Monday, August 11, 2008

One of the tragedies of being a game developer is
a) having technical limitations that are beyond your control come up during development,
b) seeing those limitations totally munt your work,
c) getting resented for it by your publisher, who secretly believes that technical limitations are a fiction purposely devised by developers to weasel out of delivering features, then
d) at the end of the process getting slammed by game reviewers who shame you publicly all over the interwebs for being an incompetent dipshit.

(Needless to say, this is a frustration shared by all types of content developers within game development: designers, artists and sound designers.)

To give one example, character limitations shit me. If I ever met a character limitation on the street I would go up to it and punch it in the face.

I worked on a game once where the character limitations were such that every single word in the UI text had to be abbreviated and to the point of incomprehensibility. It didn't help that these words were English words that were abbreviated by French UI artists.
"Cha. the bra."
"Fl. tr."
To which my reaction was "wh. th. fu.?!"

If you're trying to make a game that features story and character, text limitations that mean you spend 10% per cent of your authoring time on story and character development and the other 90% of the time cutting your text down to a size that can be rendered on screen, thereby screwing any semblance of character or story or nuance out of the game entirely. Your game text becomes so terse and ugly that the player walks away from the game convinced that its designers are heartless bastards who talk in incomplete sentences and torture kittens in their spare time.

For example, supposing you wrote a piece of text for your game like this (it's not from a real game, I just made it up now):

"The Fairy Queen of the Midnight Glen needs your help! She has lost her five magical Fairy Wings somewhere in the Dark Forest! Wherever could they be? She asks that you ride your Enchanted Fairy Carriage to the forest to search for her wings. Once you have found all five, return them to the Fairy Queen so that she might fly once again and light up the midnight sky with her luminous fairy magic!"

After cutting this down to meet your technical limitations you're left with something like:

"Go to
Dark Forest and find 5 Fairy Wings. You Cunt."

It is extremely depressing.

Well, that's enough whinging from me. I have kittens to go torture.

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At 12:53 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


awesome new net meme : )


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