Game Development is a Craft
I was on a pretty good talk yesterday, including +Rami Ismail
from Vlambeer, Anders Westin from Might & Delight, +martin pichlmair
from +Broken Rules
and +Helmut Hutterer
from Socialspiel. They are all great guys and had a lot of interesting things to say. One of which i find very important to understand for anyone interested in game development: It is a craft.
Once you understand that, it becomes a lot clearer what to expect from game development. In a craft you are creating a work with your skills and tools. But what you do has often little to do with what you create. Playing tons of games does not make you a good game designer. Working on a lot of games and understanding their inner mechanics does.
So there are two sides to a game: The one the player is playing - doing a lot of cool actions and things that are really entertaining and fun. And the one the game developer is creating - figuring out complicated mechanics, balancing systems and working on the game logic. As you can see, these are quite different things to do. Note 1)
Start developing a game based on a mechanic, not base on a story.
Knowing this, the next thing is easy to understand: You learn from failing a lot. Even though creating games is a craft, there is no simple way to learn how to make them. There are two main reasons for that: the technology, skills and tools change very fast and there is simply now definition of what a game is or can be - people always expect new things.Note 2)
Failing is your best teacher
So why would anyone want to do this? Because creating games is an artform. Most game developers will tell you that they do it because they feel a urge, need, passion, idealism, force, drive and lust to create games. When you are a game developer you basically breath, eat, drink, sweat and piss games 24/7. And many game developers even come from the arts - they are artist from their heart and soul. Note 3)
Passion is your drive
I think with this in mind, creating games becomes a lot easier. You learn to focus on the game mechanics and game concepts rather than on the shinny story fun you see when playing games. Interestingly all of the developers on the talk agree that they don´t get their inspirations from other games. They sure look at other games and analyse them, but they look for inspiration in books, movies, artworks, photographs, drawings and such. Which makes a lot of sense, because you want to create something new. Looking at another game only shows you what has been done already. But if you look at a strange graffiti in a subway station, you might think "Damn, that would make an interesting game mechanic. Let´s try this!" Note 4)
Get inspired by things outside of gaming
Thank you for reading this. I´m looking forward to your comments. Please be so kind to share and +1 this post if you enjoyed reading it.
written by [Olivio]