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Article: Five Things I Didn’t Get About Making Video Games (Until I Did It)

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Minor Annoyance, Feb 25, 2015.

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  1. Minor Annoyance

    Minor Annoyance Deity

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    Five Things I Didn’t Get About Making Video Games (Until I Did It)

    This article seems quite relevant to many discussions around here. I copied it over since some might not bother following the link. It may fall on deaf ears but whatev's. At least now there's something to point thems persons too.

    It appears the forum auto edits out profanity so you'll see some missing words, or at least space where they should be, and there aren't pictures or video here so to see the real thing you have to follow the link.

     
  2. Kutuzov

    Kutuzov Prince

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    LOL. Thanks so much for posting that. Believe it or not, I was in the process of preparing a lengthy post to tell folks about my own experiences as a Beta tester with one reasonably large designer group. I wanted to outline some of the ups and downs that are experienced whenever putting together a new game whether that be a new title or an expansion. I've worked a LOT on both.

    Bug fixing is especially frustrating. Beta testers catch and report almost every bug that is reported on Day 1 by the community (I say 'almost' because it does rarely happen that they miss something). But fixing those bugs depends on the coders schedule. They have a whole different set of priorities when it comes to bug-fixing. Some things that you might think are tough are actually easy and quick for them to fix while other things get relegated because they will take too much time to fix, time which they just don't have. They will even admit that certain bugs will NEVER be fixed because it would mean redoing huge sections of the code but that can't be communicated to the community. The simple truth is that they don't have all the time in the world to make the game perfect. They have very strict deadlines and that means they have to make hard choices about what they can fix.

    It's so easy to criticise but not so easy to do. The modders in the community design mods that we can chose to use or not according to our own personal preference. If we don't like the changes they've made, there's no loss. The designers are designing for everyone and their ideas have a much broader audience in mind than just the crowd at Civfanatics. Out here, we're just 'some guy on the Internet' and have absolutely zero responsibility or accountability for any of the changes we demand they make to the game on 'our/this communities' recommendation. If these changes proved to be unpopular, we'd probably laugh at them for being so incompetent as to implement our "stupid idea' What newbs!"
     
  3. Patrick Pelikan

    Patrick Pelikan Chieftain

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    Thanks for the link, interesing read! Never thought about the dev's side and now somehow feel a bit sorry for some of them... (well, not too much though)
     
  4. 4N4C0ND4

    4N4C0ND4 King

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    Very nice read.

    Can be pretty much generalized with any kind of work: as a civil engineer, I don't blame so much the construction workers in my road shutting down my water/electricity supply for a few hours/day since I do the same on a daily basis, and I damn know it's not that easy to avoid it sometimes. ;)
     
  5. Barathor

    Barathor Emperor

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    This one was a good read too which I've stumbled upon while looking for a book on Lua; this thread reminds me of it:

    Game Coding Complete, 4th Ed..

    I believe it's a free on the Google Play store. Read the first chapter to get some insight into the industry (from this author's perspective, of course). I thought I already knew how much hard work goes into games, but I didn't, haha. You can jump to page 14, "The Hard Work", if you don't want to read the whole first chapter.
     
  6. Stringer1313

    Stringer1313 Emperor

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    This was very illuminating.
     
  7. Manannan

    Manannan Prince

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    A good read, but ultimately this:

    A lot of things in life are incredibly more difficult and time consuming than you'd think from the outside looking in. Yea it sucks when people rag on you for not delivering but it's not an excuse for letting something shoddy end up in people's hands, especially when it's your name on the finished product. "I know this wasn't as good as I intended it to be, but it was really hard to pull even this off so can you cut me some slack?" doesn't really fly when people (or worse, banks) are asking for their money back.
     
  8. Barathor

    Barathor Emperor

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    Yes, of course it can be applied to many other kinds of work.

    I added another read alongside the original poster's but I'm certainly not trying to make excuses for Firaxis or the devs. I enjoy the game for what it is right now, but I'm still annoyed at the state of some things within it too.

    Though, I've been down this road before plenty of times and I remain optimistic as I wait for the patches and additional content. Vanilla Civ 5 was a disaster. It also lost its lead designer a few months after release and the doomsayers here were just going wild. If they can eventually take that and turn it into BNW (which I still believe has plenty of flaws), I personally can't wait to see what Beyond Earth transforms into. :D
     
  9. Manannan

    Manannan Prince

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    As I said elsewhere I would really like it if BE got the Ed Beach treatment, having a new set of eyes come in and make things better with an expansion, but I still feel that's quite the outside chance. Unfortunate reality of the situation is that BE is a niche spin-off, not a flagship entry into the series, and that it's probably a lot easier to cut bait and run than try to salvage things (or stick to small vaguely related projects ala starships). Of course, for all we know BE's sales might of shattered their projections and they might be over the moon with how things have gone, but I have my doubts about that. :(
     
  10. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

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    The problem often is that the people in charge of deciding when something gets put out are not the people in charge of actually creating the product. And that issue's all over the place in business/industry.
     
  11. Patrick Pelikan

    Patrick Pelikan Chieftain

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    I agree with this. For me, this is a big problem (well, I guess one that is not solved easy if at all...). I think in a lot of games the devs would have liked to push on, fix bugs, patch things, add content, etc. but the big marketing/finance honchos at the top jjust cut the whole project because it doesn't seem profitable enough... as I'm not working in game dev I have no idea how it actually works between devs and finance, but I guess its the same as in every field of work.
     
  12. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    And even if you plan wisely you suddenly end up with half the dev team getting the flu...

    So, yeah, it ain't easy. :[
     
  13. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    And here we have a classic example that the article refers to.

    You have no idea what Firaxis' internal workings are. Please stop speaking for them.
     
  14. Kutuzov

    Kutuzov Prince

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    Yes, the same can be said about 'most professions' but his article is uniquely focused on the so-called 'experts' when they get on their horses to pontificate on game design. He holds his hand up and identifies himself as one of these people. 'His face is in the video'. Here, we are being told by a fellow 'faeces-thrower' that it is not as easy to design games as we believe it is and he is trying to dispel our ignorance and not attempting to elicit sympathy for 'poor' game designers, in both senses of the term;)

    Games are no longer made by nerds in their mother's sewing room. Now, these studios need big money to make the games we have grown accustomed to playing. The money men are mostly responsible for games being released in 'less than optimal' condition. As long as they get a good return on their investment, they probably don't care what 'a bloke posting on Civfanatics' thinks. They don't read these boards, and they likely don't play these games either. The guys who DO care and DO read posts here get the faeces thrown in their direction. I'd imagine almost all of them would LOVE to have an extra 6-9 months of time to 'finish' their product.
     
  15. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Making movies isn't easy either. Still I'll criticize the bad ones whether it's due to the director or the marketing department I don't care.

    To me this sounds like a variant of the "you wouldn't do better" which is a moronic argument.

    It's not necessarily easy, but it isn't an excuse either. I'll grant that throwing insults and calling people idiots isn't the smartest thing to do though, yes and I'll feel sympathy for the guy that would have done better without the negative influence of somebody else.
     
  16. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Nor did the article say it was, if you read it.
     
  17. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Not the article no.
     
  18. Manannan

    Manannan Prince

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    I beg to differ. We know it was a project headed up by two rookie lead designers, we've been told it was a relatively small team working on it, and it would follow it probably had a budget fit to scale; this screams niche spin-off that isn't going to get the kind of priority of resources and capital a numbered entry into the series is going to get.
     
  19. NASAROG

    NASAROG Prince

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    Why is this here?
     
  20. Victus75

    Victus75 Chieftain

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    You may have information offered to the rest of us publicly, but I disagree that makes you "understanding of Firaxis' internal workings". You may have an opinion, fine. But we don't have the facts.

    Edit: I enjoyed the article. I loved Borderlands 2, primarily because of the writing.
     
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