Made By People!

Made By People!

If other videogame media won't cover the people behind the games, we will.

Read Full Article

Hats off to you.

It stuns me how little we know about the people who basically wrote the most important entertaiment of our childhood. I'm looking forward to more information about these people, and hoping for interview series maybe?

It's always good to remember there are people behind these games. The most I usually get is froma game review saying "...and there's Person X who did Awesome Level #5 of Game Y working on this".

More articles like this would be evry nice and as asiepshtain said, interviews would be cool.

And to finish off: Will Wright has a nice jacket in that photo, I want one.

That made me think of what Leigh Alexander is making back at http://sexyvideogamedeveloperland.blogspot.com/

Hey nice article...it would be nice to see more of these coming soon.
We dont get to know much about the developers other than a few guys like Cliffy B or Will Wright.
Looking forward for more articles of thie type...

This is a fine sentiment, as far as it goes; it just doesn't go very far.

Sure; covering game makers more extensively would bring game journalism more in line with reporting on traditional entertainment media.

The problem: games are not traditional entertainment media.

Video games actually require more reporting than movies, books, music, television, etc. To cover video games as if there actually is something special about video games means talking to players.

To my mind, players merit more coverage than developers do, as the former are more creative in their play than the latter are in their game making.

Someday, somehow, game journalism will finally start taking the idea of interactivity seriously, rather than merely imitate the coverage of passive media. Covering developers is a small step forward, but there's much, much further to go.

Ray Huling:
This is a fine sentiment, as far as it goes; it just doesn't go very far.

Sure; covering game makers more extensively would bring game journalism more in line with reporting on traditional entertainment media.

The problem: games are not traditional entertainment media.

Video games actually require more reporting than movies, books, music, television, etc. To cover video games as if there actually is something special about video games means talking to players.

To my mind, players merit more coverage than developers do, as the former are more creative in their play than the latter are in their game making.

Someday, somehow, game journalism will finally start taking the idea of interactivity seriously, rather than merely imitate the coverage of passive media. Covering developers is a small step forward, but there's much, much further to go.

I disagree, it's the job of the creator to consider the viewer, offcourse. But playing games and making games are two completely, totaly, hugely diffrent things.
I want to hear the stories of the people who made the game, the story of the player I already know, It's my story after all.

Edit: Upon reading your post again I notice a point I didn't eariler, you state that player are more creative in play then the game creators are in their creation of the game. I disagree with that as well, Whatever you think of as creative gameplay all happens within a construct created for just that purpose. Where your gameplay truly to 'out-create' the developers vision, the game will simply crash. You are right that in interactive media the content is a calibration between the creator and the user but the scope of the user is defined by the creator, thus the creator is the much greater influnce in my view.

Edit again: ( this is getting longer then I expected, It's an importnat issue to me) Looking back at what I wrote I struggle to agree with myself, It happens. The scope of the experiance is defined by the creator but the width of it is by the user. For example: Valve creates a level in half-life and thinks of a few ways for the player to cross it, lets say 10. Players come along and cross the level again and again, every time a little diffrent, millions of times. All the paths go threw the level created by Valve but the paths belong to the player.
Intresting stuff.

asiepshtain:

Edit again: ( this is getting longer then I expected, It's an importnat issue to me) Looking back at what I wrote I struggle to agree with myself, It happens. The scope of the experiance is defined by the creator but the width of it is by the user. For example: Valve creates a level in half-life and thinks of a few ways for the player to cross it, lets say 10. Players come along and cross the level again and again, every time a little diffrent, millions of times. All the paths go threw the level created by Valve but the paths belong to the player.
Intresting stuff.

Word.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. There's a whole world of creativity out there, and it doesn't get the attention or respect that it deserves.

Ray Huling:
To my mind, players merit more coverage than developers do, as the former are more creative in their play than the latter are in their game making.

What a remarkably self-flattering opinion.

I'll agree that some players show amazing creativity in their play, and that some studio guys show amazingly little creativity in their work, but I'd say you're ruling by the exceptions in this case. Most players are copy-cats, following the lead of either game designers or the few really innovative players, and most game makers do take serious pains to put real art and craft into their work.

In any case, players already get more press than the vast majority of makers... certainly in the blogosphere, and with the advent of "pro" game leagues arguably in the mainstream press. (Save for the stories about how evil game players are destroying our childrens' innocence etc. etc.) I'd be very interested in seeing more about the people who make games, as I have been when the game studios themselves put up articles about their staff.

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:

What a remarkably self-flattering opinion.

My opinion is self-serving, not self-flattering. I've never presented myself as a particularly good or interesting player.

I do tend to focus my reporting on players, rather than developers, mainly because: 1) I think the medium requires this approach; 2) I'm comfortable interviewing many different kinds of people; 3) most games are dreck; 4) a lot of play is amazing.

Anton P. Nym:
Most players are copy-cats, following the lead of either game designers or the few really innovative players, and most game makers do take serious pains to put real art and craft into their work.

I'll agree with the former, but not the latter.

Anton P. Nym:
In any case, players already get more press than the vast majority of makers... certainly in the blogosphere

Let's go slowly here. First, on blogs, games get more attention than either players or game makers.

Second, if players get more attention on blogs than game makers do, it's for two reasons:
1) bloggers lack access to game makers; 2) blogs are ahead of the game.

Anton P. Nym:
and with the advent of "pro" game leagues arguably in the mainstream press.

Hell, no. Neither the mainstream press, nor the professional game press, covers pro players more than they do game makers.

Anton P. Nym:
I'd be very interested in seeing more about the people who make games, as I have been when the game studios themselves put up articles about their staff.

I recommend reading any professional game journalism. You will find endless interviews with game developers.

I kind of wish you were wrong. While reading I was going through all the developers I knew, Cliffy B, Molyneux, Wright, Miyamoto, Kojima, Iwata and um... I couldn't think of any more. I can add a few more if you let me count the guys who do the music(Tallarico and Kondo), but I don't count those as developers.

It is kind of sad that the whole industry ignores the men behind the scenes of the games, beside giving them a credit that will get inevitable ignored at the end of the game.

I would like to see more extensive coverage of the processes of game design in general, rather than just countless interviews with the same personalities, but I don't see how it's possible. Few would be able to adequately describe the concepts they would be required to talk about in an accessible, yet informative manner, and it could evolve into the celebrity-mania that surrounds the film and music industry currently, and the game industry to a certain extent.

The whole idea would just cater to a specialist demographic I suppose, it would be tough to make it have a wide appeal. Would people rather interview the cinematographer or some other technical worker over the director or stars of a blockbuster? The musicians in a popular band or their producer/roadie? Of course, interviews with other people who worked in the production would be of interest to some people, but I'm not sure it would be enough, as the game industry doesn't yet have anywhere near the kind of study built around it that film does.

And pre 1999 Ubi-Soft? You got me there, the first game of their games I played was Rayman 2 which came out in January of that year.

I completely disagree with the importance of one person over the entire team. Just because a person has a good idea (and ask around here I bet you can find lots of people who have awesome game ideas) who lack the resources to assemble a team to make these ideas come to life. If Will Wright or any other of these famous developers were making these games singlehandedly then you would have a point. When you are using 100+ people to take your idea and bring it to life and then you get all the credit because you were the guy with the idea it hardly seems right.

The reason we don't see more information on game makers is because video gaming lacks an application of auteur theory. (For more information, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auteur_theory is a good start.) In short, auteur theory states that the director of a film should wield almost total control over a film in order to put a strong emphasis on his own personal vision.

We should ask ourselves if this is even possible in video games. The main strength of film, after all, is that it is linear and discrete when consumed - only what is released, in the order in which it is released, is seen by the audience. In a video game, of course, the content seen is generally highly dependent upon the actions of the player (and in some cases, chance). Let us also consider that most of what is captured by the camera is just that - existing objects (actors, environment) captured, not created. The video game, unlike the film, must be wholly created. Because of this demand for content, the scope of what must be controlled may well be outside of the capabilities of a single person, thus limiting the force of a game creator's vision on a film. Critics of auteur theory basically said the same thing about modern film - there are too many cooks in the room to claim one person did everything that came out of the pot. Perhaps older games, with less code, were closer to auteur theory. I think it's also arguable that some designers, like Jonathan Blow (Braid) and Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid) fit nicely into a budding video game auteur theory because of their distinctive styles and level of creative control.

If game design does not include auteurs, then why exactly would a reader want to know about a designer? This isn't dismissive of gaming, it's a serious question. If a player cannot isolate an aspect of a game which is attributable to the person being interviewed, then I think they have little reason to identify with those people in the game development process. The work each person does in the development of a game is interesting and challenging, but the same could be said about car manufacturing. In order for game designers themselves to be interesting to players, rather than just their games, we need to understand what they in particular add to a game that one of their counterparts would not. The developers that we want to hear about are the developers whose magic touch we can identify.

-Tommy Rousse

I'll mirror the sentiment above and say great article. Many of the faces behind the best games of this era are virtually unknown, and I hope to see more articles like this.

Archon:
Publisher's Note: Made By People!

If other videogame media won't cover the people behind the games, we will.

Read Full Article

That's so weird that they don't...
I never thought of it like that before...

Archon:
Publisher's Note: Made By People!

If other videogame media won't cover the people behind the games, we will.

Read Full Article

Hear hear! I agree that needs to be more about the people behind the games as well and not just the company tagline "created by EA" etc... Do you think that its because it takes so many people to create a AAA game now a days that the individuals get lost in the crowd? I mean I know who Robyn and Rand Miller are because they were two of the 5 or so people who created MYST.

Or is it because they aren't allowed to talk about the game? I know so many artists who are working on some great things that they just aren't allowed to talk about. Even AFTER the game is released.

Perhaps video games are considered "throw away" entertainment. They don't get the "art" label on them as of right now like say a serious Spielberg or Kurosawa or Hitchcock etc..film does. Is there even an audience for such a title? Im not sure yet. Perhaps video games are still too new. Maybe in 10-20 years?

I can say that there is a bit of a following in the art community and the art side of things. I know if I hear about certain concept artists working on titles that I am more apt to take a look at the title. But even then. I bet if I did a poll in the forums that asked "What titles have Andrew Jones or Jason Chan or Coro worked on" that Id get a ton of "who the hell are they?" responses.

Yes there are a few well know by name people, but there definitely needs to be more.

ok enough of my incoherent rambling lol

This article was a nice change of pace. Definitely a step in the right direction.

Regarding the argument of reporting on developers vs. players... who cares? If a player has done something amazing that the developers never even fathomed, let's hear about it. If a developer went against the design document and offered something new to Will Wright to ponder that made it into the final game, let's hear about it as well.

What I'd like to see happen is that the real stars of game development get some recognition and in the process maybe game development will take a step back from 100+ man efforts and lean towards small cores of talented developers where ideas are fully explored, feature lists are refined down to the essentials, and games really begin to resemble artistic expressions. I have this romantic notion of "garage band" development groups that I think has merit over the current industry norm.

ShadowKirby:
That made me think of what Leigh Alexander is making back at http://sexyvideogamedeveloperland.blogspot.com/

Thanks for sharing that link. Really interesting concept. It's unfortunate that some of the entries are uninspired (wasted opportunities, in my mind), but the concept is gold. Too bad that the effort has been abandoned for some time.

Perhaps a better format for entries would have been a simple and consistent questionnaire, like most proud contribution to a game, most memorable gaming moment, biggest "oh shit" moment in development, etc. instead of the single, arguably boring, tag of "why I'm a gaming rock star". Oh well, nobody is as perfect as me.

I kid. ;-)

I think the general idea behind this story is a good one.

With today's games though, very few single individuals have the level of impact mentioned in this article. The 50-200+ person game teams involved in today's AAA titles would definitely have something to say about one person claiming they "single-handedly" affected a point or more shift in the title's review.

Equally so, a book like ShaderX is a collection of articles contributed by a number of industry veterans. Engel edits that book versus actually writing it. I'm sure the contributors feel strongly about that difference.

There are loads of interesting people and stories behind the development of these games that we love. However, those points of interest and credits with them need to reflect what they've personally done instead of taking credit for the efforts of numerous people.

Archon:
Publisher's Note: Made By People!

If other videogame media won't cover the people behind the games, we will.

Read Full Article

Good article!

And yes, this is a huge problem with the industry. Too many developers seem to prefer to keep their games and the people behind them anonymous, giving them none of the credit they deserve.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here