5.02.2012

In the pool with you!

So I had a great very first day in the gaming industrie (and no, I won't tell anything to anybody), but looking at all the stuff in our project, the scripting, engine, the engine enhancements, shaders and associated bugs made me wonder whether it's really such a good idea to invest in all the massive tech to control anything. Just think about it: what's is greatest and most basic source of bugs? Code. It's always code. Thus, people tend to think that reducing the amount of code to write by buying and expanding an engine existing will help them to get their things done. Frankly, that's simply not the truth. The more you get from other places, the more stuff you really add, the more stuff can be as errorprone as with totally custom additions. And it won't make a game better by default. Let's take a mechanically basic game like Legend of Grimrock. I know more games than I can count which I don't prefer over Legend of Grimrock because they don't the degree of polishing done. I love polished games, especially if they put emphasis into atmosphere in whatever way. So what's the problem with other games having bigger engines, more possibilities and so on? Well, I can't tell for sure WHY a lot of those games barely reach playability while dropping polishment. I never updated Grimrock so far and it still plays like a game after months of intense patching. Any other game would have random scripting errors, animation bugs, missing stuff and so on. See the difference? Grimrock is so simple in nature that there aren't any of these at all. It's a system on it's own like most games with more classic mechanics, needing no complex ressource generation and so on. Animation tools are one thing, putting stuff together into something that's not bound to smaller rule sets but pure scripting is a bug source on it's own again. I can't say that I'm a real fan of engines that try to please everything with scripting everywhere and fully blown piles of software engineering methods. It's like telling janitor how to tell other janitors to do his work: lots of communication errors! I mean need you need programmers to let other programmers program the stuff your game designers design. No problem in small games with some limiting rules: you need to get creative on how to archieve stuff. And limitation is one of the most underestimates factor of creativity. Haven't yet seen a game that amazed me that didn't base on a rather limited rule set. It's all in your head after all, so it might be just a different preference of mine. Who knows?

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