Game developers Conference was a very strange experience. I used to love going to GDC sessions, because there was so much to learn. As you evolve your skills that cant last, but now it feels like I'm operating on a completely different plane, I cant learn anything because I have nothing in common with anyone in "the industry". Almost no one is talking about programming, and when they do they talk about problems i don't recognize, and techniques i don't use. My "reinvent everything" policy has taken me so far away form what others do that I can no longer relate. I was talking to someone about size of code base and realized that their games code base was ten time the size of mine, yet we couldn't account for the difference in what our engines could do. Am i missing some point? Its like we have developed two completely different branches of evolution to solve the same problem. I found my self sitting in session after session thinking that I would never do anything they would do.
What strikes me the most is how complicated they have made it. There are managers, producers, directors, scripters, leads, and assistants yet noting seams to become easier. Everyone agrees that's the way to do it, yet no one seams to prove it. Is no one asking why? We are doing the same things in games that we have always done, just now we make it so much more complicated for ourselves. Since what we could easily do in the past is now hard we cant do anything new, and we become stuck. Destructible environments now are hard, yet in Super Mario bros they where easy. We are raising the bar but we less gracefully clear it. We try to tell stories, yet we still cant do better then a text adventure. If we want to tell stories I cant understand why we make games at all.
Making games is a little like being a fashion designer. Fashion is not about making beautiful clothing, Its about making beautiful people. A successful designer is not the one who is in the center, but some one who makes the wearer the center. The story isn't yours, its the players. Can a game communicate emotions? yes, but its not the designer who should communicate through the game, its the player who should communicate with the game. It should be your story not mine. I'm starting to realize that my writing makes me a better game designer. By writing a book, a blog, a graphic novel or a script, I can say what is on my mind, and once it is out of my system, I can make a game to give some one else a place to make their stories.
Despite everything being weird this has been an amazing trip, and what made it amazing was all the people that i meet. Some of it will trickle out in the coming days. I came to GDC to learn, share my ideas and do some press, I don't know if i did any of that well, but I know that i did something better, I made friends.