Week 7

Chapter 8 – Game Design

Interesting to see that a fad game designer (Rodney Greenblat) went back to fine art when he felt that his popularity was at a peak.  I can’t stand his style by the way.  It seems iconographic of the current trend toward making childish art.  No I don’t mean child-like, with the connotation of innocence and wonder, I mean childish focusing on bold primary colors that seem garish to anyone over 7 years old, heavy outlines and poor judgment of scale and perspective.  I realize that this is a matter of personal taste, but I really hope this fad dies sooner rather than later.  I have a feeling that it is a counter-technological rebellion.  Creating something that looks less polished, geometrically unbalanced and heavily non-symmetrical has more of a ‘human’ feel to it.

I appreciated the back to basics ideal of Eric Zimmerman’s interview.  Every time there are amazing new advances in CGI and computer animation the public is inundated with a flood of movies and games that are very graphics and effects heavy with little focus on plot, characters and real game play.  The craft of story telling and game design don’t really change at nearly the pace that technology advances.  This is why chess, checkers and the stories of the Brothers Grimm are still enjoyed hundreds, even thousands of years, after they were created.

Chapter 9 – Digital Entrepreneurs

I’m really not sure why an interview with the president of a huge design firm (Robert Greenberg- R/GA) is included in the section on entrepreneurs.  Apparently the company splits their employees down into small somewhat independent teams to try and emulate the flexibility and innovation of small shops, but they still won’t have the do-or-die inspiration that comes from knowing if a job fails and you loose the client it means your whole business might go flush-away-swirly.

Maybe I’m a tad cynical but it seems that the real process of climbing the corporate ladder is about how many buzz words and feel good slogans you can cram into your head, along with how to tell people bad news with a completely impersonal approach.  Maybe the best approach to creating virtual intelligence would be to start with a robotic middle manager.

Global Outreach – Interview with Tarek Atrissi

Well I definitely understand the importance of content management.  If the users can’t figure out how to import new content / data into the system than either they stop using it (no matter how good it looks) or if possible you get stuck with updating the system.  Either way building a working system necessitates building an easy and efficient way to update the system.

I don’t know if I agree with the idea that playing multiple roles will result in bringing out the best in both areas.  It’s a rare bird that has a head for business and a solid design sense.  Usually one wins out and the other suffers.  But I suppose it’s just as rare to find someone with a mind that can embrace both the design and the development side of a project.

I wonder how long ago this guy graduated, since his school was forward thinking enough to eschew teaching any specific software.  I don’t know if going that far is necessarily the best course, but I agree that it’s important not to get too attached to any particular digital tool.  Even the next release of a favorite piece of software might have a completely revamped interface.  Hell, look at Office ’07.

Marshall Clemens reminds me of Paul Laffoley.  I think Marshall is a slightly saner version.

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