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GCG Feature: 'Tight Conditions'

GCG Feature: 'Tight Conditions'

September 25, 2007 | By Jill Duffy

Indie and student developers typically work under tight constraints, but in the latest feature for GameCareerGuide, a former Art Institute of Vancouver student team (Introspect) says it's possible to plan within these limitations, and, in fact make good use of them.

Their jujitsu-like approach emphasizes bolstering the team's creativity, since there is no publisher to shut down bright ideas, and not competing with big blockbuster titles by steering clear of genres that are over-represented in the market currently.

In this excerpt, the team's Mitch Lagran and Devon Detbrenner, both now employed in the game industry, give an overview of how they learned to work with their constraints rather than in spite of them:

"Before beginning to design a game, it's important to establish the conditions of its development. These conditions include available resources, time, skill or technical ability, publisher constraints, and the goals of the project. Once you define these conditions you can outline your design requirements, which can then be used to create the overall concept for the game.

Introspect was conceptualized from the ground up with the mindset that we needed to really push its creative bounds due to the constraints we faced as students. We also designed it in a manner that would allow all the student developers to showcase their work, whether it was code, art, design, or production. After all, we were students hoping to break into the industry, and one of our primary concerns in making this game was to garner industry notice.

We decided that a non-violent game had more potential to gain notice than a violent one, seeing as the market was (and still is) flooded with violent games. Using paints in a first-person perspective to affect a 3D environment was the primary mechanic that arose from this. It worked well with our design goals because it's not only non-violent, but also unique.

Additionally, we realized we needed to attract our viewer's attention by making a strong first impression visually. To accomplish this, the game's style had to be different from the majority of other products. Again, we knew we did not stand a chance at competing with other products based on graphics alone due to our limited technology, time, and skill; we would have to be creative in some other way."

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