Tim Schafer at NYU Recap

Come from a Q&A talk with Tim Schafer. He show the audience a prototype Kinect game in which the player progresses by manipulating the characters' emotions. Interesting stuff. Make characters run through a door by making him afraid of a local rat, or make him love the door knob so very much that he just has to turn it. This game will never see the light of day, I'm afraid. The prospective publisher dropped the idea after several months of work. Still, he did giive some insigtht into his creative process. He's more of a benevolent dictitor at his company (his words), giving his employees autonomy while also having the final word when he inserts himself into a discussion. Also, in terms of humor, he advised to acknowledge the ridiculous situations that the characters find themslves in (e.g. Monkey Island, where Guybrush and the governer fall in love in five lines of text). By acknowleding how absurd the situation is, he is able to write his way out of a problem and to exploit it for comedic benefit.

That wasn't my entire day, of course. I spent the afternoon up-resing the textures to twice their usual size. This will make it a bit clunkier for me to merge textures into atlases. Also, I optimized the code a bit to reduce the number of objects that are deleted in any frame of the game. This makes things a bit faster overall, but it could be better, as it still chugs on my laptop at full settings.

Also, I optimized the save-game script to prevent the game from hanging until the operation is complete. This makes saving the game virtually seamless (though I am sure that it would beĀ noticeableĀ on slower computers. Finally, I fixed a bug where slower computer speeds would cause lag in chunk creation. This meant that when players fell too far and the frame rate too low, the procedural generator would fall behind and suddenly the player could not see the wall.. The game can now detect this and will correct the error.

That's it for now!

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2 comments on “Tim Schafer at NYU Recap
  1. zikron says:

    I really hope this KickStarter revolution continues to gain momentum. Publishers are no longer willing to take on innovative games, instead seeking out games that copy the latest fads for a money grab or release sequel after sequel quickly killing a franchise. Even if they do change, how long will that last? Probably only until their first dud, second maybe?

    I being toying with the idea of creating a website that highlights innovation among games and brings some much needed attention on the smaller indie games such as Against the Wall. This motivated me a bit to do this and be less lazy :)

  2. Michael says:

    Tim had some thoughts on Kickstarter as well, of course. One person asked if he felt stress or pressure because so many people donated and would expect quality. His response was that suddenly receiving millions of dollars was surprisingly relaxing.

    Personally, I think of it as an evolution rather than a revolution. Revolutions are about overthrowing an old guard for a new one. This phenomenon presents an alternative to the mainstream VC and publisher-driven industry. The old guard will not be replaced, but there will be competition from a more service-oriented independent companies.

    Publishers have investors, and investors hate unnecessary risks, which may be why they rarely innovate. I don't begrudge the big publishers. There is a market for the Battlefields and CoDs of the world. Let them have that market share of formulaic roller coaster shooters and 90 hour RPG series. This leaves more room for the small guys to experiment and find their niches.

    If you're starting something, let me know! It's tough to have a voice out there and make a new venture happen. I'm still struggling to get the word out and juggle a ton of different tasks at once. Right now I'm getting ready for PAX East. I have a table in the Kickstarter area!

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