Archive for October, 2009
I just found a good article that proves my point, it being that we need some kind of custom brush interface in GIMP, which you could extend a brush’s functionality and interaction with.
Because a lot of people have bugged me lately (mainly Tranberry I think, I can’t quite remember) to write some further articles on what my brain spits out labelled as “game design theory” as soon as possible, I’m going to oblige them by starting off with a note of important contents for all basically all games.
I recently realized what used to make me feel disinterested amid a campaign or a mission inside a game, be it Heroes of Might and Magic V, X, Etherlords or Earth 2140, which are all actually fine games, if it weren’t for that little thing.
I’m usually very patient. Usually. If it seems reasonable to me, I stay patient. After all, people nowadays have a much shorter attention span and tend to be less patient if they’re not directly stimulated; it’s not my fault that I’ve also been affected by that development. And I think it’s more or less the same with everybody else who has been tangent to modern media, be it the Internet and computers or just television or FOX. As usual, I can’t prove that statistically right now (Andrew :P), but there are several studies and more serious essays on the shortened attention span of people nowadays and how it affects our lives, the media and education for example, just google it. If it wasn’t so we wouldn’t have so many random and useless YouTube channels and the average American teenager could form complete and thoughtful sentences without chopping them apart with a “…like…like…”.
Joking aside; Games that rely on a single set of gameplay mechanics while trying to provide a more complex view of the storyline missions very often suffer from that very syndrom, because limiting oneself to that simple set means that over time, you must increase difficulty and the duration a single atom or objective draws the player’s full attention. That also happens very often due to lack of creativity. If you have to save a princess locked in the highest tower of the biggest castle full of evil minions, please, make that objective at least partly interesting by removing some of the grind elements and add enemies, puzzles or traps that should make the player actually ponder anew how to play the game. If the player dies/fails constantly in a certain part of the game, even though no new motivation, eg. something new to master, is given, something is going terribly wrong. And I’m not telling you to lower your game’s difficulty level or make it accessible for idiots, that’s what a great part of the gaming industry is there for, think of something else for christ’s sake.
Prime example, HOMM5. You got to get this and that, beat enemy hero. You must flee from someone, flee and capture city. You got to get somewhere, capture city. Inbetween, there are rarely any nameable events besides the enemy team sending heroes with an average number of troops every few turns to annoy you. You basically can’t do anything wrong, except if you haven’t grinded enough. I know it allows for a fast and idiot-proof level design.
You will reside way, way too long on one single objective or mission, which is bad, baaad I say. It is the devil’s opus!
That will be an important part of the guidelines when I working out my space sim game design. If it doesn’t happen, you’ll still have a nice resource of things you should ponder about when designing a game.
Have a nice day.
Something has caught my attention lately - which now is obviously bugging me that much that I feel the urge to write a rant post on my Blawg. Call it the imbalance of the One Power, or whatever, however it’s definitely a mystery in my eyes. Despite GIMP having the status of the most important free (as in freedom) image manipulation program and even the first to have been brought into being, despite thousands and thousands of users, GIMP development has been holding back and progressing slowly the past years. Think about it! If you’re running Linux or any other FOSS operating system, all GUI graphics for the available desktop environments are done with GIMP. Icons, window decorations, gradients (unless done on the software side), backgrounds, everything’s done with GIMP, rarely Krita or something else. Even outside GNU/Linux and Co., there are many Windows and Mac users who do not want to pay a horrifying amount of money for Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, and are not willing to pirate them either. Most of the content created for FOSS games like Nexuiz, Wesnoth, Sauerbraten and the like, are made with GIMP - however, that’s where the line can be drawn, since many game artists, regardless of the circumstances and what projects they’re affiliated with, prefer to use PS or PSP. Those, who aimlessly wander the Internets and want to start making computer graphics will probably get in touch with GIMP, too.
If you compare this relatively vast user base, of which some might be potential contributors, with the very weak development progress over the past few years, you’ll instantly notice disproportionality. GIMP’s power as a competitor who’s just as strong as Photoshop fades away. What have we got recently with 2.6? Brush dynamics when using tablets and a new main window, great. I still dream about a brush extension system similar to the one that got introduced with PS CS1, even though I don’t like Photoshop at all. I don’t like it’s bloated like crap basis, I don’t like its unintuitive GUI and I don’t like the fact that it runs only on OS X and Windows. But there is a bunch of stuff in PS I’d like to see in GIMP, too.
I don’t say that the effort by the GIMP developers and everybody else contributing is futile. Quite the contrary, I say it’s going in the wrong direction.
Blender for example has a smaller user base, still pretty big though for a libre program, but still progresses nicely, even overcomes many conceptual rehauls over time. It provides functionality to the user even commercial 3D graphics suites sometimes lack, and all that despite it having a bad code base. The comparison may be disproportionate since Blender is a 3D application with its own renderer, modelling, sculpting, uv-unwrapping, texture painting, Python scripting and multi-pass functionality, while GIMP is a 2D image manipulation program. But they’re equally important in the process of game art…