Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Educational videos that come with UT III

Two videos come with the Deluxe edition of Unreal Tournament III. The shorter one is in some sense an advertisement about UT, while the longer one (25 minutes?) is about making the game.

The latter is the best video I've seen about making games. It is not only well-made, it emphasizes the importance of playing the game as soon as possible (in little more than a month from starting, in this case), the iterative nature of production, and way that new ideas are discovered along the way, the importance of getting rid of what doesn't work. It also clearly shows that level design is a part of game design, with the art important to the end product but added after the game design is tuned to perfection.

The short video is good for making a point, as Cliff Bleszinski says early on that a designer's best resort is to put things into a game that he likes/thinks are cool. This is dead wrong, of course, if you design a variety of games, but is correct if you only design shooters (which is what CB and Epic make). More than any other genre, shooters are all "the same" in the end, so what one fan of shooters really likes, another is likely to like. Even so, he says in speaking of UT I, that they threw lots of things into the game to see what stuck, which again is a reference to the importance of testing, testing, testing. No matter what you think, not matter how cool something seems to be, you have to test it and see what a variety of people think.

UT III Deluxe is also good for the UT editor and many tutorials for the editor.

1 comment:

Ian Schreiber said...

Other game videos I've found useful:

* The character and venue video unlockables from Guitar Hero (the first one), for character and environment artists (or anyone else who wants a peek at the process of how art is made).

* The "making of" video unlockables from Sid Meier's Pirates! (Xbox version). Contains some stuff on getting the "feel" right for a game (for designers), and examples of reference art and video for artist/animators. The different iterations on US and Europe box art are also interesting, from a marketing perspective.

* The "making of" video unlockables from God of War (the first one, PS2 version). There's a bunch of stuff here, some on the iterative character design for Kratos (both in the art and the story), some environmental design, some game design and level design, and also seeing some of the tools and how the game was put together from a (very high-level) technical perspective. Contains some profanity and nudity in some scenes, so watch it yourself first to determine whether it's appropriate for your particular class.

Unfortuantely, all of these videos do require that you play (and sometimes beat) the game in order to view them. Oh, the sacrifices we teachers must make for the sake of our students' education :)

"Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest."Mark Twain
"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exup'ery

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." Albert Einstein

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle