The Rainmakers

In response to “Be Men, Not Destroyers” from The Escapist Forum: I find I have a need I have a hard time defending. I like gore in my games. I’m not a slaughter flick fan, never had a taste for the lure of disemboweled teenagers. But in gaming I want gore. I want the mess because it reminds me of what’s really going on.

I like to be occasionally reminded hacking at a mostly unarmored, and frequently nearly-naked, human body would result in horrific wounds. We, myself and the game’s own developers, need to be reminded on occasion that underlying the pursuit of perfected violence is death. It’s not a spiritual evolution or philosophical abstract, it’s perfecting the conversion of some cheeky leathervixen into a steaming pile of sundered anatomy.

I love Soul Calibur, but whipping a 25lbs razor-edged slab of steel into someone doesn’t make them bounce. Same with shooters.

I haven’t killed anyone in real life, and despite the occasional vitrolic diatribe driven by some new political shennigan I have no real drive to do so. But every so often I need to be back in touch with what the violence really creates, to be forced to face that I’m tearing at the canvas of humanity’s own image with my brutally quick reticule and snap head-shots.

For all the escapism involved I want to sometimes face what a rifle bullet through the skull really does look like, so I can be sick and glad and move on to the next episode.

– Beretta

In response to “Be Men, Not Destroyers” from The Escapist Forum: I managed to play through the first half of SCMRPG and found it rather … enjoyable, er, informative. I believe that the game does a great job at providing human motivations to the killers’ actions, and I think that by playing them, we even get a better image. Some of the gameplay mechanics were extremely annoying though such as avoiding hall monitors to go plant the bombs in the cafeteria. I also feel that the violence continued on for too long, and I had trouble finding a trigger to end it.

When I got to the second part of the game, I just turned the game off immediately as from the first few minutes of playing in it, I felt it lost all value worth playing.

– Slybok

In response to “Creative Hari-Kari” from The Escapist Forum: So, on the issue of protecting your game, I know a lot of publishers don’t accept unsolicited game proposals, because if elements from the given proposal work their way into other games from that publisher, it would be a lawsuit waiting to happen. Is there a similar fear of misconstrued infringement with (relatively) solicited proposals? And, if so, do you think that this is enough protection for a freelance developer?

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Your article demonstrates that there are publishers who are reluctant to deal with developers who take extra steps to protect their games, but are there publishers out there (no need to name names) who’ll screw over developers who don’t take steps to protect their work? You say it’s more like book publishing than invention; did you uncover any trends about what segments of the industry are more like which model?

– Bongo Bill

Author’s Reply: I do think there is that same amount of fear of semi-solicited game proposals. A few publishers do actively seek game design documents from developers. However, in these cases, the legal agreement that you must agree to when submitting your game states clearly that 1) they could be working on a similar game, and 2) there is no real protection for the game developer. Submitting a design is just telling someone your idea, and there is no kind of agreement or protection (aside from copyright protection) for doing that.

It’s not a lot of protection for a freelance developer. The problem is, I can understand why publishers are so shy of NDAs and such. In many cases it’s just best to avoid legal issues altogether than to get into a fight which involves lawyers. One bad lawsuit at the wrong time could probably sink a publisher.

I think there are a lot of similarities between book writing and game design. By nature both are big, long-term, creative endevors. Though the medium is very different, the role of a publisher is pretty similar (albeit with a few extra hurdles). I also think manuscripts are like unfinished game designs. There are some interesting manuscripts out there, but finding them amidst the drivel is a daunting task.

Unlike books, games allow (require) you to define the means of interaction, which opens up lots of new venues for invention. Books, legally, are fairly simple. You have copyright protection, and that’s about it. Of course, it’d also pretty difficult to disguise one book as another… By the time you’ve done that, you might as well have written the book from scratch. In games, I would say it’s easier to plagarize game mechanics. Tracking down the geneology of ideas or interactions is a pretty daunting task. The controversies over the modern Graphical User Interface which involved Xerox PARC/Apple/Microsoft/etc. would be one example of the kind of conflict an exposed idea can create.

– Blake

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