Thursday, August 11, 2005

On Sore Thumbs and Manifestoes

I've seen
[the revolution] demanded by countless videogaming sites and blogs. The screeds often maintain that videogaming is for shit, the sky be falling, we need to wrest control from the capitalist pig-dogs.

Yes, my brothers and sisters, it is a historical imperative that will drive the failed current videogame development system into destruction and establish an indie-gaming utopia.

Yeah, right.

The videogame revolution I want doesn't really give a shit whether or not the big studios still exist. I'm not going to claim that the companies that have produced lots and lots of games I've enjoyed over the years are by-nature evil and wrong and must-be-taken-out.

Three words: World of Warcraft.

The videogame revolution I want is concerned with creative people being open to ideas from all sides, from all places, not stymied by narrow-minded prejudices toward studio games or educational games or children's games or any kinds of games at all.

The videogame revolution I want freely and openly admits that videogames aren't just kid shit anymore - and anybody that fails to grasp that is a moron who needs education badly. I want games with more sex than violence, I want people to stop being so prudish. I want to explore all aspects of human interaction, not just the ones stamped with government approval.

The videogame revolution I want readily admits that graphics can matter - and sound can matter, and silence can matter, and story can matter, and absence-of-story can matter, and control can matter - the game itself matters.

What I want is more tools for production. Easier tools. I want to see assets ripped from games past, I want failed products scavenged for scraps, I want constant improvement in resources available for free. I want full-fledged development suites that will sync me up with members of my team all around the world. Now, dammit.

I want designers to share real information. Show the thought processes for game elements, discuss the tweaking involved, reveal what formulae worked and what had to be redone. Give me numbers, show me what got cut, help other people learn what it really takes to get a game done (whatever that means).

I want to go to sourceforge and look through the game category and not find thousands of abandoned, barely-functioning projects.

Want a strong indie-scene? How about mod-makers stop making the same fucking bullshit Counterstrike ripoffs? Or Call of Duty ripoffs? Before we point the fingers at the studios maybe we should look at the overripe fruit coming from our own corner.

What about the spate of muds all built on the same framework and all recycling the same fantasy cliches?

For that matter, what about the hardcore wargames that haven't become any more accessible to players since their beginnings? That particular genre keeps itself insular and non-newcomer-friendly, guaranteeing a struggling existence.

Maybe we should go
to garage games, supposed champion of indie development, and demand that they release their content creation software and art assets free of charge. We'll see how much they fucking love indie then.

Or hell - let's go to all those famed content creators, the one's charging a hundred bucks for some art or sound assets, and ask them to give it away. Let's hit up the mocap centers and demand a free repository for the years and years of mocap data available. Ask animators to put their work up on the web.

Why don't we ask Molyneux to open-source Black & White? Or Wright to open-source Spore?

Or Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern to open-source Facade? How about it, guys?

I want open-source everything. I want pressure on all game companies to sell a product worth playing. I want a transparent industry - tell me if you're releasing your game six months too early because the publishing company is forcing it out. Tell me if the vision got derailed and you think it's just not that good. For god's sake, show a little bit of honesty.

This applies to everybody. If your RTS has a lot in common with other RTSes, let me know. I like RTSes. Don't lie and say it breaks completely unheard-of ground in the RTS genre. The gamers will figure that out for themselves.

Yes, I want developers great and small to come together in a big circle-jerk.

The videogame revolution I want loves videogames.


Anonymous said...

I agree. Very well said.

It's not going to happen but it's well said.

I, too, want the videogame revolution to love videogames.

squaracter said...

Welcome to the revolution... take a number, and don't stub your manifest-toe!

Re: open source: the Quake3 engine will be GPL'd within a week, so that's a small bit of good news. I'm honestly considering making something with it.

dan.lucas said...

I just want a small piece of that... I just want an environment where developers are not afraid to fail. Try something new and different. Hell, try to make the same old thing much better. Take an idea and just see how far you can get with it.

Games should be fun to play and make...

(I'm all over your blog today, Johnny!)

Anonymous said...

People giving up their things for free means they don't get paid. I'd like lots of cool things for free, too.