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Games:EDU:08 North: Matt Southern


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Matt Southern ran out of time the year before, this time we gave him plenty of opportunity to speak on games and film.

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Games:EDU:08 North: Matt Southern

  1. 1. Graduating Games: 2008 Edition
  2. 3. “ Most Games Courses Suck” <ul><li>“ We’re a Hit-Driven Industry” </li></ul>“ Most Games Suck”
  3. 4. The Two Big Videogame Crashes <ul><li>1977 </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Hardware Plague” </li></ul><ul><li>1983 </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Software Plague” </li></ul>Source: JC Herz, Joystick Nation , p.15 “ 1985 – The US home videogame industry is virtually non-existent”
  4. 5. <ul><li>Missed the ‘gold rush’ </li></ul><ul><li>Design / direction focus </li></ul><ul><li>Part-Scripted </li></ul>
  5. 6. Contents <ul><li>Truly Mainstream Games </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘Illusion of Progress’ </li></ul><ul><li>Damnation of Games </li></ul><ul><li>Extended Comparison to Movies </li></ul><ul><li>The Dangers of That Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Real World Pre-Production </li></ul><ul><li>Casual Games </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstration </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul>
  6. 8. Only 1 Truly Mainstream Game <ul><li>“ Halo 3 holds the record for the highest grossing opening day in entertainment history, bringing in US$170 million in its first 24 hours, going on to gross US$300 million in its first week” </li></ul><ul><li>Even if Halo 3 manages to reach the $400 million mark (worldwide) that would only be good enough for 92nd on the all-time list. You have to make more than $516 million to hit the top 50, and $914+ million to break into the top 10. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 9. 4 Million X100
  8. 11. The Illusion of Progress <ul><li>Technological Progress </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Progress </li></ul>“ the same thing, only prettier” Slow, not static
  9. 14. 30 Years = Cultural Infancy <ul><li>Shakespeare </li></ul><ul><li>Joyce </li></ul><ul><li>DH Lawrence </li></ul><ul><li>The Beatles </li></ul><ul><li>Television </li></ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul><ul><li>Media / Cultural Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Cinema </li></ul><ul><li>Formation </li></ul><ul><li>Damnation </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>Celebration </li></ul>
  10. 16. Emerging as the ‘Killer App’ <ul><li>“ In 1896…the machines – rather than the material which passed through them – were clearly the main attraction”. P. 3 </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Our invention can be exploited for a certain time as a scientific curiosity, but apart from that, it has no commercial future whatsoever.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Auguste Lumière </li></ul>
  11. 17. Nascent Industrialisation <ul><li>“… films were sold…as ‘semi-finished products’ that could be ‘finished’ in exhibition in different ways”. P. 94/95 </li></ul><ul><li>variable projection speeds </li></ul><ul><li>re-editing </li></ul><ul><li>colours </li></ul><ul><li>accompanying audio </li></ul><ul><li>lecturer explanations </li></ul>
  12. 18. The Cinema of Attractions <ul><li>“ ...visual curiosity was aroused and satisfied by novelty, surprise, even shock…it tended to show…either the technical possibilities of the new medium…or the spectacle of human figures”. P. 94 </li></ul>
  13. 19. Censorship and Control <ul><li>“ a variety of pressure groups, including churches, reform groups, police and press , began attempting to exert influence on the new medium of cinema” </li></ul><ul><li>1895 - The Dolorita Passion Dance </li></ul><ul><li>1897 - Orange Blossoms </li></ul>
  14. 20. ‘ A Business Pure And Simple’ <ul><li>&quot;[There is] no conveyance of ideas, expression, or anything else that could possibly amount to speech. The court finds that video games have more in common with board games and sports than they do with motion pictures.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr. 2002 </li></ul>
  15. 21. <ul><li>“… falling attendances at film theatres between 1932 and 1933 led to the deployment of more ‘daring’ material, and the very adverse publicity such films received increased their box-office earnings…Meanwhile…Paramount grossed $2 million during the first three months of the films release”. P. 8 </li></ul>
  16. 22. <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>‘ My ears have rung with their foolish cry: “It is not fit for children!” Children! Children! I did not make that picture for children.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Erich Von Stroheim, 1921 </li></ul>
  17. 23. Growth <ul><li>Industrial growth </li></ul><ul><li>Maturity of Mode of Production </li></ul><ul><li>Effectively fending off censorship </li></ul><ul><li>Being more clearly and acceptably ‘adult’ </li></ul>
  18. 24. <ul><li>‘ what’s the point of destroying an empire if you are going to replace it with another?’ </li></ul>
  19. 25. &quot;You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kinds of issues...&quot; George Lucas
  20. 26. Popular Does Not Mean Dumb <ul><li>New Hollywood…refers to the brief time between roughly the mid-1960s...and 1982…when a new generation of young filmmakers came to prominence in America, drastically changing not only the way Hollywood films were produced and marketed, but also the kinds of films that were made. </li></ul>
  21. 27. Theoretical / Practical Tools
  22. 28. Pre-Production <ul><li>Concept Generation </li></ul><ul><li>X </li></ul><ul><li>Concept Art </li></ul><ul><li>Ripomatics </li></ul><ul><li>Gameplay Storyboarding / animatics </li></ul><ul><li>Target Renders / X Movies </li></ul>
  23. 29. Lateral Thinking <ul><li>Philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Random Entry </li></ul><ul><li>Provocation and Movement </li></ul><ul><li>Harvest </li></ul><ul><li>Treatment </li></ul>
  24. 30. Brainstorming Design by committee
  25. 31. Lateral Thinking <ul><li>General Area Focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ An area to think about that does not seem to need attention” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ New ideas for communicating with admin” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problem Focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ A problem or issue that needs improving or fixing…using a verb” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ How do we improve our team morale?” </li></ul></ul>
  26. 32. Restricted Creativity <ul><li>Pascal Jarry – Solidgame </li></ul><ul><li>“ Brainstorm new products for use in the kitchen” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Brainstorm new products for use with eggs in the kitchen” </li></ul>
  27. 33. Constraints are Good <ul><ul><li>Genre </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Briefings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Licenses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Team V Individual </li></ul></ul>
  28. 34. Succinct Product Statements <ul><li>“ X Statements” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Brutal Off-Road Racing in a Chaotic Environment” </li></ul>
  29. 35. Concept Art <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  30. 36. Gameplay Storyboarding <ul><li>Same talent / Different aims </li></ul><ul><li>Animatics </li></ul>
  31. 37. Ripomatics <ul><li>‘ Steal-o-matics’ </li></ul>
  32. 38. Target Renders [X Movies]
  33. 39. Movie Envy <ul><li>I think they look at our movies and they see how we set up shots, how we deal with characters, how we do things. And I think they mimic that. A film like &quot;The Matrix&quot; is something that's very visual. All of these very visual films, you'll see the actual shots and angles repeated in video games, and they'll do the same thing with &quot;Black Hawk Down.&quot; I've seen a lot of games that have taken off of what we did in &quot;Black Hawk Down.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Jerry Bruckheimer </li></ul>
  34. 40. Narrative Fundamentalism <ul><li>Movies and videogames - are fundamentally about storytelling </li></ul><ul><li>Movies are fundamentally a storytelling medium but videogames aren’t </li></ul><ul><li>Neither movies or games are fundamentally a storytelling medium </li></ul>
  35. 41. Meta-Genre <ul><li>“ French film theorist Christian Metz wrote in the 1970’s that “most films shot today, good or bad, original or not, ‘commercial’ or not, have as a common characteristic that they all tell a story; in this measure they all belong to one and the same genre, which is, rather, a sort of ‘super genre’” </li></ul><ul><li>(Metz, ‘The Fiction Film and It’s Spectator’, </li></ul><ul><li>p.402. Quoted in Manovich, p.294) </li></ul>
  36. 42. Fundamentally… <ul><li>Games </li></ul><ul><li>A Form of Play </li></ul><ul><li>Movies </li></ul><ul><li>A Form of Movement on Light </li></ul>“ By 1908 or 1909, in many French and American films, everything having to do with mise-en-scene, framing, and editing was being ‘remotivated’, subordinated to a causal narrative chain dependant on such devices as repetition, delay, surprise, suspense and, above all, closure”. P.95
  37. 43. <ul><li>“ Videogames are another way for a studio to cover their costs and make a little profit. Sometimes movies aren't successful, but the video game can be successful...So any way you can get something you're creating out there, whether it's a video game or an album, or a book, you certainly want to do that” Jerry Bruckheimer </li></ul>
  38. 45. End of Part One
  39. 46. Part Two
  40. 48. Casual Browser Games
  41. 49. Consoles <ul><li>The Right Home </li></ul><ul><li>Peripheral Emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Haptic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning Curve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Setup options etc </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Whimsical </li></ul><ul><li>The abuse of ‘easy’ </li></ul>
  42. 50. Consoles
  43. 51. <ul><li>The Real World </li></ul><ul><li>Living room multiplayer </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Help! </li></ul>
  44. 52. MMO <ul><li>Extremely hardcore </li></ul>“ The player pool is mostly boys and young men. And the medium has genre limitations: Don't look for MMOGs based on Brokeback Mountain or Walk the Line anytime soon” ”
  45. 53. MMO <ul><li>Extremely hardcore </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;I didn't want to be a totally slavish Tolkien interpreter and I didn't feel that was my primary job.  I mean there was a lot of money at stake, and I wanted very much to make a film that you could walk in off the street where you knew nothing about Tolkien, having never read the Lord of the Rings, and still enjoy the film” </li></ul><ul><li>Peter Jackson </li></ul>
  46. 54. iTV <ul><li>“ Press Red” </li></ul><ul><li>Teething Trouble </li></ul>
  47. 55. iTV Going Forward… <ul><li>MMO meets ‘Facebook’ </li></ul>
  48. 57. New Design Talent <ul><li>“ You can’t teach game design” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You can’t provide us with game designers, especially on day one” </li></ul><ul><li>Nascent discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Like, whatever. </li></ul>
  49. 58. They’re Interactive! <ul><li>“ Games are interactive entertainment” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Not like movies or TV, where you just sit back and it washes over you” </li></ul><ul><li>“ it’s all about the gameplay” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’m an old skool gamer who hates cut scenes and loves playability” </li></ul>
  50. 59. A Game is... <ul><li> “ An exercise of voluntary control systems in which there is an opposition between forces, confined by a procedure and rules in order to produce a disequilibrial outcome” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elliott Avedon and Brian Sutton Smith – The Study of Games </li></ul></ul><ul><li>control </li></ul>
  51. 60. Peggle
  52. 61. From Casual to Mainstream <ul><li>Apathetic </li></ul><ul><li>Non-commital </li></ul><ul><li>Quirky </li></ul>
  53. 64. Summary <ul><li>Our epoch feels near…. </li></ul><ul><li>Mimicry on the wane </li></ul><ul><li>Positive new trends </li></ul><ul><li>We’re friends </li></ul><ul><li>Game School is on the way </li></ul><ul><li>So are incredible new developments </li></ul>
  54. 65. Summary
  55. 66. Thanks