Wednesday, 19 November 2008

How to avoid Crunch times?

Crunch time is the consequence of a bad planning. To make a development schedule is a difficult task, that's why is important to have experienced persons in charge of this. The most common error is to be too ambitious, a good plan should be realistic and fit with the resources.

Why avoid crunch? The final quality of the game depends mainly on the employees. If their morale is not high, are stressed or their minds are not refreshed the result in the game will be more bugs and less fun.

If, after all, the crunch time is inevitable, is important to make sure that the team has all it needs. Respect and support are welcome in these difficult days, all the team should help, and the bosses should be the first ones to work. At the end of the crunch, the team waits for a reward for the effort, days off or pay the extra hours are the basic ones.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Can a good game sell without marketing?

I think no. Of course a good game without marketing will sell more than a bad game without marketing, but the quality of the game is not the major sell factor. In the past maybe it was but now there are other considerations more important than the game quality.

An example of this is Gears of Wars, one of the most mediocre games I have ever played and one of the greatest sell hits on Xbox360. The sequel is already out, only one year after the first one, and is selling even more. For sure there will be more and more sequels, innovation doesn't sell. I think the game reviewers should be harsher with these kind of super productions.

Who is the responsible of this situation? The publisher? The developers? The distributors? The game reviewers? I think that the first culprit are us, the people who buy these games.

Which is the future? Digital distribution is already here to save us from the sequels invasion. The developer is free to create and sell the game directly to the gamer, the publisher is not needed anymore. The result is that in the future We'll have macro productions in physical distribution with the last technology and graphic advances, and based on very knows IPs ; and then We'll have small fresh games based on new ideas and gameplay distributed in digital format. What are you going to buy? I bet for digital distribution.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Are video games Art?

Video games are Art as Cinema is an Art, no one can't deny it. Video games have it own language as many other arts, and it's necessary to know and study this language to analyse how the art of the games works.

Games are also an industry, as many other arts, that means that the money can influence in the creation of the game. But this have occurred in all the arts, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, comic or cinema. The comparison with cinema is unavoidable. Both are new arts focused on entertainment. At the beginning, cinema was not considered an art, like video games, was something only to entertain. Now, everybody talks about cinema as an art. We can see the art language in every single film, even in the worst ones. However we don't say that all films are artistic, there are bad films made without any sense or intention to create art. That occurs also in video games, and even more, because many developers are not interested or don't know how to use the video game art language.

How to identify a game with art values? When you are playing, you know it, you feel it. It happens the same with a film. But to develop this internal antenna you have to play many games or see many films. You start to analyse the gameplay and the puzzles as a movie critic analyse the shots or the sequences. Mario Galaxy is the last artistic game that I have played. It's a masterpiece of video game development and it will be remembered in the future as one of the greatest work of art in video games.