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The Games Industry's 2007 Resolutions 57

Gamasutra has a piece up from earlier this week, with some late New Year's resolutions for the games industry. Their frequently-done 'Question of the Week' series pulled in comments from game developers and designers working right now, with their hopes for the best in 2007. From the article: "Now that 2006 is over can we finally stop worrying about who's going to win the console war and start focusing on the games? Arguing about which next-gen system is the best is as silly as arguing about which five-star restaurant has the finest china and silverware. It's the food on the plate that matters to the customers after all. With any luck we'll see delicious games with plenty of innovation on all of the platforms this year! - Patrick Curry, Midway Games"
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The Games Industry's 2007 Resolutions

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  • by ringbarer ( 545020 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:38PM (#17674166) Homepage Journal
    More in-game Advertising. Ker-ching!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by eieken ( 635333 )
      I watched someone play one of the next-gen football (US) games at Fry's, and I was horrified when they scored a point and for a full-on 5 seconds or so a Toyota ad was covering the entire TV screen. Personally that worries me more then anything, because I play video games to get away from advertising-soaked broadcast TV.
      • At least in a football game the ads are not out of place. They could even be used to fund free (haha yeah right) updates to rosters.

        In a game like BF:2142, ads are totally out of place and detract from the immersion that would otherwise be there. From what I read about SWAT:4, the ads were so intrusive and all over every wall of the map that it is total overkill. Really the problem is these games that have ads but the ads don't do anything for the gamer. If they are not funding a service or reducing the
        • I agree. There's a time and place for ads. In Madden 2000-Whatever-It's-The-Same-Damn-Game, ads can... well... add realism. In a modern day shooter, seeing a Coca Cola billboard is just dandy. But when a level 24 Paladin finds Sprite bumper stickers all over his horses ass, that's a bit much.

          And speaking of asses... When you're throwing a party, don't make an ass of yourself, and choose the right beer for your guests, and choose Samuel Adams. Samuel Adams: Always a good decision.

          *Gets handed a large wad of
  • Should i be worried that i got a 'Nam flashback when i saw the wooden crates picture?
  • Depends... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Drooling Iguana ( 61479 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:48PM (#17674314)
    For Nintendo, it'll be 480p or 256x192, while for Sony and Microsoft it'll veer more towards 1080 or 720p.

    Of course, 1280x1024 is always a good standby.
  • Creativity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:50PM (#17674362) Homepage
    FTA:
    Stop using wooden crates in games!

    -Anonymous


    Uh... How about metal crates?

    -Game Industry
  • by vaksion ( 1024195 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:02PM (#17674510)
    The console wars really do get on my nerves. Sure, the Wii's graphics aren't quite as good as the Xbox 360s or the PS3s, but Nintendo makes products based on a philosophy to make game systems that are affordable and fun. Family-ish type. there are SOME violent games for the Wii and Gamecube, but its mainly Mario Party type stuff. PS3 and Xbox 360 are very similar. I say whatever you get, fine. I'm jsut ready for the console arguements to end. I can understand if you want to defend your platform, but sometimes it goes a little far.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tatarize ( 682683 )
      Um. The Wii controller is really a leap forward. Even with inferior graphics it is still a huge step up! Pretend you have a choice between a 5 ghz machine without the ability to have a mouse and a 3 ghz machine with a mouse. It really is apples and oranges. Sure, I would love to see more realistic gameplay (easier deaths) and more novelty. But, to say that consoles don't matter, isn't exactly true right now.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Rayonic ( 462789 )
      SNES released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority
      Nintendo 64 released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority
      Gamecube released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority
      Wii released, graphics don't matter anymore!

      Nintendo will always promote its strong points, like any sane company would.
      And there will always be fans out there parroting their talking points.

      I don't think Nintendo is going in a bad direction with the Wii. But graphics have mattered in the past and can still matter today. Depends on
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by anotherone ( 132088 )

        SNES released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority
        Nintendo 64 released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority
        Gamecube released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority

        This is true, but if you plot the sales figures of each of those systems you'll notice that each sells less than the previous generation. This suggests that "better graphics" is not enough to sell a system. Nintendo is hoping (and despite my initial skepticism, I'm totally sold) that changing the whole formula is the shot in the arm the console market needs.

        Time will tell, obviously, but if the Wii sales vs. PS3 sales in the last few months is anything to go by it seems like they might be on to something

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )
        I can tell from a mile away on my 1080p LCD that the Wii is no HDTV source - but it's not like they're poor either, anymore than a DVD is. Big "cartoony" stuff like mario games tends to do well with a good upscaler anyway. Would I have liked to see it in 1080p? Yes. But there's also a ton of improvements beyond just getting 1080p resolution, just look at DX10 and the new unified shaders. Ok, so it's only 480p but it got a lot of power for those 480p. For full 1080p with good frame rates you're looking at a
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Nintendo has pushed better graphics in the past, and I don't disagree that better graphics would be nice, but I think you over estimate the benefits of "Next-Generation Hardware".

        Physics: Sometime between the N64 and Dreamcast processors became powerful enough to handle Newtonian Physics; by the time the Gamecube and XBox were released we had enough processing power to handle most of the game impacting physics simulations we use today. The XBox 360 and PS3 offer a lot more processing power to handle physics
        • Procedural content generation simply means that a computer (not a person) generates the content.

          Um, yeah, that is the basic definition, but in the context of the end-product it is irrelevent (it's a static textrue or whatever on the disc regardless of how it was created), so that's not really the definition intended in the context of the game running on actual hardware.

          Perhaps dynamic procedural content would be better, to make it clear that we're talking about content created procedurally on the fly by th
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ookaze ( 227977 )
        SNES released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority
        Nintendo 64 released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority
        Gamecube released, Nintendo touts its graphical superiority
        Wii released, graphics don't matter anymore!
        Nintendo will always promote its strong points, like any sane company would.
        And there will always be fans out there parroting their talking points


        BS. This is your strawman, that you and your fellow parrot everywhere.
        Nintendo never said graphics don't matter anymore, that's a plain lie.
        There
  • by smartyknickers ( 1053102 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:14PM (#17674658) Homepage
    I love my Wii - I think its a fantastic addition to the world of gaming as a whole; my grandparents now understand why its fun to play!

    but lets not forget that more 'serious' gamers need more serious games; with mature themes. Why is everyone's first thought at the mention of Doom, Quake, Gears of War, etc just "oooh but the children..." - sod the children that's what the ratings and parental controls are for!

    Just strikes me as weird that there can be this dualism to it all - and a total inability for people to draw parallels between films with their ratings systems and games (even though it was video nasties everyone was complaining about 20 years ago...)

    </rant>
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      - sod the children that's what the ratings and parental controls are for!
      True enough, but it seems like parents just want to bitch and moan about the violence and sex in games, music and movies instead of taking an active role in what to allow/disallow their children to watch. It's much nicer to be lazy and let some government agency do it for you than get involved in your children's upbringing. *rolleyes*
    • by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:53PM (#17675730) Homepage
      but lets not forget that more 'serious' gamers need more serious games; with mature themes.

      Why does "serious games" == "mature themes"? Can someone explain this to me? How does violence and sex make something more mature?

      I'm 30. Is it mostly teenagers that think this way?
      • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday January 19, 2007 @12:41AM (#17676654)
        Can someone explain this to me? How does violence and sex make something more mature?

        It's a question worth asking. You look at a game like Fallout or Planescape: Torment. Rich in ideas. Fascinating setting. Not without humor or a sense of tragedy. To me, that is mature.

        Even though there are times I want to shut down all higher brain functions for a quick game of Bikini Beach Deathmatch Nude Teenage Volleyball: The Game of the Year Edition.

        • "Bikini Beach Deathmatch Nude Teenage Volleyball: The Game of the Year Edition."

          Holy Mother of God! There's a "Killer App" right there! What console is it for, I'll buy that in an instant...

          Sir, I salute you.
          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            "Bikini Beach Deathmatch Nude Teenage Volleyball: The Game of the Year Edition."

            Holy Mother of God! There's a "Killer App" right there! What console is it for, I'll buy that in an instant...

            Closest thing is DOA Volleyball for Xbox [ign.com].

            • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
              It deserves special emphasis that this is a beach volleyball game named Dead or Alive: Xtreme. I mean, seriously, that's the most fitting name for a game about friendly matches at a holiday resort interspersed with peaceful walks on the beach...
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        I'm 30 too, and I think that way. I only really want to play games with nudity/violence/adult language/people smoking cigarettes.

        I think it was Super Mario Sunshine that was the tipping point for me on this. All that fucking happiness and jumping around. I grew up on this sort of thing, but give me a break, I'm not 8 anymore (I think that's how old I was when the first Mario came out). After playing it for about 3 hours I realized I never again wanted to play another kid game. So now I only play stuff
    • but lets not forget that more 'serious' gamers need more serious games; with mature themes.

      I think it's the other way around. It's mainly children who buy games for their "mature themes." A survey I recently read on Kotaku.com seems to come to the same conclusion: Children prefer the "mature" consoles.

      According to a recent poll by Weekly Reader, kids prefer the Playstation 3 over the 360 or Wii. The poll asked kids 5 to 18 which gaming system, PS3, Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360, they would prefer to have.

  • Gamasutra has a piece up from earlier this week, with some late New Year's resolutions for the games industry.

    1. 1920x1080
    2. 1280x720
    3. 2560x1600 (but only if they have time to get around to it)
  • Mature Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eieken ( 635333 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:20PM (#17674730) Homepage
    They mention mature games, but I think as gamers, we should all be grateful there are not an abundance of games with mature themes. Most games can be fun without having to focus on putting the most blood/nudity/swearing into the game. The moment we have a segmented market for pure adult games I think we will see much worse games. But that might just be my inner cynic talking.
    • by LKM ( 227954 )
      Looking at the games available for the Xbox[386] and the PS[2|3], I think there are more than enough "mature" games. I have nothing against these games, but resolving to make even more certainly won't fix any kind of issue.
  • by cibyr ( 898667 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:41PM (#17674978) Journal
    Stop bitching when better graphics come out. Yes, gameplay makes the game - but good graphics can enable new gameplay and at the same time improve immersion. Even if someone produces a content-devoid shiny-graphics game to show off their new engine (Doom 3 anyone?), having a better engine is still a good thing and there's nothing stopping someone making a good game with it (Quake 4 anyone?).

    In short: stop bitching. Vote with your wallet, and realize that game companies that don't want to develop their own engines will also vote with theirs.
    • Except that money-hungry corporations are only willing to expend the bare minimum to produce a game, we see this time and time again from companies like EA who just spew out Madden games every year. The only reason something as unique as Spore is coming from them is because Maxis made them rich with all the Sims-related franchises.

      Oh, and I vote with my wallet. I believe the last game I bought was System Shock 2. I had downloaded a copy after a friend's recommendation (as I had never played before but it so
      • well, as much as i agree about ea being stupid with madden, it has to be pointed out that madden for wii proves that ea is at least capable to making some sort of innovation.
        • I guess.. Using the console's default controller as it was designed to be used doesn't really strike me as innovation....
      • There were a ton of innovative developers that didn't make a ton of money even back in the late 90s. Unfortunately, most of them got sucked right into oblivion after the dot com boom. I was certainly sad to see the likes of looking glass and bullfrog vanish. I've been bargain hunting games from that era these days since I've really lost interest with most of whats coming out these days.
  • by necro2607 ( 771790 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:28PM (#17675482)
    Spend more time developing depth of gameplay and backstory, universe/world development and so on.

    I think we're at a point where we don't need to be pushing every last little bit of power out of our CPUs and graphics cards, and can lessen the pressure on that a bit while devoting some more resources towards games that are more immersive, interesting, and most importantly, fun!

    Honestly, the graphics in games today are pretty damn amazing. I know people have been saying this regularly over the past many years, but we all know that games are getting amazingly realistic, to the point where people can easily mistake game screenshots for actual photographs of scenery.

    The areas where games are NOT so impressive are primarily in the areas that require a lot more than just throwing $$$ into a bigger team of programmers - storyline, artificial intelligence, creativity not limited by conservativism (or the whole "Lowest common denominator" issue), and fresh ideas.

    Unfortunately it's easier said than done, and when all the smaller more creative companies are being bought up immediately by larger companies like Take Two, EA and so on, unique talented individuals are made to work on games devised for the purpose of sheer profit, rather working towards the goal of some creative producer who could very well change the industry with his/her ideas.
    • well bring on Baldur's Gate III, then - storyline, playability... it's all there.

      I'm working my way through one of the Neverwinter Nights modules at the moment. The only gripe I have with the AI is that my party members sometimes appear to get "stuck" behind small obstacles and can't figure out how to move around them (wtf? hire a first-year programmer - they're tell you how to do it!).

      Those RPGs are still not "AI" in any sense of the word, but they are getting better.
  • by adam31 ( 817930 ) <[adam31] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday January 19, 2007 @03:57AM (#17677884)
    The industry needs to stop emphasizing graphics over gameplay.


    It's amazing how often this myth is repeated. There is no such thing as a tradeoff between graphics and gameplay. They are two different things, written by two different groups of people, and the group of gameplay programmers is typically much larger than graphics programmers. If a game has good graphics and terrible gameplay, it's because of the attention to detail of the people who made it.

    • by optkk ( 907995 )
      Surely there is a trade off, as the amount of funding a game receives must be finite, surely. Thus, if the graphics team get 70% of the budget, that doesn't leave a lot for the game play team, especially when you take in to account advertising and marketing.

      There may well be twice as many game play/story line programmers than graphics programmers, but given how much the industry seems to salivate over graphics, I wouldn't be surprised if the graphics programmers get paid twice as much their "creative" cou
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        Remember that programmers these days develop the engine and general rules of the game, level design, enemy placement, etc are handled by the level designers (probably close to the artists since the environment stuff has to be done by those) and finetuning the balance to make sure there aren't any overpowered options is the final step of development (as long as the rules aren't fixed there's no point in finetuning the exact values) and wouldn't happen any faster with more money thrown at it. More and more of
    • by buffer-overflowed ( 588867 ) * on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:40AM (#17678326) Journal
      It's not a myth. There are very few designers in this world who can crank out a fun, deep and somewhat novel gameplay design almost every single time. There are, comparatively, thousands of programmers who can make something look nice with the right middleware and thousands of artists who can model nice 3D stuff. I hear you can get trained at tech schools for either these days. There aren't a whole lot of really really good AI guys(basically next to none) or multithreaded DSP guys, but there don't have to be, just enough for the middleware.

      Those designers are worth a LOT, and you can probably name them by name, not by company. EA has one, Nintendo has one, etc. They're all proven guys too, so they actually have clout in their respective organizations. They're roped into franchises in at least an advisory capacity, sure, but all of those are pretty golden.

      So, most of the industry rips off it's predecessors for the gameplay, maybe adds a very slight twist or two in a "wouldn't it be cool if" brainstorming session and passes it off to the grunts. You have to have *something* to differentiate your game, so you pump everything into graphics and if we're lucky style. The cost of doing this is so high that you can't take many if any risks on or with unproven designers, so they never get to prove themselves. In return, while your gameplay may very well be solid, it's either something a competitor did, or something that's straight lifted from the pre-2000.

      Insomniac made a name for themselves continiously tweaking Mario 64 with guns, and now combining two FPS cliches into one. Blizzard gets by by being high polish. Jaffe's a goto guy for genre kings. None of this is bad, but it's not what I consider excellent gameplay any more so than I consider a typical summer blockbuster excellent film. Or rather, it's not new gameplay, it's good gameplay I've played before with a new coat of paint. The differentation is the graphics, level design, and presentation.

      You also have the fact that if the gameplay is golden, you don't need the graphics. Just enough to represent what you need to represent and whatever else you want to pump into it. It only matters for the first 15 minutes anyway.
      • It's still a myth. If there's very few good designers for the hundreds or thousands of programmers who can make things pretty, the designers have the tools to make their wonderfully designed games pretty.

        I can't think of one game with great gameplay that didn't also have great graphics (I'm sure there are some, I just can't think of any). I can think of a ton of games that looked great but had crap gameplay. But that just means that great designers are in short supply, not that gameplay and graphics are
        • No it really isn't a myth. There are a handful of decent designers, who work on a few projects at once, for years, and hundreds of games released a year. This means most games aren't that great. Seriously, w/o the aid of google or wikipedia start naming those designers.

          You also have the fact that there are these things called budgets, which means every dollar you spend on graphics is a dollar you didn't spend on level design and game design. It's not an endless supply of cash and if you're shooting for
          • I'm not too interested in your response, as I've already written you as either someone with no real knowledge or long-term experience with games aka the neauveu-hardcore gamer, OR a Sony sad-loser-play-alone-in-my-parents-basement-lawl- n intendo-is-kiddy idiot fanboy. Plus I seriously doubt your taste in games and ability to appreciate games outside your prefered genres, even if you don't personally enjoy them.

            So much for an intelligent discussion, but whatever..

            Nethack, Tetris, any given MUD
            When
    • by LKM ( 227954 )
      Game X has a given budget of Y. People decide how to spend the money. Do you hire a more expensive writer? Maybe get more people to create new, innovative gameplay elements? Or maybe more programmers to optimize your engine so you can have more polygons on screen?
    • "the group of gameplay programmers is typically much larger than graphics programmers"

      You forgot about gameplay designers. People who write the storyline, game universe and history, and design the overall feel and environment of the game. I assure you this team gets the least room to come up with innovative/new ideas due to companies' fear of the product not being a huge profit-maker.
  • Do Something Different. I am starting to lose interest in games after playing for 25 years now (dear old Hungry Horace). The reason is that I have played it all before...
  • many more well-done real time strategy games. Someone needs to check the pipeline. Company of Heroes has got us RTS fans thoroughly addicted and Supreme Commander and Command & Conquer 3 are due out this year. Find just one or two more to come out soon and you'll have a great year by the standards of any genre on any platform.

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