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Video: Clint Hocking discusses dynamics in games

[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website]

January 25, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff

January 25, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Design, Video

Courtesy of the GDC Vault is another free lecture from the Game Developers Conference 2011.

Far Cry 2 and Splinter Cell designer Clint Hocking offers here his answer to the question SpyParty creator Chris Hecker posed at a 2009 GDC lecture: "How do games mean?" That is, "How does meaning happen in our art form?"

Hocking says that games "mean via their dynamics." He goes on to explore the mechanics and dynamics of various games, starting with using the whip in Spelunky. In comparing Guitar Hero to antiquated player pianos, he also explores the complicated definition of what it means to "play" video games. He then examines the narrative of Tetris and the dynamics of competitive pressure found in player-versus-player games such as Street Fighter II.

Session Name: Dynamics: The State of the Art

Speaker(s): Clint Hocking

Company Name(s): then LucasArts, now Valve

Track / Format: Game Design

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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Vincent Hyne
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Oh man did I love this.

Adding the concentration camp theme to Tetris was fantastic, as was the recounting of the Meijin book and how that historical layer and player ideology impacted that particular game of Go, which is by itself just a game with some black and white pieces on a board with rules.

Anyway, I was wondering about that editing question at the end.

In my mind, you can have one general narrative, but then a director can hire ten different editors, and let them do whatever they think is best to convey that pre-arranged general narrative (not storyboarded).

What would happen? Ten different movies, with arguably different emphases and ultimately different meanings in particular scenes. Say you have a fight scene. One editor uses action music, another tragic music, another no music. The fight scene carries different meanings in each iteration to the viewer, not to even speak of the other things that can be done with editing to amplify/manipulate a narrative aside from simply adding a score to a scene.

Anyway, yeah, I certainly do agree that we need to do for games what Kuleshov did for films (editing).

We're certainly not even close to it, and the fact games are an interactive experience instead of a passive one does make it that much harder to nail down fundamentals.