Question Of The Week: 2007 Resolutions
January 15, 2007 Page 3 of 3
Bring audio into the creative process at a much, much earlier stage. Audio can drive and make the user experience, but too often developers look at it as simple elements that can be plugged in at the end, especially voice talent. It's not only maddening for those who create the audio, but it also short-changes the title and ultimately the consumers who will buy and recommend it.
And other than habit, there's no reason not to bring composers, voice casters/directors and sound designers in early stage development; the cost of starting the audio process sooner is usually negligible. Make that simple change in process, and developers will make exponentially better games and sell more titles.
-Randall Ryan, HamsterBall
Business models more like iTunes, and many more well-done real time strategy games.
-Michael Lubker, Zeolite Studios
I had to think a bit about this, because just one resolution doesn't cover all the changes I'd like to see. But I think even my bugbears about licensing and sequels vs. original IP could be addressed if this one resolution is adopted: "Have some faith in your players."
Cultural and intellectual standards in games, as in other media, are driven down by a demographics powered race for the bottom. I know there are exceptions, particularly in the indie sector, but they largely just prove the rule. We make brainless games because our audience is deemed to be brainless. It's not true, so let's stop doing it in 2007.
-Mark Brendan, Codemasters
The industry needs to stop emphasizing graphics over gameplay.
-Andrew Pawlek, iBeta
A greater emphasis on the 18+ gamer and more mature-only content.
P: What're we going to want to do this year, Brain?
B: Same thing we want to do every year Pinky - decouple the financing from the publishing of the game.
-Dave Mariner, NDS
To strengthen the game development industry, we must find faith in both business and game design. Business is not the enemy that constricts well designed games but can support and enhance their development. We must find as much passion for business as we do for creativity.
For instance, small studios must pay as much attention to their design of financial models for a project as they do a game design document. Large studios must not shut themselves off from marketing, but integrate themselves into guiding the process with the publishers, instead of avoiding it. IT and HR issues increasingly play larger and larger roles, and we must spend enough time and energy making sure they support a companies vision rather than hampering it. And all must realize there can be as much creativity and vitality for a studio on the business side as there is on the design.
Many, many studios have done one hit game, and then lost money through bad decisions, whether it be bad contracts, underestimating work vs payment, or wretched management skills. The concept that business and games must be combined needs to become integrated enough to filter down to the startups though industry articles, schools and the lore that established developers bring to people just beginning in the industry.
Strengthening the tie between business and creatives has tangible benefits. Better contracts, accurate information piped to designers about demographics, solid predictions of work hours vs dollars spent should lead to an overall increase in profits and a decrease in overall risk. Publishers benefit from a more stable industry, less risk of failure and an increased trust in studios.
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