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Games Entertainment

Got Game? 56

Posted by michael
from the got-blog dept.
Hylton Jolliffe writes "Hey, thought you might like a new blog we've just launched on gaming by RIT professor Andrew Phelps. He's going to be writing about a whole host of things: the gaming industry, the rapidly expanding user base, the role of gaming in the entertainment/media spectrum, the technology and standards that undergird today's games, the emerging social phenomena surrounding them, the future of wireless gaming, the study of gaming in academia, blah, blah, blah. Neat stuff and Andy's already in full stride - see this as a possible starting point."
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Got Game?

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  • Heh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Soko (17987) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @06:08AM (#5621703) Homepage
    ...the emerging social phenomena surrounding them, the future of wireless gaming, the study of gaming in academia, blah, blah, blah

    Welcome to slashdot.

    Soko

    (back to alt.sysadmin.recovery. And my Segrams V.O. bottle.)
    • the study of gaming in academia...

      Yeah, the study of gaming in academia... Whenever my classes get boring, I do some heavy studying of gaming.

      Then the teacher yells at me and tells me to turn down the volume on my GBA...

      • by Ponty (15710)
        Or as sensible people call it, playing games. I don't know why, but the term 'gaming' really irks me. I think I might be responding poorly to people who aren't doing anything really worthwhile convincing themselves that they are and giving it a worthwhile-sounding name.
  • From one of the blogs "Professor Edward Castronova placed Norrath (the virtual world of Everquest) as the 77th richest world economy, based on the value of the items in the world adjusted to their value in then-current Ebay auctions." hmmmm.... I wonder where France is? T
  • by onemorehour (162028) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @06:08AM (#5621705)
    ...can be found here [gamegirladvance.com].

    gamegirladvance has been kicking around for some time now, and has provided a great combination of gaming news, personal stories, and theoretical discusisons.
    • gamegirladvance has been kicking around for some time now, and has provided a great combination of gaming news, personal stories, and theoretical discusisons.

      Theoretical discussions? If they're so great and they only have *theoretical* discussions, just imagine how great they'd be with actual discussions.

      *Rimshot*

  • by jade42 (608565)
    Maybe I should re-think this atheism thing; becasue I've been praying for something like this for a long time. It's so refreshing to have someone talk about games in relation to reality.
  • by Lolaine (262966) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @06:35AM (#5621748)
    Oh... right, you are talking about E.A. ... go on please ...
  • by ThresholdRPG (310239) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @06:49AM (#5621769) Homepage Journal
    I am continually encouraged to see how gaming is getting serious treatment in areas of academia and business.

    While there are downsides to this attention, for the most part it is legitimizing the industry and will hopefully result in gaming have equal or greater importance than television and movies (and god, what a relief it would be to minimize the power and influence of those morons).
    • True (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't know about "legitimizing the industry", but as a mode of human cultural expression, computer games are worthy of academic scrutiny, as are "Gilligan's Island" and "The Old Man and the Sea" for that matter. All can reveal deeper truths about the societies that spawned them, and be fodder for interesting examinations of humanity (or at least a few graduate theses).
      • by bbtom (581232)
        I'm just waiting until Steiner writes a full postcolonial criticism of a bunch of Quake 3 Arena or Unreal Tournament chatlogs.

        Just think about that for a second: George Steiner writing about the meaning, usage and a critical response to "w00t w00t! 1 frGGed u! i @m 7h3 13373zt h4x0rRrzsZz l0l l0l l0l!!!1!!!"

        That would honestly be the greatest piece of academic writing, ever!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Minimize the power of those morons?! No. 'Legitimizing' the gaming industry will bring it under the power of those same morons. We want to have games legitimized like we want to be torn apart piece by piece with rusty hooks.
      • A valid point. In the last few days there's been an upsurge of people in the press claiming that games like Battlefield 1942, America's Army, Ghost Recon, etc. are numbing us to murder and turning people into sociopaths.

        Even though for most players it's really about using your skills at memorizing a playfields strong and weak points and out-thinking the enemy, rather than "kill, kill, kill", the more legitimacy that is given to gaming as a social and learning tool, the more ammunition is given to people th
    • I am continually encouraged to see how gaming is getting serious treatment in areas of academia and business

      Gaming is getting a serious treatment in politics also - check this out [msn.com]

    • "legitimizing the industry"?

      wtf crack are you on? Video games make more money than all movies combined. Im tired of people who like to play games thinking they an under-dog boosting their hobby so "normal" people will see what it is. Face it video games are huge... yah HUGE... so of course we are going to get all kinda of people writing abou different aspects of it.
  • by packeteer (566398) <packeteer@noSpAm.subdimension.com> on Saturday March 29, 2003 @07:02AM (#5621781)
    HOLD ON A SECOND... i dont believe it... you mean someone is going to write about games and the game industry on the internet? i cant believe this what a new fresh idea.
  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @08:10AM (#5621841) Homepage
    There is a growing number of other sites that have the same goals in mind. here are a few of the one's I visit pretty regularly:
    Probably my favorite is Gonzalo Frasca's Ludology.org [ludology.org].
    Also occasionally of interest is Lars Konzack's Ludologica [blogspot.com]
    Greg Costikyan's Games * Design * Art * Culture [costik.com] has gotten a fairly good amount of press.
    and to toot my own horn, there is my blog Popular Culture Gaming [popularculturegaming.tk].
  • While the professor has some interesting things to say (in the linked entry which I read), I wonder if one of the barriers to creativity is in the way modern games have to be built by teams. While I confess I haven't worked in a creative field before (apart from a short stint aiding in the production of an independent feature film), in my experience teams of people - particularly teams built by a company hiring a bunch of individuals with an eye only on the individual - hinder creativity more than they encourage it.

    A real world example to look at is in professional sports. There are many examples of teams that "look good on paper" with many star players who individually have the potential to do well, but often these groups of talented people end up losing games because they never gel as a team.

    In the gaming industry, at least viewed from the outside via the media and hearing from game designers themselves via interviews, teams are either built at the corporate level or are formed in the gathering particular people with particular skill sets by a lead designer (the chief inventor, so to speak) and designed to service his or her ideas. While I'm sure that individual ideas on enhancing the game are accepted and encouraged, the fundamentals of the game are already laid out and the team mainly executes those fundamentals while tweaking them. That's overly simplistic, but based on what I've read it seems true in the main.

    I know I haven't hit my subject line yet, but it's coming.

    In the past, games could be conceived, designed, built and even distributed to an extent by individuals. Whatever some might think of Richard Garriott these days, Ultima 1&2 were good, inventive games produced by one person. SimCity came from one Will Wright. Sid Meier, David Crane, and the list goes on.

    So why were individuals able to develop compelling games in the past. Mostly, it comes down to their relative simplicity. Making a bunch of 30x30 sprites (and that would have been LARGE back "in the day") doesn't require the intervention of an artist. Making a world displayed at a maximum of 320x240 doesn't take a graphic designer. Filling a 170k disc (again, a rather large game in the early 80s) with code could be done with relative ease by one person.

    So the question to my mind is how do we put more power into the hands of the really inventive people again who might not know how to write every kind of code and provide advanced 3D art/animation?

    One way is to build better teams and keep them together. Microprose was a company I was a great fan of and even by the time they had huge teams producing games, the same names would pop up with every game as lead designer, lead programmer, lead QA, etc. - this went on for years and they produced some amazing games. It seems these days that talented people who produce a great game are often off to another company before their product even hits store shelves - more money, more creative control, etc. drive them to other opportunities. You can't blame them for wanting to improve their situation, but I think you can blame their employers for not recognizing the value of a good team and giving them incentive to stay together.

    The other way to give more control to fewer people (the KEY people) is with better tools. There are so many disciplines that have to be combined to make a modern game that it's impossible for any one team member to have a grasp on much beyond their own small piece of the puzzle. John Carmack has gone a long way in this area by providing engines which simplify constructing a first-person shooter but I wonder if this can be extended to other genres, both the ones in existence and the ones so far unimagined? Quake/Half-Life in particular have proven that given the tools, small groups of people can produce amazing results - TFC, CS, DoD, etc., etc. (deserving at least two "et cetera"s).

    Again, I'm not an expert in game development as the professor here in this case. But I think the focus needs to be less on

    • Well, that's why there's people who make mods for games. One person can't make Unreal Tournament 2003, that's for sure, but one person CAN make a kick-butt mod of at least decent caliber. The (extremely) technical side has been taken care of, so you just model, texture, code, make some sounds/music, and slap it in. As for retail games...uh, just license the engine :D
    • 8bit graphics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pommiekiwifruit (570416) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:28PM (#5622437)

      Making a bunch of 30x30 sprites (and that would have been LARGE back "in the day") doesn't require the intervention of an artist.

      Whoah! I have to disagree with you there. Artists entered the industry in the 8 bit days and were very much needed. "Programmer graphics" is a well-used insult. We may be able to draw 8*8 monochrome characters (e.g. text) but when you get up to 16*16 by 4 colours, you really need an artist, or an artist/programmer, not a straight "i can't draw for toffee" programmer like myself.

      Even for icons in tools, artists make an improvement in looks (a specialist graphic designer might be even more useful).


    • A real world example to look at is in professional sports. There are many examples of teams that "look good on paper" with many star players who individually have the potential to do well, but often these groups of talented people end up losing games because they never gel as a team.

      Let's go Rangers!
  • Nice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mono_indy (203761)
    I am impressed that this site actually caters to people who want to read information about the industry instead of bogging everything with tons of graphics. Very nice.
  • Warcry Networks is in early phases of a Massive Online Multiplyer gaming site to represent the linux gaming community. I've read this site and hopefully I'll be able to link to a lot of their stuff as it applies to the linux gaming community.
  • I took Interactive Digital Media with Professor Phelps 2 quarters ago! Hes a great guy and he realy knows his stuff, this should be an interesting blog.
  • RSS Feed? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kip (659)
    It would really be nice if Corante would provide RSS feeds for these blogs. Most of the weblogs tools in use today offer RSS feeds and quite frankly I find it a lot easier to keep up with many weblogs if I don't have to visit each and every page every day, I don't have that kind of time. :)
    • That's the first thing I looked for (that little XML icon). I'd probably never go back because my browsing habits have changed since I discovered RSS.
      ie. Look for RSS feeds of interest at syndic8.com and add the feed to my custom home page.
  • Phelps (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I took this guys game programming class the first time it was offered at RIT and the damn thing blew my mind.. This guy really knows his stuff when it comes to gaming and I think I'm gonna be a regular at the blog.. PS.. Heres his site.. I couldn't find any of his teaching material though, which is a shame because it's pretty damn good.. http://andysgi.rit.edu/andyworld2/twilight/indexie .html
  • For those of you who are unaware, RIT has Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, and Computer Science departments in addition to the IT department which Phelps is a professor for. In essence, he's not teaching about software development. That's not to say he can't make some good points, or that his classes are worthless, but remember where the words are coming from.
  • did snoop dogg get ahold of my name or something?
  • by Roland (61)

    I hate blogs.

RADIO SHACK LEVEL II BASIC READY >_

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