Saturday, August 26, 2006

On Game Design: What This Blog's About

Videogames* are the newest form of artistic expression. They, much like cinema, are the convergence of numerous other arts. A good movie has to deal in the art of acting, cinematography, music, sound design, art design, writing, etc. A good game can need all of these, but it also has its own unique facet: interaction.

The big problem is simple: videogames are young. Once, in the earliest days of cinema, they actually tried to make movies look like filmed theater. After all, that's all they knew. It took decades for them to slowly work out rules of cinematography. And even now, they're still creating new ideas (bullet-time, overused though it may be, is a new, useful technique of cinematography) to create new sensations in audiences.

Nowadays, we have schools that teach the results of these experiments. We have schools for acting, artists, music composition. We know how to do these things competently, and we have rules for what works and what doesn't**.

What we don't know is game design. We have no formalized concept of game design. We don't really understand why certain things in games work, and we have few tools or guidelines to use in crafting works of videogaming art.

The greats of this emerging artform are, by and large, intuitive in nature. They have some understanding of design, but more often than not, they create their best works by intuition. The so-called game design schools teach genres and what games do now; they do not teach pure game design in-depth. Imagine an art school that only taught how to free-hand draw.

The primary purpose of this blog is to deal with issues of game design and game development. I intend to help formulate a coherant, genreless theory of game design, for the expressed purpose of allowing game designers to do their job better.

I will, also, be reviewing a number of games that I have enjoyed. These reviews will not be like normal reviews; I don't review games to tell you whether you should purchase it. These will take an indepth look at the very foundation of that game's design, dissecting the games design and rendering a verdict as to how well the game does and does not work.

Lastly, I will be posting reviews and other concepts as they relate to game development. Reviews of Open Source (or closed-source) tools, where appropriate. I may also spend some time mouthing off about programming subjects (since that's my field of expertise) and so forth, but those will be few and far between.

*On this blog, whenever I speak of the term "videogame", what I am referring to is any and all computerized applications that are primarily designed for the purpose of entertainment. I will likely go into detail a bit later as to exactly what this means, but for now, assume I'm talking about any and all console, handheld, cell-phone, and PC games that you are aware of.

**I am aware that the truly exceptional works often break these hard-and-fast rules. However, the creators of those works understand the rules and usually know why they're breaking them. And when it is appropriate to do so. The rules serve the function of informing the user what to and not to do.

No comments: