The Customer Is Not Always Right

How fan feedback changes to Doom 3: BFG Edition and Mass Effect 3 cheapen the originals and undermine the artistic growth of the medium.

Yesterday, Bethesda Softworks announced Doom 3 BFG Edition, a console and PC re-release of the occasionally derided 2004 first-person shooter from id Software. While Bethesda detailed a wealth of new content and tweaks for the package, one in particular gave me pause. In the original Doom 3, players had access to a flashlight, but they couldn't hold a weapon as they were using it. For the BFG Edition, the flashlight is "armor-mounted," so players don't need to choose between seeing their environment and defending themselves from its many monsters.

The "armor-mounted" flashlight in Doom 3: BFG Edition will give players a better look at the levels that the designers never intended them to have.

While the flashlight limitation was a frequent complaint among players and reviewers, it was also a deliberate and no doubt carefully considered design decision. Obviously players would want to see enemies and kill them simultaneously, but the developers denied them that ability to foster a more tense atmosphere and provoke a specific emotional response. Seeing the cavalier way in which id Software is changing a facet of the design so core to the original Doom 3 is disappointing in the same way as George Lucas' continued tinkering with the original Star Wars trilogy, or BioWare's revisiting Mass Effect 3's ending in light of consumer complaints.

"Whether these post-release changes are actually improving the works in question is irrelevant. That these changes are being made at all is an admission that the original works are not inherently valuable."

At least in the case of Star Wars the ideas for the changes came from one of the original creators. With Doom 3 and Mass Effect 3, the alterations came at the behest of the audience, essentially a crowdsourcing of development decisions. Whether these post-release changes are actually improving the works in question is irrelevant. That these changes are being made at all is an admission that the original works and the decisions made therein are not inherently valuable. If creators are willing to change the fundamentals of their art just because the audience didn't like it, then clearly those creators didn't care all that much about what they were doing or saying in the first place.

And that might be the most damaging idea in play here, because it lends itself to treating games more like a product where the customer is always right than an art form capable of meaning. The more decisions are made based on what the audience wants, the less room there is for the kind of creativity that might frequently result in failure, but every now and then pushes the medium forward in huge strides. And when there's less room for experimentation that could potentially alienate an audience, we get more games designed to be safe and approachable for the masses, an industry where everything tries to be Call of Duty. (Like, even more than it already does.)

That might make for a more polished--and perhaps "better"-- slate of games hitting stores each year, but it will also make them less varied and less interesting. If music worked like this, Bob Dylan never would have gone electric, and the Beatles wouldn't have dropped the pop pablum of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" to create classics like Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Literature would never have seen Joyce's Ulysses or Burroughs' Naked Lunch. Comics like Maus and Watchmen could not have been made. The world of cinema never would have allowed for the careers of Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, or Nicolas Cage.

"All creators need to be free to challenge their audiences."

People may disagree on the merits of all of these, but they are clearly the result of bold choices made with no guarantee that they would be well received. The creators behind them went out on a limb and tried to make something new or significant, and each of those art forms is unquestionably richer for it. Yes, even in the case of Nic Cage. Perhaps especially in the case of Cage.

All creators need to be free to challenge their audiences, because the alternative is a disservice to all involved. A creator who panders to an audience is treating them as predictable dupes rather than respected equals. An audience being spoon-fed what they think they want is being treated as a consumer of product rather than an appreciator of art. And any art that aspires to nothing artistic becomes as disposable as anything else we consume, digest, and flush away. That might be how id Software and BioWare view games--they're certainly allowed to--but that doesn't mean we need to encourage it.

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2151 comments
theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

If it aint broke, dont fix it. Feedback is good..just dont use it too much.

elessarGObonzo
elessarGObonzo

nicely put in a lot of ways. hate seeing great art "dumbed-down" for the masses but it has always been this way and always will be this way. hundreds, even thousands of years ago playwrights would have to change scenes or whole storylines because the audience wasn't pleased enough and the producers would complain about lack of profits. PROFIT!: a curse on human existence & culture but also the guiding light that has drug us out from the forest floors and planted us in this seat of self-examination.

Seiki_sands
Seiki_sands

Video games are meant to be...I play games to be...

This is one of those times where most people arguing the points on the table need to step back and take a look at things from the other side, because there are definitely multiple angles at play. Consumerism in general encourages homogeneity and an increase in polish, and it clearly dulls and tempers the creative instinct. Whether games are art is a non-issue because art can be anything someone chooses to call art. Someone said they are not art because they can be scored, so if I rate Ibsen a better playwright than Corneille, then neither make art? I simply cannot follow that line of distraction (or logic, if you prefer). I suspect anything that has any room whatsoever for a creative spark can be raised to the level of art; the Japanese have raised pouring a freaking cup of tea into an art form! Even if you want to put a straightjacket on the term "Art" as so many seem to insist on doing in this conversation, you're still left with the underlying problem that making media of any kind by crowd-sourcing almost by definition means the crowd's views will not be challenged or will be challenged as little as possible; and if your views are never challenged you won't gain much from the experience of consuming said media, you won't grow, you won't be inspired, you will likely become more and more boring, formulaic, and block-headed just like the media you consume.

 

That said, artists are people and ideally, assuming they are not completely boring and block-headed themselves, are entitled to see the light. They hopefully can in retrospect see that it was wrong to solve the problem of creating more tension in Doom 3 by the arbitrary device of having a main character too stupid to duct tape his flashlight to his gear. There are better and more novel ways to create that tension and perhaps someday Carmak will revisit his intentions and come up with a better solution. Until then, if there is going to be a remake of Doom 3 the choice is to retain a failed attempt to solve a problem or to set the problem aside, there is no great principle on the line, one way or the other, if the artist feels they failed in their initial attempt.

 

I think people in general separate artist and consumer far too much. Creativity, art, imagination, problem solving, or any other phraseology still finds the creators themselves consuming their own ideas as they create. The only difference between artist and audience is that the artist is the first in line to see the art. The artist is inspired by his own imagination or he is not, he is terrified by his thoughts or he is not, and ultimately he decides whether or not his creation is representative enough of his thoughts (or his art, if you prefer) to share with others. He is the first to decide whether his creation has merit and he is entitled to change his mind over time as he is a critically thinking human being. 

dkwarren7
dkwarren7

Damned if you don’t, damned if you do.  It’s astonishing that this kind of criticism is being dumped on the new version, when for over 8 years one of the biggest & most repeated criticisms of the original was the flashlight.  Video games are meant to be played, not admired as “art” in the abstract. 

 

It’s true that video games are an art form, now more than ever with the improved graphics & intense levels of interaction.  But ultimately we buy them (and they make them) so we can be entertained.  And when a serious impediment gets in the way of that enjoyment, then the game has failed.  Whether or not it’s “good art” or “groundbreaking” is beside the point.  Let’s not put form over substance or try to make substance out of form.  Their decision to respond to the complaints & fix the problem is simply good business, even if it is bad art.  Again, it’s a game first & an art form second (or third or even further back). 

 

To the extent you feel that the new changes cheapen or invalidate the original work, there’s a simple solution: play the original. 

Sea_Orange
Sea_Orange

what the hell is everyone talking about? None of this is relevant.What IS relevant is that this is a stupid topic, and they should simply have, as Hicks said, a menu option for the flashlight. Surely they must have thought of that at some point?? Either way, im waiting for Doom 4 :D 

EyezCold
EyezCold

 @blacklab421  I am not saying all things are not art but game companies can not go straddle the fence and jump between product and art when it benefits them the most. If a game is are then one finish your game before you release it stop with all the dlc because last time I checked when food art or even paintings are done you dont see the artiest running back to add just this one last thing or charging people to see something that is already a part of his or her art but it just hidden be hide a wall or covered up. If its a product then when people says its bad fix or give them there money back is it so hard to just fix a single part of a video game if it is then no one told the PC modding community cuz they mod their games all the time somethings they make things that blow what the original game was suppose to be out of the water.

 

Anyway all I am saying is pick one and stick with it stop hoping back and forward 

Hicks233
Hicks233

"If creators are willing to change the fundamentals of their art just because the audience didn't like it, then clearly those creators didn't care all that much about what they were doing or saying in the first place."

 

You didn't just describe Doom 3 as art did you?

 

Did you?

 

ME3's ending/s was/were mis-advertised as well as being frankly awful. It/they need fixing.

 

Making the flashlight in Doom 3 a menu toggle option would give those that wish to have the original configuration as well as those that find it an improvment the chance to play the way they wish. Options... scarry concept no?

 

"A creator who panders to an audience is treating them as predictable dupes rather than respected equals. An audience being spoon-fed what they think they want is being treated as a consumer of product rather than an appreciator of art."

 

If being a "respected equal" means getting tripe like ME3's ending then I'll settle for being a consumer that instead gets what they're advertised and bought.

 

Once games manage to be consistent products then they can get anxious over being art or not. We're paying £30 - £40 for these products. They need to do what they're advertised to do. I'm not paying good money so a developer can stroke their ego and be considered an artist. I'm paying to be entertained.

jason440
jason440

The thing that the fans have been complaining about isn't that it was a sad ending or that Mass Effect isn't a work of art.  It's the fact that we were sold a product that we were told would have several different endings based on our decisions throughout the series, we wouldn't ge choice A, B or C at the end and we would get closure for the characters that we had invested time into.  If Bioware had given us an ending with these features like they had promised leading up to the release of the game there wouldn't be the outrage that there has been. 

moc5
moc5

Mr. Sinclair, your a dying breed of truth.  If only the corporate machine would be seen by the masses even with eyes wide shut.

Ed_Burge
Ed_Burge

Well put. The ending of ME 3 was artistically sound. The questions it leaves unanswered are the very essence of the ending. Great literature does not always spell out everything in excruciating detail. Ambiguity is a part of art.

 

The fact that tI spent a day wondering about the ending and replaying it in my mind was the result of the ambiguity. If everything had been spelled out I would not have done that and the experience would have been less.

DannyBoy2k
DannyBoy2k

What with the MASSIVE outcry in regards to the ME3 ending, one that I ENTIRELY agree with, changing it in almost ANY WAY is an improvement, and it's hard to say how you could, in any way, shape or form CHEAPEN it. And if the creators makes such insanely large responses, they'd BEST change it, if they want to keep selling games!

 

And as for the 'art' discussion, I've said this before, and I'll say it again...games, wether PC or console, are enjoyable, ground-breaking, beautiful...but they are NOT art! Not in any way, shape, form or fashion. ART cannot be scored. To quote Robin Williams in Dead Poet Society: 'I like Byron, I give him a 52, but I can't dance to him.' Even if the game gets a solid 10/10, it is still scored...and thus, it is NOT art.

countofhell4321
countofhell4321

Doom 3 Resurrection of Evil already featured flashlight on weapons, and RoE is not a fan made MOD for D3 but an official expansion.

Mass Effect 3 ' ending wont be changed regardless of fans responses.

And that is ok for everyone.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

 @blacklab421 Sorry for the delayed response. Life and all that.

 

You're not quite getting what I mean by strict rules and limitations. Everyone encounters issues in their work, regardless of the field. What I am talking about is a producer, director, or someone above you telling you what to do and how to do it. A game designer maybe given free reign in the design process, but if it doesn't meet the needs of the project or the requirements of management - or is a censorship issue - his or her work gets changed despite their protests or how much they consider themselves an artist.

 

A perfect example is Todd Mcfarlane's run on Spider-Man back in the early nineties. He had drawn a panel where a character stabbed Juggernaut in the eye. This was a pretty graphic scene not usually found in Spider-Man, let alone other Marvel books at the time. The execs told him to change it.

 

There's no denying McFarlane is an artist. And there's no denying that comics can be art. However, when a AAA company creates something, it cannot immediately be considered art for the sheer fact that 100% of the original artistic intentions will never make it through.

 

 

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @Polybren Starting to understand your point of view more so let me help you a bit, even if I strongly disagree with you about changing things in "art". To me It is natural based on a long history of it being done in all forms of entertainment "arts". Even more so with ME3 and how it was sold to us all. Like I have stated before I do tend to view MOST games and movies as entertainment, but I do think there are games and movies closer to "art" then not.

 

Granted by the very broad definition of "art" just about everything qualifies as art, even war sadly. Art is so subjective that only you as an individual can decide what is or is not art and it only applies to you. You do have the right to feel that all games are "art" or that Metal is better then Country music for example. Likewise you, or anyone else, have zero right to expect anyone to agree with what you call "art" just because you like it. You must keep in mind, and accept, that art is too subjective to force people to accept your point of view outright just because you call it "art".

 

Let me help you make a better case as to why games could be considered art. Instead of picking a falsely advertised game like ME3 and saying "don't change it because I feel it is art" when you know over 90% of people think the end sucked and they feel betrayed by Bioware. Why did you not pick games that really blur the line between art and gaming instead. How about LA Noire, The Journey, Limbo, Katamari Damacy, The Last Resort, Ico/Shadow of the Colossus, Portal, Okami, and those are just off the top of my head. You might be able to make a case for the Elder Scrolls, the Fallout games, Red Dead, maybe even the GTA games. All those games got made, took chances, where successful, and no great majority felt upset and demanded that they change them did they? Doesn't even matter if you like or hate those games they are better examples then Doom 3's flashlight and ME3's end about what might be "art."

 

Even with ME3 you could make a better case for by pointing to the things it did right instead of focusing on the end and them fixing it. Even if you disagree with them fixing it, your in a small 1 to 2 % so it can not help your case with that game. Kind of like the very few people that tried to stick up for the Piss Christ Photo from Andres Serrano, some things you should not try to defend if the vast majority are against it and it is a bad example of that form of "art."

 

++++ Spoilers follow about ME3 ++++

Sticking with ME3 instead of the ends, why not point out the parts like the Genophage and that story arc? If your a renegade and chose not to cure it, the confrontation with Mordin (if alive) might just make you teary eyed, it invokes true emotion from the gamer (assuming they have emotions!) Not to mention what happens if you kept Wrex alive and what happens when he finds out, how about that little talk with Garrus on the Normandy about it. Hard to not feel guilty about that whole thing in the end isn't it!

++++ end spoilers++++

 

So please if you want to change peoples minds about what you want to be called art, pick games that are good example of it, not ones people have strong negative feelings toward. It is kind of like trying to convince people movies are "art" just because it was made into a movie, then picking The Human Centipede 2, Howard the Duck, Catwoman, and Battlefield Earth as your examples of that "art." The game industry and movie industry have one thing in common, there are really only a few titles made every year that are "art", the rest are just made to (hopefully) entertain you while making a profit. Most will be forgotten with time, but the really good ones will be remembered.

Vejita2128
Vejita2128

I disagree with this article. I think this guy has no clue what he is talking about. If you don't like the new versions, play the old ones.

lozandier
lozandier

 @brendansinclair  While creators need to be free to challegne their audiences, they can't completely ignore them. Apple has made a living using substantive facts and statistics and trends to rationalize what the audience needs before they know it themsleves. 

 

That is what designing is all about: Designing for a specific audience with the limited resources and time you have and creating something with your interpretation of what the intended audience wants and needs based on sound due diligence on your part of making that happen. 

 

I however am sort of confused of your notion of artist integrity as far as a designer is concerned. As a Designer, you are responsible for the work you put into the field solving a specific problem that in results influences the audiences that make up the main consumers of what you're tasked to make--as well as possibly influencing that entire industry as well.  A badly designed product may encourage consumers to quit being part of the audience that consume such things. 

 

An example would be Resident Evil (RE). Considered the King of Survival Horror, it can influence the genre immensely . If  gamers are disappointed with the direction of a future title, not only will they not likely be future customers of RE titles, but they might give up on Survival Games altogether at the extreme. Because of the expectations of a series of that magnitude, it has huge sales anyway. Other people who don't due their due diligence might just say 'let's make our survival games that way too' and forever leaves a mark and trend in the field that most of the audience of such games don't want (at the same time this may identify a specific untapped audience to provide future games for, but I wont' go there).

 

This isn't exactly artist integrity. Very few companies can create games in a matter that is built with no audience in mind and is 'just what they feel like making' that would be more of an artist lifestyle. Designers don't have the luxury, and those who continue to try to live out that myth are usually aren't successful most of the time.

 

It's no secret game development is expensive, often game companies live the traditional designer route and THEN they have funds to play around with to live out that game development lifestyle. I personally think Valve and Rockstar are such companies.  

 

A Franchise made in such a way would of course have less concern for fan noise, though that would be questioanble for a continual growth (more sales than the last) of such a franchise if you completely tune most of it out. 

 

Overall, I just think Artist Integrity is used way too much in the Game Industry where very few are truly in a situation that they are creating entities in the matter an artist would compared to a designer: 

lozandier
lozandier

I don't agree with a lot of points with this article because it fails to make the difference between an Artist and a Designer. They are NOT the same thing.  

 

A Developer solve's another person's problem first and foremost and makes a living off of it. An Artist expresses his personal viewpoint using a medium of his choosing first and foremost. That's why people who know the difference are completely shocked, if not fed up, of the audacity of some to point out 'artist integrity' and that game designers shouldn't not listen to fans as far as reacting to fan's requests and criticism of certain franchises.

 

It's sad that today's education don't clearly express to people the difference of such things for those involved as consumers of an industry this huge.

0.674074344991
0.674074344991

I think it's great that people are beginning to discuss video games as art. There are a lot of interesting points made in this article made around that idea. However, I think there are a few things that have been glossed over: some aspects of video games, like movies and a lot of mass-produced art is more geared towards profit through appeal than always about a theme or message. Proof of this is the very fact that the producers went back on certain things in their games to appeal to fan criticism. Perhaps this duality is part of the art's reflection of Western society. However, if this is so, conventional ideas of how art is and should be appreciated may not apply in this case.

One has to consider that while the audience may offer criticism that goes against what the producers intended to convey, they are also the best critics against the kind of profit-oriented decisions apparent in a game that clash with the execution of the message. The customer isn't always right. But they aren't just customers.

rasputin177
rasputin177

I am sorry and ashamed of the response this article is getting. No one has the guts to say it but here is the thing. A vast majority of the gaming community is whiny, immature, impotent and bitter social out casts. They do not give a rats ass about the artistic merit and vision of games. They often play games as a form of self esteem. They spend so much of their life walking around staring at the ground that when they get online they all look for a way to insult and bash others. They can say and do all the things they are too impotent to do in the real world and they can do it without having to face any real world situations.

 

 

Gaming has evolved and its time we take it back from the whiny virgin mouth breathers. Happy people can be just as big of gamers. These people don't care if games evolve as an art form they just want a niche where they can feel good about themselves. The community is still not ready to admit this, they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them but the best thing for this art form we love is to leave them behind.

scyldschefing
scyldschefing

You're 100% right:

 

When Bioware designed the original ending to Mass Effect 3, they didn't care very much about what they were saying or doing with that design decision.

 

Thank you for pointing out the obvious.

 

Let me add to your observation by pointing out that there's a difference between controversial design decisions and decisions which blatantly capitulate to either time constraints due to release deadlines or to demands from the corporate HQ.

 

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

In regards to indie games sure. Artistic integrity all the way. (all barring obvious muck ups) In regards to AAA titles sorry, but no. Wish it were the other way around but the former is a roadside diner famous for its pie, the latter is McDonalds. If McDonalds screws up your order (Say...by not giving you what it promised) or if it can make more sales by fixing it's current menu it will. You don't tell Flo her Key Lime Pie needs more cream though. Flo's recipe is the reason you drove out to that little roadside diner. BioWare Promised all actions would matter up until the end. It failed on those promises. No easy way out and that includes the "artistic integrity" road.

NavyFenson
NavyFenson

If there would be a possibility to make works like Sonic Unleashed, Superman 64, Ataris E.T., Howard the Duck and Uwe Bolls movies better or even THE best works ever, would you deny it purely because it wasn´t the original vision of the artist? Sometimes the artist simply forgets his original vision, didn´t really think it through, was forced to make a decision because of time constraints or something else entirely. Artists are still people and can make stupid things, just like you screwed up your class tests in seventh grade or said this stupid thing to the cute girl at the office that now thinks you are racist, Adrian.

trollkind
trollkind

What the... you have a point but I doubt customer feedback is to blame for big companies trying to make surefire profitable hit games that all start to feel alike and safe. That would be the business arm of those companies making the decisions. Bad start to present a valid but at the moment pretty moot point. Indie developers and their projects are thriving and the big shots rather try to copy some of them now and the innovation kinda trickles up, niche games reach their audiences due to broad (new) media coverage and per kickstarter, gamers can vote with their dollars to make games they want to see happen.

TEOL222
TEOL222

This is the quote you should have used:

"If creators are willing to change the fundamentals of their art just because the audience didn't like it, then clearly those creators didn't care all that much about what they were doing or saying in the first place."

 

Exactly, they only cared about the money! As they did with Skyrim and Diablo III etc. That's the direction games are going these days: Everything is getting oversimplified so they can sell to a broader audience and everything is changed to the "audience's" (correction 15 year olds who scream the loudest) liking... A great sentence Brendan, thanks for highlighting it!:D

Luminious0
Luminious0

I had the flashlight mod, which mounted it to your gun. That was the best one because it still gave you the darkness around you

EyezCold
EyezCold

 @blacklab421 Its not that we are saying that we are saying that all games are not art and that if it is art that we should get it for free if we dont like a part of the art...What we are saying is if the gaming world says your game is really bad and maybe you should change it...dont go and get mad and throw the art card at the consumers. We know you worked hard to make the game we know you put blood sweat and tears into but it does not change the fact that its bad and parts of it should be changed. We want an improvement to what we paid for simple thing to ask for if we know you can improve it  

theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

 @elessarGObonzo on ME3 case it was a serious issue in there. Casey said the game would have thousands of variables for the ending but he end was not the one he promised.. which he has spoke so much about. It isnt just that ppl wasnt pleased, ppl was truly insulted. As for me..the ending cut just make it worse but at least they did something effort. i think i can get along with that...barely ..but i can. so sometimes the feedback is a call for their duties

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

I sadly agree with you about one thing however Mr Sinclair, Nick Cage! Raising Arizona, nuff said.

blacklab421
blacklab421

 @lozandier 

 

Designer definition: a person who devises and executes designs, as for works of art, clothes, machines, etc.

 

Games the combination of different arts. Sculpting, painting, creative programming ect. 

 

If game makers are designers they are designers of art. As all the elements that go into the game are art. They don't call it the art department as a joke.

lozandier
lozandier

 @0.674074344991  Video Games shouldn't be viewed as art, just like you don't call Websites 'art' either. A Designer and a Artist are two different things outside of needing creativity, and needing to know how to put things together such that it is designed in purpose. 

 

For a Designer, it's more important to solve a specific problem for specific audiences. It's also just as important to design things with purpose to make the work solve the intended consumer needs and put in the work and research to meet that need in a way that it would be warranted to be consume by such audiences.

 

It's why Survival Horror fans think Capcom has not done their homework as far as what they are looking for yet labels it as though it is for them.  It's why people are angry about the Mass Effect ending. 

 

I personally think it's a problematic label to attach to games, and I think the game companies that know better are on the rise while the bemoths of the industry are overdiluted with people who did not get adequate knowledge about such nuances in their development of being a game designer and game developer to stand up for their consumers by publishing decision makers who have people who mostly over-concern themselves about money short-term rather than the best way to get money short-term and long-term. 

B0ne3ater
B0ne3ater

 @rasputin177 Explain "art" to me. Before you didn't do that, you have no case and you are just trying to enforce your claims. And with "explain", I don't want your opinion, I want to see factual evidence of what you are talking about. If you can't provide any of that, your entire post is null and void.

lozandier
lozandier

 @rasputin177 Games are not art. Websites are not art. Just like how a printer isn't art, a software program isn't art, which a game is closely related to.

 

If you want to be frank, designers, specifically very experienced designers,  often want to feel proud of their work and know the audience they designing games for because they are part of the exact same audience. They therefore believe that if the game is fun for them, it will be be embraced by all others they group themselves with.

 

That's a designer working backwards that then closely appears to be going into Artist territory.  Many designers from other industries sometimes do the same thing such as Web Designers.

 

Problem is the risk is magnified that a specific audience won't buy into such commitment by the designer(s).  After all, they didn't design their work for the consumption of others as a designer normally does. 

 

It's what is happening to a lot of games. A lot of them lose sight of what a designer fundamentally is or explicitly believe they are an exception. For some it works, for some it doesn't. Such method breeds innovation, but it isn't necessarily the best as far as being immediately useful. 

 

I think you and many are forgetting that important nuance that makes this a controversy. Some feel the role of designer traditionally ought not to be the main one today, which I personally think is flawed. 

lozandier
lozandier

 @Poodlejumper @brendansinclair  Awesome analogy, which I was able to be that simple about the situation, I think the author needs to needs to read this, I want to see his breakdown of this analogy to argue his point....

trollkind
trollkind

 @Luminious0 I still hope they give us light choices in Doom 3, I liked that weapon fixed light compromise best too.

blacklab421
blacklab421

 @EyezCold Thats understandable. I still think that it is better untouched to preserve the original creation, but that is more a personal preference. I know when I do my work when it is done, it is done because you can always make something better. I feel it is best to move on and let the mistakes be apart of what you created. Like Bioware should let the fans know they tried their best and they came up short and that they learned what they could. I know gamers feel that because they buy the game that it has a standard that it needs to live up to, but it doesn't, because the game is just what it is and the gamer should know that when they buy the game that they are paying for whatever the  developer came up with. That is why we have sites were reviewers(not gamers but people who are paid to review)  play games and tell us their opinion so we can decide if it is worth our money. Gamers are not designers. I typically don't buy on an impulse. I do research. Review sites would have let the fan base know of the shortcomings of the game. To all that bought it and felt that they didn't get their moneys worth. They participated in the unspoken contract. The game is what it is. The creation of someone else. You buy it not fully knowing all the choices they made and so you accept the unknown and have no right to demand that it be the thing you hoped for. There may be exceptions to this, but exceptions don't allow consumers the right to try and dictate the developers choices. Their suggestions should be respectfully heard and noted by the developer, but the developer has no obligation to these suggestions. 

 

Example: I bought wolfenstien without any research. I am a fan of the original so I had certain expectations. I bought the game fully aware that I didn't know how they developed it. Parts I like and parts I didn't, but I knew that when I made the purchase. Now I know someone will want to bring up the "promises that Bioware made".... There are other factors that the community is unaware of and like I said, there may be exceptions to the rule. Mass Effect very well may be an exception. But the fact that Bioware listened means that many gamers will let it go to their heads. Which will not paint a good future for the industry.

 

On what you said more directly, I don't feel what you said is wrong. On a case to case basis, there may indeed be times that the developer should go and make alterations. Bioware didn't give the ending they wanted. So I could see it being an option. But again, this is dangerous ground. From what I have seen so far on forums. This will go to the community's heads. We can expect to see more demands being made soon from the community that are less reasonable in the near future. 

lozandier
lozandier

That's not a root definition of design; your definition would exclude software designers, IA designers, UX designers, and so forth. 

 

Design is to solve specific problems. Game designers designs techniques and strategies for a game to be fun,  captivating , and be desigred for specific groups of people  with the resources provided.  

blacklab421
blacklab421

 @lozandier  @rasputin177 My 3d animation teacher used to say "The programs you use do not make art. It is what you do with those programs and tools that will be the art." Roughly

lozandier
lozandier

 @blacklab421  Agreed. Though I would point out a gamer designer who is making a game with a traditional design stand point will not make a game doing anything you mentioned above unless it is towards the end result of the game better satisfying the intended audience; they wouldn't do any of the things you mentioned for the sake of doing it.

 

Sometimes designers will try to do such things for the sake of growing from the project personally than 'just getting the job done' but that's an entirely different standpoint we're not arguing. 

blacklab421
blacklab421

 @lozandier 

 

Making something visual with the intent to influence sounds like art to me. . If a designer doesn't have the drive to make games that make a difference, change peoples views, or influence the audience in some way, then most likely they don't work anywhere because the big companies aren't interested in them. 

 

In the end video games don't have to have consumers or publishers to exist.  Making a Game, to me, is art. Perhaps some of that art is lost when you mix in consumers and publishers. But I don't feel it can completely diminish.

 

 

Man I think we could go on forever with this. But I don't want to take up all your time. I can't say your view is wrong as you have a good argument. I may not fully agree but I think I understand why you believe what you do. 

 

lozandier
lozandier

 @blacklab421  I thin the end goal purpose and what influenced you to make what you made and what you did plays in important role in the aspect of the work being art in and of itself or considered so for the execution of that work to fit a specific problem with its execution.

 

The point you can associate 'art' to an artist's work and a designers are at very different points if you wish to pursue that: An artist's work can be immediately art and rated as such as soon as it's finished. 

 

A Designer's work can be associated as art after it is ready to fit a specific purpose and be consumed by its intended consumers with the objectives/goals/primises of what the work was to do for them. 

 

 

Artists don't have to care if anyone consumes their product at all or it solves problems. 'Great if it does, I don't care if it doesn't, I'm satisfied if  I got what I wanted from it'. 

 

Designers have to care about such things. The things they meant was meant for the consumption of others being a priority. 

 

 For Game Design, it's about whether the game would satisfy the needs of the intended audience of the game and it had its intended effect that consumers and customers wanted: It was fun and sold well.  

 

You could have a game that the intended audience thought was enjoyable by consensus that numbers prove. The game developer did his job. However, it gets complicated if it doesn't sale. Right or wrong, some of that will be blamed on the Game Designers if other games in the genre are better and sell better. Standards of Good change.  However, it may not be the game designer's fault. The game could be for a very specific niche;  If the game is better than other games in the same genre for the same audience and it doesn't sell as well as other games, that's more of a marketer's fault.  But I won't go more into this here. 

 

 

I think the problem that even the author was attempting to get at is that some game designers felt that they were giving what the specific audiences 'needed' but didn't exactly by consenus tell them. That they don't know better or not aware what could be done to better meet their needs (a funner game for x genre). 

Game Designers want to enjoy the games they make as much as many in the genre do. This is especially common to happen to accomplished game designers and game developers such as Bioware. Their resume if not allows them to think they know the craft well to take such risks. Some 'marry' the two by doing a lot of due diligence of creating something they are proud of and what substantive evidence that it will be loved by a specific audience.

 

That is what usually happens at some point in any designer's career. Knowing that they have the power to influence a lot of people with each work they put out there for the world to consume as designers. 

 

Some begin to  think that if it's fun for them, it'll be fun for others. I'm happy, they're happy. That sometimes doesn't pan out, especially if you don't think the considerations of an audience at heart primarily than your interests. 

 

What becomes dangerous is that such decisions not based on audience criticism and demand may not go well with the actual consumers of their products. 

 

 

blacklab421
blacklab421

 @lozandier Good argument. To continue off though, the art assets I use are created by myself. I take art and put it together to make a big piece of art. By me designing that composition with different art assests would not reduce the final outcome as no longer art.I would call what you do art. I assume that you do your job well and with that assumption you don't work like a drone. You have to be creative. So your websites, at least in my eyes, would be a form of 21st century art. 

 

The developers got into making games because they love their art. Modelers are artist. They sculpt. Texture painters are artist. Designers, for me at least, also are artist. As they paint with a different pallet. Rather than blues and yellows they use different tools like models, riggs, animations, and programs to make their art.

lozandier
lozandier

 @blacklab421  I think you're forgetting an important part of being a designer vs. an artist. They both use fundamentals of design for two different core reasons. That's where your claim that 'design and art goes hand in hand' comes in. That doesn't mean that designers=artists.  

 

What you design as a designers is created to fix a specific purpose that's not self-centric, that solves problems, that will be for an intended audience.

 

When you design as an artist, you are creating something that you are making to self-express yourself and signify something you specifically hold dear. You're creating a model with no specific purpose to a problem  it seems outside you wanting to express yourself digitally and expressing a specific message you want to make that you didn't necessarily did for the consumption of others. 

 

That's two different things.  I'm a web designer and web develop. To use your words, I use a collection of 'art assets' and combine them to create an interactive experience to fit specific needs of a client such as models I work with. Am I a artist? No, but I use the fundamentals of design to achieve my solutions for others.

blacklab421
blacklab421

 @lozandier True they do that. But they also make art. A video game is a collection of art assets combined into an interactive experience. So while yes they are designers, they are also artists. I think it takes artistry and good design to put a game together. When I am modeling a character. I am making art. When I take that character and bring him to life I am creating a story. Yes the player gets to take control but that doesn't make the art I made no longer art or make me less of an artist. Designers are artist. What good designer can pull something off without some artistic thought? 

 

I feel art and design go hand in hand.

 

I see where your coming from but I have to respectfully disagree. Been at this for too long to see it as only design. I make art and no external view can change what I make. Which makes me think. Is the debate of if video games are art or not even necessary. If a guy goes an makes a game as a piece of art. Sells it and then someone else walks up and says "Dude I don't think what you did is art" Does that really matter? His intention and design choices were based on artistic creativity in the effort to craft his artwork. So can anyone really try and tell him that he is not an artist? (not by opinion if he is a good artist)

 

Although again. I think design and art are inseparable   when it comes to video games.

lozandier
lozandier

Ignore the first part of my reply. Your definition didn't rule them out necessarily. 

lozandier
lozandier

 @blacklab421  Games which such premises are increasingly becoming common.  If you have people who discover your game, like your vision, and spread the word for people to embrace it, great. I hope that happens for you. 

blacklab421
blacklab421

 @lozandier that makes sense.... but not all video games fall into that category. Most do but there are small teams that make games for themselves and their own goals. Like a game I am working on. No intent of an audience. No client. Just a vision. 

lozandier
lozandier

 @blacklab421  You are creating a game for a specific audience you  or your client have identified through due diligence. Usually that work is done I would only think by mostly the publisher, the designer and other members of the team that is working for the game,  marketing staff that you or the client has onboard, and so forth to create expectations of what sales can look like.

 

Doesn't mean you're looking for x amount of sales though you have to in ways to create a budgeted income of what financial resources you have to make the game and if you can break even making the game you're setting out to make.

 

Overall, it can be to make a game that better does x and y for fans of z genre that should make a amount of sale to break even(striving for more than that of course) and/or ideally b or have a score of xx for specific bonuses 

 

blacklab421
blacklab421

 @lozandier  

"You're designing if it's  something to solve a specific problem and primarily for the consumption of others"

 

When making a video game, what specific problem are you solving? Artists don't usually make their art for it not to be seen, or bought. It is usually with the intention of mass consumption.

 

By the way. You are by far the most interesting person I have debated with here. Your thoughts are well calculated and you have been very respectful.Please know I don't debate to bother you. I have no intention of trolling and just wish to understand the other side better.

lozandier
lozandier

 @blacklab421  @rasputin177  If you create something for self-expression and not necessarily for the consumption of others or not  a specific problem it is art.

 

You're designing if it's  something to solve a specific problem and primarily for the consumption of others, it's how it all works out that some try to make 'art' even more ambiguous by attributing the word to it.  A POPULAR compliment designers give to each other is "Your Design and its execution was Artful"