Sunday, March 15, 2009

Term's over. Time for an update.

Been pretty busy with the end of the term but I wanted to find the time to update this blog. Looks like I will be working at two campuses for this upcoming term, so things will get even busier. This term, I had a lot of students turn in some pretty good work. There is a LONG way to go with most of it, but it's nice to see the level of progress being made.

A few weeks back Westwood hosted a Game Legends event in Anaheim. Here is a website with a short clip.

I was late getting there but it started late so apparently I didn't miss much. Below I am pasting the notes I scribbled in my sketchbook:

Westwood Game Art Legends

Q and A / Talking Points

- Help insure the games success by creating buzz about game’s development. This buzz will aid in marketing and create hype for release.
- Games are expensive to make / have high risk factor and the failure rate is high.
- There is no secondary market for games and their shelf life can be very short.
- Experiment with gameplay on multiplatform environments. I-phone SDK is popular. Flash games and web based games are more casual and versatile.
- Focus on ENTERTAINMENT. Fun is always most marketable trait.
- There must be good synergy between creative side and promotional / advertising side of studio.
- Engaging gameplay is NECESSARY but story CAN be secondary. One reason story takes a backseat to gameplay is because gamers don’t usually write very well (LOL)
- Create interesting gameplay by joining SMALL teams of creators making online games ( – in search of “the awesome”)
- Be prepared with design document for game but think about novel approaches. One designer was hired because he brought in board games / dice and PAPER models over the typical boring design doc.
- POKER is the perfect game. It is portable, multiplayer and has “emergent gameplay”. Emergent gameplay is the creative use of a game in ways unexpected by the game designer's original intent. It commonly appears as complex behaviors that emerge from the interaction of simple game mechanisms.
- Website is new calling card for work. Far more important than interview and should be first glimpse of demo reel work. Website should draw audience to artist’s work.
- To make addictive gameplay one must invent a NEED within the game. Simple and elegant gameplay can be most addictive.
- Attend conferences like GDC and DICE
- Perfect employee should be able to learn on the job as well as teach.
- Flash also makes a perfect platform for quickly prototyping games. Multiple iterations of game for testing is key to development.
- Because of rampant game piracy, the model for gaming in Japan is a “pay as you go / pay to play” model. By contrast, games in Europe and the US have a longer shelf life. More games are trying the pay as you play model in order to allow players to BUY power ups or equipment online which would not otherwise be found in the game.
- UNITY technology / games for import / multiplatform.