Thoughts

Things every wanna-be game designer/developer should know

Game Design 101 by Tom Sloper

Very funny and thoughtful series of advice, divided in more than 80 “lessons”, on the common pitfalls of young chaps with a strong will to make their own game.. or so they think.

‘Cause the will, the determination, easily withers when faced with the reality of making a proper game. Read carefully!

An excerpt on why you won’t get other people (programmers, artists or whatever) do most of the work for you just because you had the Fantastic Idea:

Pretend for a moment that you have a great idea for a novel, not a game. How would you go about getting it written and published? Would you go to a bulletin board and advertise looking for an author to write it for you? No, you would have to get off your butt and write it yourself. I have heard that a friend of Frank Herbert (author of Dune) asked Herbert to author the friend’s idea and split the profits 50/50. Herbert refused, even though the guy was a good friend — Herbert’s reply was basically that ideas are easy; the writing is the hard part. Think about it for a minute — would YOU want to have a friend come up to you, tell you a few sentences, then have you spend months hunched over a keyboard turning his few sentences into the Great American Novel? I doubt it. If you did spend months writing that book, would you want to give half of the money to that guy? I don’t think so.

If only humans were as good-natured as animals..

..what a wonderful world would it be!

  • we would often be commiting infanticide for the sake of our lineage
  • we would be defining strict hierarchies where only two individuals are allowed to reproduce, or where the male has a harem of several females and fights hard any competitors
  • we would have males poisoning their female “soul mate”, but since she’d do the same with a stronger poison these males would inevitably die
  • we would have males beating their females and going with little armies to kill nearby groups of the same species or of other species, you know, the one that only thinks about sex
  • we would be committing suicide, either alone or “kamikaze style”

and plenty of other funny and lovely things!

On a more serious note

I know the common objection to this. “They cannot choose”, “It’s their nature” and so on. What really does bug me is that people aren’t able to see that we humans are actually an improvement, because we can choose and we can define our own “nature”, which becomes culture- and ratio-based instead of strictly genetic/impulsive.

Ethics can be defined, followed, enforced by law. All the bad things I listed, that indeed have been proudly performed by many humans and still cause suffering to a lot of people in the world, can be made forbidden or depicted as despicable, thus reducing them statistically.

In some of the cited articles, you may read explanations of why animals do such bad things. Sometimes had been indeed proved that those behaviours increase their probability, as a species, to survive.

I don’t know if you noticed, but the important thing seems to be the “species” when talking about animals. Not the “individual”.

Would you really like that? We have been constructing abstract wrappings around pain and suffering (as well as good feelings) for thousands of years, but you know: also animals suffers. When a male lion kills a pup, his mother (maybe, I don’t know) suffers but the pup suffers more, before dying. It’s physical suffering, which is really bad.

I guess it’s also worse when they starve to death or are plagued by different kind of damn diseases.

Would you like that to happen to you, your family, your friends? Don’t you see how humans, yet despicable on many areas, are actually an improvement for the individual, regardless of the species?

For me the individual is important, what I feel, what I want, and the same for the people near me: the more “far away” they are, the less I care. And that’s pretty normal: we’d die in a minute if we cared about all problems affecting people worldwide.

A lot still has to be done, on the ethical and technological side, to build a really safe and enjoyable world for us and our beloved.

For sure, the wrong way is that of be willing to go back to tribal societies, reviving our animal instincts, because animals are soooo cute and they are full of love while we are just reckless filthy humans.

Go down from the trees, ethical-driven humans! Your modern society needs you. Well educated, conscious and rational.