The Once and Future King

September 11, 2007 at 3:03 am (Musings)

Acclaim is running a competition to recruit a director for an upcoming title. Along with that they are offering anyone who wants a go, a shot at contributing to their current ‘top secret’ project. Whatever happened to running an ad in Gamasutra?

While it’s certainly an ambitious idea, I can’t help wondering whether it’s a good one. It’s not that industry professionals have a monopoly on good ideas, heaven knows they can get it wrong too, it’s just that having seen how little the average gamer understands how games work (a theme I’ve visited before). For all it’s faults there is a lot to be said for the accepted practice of coming up through the ranks and doing your time as a junior member of the team, learning over the course of multiple projects what works and what doesn’t, why bad mechanics are bad and why players react the way they do to certain Pavlovian triggers. Many years ago I was a games developer for a different company. I started off doing donkey work – playtesting, proofreading and so forth while talking to the more senior members of the design team. Over time I came to understand a lot about how games are put together on a fundamental level. I learnt how to spot duff or exploitable mechanics, I learnt precisely why exceptions are bad and how to avoid them through joined-up design. I’m not sure that harnessing TEH POWAH OV TEH INTERNETS to make a game is such a great idea.

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3 Comments

  1. JR said,

    I’d much rather than ran a contest to hire a new web designer.

    Oh snap.

  2. J. said,

    Or, you know, you could just hire a team instead of putting lots of really gullible wannabes to “work” in an unmanaged fashion. This isn’t game development, this is Internet chimpanzees and keyboards.

  3. Flim said,

    I’m not sure it is the chimpanzees and keyboards – that usually requires an infinite number to get anything decent (see meatplace ;))

    This sounds more like “pick one chimp and watch them crash your project”.

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