Global Game Industry News Blog

Monday, August 20, 2007

Game Studies Love/Hate Relationship with Game Development

You know you're behind with blog posts when you've had a tab open in Firefox for nearly a week and a half, with every intention of posting about it, but not having time. I blame my dissertation, which is currently at about 40% completion.

This is an interesting post over on Terranova, which is a site I look forward to reading in the RSS feed. I would say however, that typically they suffer from the regular game studies myopia of "in games" syndrome, where their concerns are focused on the play/use/experience/economics/social issues/etc "in games." I knew at some point that there would be a realization that production is an important aspect of all of that, and despite any arm flailing that I might do would not otherwise convince them. To put it in perspective I've submitted several chapter proposals to collected volumes on "social, economic, etc" approaches to games, and they were completely uninterested in anything to deal with production or industry inter-weavings.

So anyway, "authoring tools" came up, and I see some light. Perhaps it is simply a train barreling down, but I cannot help but think that game studies interest in authoring tools will lead to an interest in tools development, which will lead to an interest in game development more generally.

It's hard to say. You have to get past your Miyamoto/Wright worship for that to happen. Here's to hoping.

Terranova - A Hierarchy of Authoring Tools
In virtual worlds, we've seen some of the pitfalls with user-generated content (problems that have a parallel in Wikipedia). When users are given access to that layer of a virtual world, a few will attack the world as a whole, while others will look to ruin or damage the experience of other users. User-generated content as a whole is also often not quite as appealing or attractive as what authors with the full resources of a developer can create: open-source creativity sometimes generates broad but subtly unsatisfying experiences.
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Doing something similar in the most "open" virtual world environments is a lot harder, or at least I find it to be so. Second Life gives me a lot of tools, but I feel like the learning curve and time demands involved in using them is very steep. Author-oriented non-persistent games like Neverwinter Nights have seemed more demanding to me.

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