Global Game Industry News Blog

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Not Just 'Filling Up' a Console, Overflowing It

This article is a little old, but still good. I saw it linked on the Gamewatch forums. It got me thinking to something that I've been wondering about for a while now. Game development on consoles is something that I've been particularly interested. For many reasons, but one of those reasons has been the drive for developers to use every aspect of a console, to push it to do things it was never meant to do. Not only is it hard for indie game makers to develop games for these new consoles, it's hard for them to really push those new consoles to do anything new. Think back to Super Mario Bros. versus Super Mario Bros. 3. There was something very impressive about how far the graphics had come, on the same system. The same is true for the PS2, no matter how old the system is, it can be pushed to do new things. If we're struggling to just fill up these new consoles, how can we push them beyond their intended limits?

It's not just about adding verts or increasing texture counts. There something more about pushing the hardware. Why did God of War do so well? Well, it looked good, but the game-play pushed our ideas of what games could do on the PS2. Doesn't every really great game do this? This is really why so many people are excited about the Wii.

Why there are no indie video games. By Luke O'Brien
For today's indie developer, a safety net is just as important as a good idea. Stardock, the company behind the hit PC strategy game Galactic Civilizations, gets most of its revenue from sales of office software. Other indies make deals with the government to work on defense technology then plow these funds back into game development.

Why should gamers and industry bigwigs care if it's tough for the little guy? Because back when games were cheaper to make, the independents came up with the ideas that moved the business forward. Richard Garriott peddled Ultima, the first major role-playing title, in plastic bags. Sid Meier's Civilization and Westwood's Dune II cracked open the strategy genre. Id Software's John Carmack and John Romero created the pioneering first-person shooter Doom. Will Wright gave us SimCity and open-ended "sandbox" simulations.

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