Friday, 23 January 2009

An Introduction To The Games Industry

lay offs lay offs lay offs...The industry is currently going through recession. So how does the industry, us as aspiring game artists and the economy get effected by this? Well as past seems to put it not very much. gaming has come a long way from a few guys in a bedroom making a game the size of a 500 word e-mail. It has indeed matured and is now up their with film as one of the big dogs, a multi million pound professional industry. Bigger budgets, bigger and more experienced teams. In the modern world this mean jobs, salaries, and mostly profit. But with the recession doesnt this mean we just have more to loose? Apparently not since gaming CEO'S are convinced this is a recession proof industry and this deal shouldnt be too big.

But is gaming really recession proof? I think it could be because quite wisely put by NPD analyst Anita Frazier “The video games industry — like some other forms of entertainment — has acted as though they are recession-proof in difficult times” “People still want to be entertained and to enjoy a diversion from their everyday concerns.” During recessions people need an escape from reality, a mere 2 or 3 hours where they cannot be worried about the stresses of real life. Somewhere they can run away to and do as they please. If they want vent rage from a day at the office they can take a car for a joyride and mug and old lady in the process by playing GTA. If they want to feel more accomplished they can nurture and care for a pet dog on the DS.

Although their are exceptions to this though where people have apparently done these things in games such and been apparently influenced to do them in real life. Warren Leblanc was an example of this as manhunt allegedly made him commit a real 'manhunt inspired' kill But us as responsible adults know that isnt possible due a little known thing called the justice system and prison thus why we are dependant on games so much to be able to do it. Kind of a VR therapy.

Im not a strong believer of game violence influencing people into re enacting it in real life. Souly because the game is their so you can escape reality and actually do these things so they dont have to be acted out in the real world with catastrophic consequences, they suppress, not agrovate. Society has tried this one many times in the past like how they blamed the columbine shooting on trenchcoat mafia's and Marylin Manson Lyrics (if you dont know about the columbine shootings read up, its another insight into teenagers apparently being influenced by violence in todays society) But i say humbug to this. Games are an escape from the reality which can influence this, they do not cause this.

But never the less professional artists are being layed off due to cost cutting measures. And although we shed a tear for them now, we have to wonder how does this affect both the future of gaming, and us as aspiring artists to be? Well i think it means that with the competitive nature of the industry we are now not only up against everyone including rival universities, American graduates and even our own classmates but now professional, more experienced and reliable artists. and trust me 180 professionals against us is stacking the chips up. Im just glad i have 2 years left before im in that position.
Plus those that are left must help but think they can see their jobs and themelves as expendable, leaving a lot of job security issues. Heres to us, because we got a lot ahead of us with this on our hands.

Friday, 9 January 2009


Creativity has some element in everything around us. Architecture, films, games .... their all products of creativity. Even a cup was someone being creative in ways of holding water. But what is creativity? where is it? and where is it in games?

In games creativity both can and cant hindered and by technical constraints, it depends on the medium. Concept art isnt nesseceraly hindered as a painting or a drawing can go as far as an artists imagination and creativity. But creating this world in a game can have its constraints. Ben Mathis' speech lay fine example to this as he compared Fallout 3's concept artists vision of an atmospheric Apocalyptic Washington DC to its actual gameplay vision. Not to shun the game but i would agree with him and say the constraints of actually making the game didnt add up to the artists vision and creativeness. But this is in just some aspects. AI and modeling can have these restrictions as the designs need to be plausible and able to work in a real time environment but plots and narratives on the other hand can house as much creativity as an artist desires.
But during the production of a game no one specific person 'does' creativity, as creativity is a thought process its always expressed in each individuals work through the medium they are working in. Creativity is not a final outcome nor can it present itself pyhsically, its more the thought process to accomplish the final outcome. Same as the final products themselves arent neccesseraly creative. Inventive or beautiful they may be, the creativity is in our own heads, a passageway, we express creativity through the product. Someone in charge of producing a character isnt making creativity, he is making a character, and the final outcome is a character. But the methods they use to make it can be creative and can be expressed through the design of the character. This is probably why College/Uni interviews like to see sketchbooks and rough drawings because they are the parts where your creativity is showing through being applied to reach the final outcome. Everyone has ideas and creativity in their heads, and people such as lecturers are curious to see everyones own creativity processes, but channeling creativity into a usefull format is sometimes the problem. But why does everyone think this has to be channeled as art?

Creativity, although usually stereotyped with art, can be expressed in literally any form of medium, clothes we wear, the nicknames and words we invent for each other ... any form of self expression can be creative. And as for art its also strongly present in nearly every other form of work. I mean
the Aeroplane was a creative invention, showing scientists are being creative in producing final products. But it doesnt always have to be something thats never been done before. In this day and age if you have thought of it, it probably has already been done (rule 34 of the internet). So creativity can be taking of something old or used and manifesting it into something new, and this isnt neccessaraly plagarism. Not if the final outcome of your creativity is an original idea from ways of looking at and exsisting or old issue differently. Look at university or college projects, same breif (Organic Character etc) but yet 50+ different and creative outcomes.