Indie Reality TV

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by NothingLikeit, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. NothingLikeit

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    It seems like the cable network "Bravo" is making a reality TV show about every single profession. I never thought there could be so much drama in Interior Design. But it got me thinking, what if there were a show about a game developer. It'd basically be a peak inside to see what game development is really like.

    I kept thinking to myself: "Nah that would be a really boring show." In my mind it would lack the drama that is so popular on any type of TV. But lo and behold gamespot has just a show called "Indievelopment" on its website. It's actually pretty interesting. Althogh I cringe at the thought of watching these guys' dreams crash and burn.

    But my question is: Would you guys watch such a show?

    Also If you were producer of a game development reality show what would you do? Would you have them participate in contests? Have them voted off? Make them get you cheesecake?
     
  2. DanMarshall

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    I've tried to get no end of game-related TV stuff off the ground before. I can't speak for the US, but here in the UK it's essentially a complete no-go.

    TV people are still too ignorant of exactly how important games are, and they're a little bit scared that broadcast TV is dying now everyone can download stuff off The Internet.
     
  3. Musenik

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    Last year, a TV documentary crew made a half-our spot about me and Mousechief Co. They filmed in my home at at our booth at the IGF.

    I've got a copy of it, but can't distribute it. The production company supports a southern California cable show called: "The Job". I assume it's already been shown.

    It was a super fun experience, but the cat shot steals the entire episode.
     
  4. soniCron

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    The U.S. channel G4 runs a show called Icons that features documentaries about various game industry items. I haven't watched in the last year, but the last episode I watched was a documentary about Double Fine. (Icons slowly shifted from historical perspective and commentary to modern development documentaries toward the end of its lifecycle, but I digress.)

    In short, the episode was boring. Compared to a lot of other professions, game development is very impersonal. Would I watch such a show? Not unless it was about someone I knew.
     
  5. PoV

    PoV
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    I don't think the traditional voting reality show is a good idea for a game development reality show. Community interaction yes, but voting is just a silly hook for a rebranded game show.

    I'm downloading the Indievelopment show at an incredibly slow rate, so if I have anything to say outside "meh" I'll do just that. In concept I think it could work. But a good story needs a good setting. Office space at an interesting location (near parks, strange restaurants near by), a team of 3-10, and an original non work for hire project. Too large of a team and there's too many "characters" to get to know. Weekly shows that are interesting could also be tough (bi-weekly or monthly could work better), unless you produce them after or near the end of the project. Then make 1 long documentary, and chop it up.

    Game development is such an international niche, that we certainly can't pull the ratings needed for broadcast. I think it's pretty clear that any game development media show will have to be done crazy low budget, podcast style. So if you care and have a studio like the above, grab yourself a Canon HV20 and an intern and go make it. You're not going to make any money from it, but you'll do more for your brand with it than without it.

    I don't know about you guys, but I'd love to have more game dev content.

    As far as Indie games content out right now. The Arsecast and Indie Superstar are great, but problematic because it's our own (actual developers) running said shows. Rightfully so, we're not big enough or profitable enough to have our own IGN, Gamespot, or G4 (problems with them aside). After all, we're still trying to create awareness and push our significants as a media.

    As far as developer or wannabe developer centric content. There are a few interview shows. Gamasutra has one (GDC Radio, formerly FatPixels). Gamespot has a designers one (I forget the name). We get sessions from GDC in podcast form now, for a price. Major Nelson's show has proven useful. There's a kid that runs a Talkshoe show about making MMO's (seriously). And we have the infamous Indie Game Development Podcast Show, which is great. So all things considered, 1 show for us.

    As an industry we have *sooooo* many bloggers. Holy crap! GDC, a show run once a year is packed. Dozens of smaller events around the world. Books, schools, you name it. Heck, a few forums many visit several times daily. But only 1 interview show to call our own. Only 1 show that touches on our niche. We don't even have a TWiT or a TWiM.
     
  6. Dan MacDonald

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    I think the guys who are ahead of us in this kind of thing are the digital artfags. They have countless people putting out training DVD's and have big communities like conceptart.org that can populate a venue like this. I'd love to see something with this kind of cultural infusion in an indie game development context. IGC was getting there and it was great, however it's nto going to happen with the casual croud. There's already the Casuality conference that will be up here in Seattle in a few weeks.

    I think PoV is right, if you had a team with an effed up culture (think american chopper) you could make a very interesting podcast type thing about indie game development. I know I bought the gears of war collectors edition so I could see the behind the scenes documentary that MTV did.

    I always loved the final hours of ... column they ran at gamespot. I can see this being interesting to other gamers as well, if done with an indie team working on a cool game.
     
  7. PoV

    PoV
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    I just watched the first episode of that Indievelopment show. It's actually not that bad, clocking in at 10 minutes for the opener. The office space itself is pretty funny, with a pulldown attic like ladder for an upper office. I don't know the city, but the camerawork captured some trains through the windows that make the "interview shots" more interesting. Their choice of project I could care less about (yet another FPS), but I have to give merit to their approach. Five more episodes 'eh... Hmm... Ok, I'm game.

    I'd imagine this series wont hurt their chances of getting funding, which looks to be their goal.
     
  8. NothingLikeit

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    Yup Pov. The reason I watched the show was because I was interested in the idea of watching someone follow their passion. I'd imagine a simmilar indie show would have to be broadcast online. It's funny you mentioned the F"d up culture thing. I actually was waiting for them to start bickering in the first episode. That's actually a few episodes in. :D
     
  9. PoV

    PoV
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    Yeah, that fight in Episode 6 made me shake my head. I know those sort of communication problems! Cheng needs to calm his ass down. :D

    I'm actually really enjoying the show. I'm not sure yet if I'm rooting for them per se, but I think it's developing in to a fascinating teaching tool. I don't know if youths watching this game grow will see the same problems I want them to. Still, it does an excellent job of capturing of the inner workings of a game studio.

    I think my favorite part was when the Epic guys called them on the "acronym soup". Gold. :)
     
  10. C.S.Brewer

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    I'd love to see a show done like a nature documentary.

    I can see the camera man hidden in a closet, filming for weeks just to get the good footage of some code magic coming together. Time lapsed capturing of concept art, 3d model creation (I never get tired of watching those, especially when it's someone really talented doing it) Time lapse as the developers hair and bear grow out into a wild man look.

    Catching the animator acting out the animation in front of a mirror. Making sound effects with random things around the apartment.

    with maybe one or two people making a game. no talking. no or minimal naration. Seeing the results of the work all the way through.

    Just showing the meaty parts of the creative process. would be great, inspiring even.
     
  11. NothingLikeit

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    I remember finding out about Icons back in 02 when G4 was just catering to gamers. It was a fun idea for a show. The geek in me loved the idea of a show talking only about the history of game design. But theres probably a wider audience of people that could care less. Since G4/TechTv is trying to reach out to more than just gamers, they broadened the show. It's a shame, I still would have watched a games only Icons.

    Yeah Pov. I thought the massive implosion would have happened sooner. Its funny that Cheng got into it with his head programmer and his head artist. If all these problems are coming up you'd think he'd start to wonder that maybe there is something in the design that should change. I like the fact that he is not so quick to change his goals, but he should probably be a bit more compromising at least for the prototype. I'm interested to see if they get funded. I'm rooting for them because it's nice to see someone get a shot. Plus its always fun to root for the underdog.
     
  12. Backov

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    I wanted to hear a bit more about the "biz" of the Unreal Engine deal.

    So, out of the blue they have got the license for UE3.. However, then they still have to go and pitch? And what did the pitch decide? No idea.

    So what I assume happened (no real idea, since the documentary doesn't say) is that they got a preliminary license to use UE3, and at some point in the future they either have to partner with Epic or get some other pub to spring for the license fee.

    And what's the 90 day thing? Is that their internal milestone or something put in place by Epic?
     
  13. NothingLikeit

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    yeah i think they are giving themselves 90 days to work up a prototype for funding backrov. I thought it was tough to get publisher backing, but maybe they know people I don't.

    I'm not sure what the point of the Epic pitch was. In the first episode he says we really need the engine. But I'm not sure why epic woudl make them pitch it. I mean I'd think that if you're a for profit company you wouldn't care what someone does with the engine they're licensing from you. This is even truer if they're just doing a multiplayer shooter.
     
  14. PoV

    PoV
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    I think it was a combo deal. They were hoping Epic might be interested in the game (hehe). As well, they wanted to show some competence so to be included in Epic's unsigned developers program. I'd imagine their need was, while working with the old UT engine, they realized they really needed modern graphics middleware to be competitive in today's market.
     
  15. electronicStar

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    IMO these reality shows are the exact opposite of what the indie ideal is.
    It's like prostituting oneself for a slight opportunity to have your game/disc published (with a less than satisfactory deal to boot).
    It's even worse than working as a slave for "the man".
     
  16. Cartman

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    The UW has a nice series where they talk to computer industry leaders. The only one I've seen that really interested me was the one with Alex St. John. He talks about DirectX at Microsoft and the launch parties he pushed for there, and this work at Wild Tangent.
    http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.aspx?rID=2312&fID=570

    I like this format, however most of their guests are pretty boring to me.
     
  17. defanual

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    yeah, the indievelopment things been pretty interesting thus far, I was a little confused about how they got the worlds most expensive engine/software in the world (at least to my knowledge :)) too, dodgy cut that part.

    I thought the 90 days thing was how long they could use/evaluate the engine for, no?
     
  18. PoV

    PoV
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    Most middleware providers have an unsigned developers program. Renderware certainly did back in the day. Though, as they pointed out, they can't distribute what they make without a full license.

    Edit: I just finished watching Episode 10 (last episode BTW). It does sound like they had only a 90 evaluation period.
     
    #18 PoV, May 11, 2007
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  19. Garthy

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    I'd imagine a game development documentary condensing six to eighteen months of development down to a twenty-minute segment would be quite interesting. Imagine seeing a basic demo slowly fill out with features, artwork, and polish until it reached the end as a completed game, all in the space of a twenty-minute slot.

    I can't imagine anything LESS interesting than a documentary on the day-to-day life of a developer. Imagine if you will. Here's Garthy. Garthy is poring his way through code. See how he puts in two more tracewrites at key points of his code. Watch Garthy grab a drink while the code compiles. Watch Garthy perform the same steps again, crash the program, and fire up the logfile. Now let's zoom in and look at all these incomprehensible traces that he is puzzling over. Garthy will remain staring at the logs for around five minutes, barely moving, until his attention picks up, he highlights a couple of log entries, and goes back into his code to add in a couple more tracewrites. Now watch him fire up the program again, do the same steps again, and it crashes. Up comes the logfile again. Watch Garthy get frustrated and fire up a browser and post to an online forum.

    ;)
     
  20. defanual

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    lol, Good one Garthy! It's definitely something that needs to be edited to be interesting in the similar vein of indievelopment.

    Having a geeky moment but hey, I've just upgraded from a single 14inch crt monitor (yes 14 inch monitors did exist believe it or not) to two 17 inch widescreen flat screens. While watching the episodes I've being trying to figure out the size of some of the bigger displays there using, especially the main one on Jon's desk, I'm thinking 19"-20"+ no?
     

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