Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Game Theory Versus Making Great Games

At Ubisoft it has become apparent that there is a French held ideal of putting the theoretical as the pinnacle of game creation. That is to say, you come up with a theory and you try to apply that theory so that all your games fit within that theory. Of course, most of the theories I’ve seen are applied to the game after they have been created instead of used as an underlying principle of how the game should be created. What’s worse, is when they try to force the application of the theory to another game that has nothing to do with the first game.

Let me give an example…

Let’s say you made a 2D side scrolling shooter, like Contra (you all know Contra, right?). Contra did very well, so you make a theory that Contra did well due to the number of inputs the player puts into the game. For example, you can shoot in any direction by pressing the D-Pad in that direction, giving you freedom to shoot at any 45 degree angle (up, upright, right, etc). Therefore, it is important for every game to have similar inputs to Contra and you must make a document showcasing how your game demonstrates a similar behavior in order for them to consider it a good game.

So you’re making a new version of Tetris and you’re given a game design document asking you to show the number of inputs for the game to prove how awesome it is. Well, you write the document and you only have 3 basic directional inputs. Move the piece left, right or down. This upsets your bosses who say that you don’t have enough directional inputs in order to compete with Contra and games like it, since they have proven successful, your game will not be successful.


Yeah, the French can be weird.

posted by CommanderHate at 6:36 am  


  1. I wonder if their new mantra is going to be “you should not die at all in a videogame”, since the new PoP got rave reviews.

    Comment by ebreda — March 5, 2009 @ 8:12 am

  2. It pretty much is the new thing not to die. I mean, no more health meter, no way to heal yourself. Just take half dozen bullets, hide behind a wall for 10 seconds, and your ok.

    This crap is all from focus groups with 10 year old kids that they asked “What part of the game dont you like johnny?” “I dont like to die!” ” Ok then, we’ll ,make it so you cant die”

    I’ve heard people say medpack arent realistic!! Couldnt be worse than getting blasted 5 times in the chest an d then ducking cover for 5 seconds, and presto magicko you all better.

    Comment by Colt1911 — October 25, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

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