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Andre Spierings
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Andre Spierings

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"The perfect service-based game is one worthy of your entire lifetime of leisure."

On the radio this morning someone said in relation to sport "People have a need to care immensely about something that doesn't matter". This same drive exists within fans of service based games.

I think the tricky thing with making a serviced based game, is that sometimes you are not using your players time very wisely. You can waste their time by trapping them in your evergreen loop. But in reality, the player is learning nothing practical at all.

I'd prefer to teach people more, while consuming less of their time. I think people should read widely and learn from concise and pleasurable messages. I like play to be meaningful. The longer a player is engaged, the less they are learning from the time they invest.

Digital evergreen hobbies are not necessarily bad. Just like being a football fan is not bad. But it's a shame if these people are missing out on other interesting experiences as a result.

It's nothing new for business models to change the way we consume art. But that doesn't necessarily make it better for the consumer. With games I make, I'd like to try to choose the best model and player investment to deliver my game's value.
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I'm glad someone said this, because this was a thought throughout the entire (excellent) article. What about the players? This could be great for the bottom line, but my 1500 hours in Guild Wars and 800 in TF2 don't speak much for my character years after I've stopped playing. There's something to be said for the non-service games. I think both have their place and while service games may be gaining some well-deserved ground, I don't want to see the day where they're in the majority. I have more memories of Witcher and Dragon Age than my 800 TF2 hours provide.
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Hmmm, I can see the point in terms of language. However, a game will not achieve lasting engagement without good gameplay. Engagement describes whether, how often and for how long you will come back: Good gameplay is why you come back. Gameplay may be great controls and smooth physics engine (FPS), or it might be turns that only last a minute each day and the constant accumulation of points (Facebookville).

I understand that business might talk more about engagement because it is easier to measure - but engagement is a reflection of how good the gameplay is.

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Over the past year I’ve become increasingly interested in discovering a style and understanding what purpose I want my games to have.

I’m not interested in making games that are pitch perfect, but instead in finding a voice that conveys emotion. I want my games to connect strongly with players, touch their souls or move them.

There are better game designers than me when it comes to making systems. And it’s not an area where I feel I can bring a whole lot to the table. I realise the importance of the systems in my games and I try to create interesting systems. But I don’t see this as my niche or identity.

When I play games with good game loops, I feel trapped as a player. I feel I’m wasting my time with a mechanical device that gives me little as a person. I may have learnt how to interact with a system, or my spacial puzzle solving may have evolved slightly. But outside of the game I have developed very few skills I can put to any practical use. It feels like a “waste of my time”. I’m not sure these are the kinds of games that I want children to play.

I want more profound experiences to arrive out of my play. I want games I can reflect on and discover my own meaning in. I want to look at something from a different angle I would not have otherwise seen. Or I want to learn something about myself, or what it means to be human.

If my games do nothing more than make people stare mindlessly at a monitor for hours on end, then I feel that I have failed.

This stems from my need to be highly creative. I came to games to learn a tool that I can use to represent my voice. Instead I’ve seemed to learn what the tool is good at and how everyone else uses it. Now it’s time to break the rules I’ve learnt and start making this tool work for me, rather than be enslaved by its constraints.

Hopefully this results in something meaningful to someone and not just another Skinner box norring way at your time.
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Have him in circles
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