliving its 5th (?) actor.
In short, if people see value in a previous incarnation of a series, then they will expect even better in the next version of the game.
I would also note that not everyone has to buy every version of a game. Most people would be happy with a game that is 1-2 years out of date, but if you can create a recurring audience who buys every second one of your products, then it is even more important that you release annual products so that they will see how far they have fallen behind and be more interested in the new product.
April 8, 2004 at 4:58 pm #11478AnonymousInactive
April 8, 2004 at 5:03 pm #11479AnonymousInactive
just that a game does not have to be innovative to succeed. [/quote:d6ab9587fb]
You don’t say ;)
April 8, 2004 at 5:14 pm #11482AnonymousInactive
Right. My argument has never been that there isnt a need for innovation to keep things fresh, just that a game does not have to be innovative to succeed.
Ditto… I have stated the same opinion in my earlier posts. Innovation is important – but that is certainly not the be all and end all.
There is an interesting paradox – developers seem to ‘en mass’ feel that innovation is important to keep the industry fresh – but the market tends not to put innovation as a key overall purchase decision – they want entertainment…
Therefore as I said earlier Games = Entertainment. And entertainment can be highly successful without innovation (look at other mediums!)
April 8, 2004 at 5:17 pm #11483AnonymousInactive
Dang…there seems to be far too much agreement in the last 3 posts. Agreement leads to stagnation, which may lead to me posting my next rant on how games and girls shouldnt mix.
April 8, 2004 at 5:21 pm #11484AnonymousInactive
One other quick thought – are we being elitist / out of touch by suggesting that the games industry needs something when the general populace does not seem to think so?
Should our goal be to make games that we enjoy (I would say no), or that the general populace enjoy (yes)?
(and sure there will be some crossover, but there will always be some divergence, and at that stage which do we choose)
ps. Is innovation the ability to convince a mass market to come around to an alternative way of thinking about how they enjoy a product?
April 8, 2004 at 5:22 pm #11485AnonymousInactive
You see….this is what happens when i dont post.
I’ll stir it up a bit.
I’ll be in work tomorrow when ye are all off, so I’ll think of sometihng to disagree with :D
April 8, 2004 at 5:23 pm #11486AnonymousInactive
No, you wont :)
April 8, 2004 at 5:41 pm #11487AnonymousInactive
Damian raised a great point in our earlier discussion…
could there be a case made that the speed of hardware advancement, be determental to gameplay innovation?[/quote:40684793c2]
Are the technology leaps preventing game developers from experimenting with the paradigm of current gameplay genres?
Just as we have all got our heads around the do’s and don’ts of the platform – the platform goes and changes again – and we are left racing to catch up with the technology all over again?
It’s an interesting point – however middleware tools such as Renderware should in theory assist in this matter…
So are middleware tools the killer app in helping studios concentrate more on gameplay innovations – if they want to?
April 9, 2004 at 12:51 pm #11509AnonymousInactive
okay, i’ve been quiet for a while on this one…. so i’ll throw a few thoughts into the ring…
Take a look at South Korea. Very few people own PCs there, so they have basically network farms where lots of people go to use PC’s and play games. In that environment MMORGs are the king.[/quote:4db44b0c1c]
firstly, a correction to this – South Korea has the one of the highest PC penetrations per capita in the world. Also, the rate of broadband penetration is in the high nineties percentile…. and yet, was pointedout, the South Koreans – for the most part – still prefer to congregate in internet cafes to do their MMOGs.
On a separate, but related note, in South Korea there’s an MMORPG called Demiurge which has 500,000 monthly subscribers. What amazed me was that it is an educational game, to teach children Maths and Science – not a purely entertainment title (don’t know what the stats for Lineage are…)
Just t put those figs in perspective… Everquest has 45,000 subscribers
April 9, 2004 at 1:02 pm #11511AnonymousInactive
April 9, 2004 at 1:12 pm #11512AnonymousInactive
I agree, but the reason isn’t one that I personally like. Its all about mass marketing, [/quote:cb6744d7b4]
if we accept that the games industry is just that an industry – not just about being creative – then I think we have to accept, as Skyclad’s pointed out more than once, that good marketing of the title we’ve worked so hard, possibly over years rather than months, is essential to our studio’s (and not just the game’s) success.
Development studios, and not just publishers, are there to make a profit – and given the relatively small size of the current market and the highly competitive nature of the industry at all levels (hardware, development, publishing, retail) – good packaging and market analysis, etc. are essential tools. in the developers (please note the emphasis) as well as the publisher’s arsenal…
April 9, 2004 at 1:25 pm #11514AnonymousInactive
You’ve raised some interesting points, BUT nothing excuses a poor title (like Need For Speed Underground) and there is still the small matter of professional integrity ;)
This is by far one of the best threads on these boards to date, so well done Dave!
April 9, 2004 at 1:41 pm #11515AnonymousInactive
completely agree with you, Ian
however, it takes as much effort to make a bad title as a good one. If we leave out all of the reasons a game may fail commerically (as being out of scope of this discussion and for simplicity’s sake) that still leaves, the following – which i am putting forward as a starting point only, not as a definitive list:
– not enough affort applied to the game’s USPs
– effort applied to the wrong features
– insufficient gameplay tweaking (eg. bad mechanics)
– insufficient testing (gameplay, configuration, system, etc.), or at least they may have been tested , just not enough time to fix
– insufficient design & pre-production time
– bad project management
– bad team chemistry
– inability to adapt to technlogical change
– bad game design in the first place
– big changes made late in the dev cycle
– bad/immature dev processes (eg. insufficient configuration management)
…and many more. be nice to have definitive list, so as to know what to avoid, wouldn’t it?! :D
I’d echo a recommendation Mike Griffin made in another thread recently: everyone in the industry should read ‘Game development & Production’ by Eric Bethke…. and I’d also add ‘Game Coding Complete’ by Mike McShaffrey and ‘Game Architecture & Design’ by Andrew Rollings & Dave Morris, the latter of which has recently been re-issued and is a companion volume to the ‘On Game Design’ which Rollings wrote with Ernest Adams
April 9, 2004 at 1:42 pm #11516AnonymousInactive
April 9, 2004 at 1:58 pm #11518AnonymousInactive
Yes absolutly – the list of what makes a bad game does often spill out of the direct line of sight of the actual game design and often has more to do with production planning, team composition – etc. etc.
This discussion in my view is also is closly related to a point I was hammering home earlier in the thread – which I think I said I would start a new thread on – but haven’t gotten around to it yet… :(
Why do some games sell like hot cakes, while other clearly superior titles sink into the mire?
Need For Speed.. seems to becomoing a great case study for this discussion.. I am getting a vibe (slight) that many people on the board feel this was a sh*t game. Ok if it was can we simply use the fact that EA marketed it well to explain why it sold over 5 million units thus far?
If that’s the case why didn’t the last installment of Tomb Raider sell well – it had a much better franchise and brand recognition than NFS (it was a bad game wasn’t it?).
Now take a look at The Prince of Persia example from Ubisoft – it had everything right – great reviews, solid gameplay, great visuals etc. etc. but it sold very badly – why? (obviously the film franchise kept the option on the sequel alive – but some publishers do seem to make sequesl even of bad games with bad sales – Red Faction 2 anyone?)
Should we start a new thread for this discussion… or is everyone happy to branch out of our innovation conversation and stay here?
Open to suggestions…
April 9, 2004 at 2:09 pm #11519AnonymousInactive
Maybe a new thread should start..loading all the previous posts is starting to hurt now :p
Speaking of PoP… The only reason I can figure for its low sales is the fact that it, like so many other games, came out at Christmas. I don’t think UbiSoft have the marketing prowess of the EA to really sell their product when you’ve got consumers buying 1/2 games and there is a choice of 50 new titles. That killer marketing instinct just isn’t there. The same thing has happened with Beyond Good and Evil…great game…but didn’t sell well.
For Tomb Raider….the expectation of a GREAT game was there. If a game is expected to be great and it falls short, word will spread like wild-fire, as was the case.
NFS – a brilliantly marketed work by EA, making sure the mass market saw there was an underground racing game on the market. No real competition in this racing genre, they made a packet.
April 9, 2004 at 3:29 pm #11521AnonymousInactive
yeah, I’d agree with Damian – another thread on this tangential topic might make more sense
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