Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
hand. We understand it, believe it, and feel it, because we've experienced
it so many times.
I am the games I've played. When I take a risk, I think of chess and
I remember to think about what might happen two or three moves down
the line. When I feel lazy, I think of football, and how every inch you
move toward a goal counts. When I'm getting tunnel vision on a problem,
I think of StarCraft , and how one must always keep an eye on the big
picture, because it's the threats you're not even considering that always
get you. These thoughts aren't memories. After years with these games,
they've become part of my personality.
A perfect game design is beautiful, but it can't be seen or touched. Its
beauty is in the possibility space it generates. We perceive that beauty not
by viewing events in a sequence, but by exploring those possibilities. As
we do, the system of the game reshapes part of our mind in its own image.
That's how we absorb the message of games, and their unique dialectic
power. As Confucius said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do
and I understand.”
All of the best games ever are still waiting to be designed.
The Sims invented its own genre and sold a hundred million copies.
Half-Life and Counter-Strike revolutionized first-person storytelling and
combat. Dwarf Fortress procedurally builds fantasy worlds with politics,
economics, and history. Braid threads poetry into game mechanics.
Minecraft unlocked the joyful creativity of millions. And as you read this,
someone somewhere is jotting down an idea, making a prototype, or ru-
minating on a game that will change the world.
There's a special freedom to working on games. Their boundaries are
so indefinite, I sometimes wonder if they even exist. We're not limited to
ink on paper, or a reel of film. A game can be as simple as a child's blocks,
or as intricate as a virtual world populated by millions. It can be explored,
observed, shared, and defeated. It can last a minute or a lifetime.
In such unexplored territory, there are no beaten tracks, no guide-
posts, and no walls. There is no one there to help you, and no one there to
hold you back. As Einstein said, “Imagination is better than knowledge.”
And there's so much waiting to be imagined. . .it's breathtaking.
 
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