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    Question Care to help my research?

    Hi, my name is Tim van der Rest, I'm 17 years old, and I've been lurking around for quite a few years, and even posted a little, now and then.

    Anyway, I'm in middle school/ high school in The Netherlands, and I'm doing my thesis about Video Games and Art, or more specifically, the developement of the visuals in gaming.

    I'll discuss the technical advances, the discussion 'Are games art?', and some other things as well, but also certain trends that have appeared over the history of videogamedesign ( as in characters, environments and, overall themes ) and that's where I could use a little expert help.

    So if any pro's out here could help me out, maybe with an interview of some sort, or just a reply with your thoughts on this would be great!

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask!


    Thanks,

    Tim van der Rest/ Limo

    Last edited by Limo; September 23rd, 2008 at 03:47 AM.
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    Zaxser is offline Steph Laberis Fanboy Level 6 Gladiator: Provocator
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    I'm going to take my finger off the snark button for a second.

    To answer your question, Duh. (Yeah)

    Also, these things rarely turn out well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaxser View Post
    To answer your question, Duh. (Yeah)

    Also, these things rarely turn out well.
    My question was help from professionals out there, and I don't see how you would answer such a question with yes or no. I think you mean the 'Are games art?' bit, but yeah, guess you didn't read the whole thing?

    And I know this may be quite an overambituous subject, but it's the only thing I can put so much time into without getting too bored.

    But thanks for the reply anyway!

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    Zaxser is offline Steph Laberis Fanboy Level 6 Gladiator: Provocator
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    It's not so much your project: It's a free country and you can do as you please, but expect a lot of people to post a lot of "Do your own homework."

    I think seedling and another pro were nice enough to give an interview last time around (maybe a whole moth ago?) You could find it by using the search button.

    If you're even vaguely interested in gamer culture you should know game genres, have an idea of the demographics that play them, and the content of most big production games. You could do a google for blog posts about the whole softcore/ hardcore gaming demographics, console rivalries and a ton of other popular topics. No professional is going to be more helpful that good old fashioned google; and as helpful as many of them are, none of them know where your interests lie.

    Last edited by Zaxser; September 23rd, 2008 at 04:02 AM.
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    It's not so much my interests as much as I am trying to get an objective view of gamedesign history, and I do use google and any other methods I can to get my information, including asking those who are actually in the gamedesing industry. To me that seems like a logical thing to do.

    But thanks for telling me about the interviews, I'll try to find them!

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    The major developments(shaders, normal maps, real-time shadows, ambient occlusion, physics engines, etc...) have been in the last 8 years really. Wiki around a bit but that should give you an idea where to start.

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    games are art. but the bigger question, are they healthy?

    Last edited by TASmith; September 24th, 2008 at 03:12 AM.
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    Maybe it's not clear right now, I'm here for the actual design bit, not the 'Are games art?' or technological advances bit.

    I'm here to ask you, preferably the pros, what you consider to be/have been trends in videogame design, throughout videogame history, and by that I mean characters/vehicles/environments/overall style and theme/maybe narrative.

    I'm sorry if my previous explanation was so terrible, I had my mind elsewhere


    Thanks for your replies!

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    There isn't a distinguishable trend, games run the gambit and always have. Games are pushed in to new realms by new technology, not by popularity.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    DF, you mean Gamut, not Gambit.

    Limo, Art is not a technical word. It's meaning is based on what people think it's meaning is. Therefore Video Games are Art or are Not Art, depending on who you are talking to.

    Clearly, many or most of the skills that go into making a video game are widely considered to be Artforms. How any product can be the result of the combination of a bunch of different artforms and not be art itself seems a rather silly idea. But there are arguments that can be made. But they're complicated arguments and some of them are politically motivated, and possibly outside the scope of a high school class.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    I just wanna say that i agree with Kev and to say that art in games is also art that communicates with the viewers.I tell that cause its a new "standar" about art.For example a sign on the road is nothing, but when i put it in a exhibition it becomes art.
    I will not tell anything more cause i am not a pro working on game industry(ok i am working but as freelancer and without being in a studio)i hope you will find soon a pro pro to help you add more info on your work

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    Greetings Limo! I make games for a living, and every time I hear the question “are games art?” I want to defenestrate myself. Who cares? And even if they care, why should I care?

    Yeah. . . everyone has their own personal definition of “art”. While there may be game artists who feel strongly one way or the other, I find the question to be as dull and irrelevant as the question “how much wood could a woodchuck chuck?”

    Trends in game art? Increasingly bigger paying audiences plus increasing technology plus increased audience expectations equals larger art teams staffed by increasingly more specialized artists resulting in games that don’t necessarily have more art, but that have much higher quality art. Or, at least, more detailed art with more moving parts, bells and whistles, and fidgety widgets.

    Wait. . . are you asking about game art, or game design? Game design is the rules and plot of the game. It’s the “fun” part. The art is the “pretty” part.

    Pardon me if I’m sounding disjointed. . . I should take a nap. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    I think a good point to the essay might want to clear up the ambiguous phrase "are games art?" Parts of them are artistic, the finished product usually should have some kind of artistic aesthetic to draw people in, but programmers who are a big part of any game development team, deal with something that's fairly mathematical.

    Art makes a game look better, but whether or not the finished product is art is hugely debatable. Some games work that don't have much attention to art, like old school nintendo games or tetris, but nice art that is well thought out can really help the game. Though just because a game has amazing art doesn't mean that it's any good.

    Anyway, i'm going on a tangent but i hope maybe something i said was usefull, my honest opinion is that games let people express themselves artistically and can have an overall strong art aesthetic but whether or not they are simply art is hard to say because that question "Is <insert anything here> art?" causes debate wherever it's tossed around.

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    actaully I think seedling had a really interesting point that might be something you would like to explore

    Game design is the rules and plot of the game. It’s the “fun” part. The art is the “pretty” part.... Concept is what ties them together. and is sometimes the very most difficult part.

    it sounds to me as if you are trying to explore historical trends in game concepts.. a big and complex subject. and concidering what may or may not be the scope and time restraints of your project, you might want to narrow it down to something a little more managable.... there have been doctoral theses written on the subject.
    up to you.. but once you decide what you are looking at....it will make the writing and asking questions much easier....
    you gotta learn to ask the right questions... then of course you figure out that by having the knowledge to ask the rigth questions you have , in essence discovered thatthe answerts are by and large not nearly as important as the questions.

    welcome to the socratic method

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    Thanks for your responses! They're very useful so please keep them coming ;D

    @Seedling, i agree wholeheartedly (sp?) on the 'Are games art?' bit, it is boring, and extremely subjective.. On that second part though, do you think that more and more people getting into the vg business could also have that impact, an by that I mean the huge teams games are made by nowadays?
    I think that such a fact could eventually be worse for games, making them too cluttered/detailed.
    And I mean Game Design, but not Gameplay Design, so I guess you could call that game art or as chaos puts it, concept.

    @chaosrocks, you hit the nail right on the head, thank you for understanding! And as I've said, I know it just might be a little too wide of a subject, but I think I can make it work, at least I'll be able to put in the minimum of 80hours of work ;D
    I only really started working on this thing today, and I hope/think that by the time I'm able to make this into something substantial I'll be able to ask the right questions, so thank you for this very much needed enlightenment, I tend to lose control/order/focus when taking on important schoolwork like this ;D

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    Not a pro, but an occasional player

    I loved Space Invaders. I could go round the clock for 10p. It was a great waste of time and I never thought about the art. A game is only as good as the fun it is to play. Now I like the Wii and it’s not because of its art, but because it’s fun to play. I enjoy watching the kids chainsaw each other in Gears of War, but I don’t think the art is the reason – carnage is brilliant whatever it looks like. Grew up with Chinese films of zombies rising from the grave with tongues hanging down to their ankles, head getting lopped off left, right and centre. They were bad films and I had to read the subtitles, but like good games they were fun. When art takes over the game, the game loses; it should compliment it without being a reason to play it. Guitar Hero is fun to play and the art is only in the side, not dominating the play.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limo View Post
    On that second part though, do you think that more and more people getting into the vg business could also have that impact, an by that I mean the huge teams games are made by nowadays?
    The games industry wouldn’t have the money to hire these giant teams of artists if there weren’t great demand for the art. The sorts of games that can be produced by one or a few people rarely sell for as much or as many copies as do blockbuster games.

    Though here is an interesting exception: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Crashers

    Quote Originally Posted by Limo View Post
    I think that such a fact could eventually be worse for games, making them too cluttered/detailed.
    Bingo! Although you will rarely meet an artist who agrees with this statement, art is not necessary to a game. Consider chess. The design of the game – the rules – are the same no matter if the pieces are made out of rocks and twigs, or hand-crafted out of gold and diamonds. The game is not made more by having prettier pieces. The artistry of the game pieces simply makes a more attractive object sitting on the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by Limo View Post
    And I mean Game Design, but not Gameplay Design, so I guess you could call that game art or as chaos puts it, concept.
    If you want to discuss the industry, you should make sure to get the terms correct. The jargon has specific meaning within this industry. “Game design” has very little to do with art. “Concept”, or rather “concept art”, has very little to do with game design. Though I have to add to that, if those two things aren’t developed very carefully with one in support with the other, then the entire project (game) is likely to fly off of the rails and be a miserable failure.

    The words “design” and “concept” generally aren’t used alone, because they are so ambiguous.

    It would be really nice, and very useful to the industry, if game design and art (not just concept art, but all of the art that goes into a game) overlapped more frequently. However, artists are often hindered by a mindset of thinking that the art is more important to the game than it actually is, and game designers are often hampered by an inability to make raw, fun ideas visually attractive. Until those two people can be combined into one, a lead game designer and a lead artist have to be locked together in a room until they learn to play nice with each other.

    I would ramble more, but the baby is demanding attention. Cheers!

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    I just want to go into this question: "what you consider to be/have been trends in videogame design, throughout videogame history,"

    I'm not a game designer, but I was lucky, or unlucky enough to grow up in sync with the birth of videogames. An essay like this, however informative or fun, is basically just a list. It's got a quick and simple answer. Trends follow technology. So go through the list of platforms and the birth of new gaming models and you have your answer. I'd say more but I have to get off the computer now.

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    Thanks very much guys!

    Very useful, this is ;D
    You're getting me more and more inspired to do this

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    let's see. some major gaming platforms...

    atari 2600
    nintendo
    sega genesis

    Also around this time, the popularity of gamin arcades which are dying out due to new home systems

    Also around this time, the first, dinky computer games.

    Most games for these platforms were side scrolling action adventure, or plane/space ship shooter games, most from an elevation perspective, but some with the Diablo style 3/4 perspective. Highlights were Super Mario Bros, Double Dragon, etc. There were a few RPG games, such as Dragon Warrior for NES, and a few war strategy games, like Shingen the Ruler for NES. Also, games with one stationary setting, like Pong, Breakout, Asteroid, Rampage, and Mike Tyson's Punchout, as well as some that switched between styles like Spy Hunter, Contra, and a couple less conventional games like Spy vs. Spy for NES.

    All these games sucked as far as I'm concerned. Well, except Super Mario Brothers.

    Then Super NES came around, and for me that's the golden age of gaming. Nintendo found stellar artists and composers and made beatifully rendered games that haven't ever really be surpassed. I mean, in level of detail and artistry alone, only games like Diablo 2 have come close, but the Super NES ones were infinately more fun. The mazes of Super Metroid outshine the randomly generated Diablo maps. The music of Super Castlevania outshines pretty much everything before and after. I must've killed every level ten times just to hear the songs. Super Mario World had more secret levels than any game before or since, and combined with the awesome level design and art came excellent play control on the first controller with a button for each finger.

    No controller has ever worked as well on any platform for or since, although many have tried. It allowed for fighting games like Street Fighter 2 to be sensations, whereas all similar games on previous systems were unpopular due to poor play control.

    The downfall of the SuperNES came from the birth of polygon graphics which, I suppose have reached some level of decency in games like Tomb Raider and certain StarWars games. EDIT: I should add the WoW environments are fun to explore and some were really beautiful. But the people move and gesture so quickly and jerkily, and the language that evolved around it... I mean, anyone who's seen the Southpark spoof can see how ridiculous it is. Tomb Raider seems to be Play Stations one saving grace, although I never got into it. All subsequent new versions from Nintendo have been marketing scams to rehash everything. Pretty much every game they make now could've played easily on the N64, and most of the n64 games could've had extra processing power put into the cartridges themselves, as was done on occasion for the Super NES. Can't forget to mention Legend of Zelda, Link to the Past, as an all time greatest game.

    I should also mention Blizzard Entertainments excellent strategy games, and beautiful failures - the Diablo Series. Also MMORPG's sucking up and wasting people's entire lives. Meh. Any questions?

    Last edited by TASmith; September 24th, 2008 at 03:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    let's see. some major gaming platforms...

    atari 2600
    nintendo
    sega genesis
    . . .
    Also around this time, the first, dinky computer games.
    Wot? You're gowing to write off all of those early computer games just like that? they're just as much a part of the history of games as the platforms, *and* they contained a hell of a lot more variety, ingenuity, and intelligence. To name a few stellar games the likes of which weren't seen on platforms: M.U.L.E., Zork, Monkey Island, Ultima IV.

    Limo, if you want a thorough history of games, there are books on the subject that are a lot more thorough and unbiased than what you would get by asking around.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Yeah, where I was the only computer was a friend's commodore. he had some Disney game I think it was called Mickey's Playground. It was neat. At the time it couldn't compare to space ships shooting things or castlevania, etc.

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    Oh, don't forget one of the most beautiful of the early videogames, the original prince of persia. It combined several elements which have rarely resurfaced together in a game:

    1. complex mazes to escape from
    2. good play control, with many different ways to move your character
    3. interesting enemies to face, each requiring different strategy, making the most from simple block and strike actions.
    4. A good sound and look that worked together wonderfully, despite the simple, pixellated graphics.

    I never got a chance to play it through but I loved to watch it. And another thing. Even though you never got to see a 3D perspective to it, and every square inch looked identical, you always had a good sense of place - an awareness of location, through the ingenius use of placing easy to remember features in memorable order, such as gaps, false floors, spikes, etc.

    Alright, now I guess you could quote this, but no plagiarizing kid!

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    hehhehe
    nonon
    EARLY computer games

    Lunar lander played on a machine the size of a house
    we got to shoot klingons too
    I lost interest with Pong!

    To see the world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seedling View Post
    Wot? You're gowing to write off all of those early computer games just like that? they're just as much a part of the history of games as the platforms, *and* they contained a hell of a lot more variety, ingenuity, and intelligence. To name a few stellar games the likes of which weren't seen on platforms: M.U.L.E., Zork, Monkey Island, Ultima IV.
    Couldn't agree more. While they were decades behind in graphics (or lacked graphics), they made up for it with ingenuity, humor, and mystery. You simply had to use your imagination to create the world. I own hundreds of games, and played many of them, but the ones that I remember the most fondly are the ones that you just named. They had a lot more character and content than most modern games which have more flash than substance. Except for few gems like Warcraft, Diablo, Half Life, etc.

    And, yep, they are definitely art.

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    TASmith is offline Registered User Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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    You know, even if you keep this as a "historical" paper, someone should be asking at the end, is it healthy? And that's the bigger question. Whether you write about this or not, be prepared to talk about it. It's going to involve studies in several different directions - health and fitness, psychological harm from violence, time that could've been better spent, etc. There's the defense, "if you enjoy doing it, then it isn't wasted time." That can be explored and debunked, pretty much. There's the question, how to make it beneficial, how much is too much, etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    Yeah, where I was the only computer was a friend's commodore.
    The Commodore was a top-notch game machine! It sounds like you simply didn’t have a good range of Commodore games to choose from.

    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    You know, even if you keep this as a "historical" paper, someone should be asking at the end, is it healthy? ...
    That’s quiute likely irrelevant to the scope of Limo’s paper, TASmith. If he were writing a paper on the movie industry, would you even think to bring up health? It is opinion that games are unhealthy - *your* opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by chaosrocks View Post
    hehhehe
    nonon
    EARLY computer games
    Haha! Wasn’t Zork early? There wasn’t a piece of art in it.

    My dad likes to boast that he was playing computer games before computers had monitors. The memory was punch-cards and the display was a printer! *boggle*

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    TASmith is offline Registered User Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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    "That’s quiute likely irrelevant to the scope of Limo’s paper"

    But it is relevant to the topic.

    There's a pretty wide debate in America about violence in entertainment, including films and videogames. All and all I think America handles it pretty well, and I wouldn't want any more government limits. But one thing about videogames that isn't shared with films is it's ability to become addictive to so many people. Games like WoW are meant to be played non stop, getting in the way of study, work, cleaning, time with family, etc.

    I played that game myself for a long time and it's beautiful... But this isn't just my opinion.

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    Goodness, TAS, go start a new thread.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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  31. #30
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    Red Fleet is offline A collection of red ships Level 3 Gladiator: Catervarii
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    If games are art, then so is CSI Miami.
    In other words, not really.

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