Chris Crawford Interview

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by impossible, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. Savant

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    You rarely hear that because, frankly, that isn't the case. I'm not going to try and convince you otherwise because I see you're writing paragraphs now which means you've dug your heels in. No biggie. Agree to disagree.
     
  2. Anthony Flack

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    It isn't necessary to do this in order to be a part of a vibrant industry, though. Does every great film, great book, great piece of music create a new genre?
     
  3. soniCron

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    Oh, of course, no! I obviously agree that it's acceptable to output less-than innovative games. (Jeweltopia) But we've only just recently entered the realm of the "talkie," so to see people arguing that this stagnation is good, like there's nothing left to explore...? It distresses me.

    By all means, please keep making your puzzlers, shooters, and sports games, but please don't laugh in the face of those who aren't satisfied with what we've got.
     
  4. Christian

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    Chris Crawford wrote a short response and asked me to post it for him, so here it is:

    I went through this lengthy discussion and have a few reactions to offer. I shall represent the arguments presented here in caricature form.

    1. "Chris Crawford is a poophead." Who cares? It doesn't matter whether I'm Zee Greatest Game Designer in Zee Universe (for which I have an award) or an Orphan-Raping Scumbag Zombie. My character, intelligence, and general worthiness as a human being are utterly without relevance to anybody here or the games industry. Let's lose the cheap gossip and focus on the issues, OK?

    2. "14 years to develop the technology? It must suck!" Let's think in terms of man-years, not years. The technology has maybe 16 man-years of work in it. Compare that with the number of man-years that go into the typical game these days and I think you'll understand the problem. Moreover, I'm not just building the game engine. I'm building the engine, the front end, AND the development system. AND I'm not just building a single product -- I'm building the whole system for a new medium. That's a lot of work for one guy. I have gotten some help from others, and am starting to get more help, but the total number of man-years is still pretty low.

    3. "Storytron is just IF." Wow. Um, perhaps the writers of such comments would do well to study the documentation on Storytron a bit further. Storytron stuff is immensely more algorithmic than IF. Its grammar is immensely more complicated. I can understand complaints that it's too complicated, but complaints that it's just rehashed IF strike me as ill-informed.

    4. "Storytron is a bad name". I originally called it Erasmatron. I always wanted to call the player "Erasmagasm", but my wife vetoed that. The March of Progress.

    5. "The games industry is innovative enough, already!" Then how come everybody doesn't play games? Shouldn't interactive entertainment appeal to everybody?
     
  5. KNau

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    The "why doesn't everyone play games" question is pretty easy to answer - it's technology and interface. Other than the alternating stigma of nerdishness and murder simulators the technology and interface are the real barriers to entry for the non tech savvy.

    A keyboard is a huge barrier as a control device for anybody who hasn't been using one for years. A mouse only slightly less so. If Storytron requires anyone to type full sentences than it's a dead technology before going out the door. If it even requires people to read full sentences from a computer screen then it's already in trouble.

    Listen to people who create casual games for a living - they're much closer to the "everybody" audience than you are or have been. And I don't mean that as a slam (I have Chris' books) it's just a fact.

    Having heard Ron Gilbert's grumblings I will at least give Chris Crawford credit for putting his money where his mouth is and not just whining about the state of gaming.
     
  6. soniCron

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    In all fairness:
     
  7. Anthony Flack

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    Yep.

    Besides, do card games count as interactive entertainment? How about sports? Or just having a conversation? This is the true diversity of interactive entertainment that collectively appeals to everybody. Computer games aren't for everyone. Some people would rather be outside, or meeting their friends at the pub, or whatever.

    Nothing you can do will ever appeal to everybody; you will have a certain audience. Whether that audience is made up of people who like computer games already, or if you want to try to break new ground with another group of people is up to you. I expect it's more risky, but potentially more profitable, to go after an "untapped" group of people, but I don't think it's any better. We don't need to be computer game missionaries.
     
  8. soniCron

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    Not everyone will like everything, but when "Favorite Movie, Music, Book" pervades every personal profile out there and "Favorite Game" is nowhere to be found...? It's not even close to the same level of integration as the other major mediums are. There's a lot of ground to cover in video gaming and digital interactive entertainment as a whole. ;)
     
  9. Christian

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    I think the true problem is simply that people are not interested in the experience of playing such games.

    And i encourage you to visit storytron.com , since it doesnt operate with typing sentences, it uses a baby language called Deikto, go and read!.

    Video-games are not like movies, everyone sees movies, not everyone play games, that is the thing/problem, we should change that, its better for everyone, if more people play games, we win more money while doing what we like.
     
  10. Anthony Flack

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    Well, my wife hates computer games. All computer games. I guarantee she would hate Storytron too. She just would not see the point in it; it would be a waste of time for her. She doesn't want to interact with a computer in that way at all. She doesn't want to play games with, or against, a computer, or participate in a computer-generated environment.

    However, she loves You Tube. You Tube is giving her what she wants. So if you made a game that was like You Tube, it would be perfect. If you took out the game part.

    See, I think it's us computer game people who are too zealous about wanting to find ways to insert "computer" and "game" into everybody's idea of fun.
    Except you aren't going to make things that everyone likes; nobody can. Just make the games you want to make, and concentrate on finding an audience for that. Never mind whether videogames are reaching everyone; just try to make sure you are reaching enough people to pay your bills.
     
  11. soniCron

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  12. Anthony Flack

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    She's not here right now, but I tried them.

    I guarantee she would hate them. She's just not interested in using the computer in this way. I can imagine her being actively hostile to the idea of clicking away to make a stupid picture of a snowflake... she'd want to know why I was trying to waste her time.

    The most recent thing she has become interested in (as an extension of her interest in You Tube) is iMovie. But no, that doesn't mean she wants to play a movie-making videogame, either.
     
  13. KNau

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    So interactivity will always alienate some people. I suppose that's why every attempt at the "interactive movie" (where the audience chooses the course of action) has failed miserably.

    And there is no "passive" game so there will always be a significant population segment who doesn't want to be engaged that way. Interesting point.
     
  14. soniCron

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    You really can't draw that conclusion at this stage of the game. This stuff is really in its infancy. The only people interactivity is sure to alienate are those who go through their days only watching television or film. (Or sleeping, or nothing.) Otherwise, it's just a matter of finding the right interactivity. Even if they talk to people, or edit movies on iMovie, they are interacting at some level...
     
  15. Laser Lou

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    Like Roger Ebert. Well, I had to throw that in there :) . And, of course, he does write and answer questions, so it's not an exact match.
     
  16. Anthony Flack

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    Well, I think that computer games do have certain inherent limitations - because they're not passive; because they are non-physical, indoors activities; because they are essentially pointless.

    Passive entertainment is much more easily digested; games can't compete with movies on this level, they will always require more work than watching TV. And they'll never be able to replace sports and outdoor activities, which for many people offer all the gaming they need, in a form they prefer. And multiplayer gaming will never be as social as actually going out and meeting people. And then there are people who prefer their hobbies to be more creative, more constructive than whiling their time away playing games.
     
  17. soniCron

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    They are now. Who knows what the future holds? And, pointless? *laughs* Some of the most popular things in the world are pointless!


    Don't assume the limitations of the interface will last indefinitely.


    But by the same token, there are the sandbox games, like Sim City, Soup Toys, and Lego Digital Designer. And content-creation based games like Spore are blurring the lines between creating, playing, and sharing.


    I don't mean to be insulting, but I get the impression you're stuck in this old world of shoot-em-ups and twitch titles, and seem to be resisting the potential future of interactive entertainment. :eek:


    However, you're right on target with games not being able to compete with film and television. Books are an ideal example of an active medium that isn't nearly as popular (unfortunately.) But even games aren't as publicly adopted as books...
     
  18. Anthony Flack

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    Yes. But that was just one of the factors. One reason why some people might prefer to avoid playing games in favour of, say... building a boat, or renovating their house. It doesn't bother me that they're pointless. It's just one reason why some people don't want to spend their time playing games - especially busy people. You can laugh, but it's true.
    Yeah, I haven't moved on to holodecks and virtual reality yet. Perhaps, in some future time, playing videogames will be able to offer you all the fun of going out, meeting your friends, playing sport, going hiking, etc etc. But you can do all of those things already. No computers required.

    I really do question why on earth we would want videogames (or interactive digital entertainment) to become so pervasive. Whether you make twitch games or interactive stories or virtual nightclubs, your own audience is only going to be a small segment of the population no matter what you do, so you target your audience and stick to that. And if other people would rather be doing something else with their time, I say good for them. People can still live quite happily without computer entertainment, and I like that.

    Personally, I think everyone should take up a musical instrument. But I don't think it's going to happen...
     

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