Jul 20, 2006

Let Ludology Begin!

"New and better hardware will improve our games, but it will not guarantee our artistic success any more than the development of orchestras guaranteed the appearance of Beethoven".

So sayeth Chris Crawford The Splendid more than 20 years ago, back in 1982, in his highly regarded text The Art of Computer Game Design, before going on to design quite a few rather seminal games (mobygames, Wikipedia). Then the Escapist interviewed him.

Now, you too, oh creatively inclined reader, can have a try at video game design. Better start off with a bit of theory though. Have a look at Crawford's The Art of Computer Game Design. Download the free PDF (or just read the html version) here. It's a brilliant read and it will do you good. Really.

Make you stronger it will...

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Homo Ludens affairs, fun with a BFG, the Dragon's Dungeon

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  1. Chris Crawford = batshit insane

  2. I beg to differ... Would you care to elaborate my anonymous friend?

  3. I shouldn't be so dismissive, sorry. I was introduced to the guy once and he is completely incomprehensible to speak to. You can't really have a conversation with him because he goes off on tangents and tends to answer questions with non-sequiturs. I've read interviews where he seems quite cogent but I guess there must be a whole lot of editing and paraphrasing going on.
    His comments at the GDC this year (http://crystaltips.typepad.com/wonderland/2006/03/gdc_game_develo.html) were typical, but he isn't over-exaggerating, he really believes that games are dead and will die out completely in favour of interactive storytelling. This is a guy who doesn't like games or even play them any more.
    I just have a really hard time understanding why he is associated with game design as a wide topic at all - within the small field of technically being able to create dynamic fiction he's interesting, but when talking about games in general it's hard to respect a guy that can't comprehend why people find Sudoku (or even Tetris) fun since there is no story.
    It's still no excuse to have insulted him though I'm sorry about that.

  4. First of all, please, don't apologize... This is a free place after all and (even) libel can be tolerated. Scatological comments, on the other hand, are definitely encouraged.

    Now, on to the subject. I do agree with you that mr. Crawford does sound a bit incoherent, at least in the few things he talks about at the GDC. I must then agree with him that a) interactive storytelling is a medium, a gaming medium actually, that has a lot to offer (see Indigo Prophecy) and b) that *mainstream* games are mostly dead. Well, not in a commercial way, but in terms of innovation, fun and all around craftmanship (artistry perhaps?)... Yes, despite the brilliance of Mario or Jade and a few games here or there, that is.

    To be terribly frank, things of his I've read, just like this book, are generally very good. Haven't really watched him though and can't say I have a 100% established opinion.

    Anyway, cheers for the comment, and it's nice having you here. And the Story vs. No-Story isn't actually something game-designers should talk about. Lemmings and Tetris are excellent, but so are adventures. It's like talking whether Evil Dead or American Beauty are the correct way of making films.

  5. (carefully places a red shiny apple on the teachers desk)

  6. (devours apple, teacher and desk)

  7. (sits in his desk shaking)

    I've no more apples left...... but i do have a half chewed toffee!

    (offers stick wet toffee to the voracious teacher eater.)

  8. Wiiiii!

    (gnome thinks of copyright infringement)


    I love toffee...

    (tosses teacher's remains out of a randomnly open window)

    Any unchewed perhaps?

  9. gulp! an unchewed one? (searches deep inside his trousers.......pulls out a cough drop, dust and lint cover the once sparling candy)

    im im so so sorry this is all i have....

    (elderly looks up at the man eating gnome, tears surge in elderlys eyes)

  10. that'll do...

    Thank you Mr. Elderly...

    Something got in your eye?

  11. gulp!

    nope......got nothing in my eye..... its not in the least tasty either.....sour eyes.....my mum used to say.....

    hee hee gulp!

    (stares at the only exit from the room........)

  12. i've been prepared my friend... It's locked...

    As it should be...

    So...let's talk eyes. Have you watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?

    A true gurmet's film it was

  13. i watched it, but for the life of me i can can can't remember it now.....

    but i've got a copy at ho ho home, m ma maay maybe i can run home and bring it back here......and we can watched it together.....?


  14. No need.. really. Just sit down. we can watch Bambi 4: Zombiedeer...

  15. (looks at watch) am.... i really should be going, people will be worried about me.... (moves towards locked door, tries door)

    it's locked! wh wh why is the door locked?

  16. No reason really

    sit down

    watch bambi

    try this little appetizer

  17. ahhh what is it? i'm not really hungry really...... oh look the warning says we can't display this in the school, without copyright infringement..... guess i'll head home then.....

  18. Very well..You attempt to go home... who's to stpo you?

  19. gnome one.... i mean no one, i suppose.. so i'll just get the key off you and..... i'll am open the locked door......

  20. Sure..why not?

    Give it a try buddy...

    (gnome shines the key, apparently using KeyShine-tm)

  21. you know you actually had me frightened there for a little while, just after you chomped the teacher in two and threw his body out the window.....

    the window......

    (elderly lunges towards the partially opened window, jumps, flies threw the air.......)

    to be continued........

  22. (grabs a new bottle, calls for a pizza, stares intensely, waits)


  23. lol

    We interrupt this broacast to tell you that "Gnome the lost Dinner hour", has been cancelled owing to an industrial dispute......