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Deus Ex Creator On How a Video-Game Academy Could Fix the Industry 132

Posted by timothy
from the horns-trying-to-hook-'em dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "In the fall of 2014, 20 promising video game developers will begin a yearlong (and free) program at the University of Texas at Austin, where they will study under some of the gaming industry's most successful executives. 'The idea is to get the best of the best of the best, run them through a Navy Seals boot camp of sorts and not force them to worry about "how do I pay the rent and buy groceries,"' said program leader Warren Spector, who is responsible for creating well-known games such as Deus Ex. 'Fingers crossed, when we start delivering graduates who can contribute in major ways to the development of future games, that philanthropy will continue.' In a wide-ranging interview, Spector also talked about how his future students will be graduating into an industry in which 'every business model is broken, which is either terrifying or an opportunity depending on how you look at it.' Focus groups, analysis of historical trends, and aggregated game review scores may be comforting to number crunchers, but the majority of game projects still end up as commercial failures. Spector ultimately believes the people who actually make the games are going to make better decisions than the number crunchers. 'We've got to be looking forward and any time you start bringing data into it, you're not," Spector said. "I pitched a Lego construction game in 1989, and guess what: Minecraft is basically a Lego construction game. But at the time I was told "no, that won't work." I pitched a western game and the response was "westerns don't sell." And then Red Dead Redemption came out. Stuff doesn't sell until someone makes one that sells, and no amount of data can reveal what new thing is going to sell. The metrics and data guys, and the publishing guys will never come up with the next big thing.'""
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Deus Ex Creator On How a Video-Game Academy Could Fix the Industry

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  • New Grads (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:29AM (#44226025)

    Great, so they can be scooped up by EA and churn out shit like Madden 2013: You Bought it Again.

    -- Ethanol-fueled

    • Re:New Grads (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:04PM (#44226451) Homepage Journal

      Great, so they can be scooped up by EA and churn out shit like Madden 2013: You Bought it Again.

      -- Ethanol-fueled

      That's only half the problem.

      The problem of game designers learning from current executives is the other half. Honestly, if game companies are only churning out rehash after rehash and unwilling to take risks on new ideas (sounds a lot like Hollywood, doesn't it?) what could you learn, other than what creates failure?

      I spent the weekend analyzing Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, what made these films fresh and funny where so many with so much to offer (great art, great 3D, etc.) flop like the Lone Ranger - easy, look where Pierre Coffin was schooled - GOBELINS, l'école de l'image, spend some time looking through the galleries at student projects, there's a lot of fresh creativity on display there.

      What made a standard (from the 1980s) game format like Angry Birds succeed was in taking a risk, simple graphics and fun game play - a formula which works time and again, but it succeeded wildly where other game developers are focusing on cramming too much of everything into a game and leaving the fun to suffer.

      An academy with past designers, who were very successful in their day, before they burned out or were put on a treadmill at EA , would work well.

      • by TWiTfan (2887093)

        With budgets growing out of control so quickly, what the hell do you expect them to do? Taking a real risk on some indie personal project is one thing. Taking a real risk with a $200 million project that will completely bankrupt your company and throw hundreds of people out of work if it doesn't succeed is quite another

        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:42PM (#44226937)

          With budgets growing out of control so quickly, what the hell do you expect them to do?

          Learn to budget? Seriously, you don't just "lose" $200M by accident.

          Live within their means? They could try not spending absurd amounts for the rights to have some big name involved, for example. Good games will create their own brands, as we've seen time and again.

          Try alternative business models instead of making often futile and always customer-hostile efforts to fight piracy within the current model? Try radically different pricing models. Learn from both the successes and the failures of subscription models and in-game purchases and DLC and building extensible games with modding communities around them and all the rest.

          Tell the console makers to take a hike? Without games, consoles are nothing, but no individual console represents more than a modest fraction of the market. Why should any studio make a AAA game title and then agree to make it an exclusive on a certain console, unless the maker of that console is basically offering to treble their revenues?

          Try bringing PC gaming back? There's a lot of emphasis on consoles, mobile gaming and social gaming today, but PCs have more flexibility than all of the rest put together, and even if the new generation of consoles is competitive in raw power at launch it won't be for long. And yet many modern high-profile PC titles are nasty console knock-offs that justifiably get criticised for weak gameplay mechanics and poor controls/user interfaces.

          Seriously, there are about a million things that a lot of game studios are doing wrong. Anyone with moderate objectivity and some basic knowledge of the industry and general economics can step back and see them. But the big studios often seem to be run by people who don't want to step back and challenge their views, and until that changes, the rest is academic.

          For now, please enjoy EA Super World Championship Series Sports Game 2016, exclusively on your locked-down XBox 3D Kinect Sports Edition, sponsored by Coca Cola and brought to you in generously compensated partnership with the Super World Championship Series League. Unless the DRM servers are down, that is.

          • Tell the console makers to take a hike [...] Try bringing PC gaming back

            Some people like to play together on a sofa instead of in the basement over the Internet, and I've been reassured by several other Slashdot users that the number of living room gaming PCs is negligible.

            Why should any studio make a AAA game title and then agree to make it an exclusive on a certain console, unless the maker of that console is basically offering to treble their revenues?

            Fighting games, for example, tend to be either exclusive to one console or ported to multiple consoles (and not PC) because it does treble the revenues over making the game PC-exclusive. Not a lot of PC gamers are willing to move the PC back and forth between the computer desk and the living room to play a ga

            • by yahwotqa (817672)

              Even first Settlers game, back in 1993 allowed you to plug in second mouse and play in separate windows on one screen.

              • by tepples (727027)
                The Settlers was released for the Amiga and PCs running MS-DOS. This was possible because it was possible to read a serial mouse with serial port commands (whether Microsoft protocol or Mouse Systems protocol) and a PS/2 mouse with PS/2 port commands. But the Amiga and MS-DOS are no longer commercially relevant; Windows is, and by default, Windows conflates PS/2 and USB mouse input into one stream of deltas.
            • Some people like to play together on a sofa instead of in the basement over the Internet

              Sure. I'm not arguing for PC gaming at the expense of other platforms, I'm just arguing that treating a substantial part of the "serious" gaming market as a second-rate platform that you might support as an after-thought is not smart for business. It's a huge industry, and there's plenty of room for both on-the-sofa-together games and over-the-Internet games, and for single-player games for that matter.

              I've been reassured by several other Slashdot users that the number of living room gaming PCs is negligible.

              Whereas I know plenty of people who have a computer in their living room, and probably not as many who hav

              • by ooshna (1654125)

                Whereas I know plenty of people who have a computer in their living room, and probably not as many who have consoles. Who's to say which is really more representative? Does it even matter? It's clear from the sales figures that both are huge groups as a whole.

                How many of those living room computers can handle playing modern games with decent settings and getting a decent frame rate?

                • Pretty much all of them, I expect. I'd say most people I know who use this kind of technology at all probably have laptops for lightweight stuff and/or serious desktops for work/gaming/whatever. I don't know many people who still buy low-end desktops.

                  • That depends. A few years ago when "netbooks" (cheap subnotebooks) and "nettops" (cheap small form factor PCs) with an Atom CPU were all the rage, people would buy these nettops, which were just powerful enough to decode high-definition video in real time, and use them for noninteractive home theater uses such as listening to music and watching movies. Use for recently published video games, on the other hand, requires a little more GPU power than a lot of these Atom PCs were capable of. Could Gigabyte's Br [semiaccurate.com]
              • And if you enjoy fighting games or racing games or other console-friendly genres, that's fine. But when was the last time anyone made an RTS or RPG for a console that didn't have a dumbed-down control system? Some of the most interesting user interfaces in console gaming in recent years seem to be the ones that don't use the standard controllers at all.

                To me this is the worst result of consoles being the primary development target. Dumbed down games. Overly simple console compatible control interfaces, overly simple game play, being shackled to what the current generation console is capable of while PCs race ahead in power.

                Result: Piles of same old same old games with occasional kinda sorta bursts of something that resembles innovation. Mostly railshooters and sports games out the ass with occasional exceptions. Hell, what's the greatest thing about the n

          • by LoRdTAW (99712)

            Learn to budget? Seriously, you don't just "lose" $200M by accident.
            Lavish parties, trade show booths, silly office perks like video game machines, over specked custom gaming PC's for workstations and other high tech toys to "foster creativity". Lets not forget bonuses for the boss and other higher ups. Basically pure waste.

            Try bringing PC gaming back? There's a lot of emphasis on consoles, mobile gaming and social gaming today, but PCs have more flexibility than all of the rest put together, and even if th

            • I have seen tons of people, young and old, who only know how to turn a PC on, get to the internet and email who have malware infected machines.

              Ultimately this can be traced to a lack of a rigorous definition of what makes a particular piece of software "malicious", other than "I know it when I see it". If you can cite such a definition, I'd be glad to discuss it.

              Press power, put the disc in and start playing in a few seconds.

              A few seconds, or ten minutes of watching a Kurt Russell wannabe smoke a cigarette [youtube.com]?

              Where the developer was so fucking lazy they didn't even include mouse support in their menus, you have to use the keyboard.

              I don't own a copy of Borderlands for any platform, so I'm not familiar with its control style. But say there's a PC game that can be played with a keyboard, a USB HID gamepad, or an Xbox 360 Controller. If

              • by LoRdTAW (99712)

                Ultimately this can be traced to a lack of a rigorous definition of what makes a particular piece of software "malicious", other than "I know it when I see it". If you can cite such a definition, I'd be glad to discuss it.

                No need to argue this point. I have cleaned out PC's belonging to friends, family and co-workers that were full of trojans. Today it has gotten a lot better, thanks to email back-end scanning. But the virus days of XP have really left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

                A few seconds, or ten m

                • by tepples (727027)

                  on a PC [...] you don't play solely using a keyboard, you use the mouse AND keyboard

                  What you say is true of first-person shooters. But for other genres, please let me repeat my previous question: "how would mouse control in a platformer or fighting game work?"

                • lack of a rigorous definition of what makes a particular piece of software "malicious"

                  I have cleaned out PC's belonging to friends, family and co-workers that were full of trojans.

                  Then perhaps the way to bring back PC gaming is to analyze the threat model [laptop.org] and limit what trojans can do to accomplish their purposes [wikipedia.org]. One could require the publisher of a device's operating system to inspect each program, as is standard practice on iOS and the game consoles. But this is not the only answer nor even the best answer. Operating systems could help by providing robust sandboxing capabilities, such as allowing each user account to make sub-accounts that can see only what the user explicitly put

            • But the reality is that PC's for most people are too difficult to maintain.

              Unfortunately, that is certainly true. Installing and updating software on Windows is absurdly messy and error-prone, and Microsoft haven't fixed it in literally decades. (And before anyone dives in with the obvious troll: desktop Linux distros are actually worse, if you need anything that strays from the canned packages you can apt-get or similar.)

              If we've learned anything from the rise of web apps, and more recently the rise of mobile apps, it's that software doesn't always need to be huge and complicated

          • Budget? Ha! You must have never worked for a multinational gaming company... the kind that we all joke about breaking youthful spirit to encode their corporate culture over. They exist for the sole purpose of extending bureaucracy (while, simultaneously, creating value to the shareholder; which makes no logical sense). All those top to mid-level managers are desperately overtasking their shmoozing capacity in a vain attempt to avoid the pink slip.

            Large gaming companies are a dinosaur and dying under the wei

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            but PCs have more flexibility than all of the rest put together

            You say that as if it's a good thing, but it leads to fragmentation/not knowing what each machine supports, thus either being lowest common denominator (ticking off the people with 'powerful' machines), or having way more special code that you need to write and test on the various configurations.

            If you're on a console, you know exactly what the console supports, and have far fewer extra things to support (Move/Kinect being the major one I can t

            • That's a fair point. Things really started going downhill when graphics card drivers become all about the benchmarks, which seems like an eternity ago now. I personally gave up on most PC gaming a few years back, at which point the last few AAA titles I'd bought as a keen gamer had all been in the crashes-too-often-to-be-fun category, often due to those flaky graphics drivers. Sometimes it was flaky game code instead, and occasionally it was trying to do things to my computer that my security software routi

      • by eulernet (1132389)

        >what could you learn, other than what creates failure?

        As a veteran game programmer, I strongly disagree !

        The problem is that the best lessons are always discovered when failing.
        Success cannot be predicted, and thus, you cannot analyze what made a success.
        It's just a pure matter of luck.

        But I can provide you a recipe to success:
        to create a successful videogame, concentrate on both the content and the container.

        Most game creators focus only on they strongest point, and that is either coding, gameplay or a

      • Angry Birds was never fun. It was only popular because it came pre-installed (and not removable) on millions of smart phones and was free to others. It was (and still is) advertised everywhere you go.
    • by griffinme (930053)

      If you want to see some creators that are going different places check out places like Armor Games.They are usually small flash games that you play for an hour and forget but there are some gems as well. Boxhead wars is great as are the bubble series. There might be 20 crap games but there is usually 20 cool games and 60 games that are just repeats of current themes.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        If you want to see some creators that are going different places check out places like Armor Games.They are usually small flash games that you play for an hour and forget but there are some gems as well. Boxhead wars is great as are the bubble series. There might be 20 crap games but there is usually 20 cool games and 60 games that are just repeats of current themes.

        Too cool.

        This is the way the video game industry started to enter the home, small teams, simple concepts, achievable in a small time span and on a french fry budget. If one becomes a massive hit, well done to the developer.

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Hironobu Sakaguchi is laughing his ass off.

  • it will make your metrics problem just grow even more.

    deus ex is nice, but if you had an idea about how to do a block building game in 1989 why didn't you make it? we dreamt of a game like that as kids, in 1989 - of course w had no idea how it could have been done well on 8mhz 640kb ega crapper. a lego destruction derby game would have been awesome.

    • by Sigma 7 (266129)

      of course w had no idea how it could have been done well on 8mhz 640kb ega crapper.

      And even for those who did have an idea on how it was made... you needed commercially sold compilers that weren't available to the average user, and also needed to know how to use them.

      That problem is solved, but replaced by a new one - you still need to have commercially sold 3D Modelling applications (freeware is available, but I still find it hard to use), have to have a 3D rendering engine that works with your modelling a

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      it will make your metrics problem just grow even more.

      deus ex is nice, but if you had an idea about how to do a block building game in 1989 why didn't you make it? we dreamt of a game like that as kids, in 1989 - of course w had no idea how it could have been done well on 8mhz 640kb ega crapper. a lego destruction derby game would have been awesome.

      Some of the most enjoyable games I've ever played were on 8 or 16 bit systems. CPU, memory and clockspeed are poor yardsticks for game quality of play.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So long as it's fun to play.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      So long as it's fun to play.

      This is the bottom line.

      Let students unleash their own creativity, without trying to mimic the failures of the past and present under some kind of pressure to deliver.

      My nephew is in a game design program and I can't stress enough how important it is to him to not get hung up on art or sound, but focus on fun game play (besides, doing that laborious art and sound is for minions.)

  • Minecraft (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by mmcxii (1707574)
    Minecraft is a bit more of a Lego construction game. I don't know how he pitched his idea but if someone came to me and told me they had a Lego game and presented Minecraft to me I'd have told them their description is a bit lacking.

    And the other side of this is that Notch didn't wait for someone to give him the greenlight. Granted the culture and technology is much different but waiting for the approval of others is probably holding many back from bringing a software product to market for lack of skills o
    • Re:Minecraft (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Russ1642 (1087959) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:45AM (#44226221)

      Ideas are easy. Everyone has a great idea for a video game. Developing that idea into a functional product is nothing like simply imagining the final product and maybe bits of gameplay and then starting to program it. And he was likely the one being turned down, not his ideas, although it might have seemed that way.

    • He said it with the qualifier 'basically', so it 's fine :)

      Besides, someone built a scale model starship enterprise with it. Who wouldn't do that if they had infinite lego?

  • by TrentC (11023) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:40AM (#44226167) Homepage

    Spector ultimately believes the people who actually make the games are going to make better decisions than the number crunchers.

    The people with the money call the shots. How will a year-long boot camp for programmers make managers and number crunchers listen to programmers when they don't now?

    • Where does his say this is for programmers? I mean, the game industry doesn't have a lot of rigidly formal terms, but "Developer" is about as general a term as you can get in this context, applicable to Designers, Artists, Programmers, Audio Guys, or anyone else who can be said to directly contribute to the substance of a game, aka anyone who helps "develop" it.

    • by k31 (98145)

      I pitched [...]. But [..] I was told "no, that won't work."

      So, after failing to get his pitches into reality, he plans to open an "Academy" and teach other people how to fail, just like him?

      I really don't see how he is solving any problems in the commercial world. This seems more like "those who can't, teach".

      Of course, since he can't actually get people to finance his games, teaching will likely give him something else to do with his time, at a personal profit, I suppose. Good for him but, again, what do

      • by Anguirel (58085)

        There's been a couple decades since 1989. Warren Spector has since produced:
        Wing Commander (1990), Origin Systems
        Wing Commander: The Secret Missions (1990), Origin Systems
        Ultima VI: The False Prophet (1990), Origin Systems
        Bad Blood (1990), Origin Systems
        Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi (1991), Origin Systems
        Wing Commander:

        • by k31 (98145)

          That is some good information,
          but my assertion had nothing to do with his ability to make games,
          but rather, the "pitch" them; i.e. to get financing for games which he wanted to make, but were non-mainstream.

          If he had successfully pitched something, and then taught others the secret, then it would make more sense to me to say that the academy would fix that problem.

  • Where they don't have The Bell. They have Taco Bell.

    "You think this some kind of fucking game, private?!"

    "Yes, yes I do."

  • More IT / tech needs apprenticeship like schooling.

    Where you study under some successful people in the field and not college professors who have been in academia for years and don't know much about real work.

    • Our Economy on the whole needs more Apprenticeship like schooling.

      Colleges (I think partially due to the GI Bill, for WWII and Vietnam War, combined with trying to dodge the draft) have seem to have taken the near monopoly on Higher Learning after High School. It isn't that College and University education is bad, but it isn't for everyone leaving a gap in labor. As well lowering the value of a College education.

      Apprenticeships, vocational training, and other alternate forms of education should be a large

    • Universities have apprenticeship-like schooling too; it's called graduate school. But the end goal is different than in industry.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:47AM (#44226257)

    >> I pitched a Lego construction game in 1989, and guess what: Minecraft is basically a Lego construction game.

    Sounds like the "Adventure Construction Set" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventure_Construction_Set) - that's was the Minecraft of the 2D world back in the 1980s.

    • Well sometimes good idea are just at the wrong time.

      Mindcraft was able to use the 3d+Networking aspect to modern games to make it far more popular than it would be at 2d and single player.
      Kids like to build blocks, but once they are done the like to show it to other people.

      Back in the 1980's and 1990's networked multi-player games were hard to come by. As telephone service was rather expensive (Pay $0.10 per call for a local call, long distance charges), and data was slow, then the main game hub system nee

  • Obviously, it is fairly likely that academy participants will be improved as game developers to some degree; but it seems like that doesn't really address the problem as described in the interview, which is people with good ideas getting shot down by bean-counters who want predictable sequels.

    One would think that, rather than polishing developers, the logical line of attack would either be tinkering with funding models or reducing the cost of game development, which are the only two possibilities for either

  • why post bachelor and not something that can be at maybe the 2-4 year level or maybe just on it's own??

    that 10K does not cover your student loans. And 2-4 years of CS with lots of skill gaps can be better filled with some like this as part of the 2-4 years.

  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:50AM (#44226289)

    I pitched a western game and the response was "westerns don't sell." And then Red Dead Redemption came out. Stuff doesn't sell until someone makes one that sells, and no amount of data can reveal what new thing is going to sell. The metrics and data guys, and the publishing guys will never come up with the next big thing.

    And, statistically speaking, neither will game developers. For every big hit of a game there's dozens more that perform okay enough to recoup costs but any follow-up titles are completely up in the air, and hundreds more that go nowhere.

    Just because in one instance a publisher said 'western games don't sell' and was then proven wrong, doesn't mean that everybody thinking they can disprove a publisher when they say their Game X is going to be the next Red Dead Redemption is going to be right.
    We can pretty much know this for a fact by looking at all the 'indie' games on mobile platforms and being launched through KickStarter (not counting the ones who are just using it as marketing hoping to attract the actual big money..from publishers). Although at least the latter can give an indication as to what people may be craving, it doesn't mean the end-result is going to deliver.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Is this his explanation for why Epic Mickey sucked? He was beholden to the "metrics guys" at Disney? I've loved everything Spector has done, but Epic Mickey is just the blandest platform gameplay with high production value Disney art.

      • Epic Mickey is just the blandest platform gameplay with high production value Disney art.

        It's been that way since sometime in the 16-bit era. DuckTales on the NES was fun, but Pinocchio on the Super NES and Sega Genesis was short and bland. Might it be a case of Seinfeld is no longer funny [tvtropes.org] because platforming itself had become old hat?

        • by Hatta (162192)

          DuckTales on the NES was fun

          Duck Tales on the NES was fun because it was made by Capcom, when they were making Mega Man, Bionic Commando, and tons of other great games. Warren Spector, having a similar history of awesomeness should have been able to produce something awesome with Epic Mickey. He's smart enough to see when something is trite, and he's a master at mixing genres. He should have been able to do something to make it better.

          Might it be a case of Seinfeld is no longer funny because platforming

          • There's a remastered version of the Ducktales game coming out. No, really. They even got Alan Young to do the voice of Scrooge McDuck again...the man is 93 years old! And yes, June Foray voices Magica De Spell...she's 95!

        • by neminem (561346)

          Aladdin and Lion King were both pretty respectable games (both for SNES). Granted, they weren't DuckTales, but they were still pretty decent.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        BTW, I haven't played it, but presumably it was popular, since it managed to get a sequel.

        (In the various footage I've seen of the original & sequel, e.g. on GTTV, it looked somewhat fun... but maybe it's boring once one actually plays.)

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:51AM (#44226291) Homepage

    The problem with trying to figure out how to design and create a popular game is that, as with movies, there's no magic formula for what makes a popular game/movie. In fact, about the only guarantee is that following a formula, any formula, drastically reduces your chances for creating something popular. It's very hard to package up and teach creativity and originality.

  • Does it need fixing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:59AM (#44226395) Journal
    People say the game industry needs fixing, but there's tons of great games coming out from both the big boys and the indie scene. Sure, you can complain about Madden 20xx and "Gears of Halo Battlefield Combat" remakes, but then there are other choices you can make. You just need to realize that you're not the person those churned sequels are being made for.

    It seems to me that Spector could have fronted the money himself if he thought the ideas were so good. They probably would have been if he was working on them, DX was one of the all-time greats. Unless he had some sort of no-compete contract, he should have gone indie.
  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:03PM (#44226441)
    The first thought I had was what categories would be eligible for winning a Freeman.
  • In fact, quite a few of them exist:

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-6-stupidest-video-game-school-commercials/ [cracked.com]

    Quite a few of the linked videos are gone, but you get the idea.

  • The moment you use the phrase "best of the best of the best." Especially when referring to artists.

  • by Dishwasha (125561) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:25PM (#44226737)

    Make sure that they understand that they are going to have to already prove themselves as being able to design and code a completely working and feature complete game from engine to art before they can be accepted in to the program, attend class and study under supervision for at least 80 hours per week, live strictly off of one item from the dollar menu per meal, give them a proper browbeating every once in a while, constantly remind them they are easily replaceable with other students just itching to get in to the program, and then never let them complete a project by tossing them on to other loser projects. But it's all okay because the student breakroom looks like a teenage gamer's wet dream.

  • Fix the industry? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:36PM (#44226863)

    Nobody is going to fix the industry. The industry functions quite well just the way it is, grossing more than Hollywood for years now. If we're talking about the precious industry, that financial success is the only thing that matters.

    Now if we're talking about ART... That's a whole different problem. Art is anathema to the industry. But this is also true of Hollywood, so we can assume the same sort of results fairly reasonably. Art will still happen, in spite of the industry, not because of it. It will be accidental. It will be serendipitous. It will be the result of one madman with a vision. It will NOT happen because of some hothouse training program.

    Those of us who have been in the industry think of something else entirely when talking about fixing the industry. The radical instability of development houses is what needs fixing. Nowhere else in the world is there so little code reuse, and so little retention of talent. Maybe the customers could get some of the things they want, like more reliable ship dates, and better code quality if that were fixed. That's a whole different problem from endless sequels and poor design though.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > 'The idea is to get the best of the best of the best, run them through a Navy Seals boot camp

    Ugh, this is totally wrong. The games industry continues to perpetuate the SuperCoder Myth.

    There is this notion in the games community that you need a few crack rockstars to make a game. As it turns out, these people don't really exist. What you find is a few people willing to work 24 hours a day on the problem instead of 12. This perpetuates coders who program all night, all the time and leads to death mar

    • by tepples (727027)

      There is this notion in the games community that you need a few crack rocks

      Because that's what some producers in big video game companies have to be smoking. Now I get it.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @02:45PM (#44228617)

    The indie scene is already fixing the industry. The big guys can adapt or die.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      The indie scene is already fixing the industry. The big guys can adapt or die.

      By "adapt" I assume you mean "by out almost finished Indie games" then yes, I suspect they'll adapt quite cheaply.

  • The games which I've enjoyed the most recently have been:

    - Legend of Zelda Skwyard Sword
    - Red Steel 2
    - Xenoblade Chronicles
    - The Last Story
    - Pandora's Tower (finally found a work-around which seems to be consistent for me for the glitch)

    In particular:

    - motion controls and the interface of Skyward Sword and Red Steel 2
    - exploration and vast expanses and lengthy gameplay of Xenoblade
    - online campaign and RPG-style grinding of The Last Story

  • by DrGamez (1134281) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @03:21PM (#44229151)

    I'm kind of tired of seeing all the credit for huge productions like video games go to a single person.

  • Some people don't remember but Warren Spector got his start in tabletop gaming having worked for Steve Jackson Games and TSR. Then seeing that tabletop would always remain a niche, like some other tabletop designers (like Sandy Petersen), he jumped ship to where the big money was....electronic gaming.

    He should have stayed on the tabletop....just because you're pretty good at tabletop design doesn't make you a good computer/console game designer.

  • fix its management practices.
  • The only thing that can "fix" the industry is another complete collapse, followed by a rebirth consisting of small players (NO mega-corps). The video game industry, foolishly wanting to be like Hollywood, has gotten it's wish: it's become a faceless corporate giant with no soul, fixated purely on focus groups, numbers, and endless rehashes of tired junk. All style with little to no substance. Just die already.

    Another side of it is the incompatibility of art and money. As much as it pains me to call video
  • This is hardly new or needed, there are hundreds of "Make games" courses in colleges around the world.

    Maybe its new for Universities who tend to only deal with theoretical and rarely practical applications of knowledge, but community colleges everywhere offer this.

    The only problem is you can't teach creativity, you either have it or not. So knowing how to make the game is not the same as making a great game.

Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have. -- Ernest Haskins

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