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Re: Poll ideas?

Erik wrote:
> >
> > I don't exactly agree about the "game design ability" - I don't think there
> > are enough *experienced* games designers out there.  There are a lot of
> > non-programmers who'd like to see their ideas implemented for little
> > effort on their behalf - but that's certainly not the same thing.
> >
> beat on 'em with a stick enough, and they'll start producing documentation.
> These people have ideas, and enthusiasm, they just don't realize the importance
> of very strong documentation and communication. Were someone experienced to
> take one of these idea spitting kids under their wing and kinda give them
> shoves in the right direction, they may flourish as designers. Since most
> programmers willing to take on a larger scale project have experience iwth the
> documentation, the programmer can assume this mentor role and kick the kid in
> the arse. We have experienced programmers, we have enthusiastic kids. It's
> theoretically a simple process to create a good game designer. :) Plus if one
> of these guys gets the attention of an experienced developer, they're likely to
> listen. Initially attracting capable developers can be a real pain, and if they
> lose one, they might not find another.

About 6 years ago I wrote a game for dos, with a friend I was living
with at the time. He had very little computer experience, but I needed
someone to muck around with the maps and images while I did the "hard"
bit. I taught him all he needed to know, and added to the tools any
feature he requested. Very quickly he was producing great maps and tiles
(it was a 2d gauntlet style game) and I was watching over his shoulder
to see how he did it - I even put some features into the map editor to
make it easier for him to do what he was doing (things he didn't even
realize the computer could do for him). 

He started coming up with game design ideas because he wanted to do
something different in his new levels. At least half of the tile
attributes (controlling the effect on a character when collision occurs)
that were in the game he came up with. We used to play through the game
from start to finish (about 2 and a half hours in cheat mode) and list
off the levels as we go through (my level/your level) - invariably his
were all the best levels.

He just seemed to have the patience for it. As mentioned in Steve's
mail, he seemed to know where to position the bad guys, where to put the
power-ups and the difficult bits, etc, etc. I could teach him all the
theory of game/level/image design, but he could actually do it.

I think taking a designer under your wing is a good idea, but it is
difficult if you don't know them (over the net only I mean). Getting
support from programmers to the random "I've got a game idea, and I need
someone to write it " types is difficult. (we all know we hate those
types ! ... but that was probably my friend at one stage)

Someone else I would like to work with, is unfortunately computer
illiterate - He screams out for help when he presses the wrong letter in
a text editor - but his artwork is unbelievable, and he likes computer

In the future I may be able to get him involved, though I'm not sure if
free projects are his thing.

> College campuses are probably good places to recruit graphic artists. The
> internet is probably a BAD place to recruit them, unfortunantly. Those savvy
> with computer tools (photoslop, 3Ds, lw) may frequent certain places on the
> internet, but they aren't the same places we keep eyes on. If we develope a
> strong artist section, we may be able to draw some of them, and provide a
> single place that both artists and programmers moniter. That's probably a good
> way to enlist the aid of artists. Another would be to invade their areas and
> try to kidnap them :) I don't know what works and what doesn't, I don't think
> any of us do. But I think we need to figure it out if quality open source video
> games are going to be a reality on superior OS's. :)

Surprisingly in my computer science course there are many computer
programming illiterate people, who are good with music or graphics. High
school kids who think it would be cool to learn assembler - then I start
listing processors I've written for and their jaws drop (!) I was hoping
to get some sort of free software movement started there, but most of
these guys are very money oriented, and generally work on fancy hello
world programs (? oh to be young again !)

With a film degree you'd think I'd have artistic ability, but no. I
don't. Oh well.

Bye - Joel.

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