Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Computer Upgrades
The joy of being a developer.

I just got a computer upgrade at work. It loads windows in about 3 seconds. That in and of itself isn’t so amazing, but what is amazing about working in the game industry, is that I can expect another upgrade like this within the next 2 years.

Technology just flies by when it comes to games, because everyone wants their game to look amazing. To look amazing you have to use the latest technology and to use the latest tech in your end product means the people making the game need that technology in order to play and test what they’re making. That’s why I have to wonder how cutting edge tech games like Farcry are able to keep up. Their games really aren’t that great (Farcry was pretty much a failure in my book), yet the technology was amazing. What went wrong?

I don’t know for certain, but I imagine that using such cutting edge technology (far in advance of what consumers really had at the time of release) meant that their development team (who had been working on it for a few years) were probably unable to really test their gameplay to the extent they should have been able. That would explain the lackluster gameplay and why some areas of the game looked like mashed dog food (particularly the interiors) and played similarly. The other possibility is that they added all the technological goodness at the end, which means that however cool their gameplay might have been before, this sudden dumping of new technological features would suddenly dramatically change the entire game. Thus rendering what might have been fun, suddenly unfun. No doubt the machines of the entire team weren’t upgraded at the same time. I wonder how many developers were unable to continue to work on their own levels due to the dramatic upscaling of the tech (or at the very least, they probably had to play them at around 15 FPS judging by my experience playing Farcry on its lowest settings when it came out).

Of course, all of that is only really related to PC development. If you’re making games for the consoles, your tech requirements are greatly lessened (particularly if you’re making games for the Wii). The beauty of console development is that you don’t have to keep up on the latest technology trends in order to compete. Would Doom 3 have sold as well as it did were it not the latest and greatest video card overheating technology to hit the market? Let’s face it, the gameplay wasn’t that great. Spawning monsters directly behind you with no warning is pretty much a huge no-no in the game design world (sadly some developers don’t pay much attention to game design world). So what made it sell? Getting to see the latest game engine boosts that Carmack could come up with.

Truth be told, one of the best parts of being a game developer is getting to play with the latest and greatest technology on the market. It helps me figure out how I’m going to upgrade my home computer.

posted by CommanderHate at 3:51 pm  

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