Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
September 19, 2014
arrowPress Releases
September 19, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


GDC 2012: How designers can increase innovation in their games
GDC 2012: How designers can increase innovation in their games
March 6, 2012 | By Simon Parkin

March 6, 2012 | By Simon Parkin
Comments
    3 comments
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Social/Online, GDC, Design



Game designers have a choice: Spend your professional life trying to make something interesting and new, or spend it creating "shady, derivative crap." This was the pointed message from Daniel Cook, Chief Creative Officer at Spry Fox (Triple Town), in a talk delivered at GDC this afternoon.

"There's a lot more to life than than cloning the work of others and merely adding your own 10 percent innovation," he said. "I want designers to stand up and say: 'I am an inventor!' That way we have a chance to not only make a mark upon the world, but even change it."

Cook estimated that 80 percent of game developers work in studios which seek to copy the successes of other innovators. "But I believe the genres that exists today are the tip of an iceberg that is going to radically revolutionize this industry over the next few decades," he said. "It is an exciting, exciting time. There is so much invention left to be done."

Cook was eager to emphasize the business benefits of invention over re-purposers. "Innovation pays off as it allows you to be first, fastest and to dominate. You have to invent and execute, of course. If you fail to execute then it leaves the door open for someone to come in an take your innovation and establish their game around it as market leader. But there is a magic spot where innovation tied with execution pays off in this industry."

Cook described three phases of the journey towards becoming an inventor. "Game designers usually start off in the 'Apprentice' role, repeating complete patterns. This is valid as a student pursuit. But if you follow this into professional idea, then you become a hack. The second phase is 'Journeyman' where you’re taking ideas that already exits but mixing them in different ways. Journeymen designers are excellent at execution and usually introducing a few new ideas into the process."

"Finally, the 'Master Inventor' is the final evolution, someone who takes ideas from many disparate places, melding them together into something wholly new and innovative.

Cook outlined a number of tools to aid developers in the quest for invention. "Designing from the root is an excellent way to promote invention," he said. "Often, when we begin making a new game, we look to a breakout hit and we wonder how we can improve it. Instead of doing that, go backwards. Reduce the new hit to its absolute new fundamentals. Pick one thing that is amazing about it that you love and have that at the core of what you want to do."

"As you retreat to the root that, begin listing anti-patterns," he continued. "Find a list of things that you are not allowed to do. Existing genres offer easy solutions to existing problems. It's so easy to fall back into those things, but if you deliberately work against them then you increase the chances you’ll innovate in a new way."

Cook had strong words to say against design documents and milestone deliveries. "I hate design documents," he said. "Anyone writing design documents right now: You are wasting your life. Written designs are theories and they become locked in too early. Instead try to use design logs — more like a diary of the design. They look ahead at next few steps, but mainly chart reactions to the theories and builds."

"Iterate with the willingness to change direction," he said. "Milestones are the enemy of innovation. In real invention the goals change. Be open to changing goal posts as you go. That way we have more of a chance to claim that we are inventors."


Related Jobs

Next Games
Next Games — Helsinki, Finland
[09.19.14]

Senior Game Designer
Sparx
Sparx — Exeter, England, United Kingdom
[09.19.14]

Senior Games Developer
Digital Extremes
Digital Extremes — LONDON, Ontario, Canada
[09.18.14]

UI ARTIST/DESIGNER
Cloud Imperium Games
Cloud Imperium Games — Santa Monica, California, United States
[09.18.14]

Technical Designer










Comments


Kartik Subramaniam
profile image
its not that we write documents, but there is no other go cause these developers can't understand what they are working for, this was about INDIAN gaming companies, there would be a time when design who use to write long FAQ and histories stories and levels, look and feel, here in this field most of them think as macho but (for Indian companies) but its like tasting the cake from the icing but the bread of inner fruits in it,

So the point is there was a time when design used to write in paragraphs, now we write in bold points, now in future for these developers i guess the designers would start talking in binary functions or in code language to make them understand these was about the INDIAN companies

now for international, well here i still remember how developers use to make levels by using tiles in co-ordinates of x, y, and z axis in mathematics terms, as engines got developed developers advance at the same point i really admire the work for small world to open world, from bullet penetration to wall fall, from earthquakes to gravitation field etc.. loads but idea do change with develops and designs work together, wish there are fascinating works. ALL THE BEST

Kartik Subramaniam
profile image
well what Daniel Cook said is true but sir that's what happens, the worst part for this industry is from where i come from, no Independent production or respect for creativity, cause of useless developers that i have seen tile date, mos of our game mechanics is ruined because these developers aren't good enough for the programming skills, the best part is that in the name of gaming these develops kills the passion for gaming and fun that i grow up in, its not that we write documents, but there is no other go cause these developers can't understand what they are working for, this was about INDIAN gaming companies, there would be a time when design who use to write long FAQ and histories stories and levels, look and feel, here in this field most of them think as macho but (for Indian companies) but its like tasting the cake from the icing but the bread of inner fruits in it,

So the point is there was a time when design used to write in paragraphs, now we write in bold points, now in future for these developers i guess the designers would start talking in binary functions or in code language to make them understand these was about the INDIAN companies

now for international, well here i still remember how developers use to make levels by using tiles in co-ordinates of x, y, and z axis in mathematics terms, as engines got developed developers advance at the same point i really admire the work for small world to open world, from bullet penetration to wall fall, from earthquakes to gravitation field etc.. loads but idea do change with develops and designs work together, wish there are fascinating works. ALL THE BEST

Harris Javed
profile image
"Cook had strong words to say against design documents and milestone deliveries. "I hate design documents," he said. "Anyone writing design documents right now: You are wasting your life. Written designs are theories and they become locked in too early. Instead try to use design logs — more like a diary of the design. They look ahead at next few steps, but mainly chart reactions to the theories and builds.""

I think I'm misunderstanding something. Is he stating that one should not plan the game's design in its entirety before embarking on creating it because the game's design will be rigid and already decided upon?


none
 
Comment: