Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Game Industry

Today's gaming industry is as big as its ever been, and it getting bigger and bigger year by year. Its not that long ago (when I was just a boy) that the gaming industry seemed in its infancy, and I suppose we could argue that it still is. Its only just recently that the games industry has received the same accreditation as the film industry. The the release of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 had its very own red carpet premier in London's West End. The first ever to happen. Sales for the game were expected to surpass the current leader GTA 4 as Amazon said they had 50% more pre-order sales and the game ended up selling 6.3 million worldwide in just 24 hours.

So with all this extra cash what are game developers doing with it. Well i've got to admire Epic games as they run an annual “make something unreal” contest, were through the stages, different “mod” teams earn big money, cash prizes with the grand prize being a 1 million dollar commercial licence for the “epic” unreal engine. For those of you who know what i'm talking about, you may remember a few years back when red orchestra won. They started as a mod and as a result of the competition they were able to realise the game, and it became very successful. This is what I admire about the game industry. Other companies like valve also see the importance of finding new talent and who alongside developing games, want to help those who wish to become game developers realise there dreams. Its not uncommon for those people in mod teams to have a close relationship with developers of said companies in the industry.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


What is creativity, well for the clue is in the name. Its to create. But what? Well anything relay, if your doing something and its enhancing your ability then it creative. To become good a something takes dedication but above al it take understanding. A person must understand what it is he is attempting to do, be it a painting a piece of music or even plans for construction of a building. To think of the kind of people who are creative many would say artist's. But it falls to many professions even sports men and women. A tennis player for example must be creative to be able to manipulate the ball across the court as to make it hard for his opponent to hit it back. I would imagine it would take a lot of repetitive ball hitting to tune your senses to being able to accurately hit and object to the spot you desire. Having an idea is just the beginning, if its not created, its not creative. The skill is learning the outlet of your thoughts and ideas that way your creativity can shine through.

Applying these skill in our line of work rely lends itself to our creativeness as the medium we use allows the feel and life of our ideas to shine through. Does an idea that's created in different mediums have the same creative thinking. I would say yes because its the idea that that's the main part of what your showing, as long as the finished piece of work represents what your original thought and idea was the n the creative process have been successful. Be it a painting or a 3d model the idea and creative thinking behind it is the main point. As long as it executed well.

What motivates us most to be creative. I think a lot of it is pure devotion and love to that interest. In my case its games but also the medium in witch I use makes me want to do more. Creating something in 3d or painting it the process itself entertains and interests me. Other gain that focus someone to be creative would be financial gain. Money is an important commodity to everyone and talent is a rare thing to be talented requires creativity not purely to be original but to have good strong ideas and opinions. If the creative outcome is something that most would find something they wouldn't dream of doing then people will pay well for your talents.

Its hard to imagine our world without creativity, nothing would have ever been invented or envisioned. Everything that we see around us had to be imagined and then created. The creativity of the idea in my mind, is the hardest to overcome, but the drive and passion make the long road ahead worth it.


Gameplay for me is the soul of a game. Also the term “game mechanics” is used to describe how the games core play style works. A game can have a verity of ways to be played. For example not all war games include drivable vehicles, as curtain game mechanics would disrupt the style and pace of how the game mode was intended to be played. For example some of the levels in Halo have only some or non of the vehicles that others have. This is not because the developers were to lazy to take the time to add them but to add gameplay elements and ensure game balance. The term game type is used to determine how a game is played i.e. the objective to win the game. An example would be a CTF (capture the flag) game were two teams had there own flag and each team would have to steal the other teams flag to win the game. Variations i've seen to this would replace the flag with a bomb and instead of bring something from them to you , you would take the bomb to them to win. By making these changes the gameplay or game mechanic is changed. Over time game developers have experimented with game types but there seems to be some standard types that can be seen in most online games these days.

Story and Character

When I think of a game character one always springs to mind and he recently won gamspots greatest hero contest. If you haven’t already guessed, its Gordon Freeman. I must confess, I’m a valve fan boy. I have played Half Life from when it was realised and followed it ever since. But what make him a good hero? I can’t for the life of me think what can make him so popular yet he’s the one that come to mind. One theory I have is that he has no voice. This way you feel like you are Gordon freeman, and that the characters are actually talking to you Instead of the actual character. Couple this with an immersive world that is the central hub of the game half life and you get remember able experience. So without the game and its story the characters are just other guys just like me and you. There isn’t much in the line of a back story in the first game all you know about Gordon is he’s a scientist here to do an experiment that goes wrong . Then a load of aliens turn up and you got to get the hell out of there.
Gordon gets a suit, this makes him ideal for the experiments but I don’t think it key to his success. Although a characters appearance is important, with Gordon it was more about the less you see the more you get in a strange sort of way. With the second game it almost felt that Alex was the main role as there were many interactions with her and you for a relation with her as her personality is so convincing. It really helps create a whole world around the central characters. Without them the game could never have the same impact or success.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Game Technology

How important is the way we interact with game technology when it comes to playing games? Consoles over the years have always released peripherals to enhance the realism of how we play games. I remember Sega Bass Fishing for the dreamcast. A friend of mine had if and had the fishing rod to play it with. It had a motion sensor in it and it would recognise the motion of casting a line and cast the line in the game. It was a novel idea but the fun factor soon wore off, especially as the game isn’t that good. This brings me to my next point. A lot of peripherals get released with games, but if the games aren’t any good or in most cases there just aren’t that many games that support that particular devise you can’t help but feel you have wasted your money. For me it was the lighgun for my dreamcast, I had House of the dead for it. Now don’t get me wrong it’s a good game and you can still find it in arcades and bowling alleys today but it was the only game you could use the gun with. A more universal option for me would be to get a steering wheel as there are lots of racing games available on all the consoles on the market at the moment. Racing games aren’t really my scene but the odd one really makes it worth buying. I’m playing Dirt 2 at the moment and it beautiful game to look at and look’s very realistic, but do I feel the need to go out and buy a wheel to amerce myself and add to the realism. In my opinion no! But that’s just me; I know that there are people out there that take racing simulation very serious. I had a look at wheels if I’m honest and the thing that really puts me off is the price, there not cheap. Some go as high as £200 but include real leather wheels ,medal pedals and flappy paddle gear changers. Some even have 6 speed gear knobs and a clutch pedal. So what does the future hold for there add-on elements of interactivity? Well I think that Nintendo Wii have done a good job as the wiimote can be most things you would need it to be. A golf club, tennis racket even a gun! I would bet money that future game consoles adopt the same style and we see this sort of technology become the standard just as Nintendo did in the past with other game controllers.

Games and there stories

Games stories and plot lines for me are not so different from a plot in a film, especially in action game or thrillers. It’s possible to get that same cinematic feel through a game; the added bonus I feel is that you get more interactivity. I’ll use the recently released game Call of Duty Modern warfare 2. The single player really feels like you’re in a blockbuster action war film and that’s exactly the feel I expect the game developer were intending. Ok so The story is still set and you still have to walk through the same door to activate the same cut scene to see the same scripted sequence but the fact your there playing alongside the characters in the story is what makes for me, single player stories so exiting. I love films just as much as the next guy and I get sucked into the story and feel real emotions for the characters but playing through the story as one of the characters is really rewarding. It amerces you more. Another example I can think of was when I was a little bit younger I remember watching 007 Goldeneye. I loved the film and at that age it had everything I could have wanted in an action film. Big explosions, car chases, good guys and bad guys all the ingredients for a good film. Then I got my hands on the game for the N64. As you may know it’s a legendary among N64 lovers and it was a revolutionary title. But the story played a big part in it success. Being able to play as James Bond and complete the missions from the film and interact with the same characters was just amazing. I’ll admit that not all games need story lines in order to get good but it helps. Even driving games can have story line elements in them. If I remember correctly, Need for Speed Most Wanted had your character go after a guy that won your car in a race of you and you had to win it back. To do so you needed to go through an array of other characters to build up to the main guy. It screams cliché but if felt winning the cars in the game instead of earning money to buy them like in most games was a nice change from the norm.