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Re: Poll ideas?

Steve Baker wrote:

>> concentrating around the two or three best games, correction, game
>> *engines*. The engines that produce good quality output and, even more
>> important, that let them realize their visions best, the engines that offer
>> the most possibilities, the most useful hooks for added functionality, the
>> ones that are most extensible, the ones whose (?) behavior can be modified
>> most.
>I guess so - but the point about freeware games is that they can (in essence)
>change ANY part of the game behaviour because the programmers are sitting
>there waiting to be told what fancy features the artists need.  If an
>Perhaps that's a message that is not well understood.

That's IMO a big reason, yes. But it's by far not the only one. People
(artists) want to be able to play around immediately when they have That
Cool Idea. They don't want to wait for the coder to implement features X
and Y - they want to look a bit around, see function X, get that Heavenly
Inspiration "Hey - you could do Z with that - if there's a hook for Y
somewhere ... Ahh, there it is. Cool" and "artistrate" away.

Similar situation (taking your kart game (which I actually don't know
anything about) as example again): Some artist sees the game, thinks "well,
these models are not exactly great - I could do much better" and looks for
infos on how to replace the models with his own (or add his own). Question:
how long will that take him (without mailing you for help)? How complex are
the instructions? Is it a simple
1) Make the model in your favourite modeler
2) convert it to my kart format with the accompanying model2kart tool
   (usage: model2kart <infile>)
3) copy the resulting <kartname>.kart to models/
4) add a <kartname>.desc description file (plain ASCII text, look at the
other .desc in there for the (extremely simple) structure)


Of course it's easy to say "add all the features artists need" without
knowing what artists need, but I think it's important that the games *do*
provide these features (the extra mailing list is very interesting in this

What about this: I know a (really) good Quake multiplayer map designer
living nearby. I'll contact him today, meet him (not neccessarily today) and
interview him about what he expects from his tools & game engine, what he
dislikes etc. From that I'll assemble some "wishlist" doc.

I'll also contact sunsite to set up the mailing list (the general consensus
seems to be that this is a Good Thing) [and perhaps I can convince that
mapper to subscribe there].

Then we all assemble some "Game coders seeking the help and input of
artists" article targeted towards artists (main message: we want to make
stuff for you, but don't know what you want), post it on our site and tell
the major artist and game mod sites to link to it, hopefully filling the
new mailing list with people.

However, there's some things that need to be made sure beforehand:

- We're talking about how we're just waiting for artists to tell us what to
implement. Now if they *really* tell us their whishes - how readily will we
*actually* sacrifice our spare time and code that up? If the thing takes of
there will be feature requests to keep us busy until doomsday.

- Are we willing to listen, to write real "whishlist" documents containing
the individual snippets that came up on the mailing list and to keep these
documents up-to-date?
Are we willing to listen to issues that are not as immediately
interesting to us as other topics (sound and background music for example)?

- Are we willing to spend the time on that mailing list, even with artists
that are not really computer literate, that ask stupid questions, that only
know Windows etc? Are we willing to engage in polite discussion with these
and, where neccessary, "take them by the hand" (like Joel described)?
Note: Of course I don't think all artists are like that. I even think
that most of them are really nice and intelligent people. But it's
nevertheless important to realize that there *will* be some "talented
whiners", and that there often *is* some cultural difference between them
and us.

(well, actually the order of these points should be reversed...)

Christian Reiniger
Coordinator/Coder, PenguinPlay (http://sunsite.auc.dk/penguinplay/)
Coordinator,       LGDC        (http://sunsite.auc.dk/lgdc/)

Hiroshima 45 .. Tschernobyl 86 .. Windows 95

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