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Get Over Yourself: Making Someone Else's Game

Started by droqen, February 15, 2023, 03:14:27 PM

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Quote from: 7:32You need to remember that you are different. We [game designers] don't represent normal people at all. . . . We are just not normal people. And so what we value isn't the same as what normal people value. . . . What we are interested in is not the same, and our skill level is also very different from what I call "normal people".

Hmm. What is a normal people? Next McWilliams shows a slide of the top 25 TV listings. "Anytime you start to feel like you represent the mass market, look at that." She shows examples of popular media.

Quote from: 8:25And I think this . . . fact that we're not interested in the same stuff a lot of [the] time leads us to look down on the stuff that we're not interested in. . . . it's a dangerous line of thinking for us, since as developers, and as designers, and as creative people, our goal should be to put smiles on people's faces, to entertain them, to move them emotionally in some fashion, and we need to understand them in order to move them, especially if we're not part of the mass market.


McWilliams is drawing from modern popular culture as the bastion of goodness, which I'm absolutely not on-board with, but aside from that, I agree with the broad strokes, and based on the questions Momin asked, I think I will enjoy at least the strategies given by this talk.

I think it's still worth looking down on popular stuff when it is bad, and I believe my own interpretation of badness is far removed from "stuff that [I'm] not interested in."


Quote from: 9:14We just don't look like normal people. We don't act like 'em, we don't think like them

What a weird thing to repeatedly insist upon. Aren't we normal people? I think it's more important to understand the ways in which we are people, normal people, than to double down on this idea of alienating idiosyncrasy.

She shows a stock image of people standing around in office clothes...


Quote from: 11:10
How do you make a game when it's not for you?

How do you inspire yourself and your team to make something great?


Quote from: 13:33Get your head around what [your audience] is doing. You don't just wanna know what they're playing, you want to know what they're watching, what are they wearing, what are they listening to, what are they reading, what are they talking about, you want to understand these people. And you can treat it like a fun exercise, you can treat it like you're a scientist observing a tribe in the Amazon, but either way, understanding your audience is key.

Audience. There's something about the word audience that grosses me out. Part of it is McWilliams' repeated insistence that "we are not normal people"... Are you saying that these people you're observing are "normal people"? I can't get that taste of alienation out of my mouth :/


At 14:XX, there is a fun slide that says "Personify Your Audience" -- which is like, create a character who represents your audience? It actually sounds like a lot of fun. The bullet points on the slide read:
  • Create representative players
  • Give them names
  • List their hobbies
  • What do they want from your game?


Okay at 15:XX, we have a slide called "Eat Your Own Dogfood" which is... ugh... can we please think of a more appealing way to talk about the work we're doing? oh my god. Just have the same concepts, and don't present them in an intentionally corporate-yucky way!!

But the idea is cool. Get everyone on the team to spend a considerable amount of time with our competition. (3-5 hours.) This makes a lot of sense, though again I would prefer this to be more vibey. Spend time embodying our characters, soaking in the mood, etc. There are more fulfilling things to do than just align ourselves with media.

Still: "Meet The Competition (and show some respect)"


Slide 18:XX

Talk As A Group
- What makes the game work?
- Why do players like it?
- What can we do as well as they do?
- What's feasible on our budget and in our timeframe?

I would say: If there are negative voices, e.g. "this other game sucks", keep the conversation focused on answers to these constructive and respectful questions. It sucks -- okay, but what works? What can we do as well as they can? (This is a clever one: not better, just as well as they can.) Why do people like it and play it? (Keeping it constructive, positive - don't accept answers that focus on unhelpful/disrespectful things.)


Focus tests! - Use them to understand how users people think.


Ask them more questions, and listen to them - not just about game design but also what do you think of our art style? (the story? the presentation? the controls? etc)


For usability testing: Take a video, watch it, you'll learn the things people do

Ask them to test OTHER games, your competitor's games :O
Ask them to compare your game (half-finished though it may be) to other games. Expect to be worse.


"If you do it right, everybody likes the same stuff in games." -28:00

I agree with this... but... not what she follows up with... Maybe I should pick it apart.

"They want an immersive experience that makes them feel like they did something special and they're unique and special and they develop skill while doing it."

-an immersive experience
-do something special
-feel that you're unique and special
-you develop skill while doing it

HMMM. I need to think about this. McWilliams really casually is like "yep this is what everyone likes about games!"
I thought about it. ~ SYNAPSE I don't make art to make people happy, I make it to provoke epiphanies.


"We're actually enjoying the process of making the game. It has nothing to do with the game we're making, it has to do with the fact that we love being game developers, and we love making games." - 31:56