I promise that developers aren''t hiding things from you.
Despite the GTA VI leaks last week, a lot of people online emphasized that they aren''t aware of anything about video gaming being made and embarrassed themselves online. One particularly egregious comment said that visuals are the first thing completed in game development which is just utterly false. Look, Im as guilty of making false assumptions as the next person, but fans will go out of their way to harass game developers because they refuse to use Google''s most basic functionality.
I don''t mean to be harsh, but it is true that game development can be exclusive and gate-keepy especially for people with marginalized backgrounds. However, when it comes to game expectations, players often appear to revert to the assumption that game developers are too secret about everything from the start.
The problem of leaks is endless, but players are seeing early footage of a highly anticipated title before the developers are ready to show anything. Its like having someone walk in on you while youre changing. This is why all of the games'' attempts to feel unfinished are so frightening it is literally unfinished.
Then there''s the problem with social media making everyone feel like an expert and feeling like they have to share their unjustified views. This is something none of us is immune to. Despite the fact that gamers are right there to cross the line, it''s time to look out for game developers who have been given away objections.
As a result of the way working in food service or retail helps you develop more empathy for those who are in difficult situations, training ourselves about how games are actually implemented can help players understand what is going on, and will save everyone a rut in the long run.
I will argue that larger studios planning on anticipated projects can be particularly withholding. Non-exclusive representation of their games, however, some proprietary tools like engines or assets are not trade secrets they will never want anyone passing around. If your entire brand is built on prestige, you know, but once a game comes out, a lot of stuff becomes a fair game in a retrospective this is how we created our masterpiece.
While gamers are dissatisfied with devs deliberately concealing secrets from them, there have been a wealth of resources detailing everything about how development works right under their noses, and none of it is too complicated to find.
Here is footage from the start of the development since graphics are the first thing in a video game, and CONTROL has received numerous awards for excellence in graphics.
Full video here: https://t.co/l2g7oPhtk7???? pic.twitter.com/cGnmJZXF5E
Paul Ehreth???? (@bacon_sanwich) September 20, 2022
Let''s start with the fact that a slew of developers responded to the leaks (and the reactions to the leaks) in order to assure belligerent players that having incomplete visuals is indeed the hallmark of a game that they are still working on. Although this type of thing is less common with larger studios due to all of the corporate bureaucracy, indie developers do that every time.
Small devs and teams are constantly sharing up-to-date footage of how they are progressing through their games. This includes everything from art and animation, lighting, and implementing new gameplay features.
If Squirrel gets a gun, it''s not as simple as giving a photorealistic squirrel a firearm, and every step along the way, he shows his followers updated information about the new features he was adding. The game''s Twitter feed will serve as a cool time capsule, where you can see the progress of the idea from its creation to its full development and release.
??????????? Squirrel is still a Blender rig, but Houdini handles the fur. This was quite challenging, but very fun to see! #indiedev #gamedev #UnrealEngine #blender3d #Houdini #screenshotsaturday pic.twitter.com/dyLfZGkH0W
Don DeEntremont (@QuiteDan) Squirrel with a Gun May 15, 2022
Then there are a ton of talks and presentations made by developers themselves. Every year in the spring, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) involves developers from all levels of studios, backgrounds, and even countries to meet to discuss how they make games. This isn''t an E3-style activity, where they are conducting a show to entertain potential players, and it''s an industry-focused event for professionals to present their findings in one of the best academic environments you can get.
From thorough discussions about how a programming company implemented advanced enemy AI, to lighting artists talking about their fields, to narrative writers presenting new methods to revolutionize interactive storytelling techniques.
GDC discussions are filled with the brightest minds in games and all of their work is on the table for everyone to see, and while the complete archive of almost every GDC talk ever given is unfortunately locked behind a massive paywall (something that I understand, but should be entirely free in my opinion), there are still hundreds of them available on YouTube right now.
If you haven''t heard of Noclip Documentaries, these are also a must to watch. Along with games journalists like Jason Schreier, they are doing some of the most important investigative work in the industry right now. They have some of the content we would expect, like making-of interviews and coverage of fun news, and a player demaking to look like a PS1 game.
Some of the most well-known pieces are a documentary-style investigation into what happened in Telltales last hours that led to its closure, or a probe into abuse at some of Annapurna''s smaller indie studios. Noclip always does amazing research and has interviews with those who are effective in their covering, however it is just good journalism.
Some studios are simply making short stories about how they make their games. Grounded: The Making of The Last of Us, a favorite of mine, includes interviews with artists from almost every discipline who detail how they brought their own passion to the game.
Im also a huge fan of the developer commentary Valve added to Portal 2, which allows you to hear stories about the games creation while youre actually playing the game. Studio MDHR has also released some in-depth footage of their process in making Cuphead, my favorite of which is a look at a recording session for the games soundtrack.
Think that''s more than enough to get players started? Wrong. There are so many great books out there about game development. Jesse Schell''s Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses is a great read for anyone interested in learning more about game design.
Jason Schreiers Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories of How Video Games Are Made and Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry are some of the most approachable resources for players to understand how game studios work.
Former Naughty Dog developers collaborated to create an entire book about how they created the AI for The Last of Us, which includes a wide range of details, including some scary-looking math. There are books from the creators of classics such as Tomb Raider and Doom, and games writers wrote a series of essays on the SEGA Dreamcast.
There are several fantastic podcasts out there that are great for developers, like Game Makers Notebook or Game Dev Advice. Aside from that, the Game Developers Podcast GDC even has its own podcast. Point is, there is something on the internet for you.
FYI, here''s what IMMORTALITY resembled for the first two years in which we were focused on getting the A.I. and combat gameplay balanced vs. how pic.twitter.com/lXoBQeKYUO installed
IMMORTALITY: Sam Barlow (@mrsambarlow) February 20, 2022
When it comes to development, no one will compare to having a studio working with other developers, but gamers have no right to complain that studios are keeping them in the dark. This is because they want to make sure all of their ducks are in a row before going public. It''s extremely hard to see why games are so frustrating and that if youre too early in releasing your info, it can easily backfire. We see this often with delays or games that promise more than they can actually deliver.
I understand that waiting for games patiently can be a difficult task to do, but some of the benefits of living in this industry, whether it be a professional or a fan, is reducing expectations in an understanding that making games takes a really, really long time, and that developers cannot do anything during the development cycle.
I know there''s nothing like shouting at a small, heavy minority here, but researching resources like this may be a lot of fun for individuals who are only interested in learning more about what we love playing.