Derek Smart Caught Up in Alganon Plagiarism Furor

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Derek Smart and slick PR do not seem to go well together. Bioware were spinning like champion politicians with that fourth pillar stuff so why not try to copy them but I would make up something new like saying that my MMO stands on the firm tripod of loot, combat and tetrominos while existing games have to rest on the shaky bipedal stilts of loot and combat.

@ TheBluesader

"Does this mean that Derek Smart (and others who feel the same way) think gamers are morons who happily drink up whatever hired PR says, as if we can't tell that's what we're reading?"

uhm, yes? And it's called marketing. If it wasn't for PR & marketing, half the games sold would end up in a landfill. Never underestimate the power of abject stupidity.

Well, here's no question that a certain sameness pervades most press releases that hit the wires but this one gets tricky because the quote is directly attributed to Smart. It's clearly a mistake by the PR firm and Smart is taking more heat than he likely would otherwise because he's such a polarizing figure in the industry, which of course is really just a nice way of saying that a lot of people don't like him. His assertion that he's an innocent bystander in all this is probably fair, but "not even news?" That's taking it a little too far.

Say what you want about Mr Smart, but atleast he doesn't go around sueing people for using the word "Edge" (like some person we know all too well about.)

Big frigging deal. He's right, this SHOUDLN'T be news.

nipsen:
..*sigh* haven't heard that name since I used to post on the Particle Systems forum.. I suppose I was hoping I'd never hear it again as well. But hey. Can't have everything.

You're not the only one, I saw the name Derek Smart and it felt like 1998 again, for a second...

Then I remembered I didn't have good desktop in 1998 and was still living with my parents, but hey.

zeroReactivity:

Andy Chalk:

Irridium:
Has it happened here before?

Smart's a member here, and he's responded to at least one post about himself in the past. I wouldn't call it a "blowup" so much, at least not compared to some of the incidents I've seen on Blue's or Gama, but his attitude certainly shone through brightly.

I really don't know what to make of the man. He seems incredibly passionate about videogames and is apparently able to make a decent living developing them for a dedicated but very small, niche audience. But he also seems unable to resist responding to just about everything that's said about him online, and that's when he tends to come across like something of a sociopath. So I dunno.

But like Russ said, it's always entertaining when Derek shows up.

My thoughts exactly. I find his forum behavior fairly shocking, but he does have that Peter Molyneux trait of over-hyping his upcoming and existing games (but even more so) that tends to bait people. I really love his game play ideas, and have tried to enjoy each of his games, but his ambition just outstrips his development team's ability by so much they come out terribly.

Seriously though, if we could get those Battlecruiser games working like they were supposed to... maybe Infinity (www.infinity-universe.com/Infinity) will get there.

The thing that's always bothered me is, at least with Peter Molyneux, the guy seems genuinely friendly. Weird, maybe overcaffeinated at times, but (my impression is) he has a conceptual experience he wants to share with the player. His implementation falls short of his ideas, but his focus is on the player's experience.

Smart on the other hand always struck me as focused on imposing his vision onto the player. You'll play his games by his rules. It's not about the experience, but rather about the rules. And, like Molyneux he falls short of his vision.

Sorry if that sounds weird, that's my perception and it could be completely wrong. But does that interpretation make sense?

Starke:
The thing that's always bothered me is, at least with Peter Molyneux, the guy seems genuinely friendly. Weird, maybe overcaffeinated at times, but (my impression is) he has a conceptual experience he wants to share with the player. His implementation falls short of his ideas, but his focus is on the player's experience.

Smart on the other hand always struck me as focused on imposing his vision onto the player. You'll play his games by his rules. It's not about the experience, but rather about the rules. And, like Molyneux he falls short of his vision.

Sorry if that sounds weird, that's my perception and it could be completely wrong. But does that interpretation make sense?

Yep, I can agree with that on both the personality and game philosophy. Plus (though I've never played any of Molyneux's games) I get the feeling he is more flexible with the final product, and at least sounds like he tries to adapt to people's reactions.

zeroReactivity:
Yep, I can agree with that on both the personality and game philosophy. Plus (though I've never played any of Molyneux's games) I get the feeling he is more flexible with the final product, and at least sounds like he tries to adapt to people's reactions.

The best analogy I can make is a P&P roleplaying one. Molyneux is the kind of GM that really has an overall idea in mind, and wants to convey the story, fuck mechanics, they're there to support the story and the experience. If mechanics are getting in the way of his experience, then they get trimmed down.

Derek Smart is the avid wargammer who's transitioned into simulations. He may have a story in mind (though I'll admit I never cared enough to really find out), but his primary focus is constructing the rules and seeing where the players go within his very focused options. He really reminds me of a guy I knew about a decade ago who was very much in that vein. Finally, Smart (and for that matter the friend I'm thinking of, who was a Smart devote) is incredibly abrasive when he's talking, and thus controversial. Take, for instance, the (alleged) post from him above where he indirectly accuses us all of being stupid.

@ Starke

"Take, for instance, the (alleged) post from him above where he indirectly accuses us all of being stupid."

uhm, hmmm. Sorry, but that wasn't the intent. My point (which I guess I failed to articulate) was that only stupid people fall for marketing and PR speak.

derek_smart:
@ TheBluesader

"Does this mean that Derek Smart (and others who feel the same way) think gamers are morons who happily drink up whatever hired PR says, as if we can't tell that's what we're reading?"

uhm, yes? And it's called marketing. If it wasn't for PR & marketing, half the games sold would end up in a landfill. Never underestimate the power of abject stupidity.

This is true. Do you guys remember that whole weird marketing stunts for the Dante's Inferno game? W/O that PR, most of the buzz for that game wouldn't have existed.

I don't think this is really that big of a deal. I remember reading Bioware's press release cause I am really following the development of the game closely, and the statements are WAY too similar.

However, this isn't really anyone's fault but the PR guys who basically just copy and pasted the same language onto Smart's game. If they had just paraphrased or used a different metaphor nothing would have been said.

End of the day this will just blow over, but it does raise some interesting questions about the importance (or lack therof) regarding PR firms and their statements. In my opinion PR is important, but many times overlooked simply because it's so standard.

zeroReactivity:
My thoughts exactly. I find his forum behavior fairly shocking, but he does have that Peter Molyneux trait of over-hyping his upcoming and existing games (but even more so) that tends to bait people.

I was just thinking that he seemed like Molyneux's evil twin.

The thing is, though, that Peter Molyneux seems to accept the blame when something goes wrong. He generally comes across as rather charming, and genuinely seems swept up and carried away by his passion for games. It feels like that passion is what leads him to over-promise. But he's also created some genuinely amazing work, and certainly more than a few really terrific titles even among the ones that didn't end up exactly as he originally imagined them.

Derek Smart, without Molyneux's charm, has spent a lot of his controversial career working alone... And still seems to act like it's someone or everyone else's fault when the fecal matter hits the oscillator. And if he's created anything that can be described as a well-crafted finished game, I haven't heard about it. Yes, a lot of what Battlecruiser promised sounded worthwhile... If someone who has a knack for delivering polished final code that will work on the available machines was doing the promising.

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