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Default Gas Powered Games - To Target Casual Gamers Next

February 23rd, 2008, 06:07
Quoting a presentatation at the GDC 2008, gamesindustry.biz gives some comments from Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor on where the company formerly known for their action rpg and strategy titles is headed next:
Speaking during an invite-only lunch at GDC this week, Taylor revealed the Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander team wants to reach those currently playing games like PopCap's Peggle.
"I'm curious about how to get a game out to the 200 million people that have been downloading Peggle and all of these 'match three' games. That's what I'm going after. I've been cooking something up," he said.
"Those [users] want something a lot more sophisticated but as simple. We can't complicate simplicity. It's the idea that depth and complexity are not directly linked. And if something's simple, its not boring," he added.
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Last edited by magerette; February 26th, 2008 at 08:33.
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February 23rd, 2008, 06:07
Coming soon from Gas Powered Games : "Puzzle Siege".

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February 23rd, 2008, 06:11
No doubt…

I loved the …simple way he explained simplicity, too, just so its complexity wouldn't confuse me.

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February 23rd, 2008, 08:34
Like the industry really needs simplier games. How much simplier can you get than Dungeon siege. That game basically played itself all you had to do was move the character and sit back and watch the computer fight itself.

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February 23rd, 2008, 11:31
No, no, skavenhorde—DS couldn't have been simple. He plainly says, "And if it's simple, it's not boring."

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February 23rd, 2008, 12:23
I regard there are two flavours of "simple".

One is just "simple",
the other one is "reduced".

At least.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 23rd, 2008, 17:56
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
No, no, skavenhorde—DS couldn't have been simple. He plainly says, "And if it's simple, it's not boring."
LMAO, you got me there. DS must of been complex as hell then

There are games that are simple but incredibly complex at the same time like Chess, but unfortunatly I don't think he is talking about that kind of game. I'm thinking his target audience will be people who think that a computer is a magic box with shiny lights

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February 23rd, 2008, 19:46
The dude comes off as having no love for games at all. It sounds like he's saying, "Hell, millions of people want simple games, and that means millions of dollars for whoever makes them. Count me in!"

If all you're interested in is making a buck, why don't you go design cell phone games, or ringtones or something. Whoever heard of a game designer who doesn't care what type of game he makes?

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February 23rd, 2008, 20:17
And gaming magazines will still report about those games and they will still praise them into high heavens. So he must be doing something right. If it's not the games, …

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February 24th, 2008, 13:42
I liked Dungeon Siege.
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February 24th, 2008, 16:22
Don't be embarressed You know what they say "Different strokes for different folks." Plus many people enjoyed the online aspect of the game. I just didn't.

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February 24th, 2008, 17:48
I like Dungeon Seige II, didn't finish it, but thought it was a lot better than DS so at least GPG was trying to make better games—I just don't like this trend Taylor seems to be in atm about , not to mince words , selling out.

He may not have had all that much to sell out to begin with, but as screeg said in his post above, in his last press releases(this one and Space Siege), all he can talk about is how he can make a game sell more copies to more people on more platforms. I understand this is a popular approach in boardrooms across the world, and I suppose I should at least give him points for bluntness and honesty, but frankly, it isn't much of a game design philosophy, imo.

If games like Peggle, Puzzle Quest, Bejwelled, etc weren't being played by 200 million people, I wonder would he be so interested in 'cooking something up' for their fanbase?

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February 24th, 2008, 20:03
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
He may not have had all that much to sell out to begin with, but as screeg said in his post above, in his last press releases(this one and Space Siege), all he can talk about is how he can make a game sell more copies to more people on more platforms. I understand this is a popular approach in boardrooms across the world, and I suppose I should at least give him points for bluntness and honesty, but frankly, it isn't much of a game design philosophy, imo.
Do you remember the interview he gave with PC Gamer some months ago about design philosophy? It seemed clear to me that the philosophy wasn't about selling more, it was about making a game more fun for more people - as a philosophy I think that's a healthy one for a game designer to have. Compare Lego Star Wars with Battle Cruiser Millennium. CT holds up Lego Star Wars as a game he aspires to be influenced by.
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February 24th, 2008, 20:29
Hopefully you're right, kalniel. I have a tendency to get cynical sometimes.

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February 25th, 2008, 00:44
It's the old preference of wanting to make something good for the majority, instead of something great for the minority.

Interestingly enough, the former seems to generate a LOT more money and I wonder if that's a coincidence - seeing as how most developers seemingly want to go that route.

In my opinion, Chris Taylor deserves praise for Total Annihilation, which can easily be considered a revolutionary step forward in the RTS genre. Unfortunately, that seems to be his only significant contribution. Dungeon Siege was the first example of his obsession with making things as simple as possible, and it seems he's even further down that road this time. Essentially, he doesn't grasp what happens to a game when you remove everything that doesn't have a strictly logical and necessary function. It's not an uncommon mistake and we've been witnesses to countless examples of that particular design philosophy by now. Take a look at what happened with Deus Ex 2 when they decided that skills were superfluous and that universal ammo would be cool.

Peter Molyneux seems to be of the same conviction with the way Fable 2 is coming along, and this one-button combat system is one of the most blatantly stupid design decisions I've heard of to date. I wonder what pleasure, beside the money, these people derive from catering to those who really don't want a challenging gaming experience. Is it REALLY that exciting to handhold your audience and make sure they don't ever get upset? I would personally find that incredibly hollow as a designer, but maybe I need to appreciate the effect of pleasing the crowd. I never got that either, so maybe it's just me.
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February 25th, 2008, 21:36
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's the old preference of wanting to make something good for the majority, instead of something great for the minority.
I don't think the two are always exclusive. I'm an 'hardcore' PC RPGer, and I still hold Daggerfall as my no.1 game. Yet I also loved Lego Star Wars and think it was worth every bit of the entrance fee.
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February 25th, 2008, 21:48
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
I don't think the two are always exclusive. I'm an 'hardcore' PC RPGer, and I still hold Daggerfall as my no.1 game. Yet I also loved Lego Star Wars and think it was worth every bit of the entrance fee.
I don't see Lego Star Wars as an example of deliberately dumbing down a game in a genre with a traditionally high standard of depth and complexity.

I'm talking about Dungeon Siege, Space Siege, and various other examples of simplifying features to please as large an audience as is possible without entirely abandoning the RPG aspect.

I wouldn't go and criticise Tetris for being dumbed down either, so your example with LSW doesn't apply to what I was trying to say.
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February 25th, 2008, 22:01
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I don't see Lego Star Wars as an example of deliberately dumbing down a game in a genre with a traditionally high standard of depth and complexity.
Sorry, I thought you were talking about wanting to make something fun for the majority, not dumbing down.

As far as I can tell this thread isn't talking about games targeting a genre with a traditionally high standards of depth and complexity. CT is saying you can have depth without complexity. And he holds up LSW as an example of the kind of game he aspires to, so if you're happy with LSW, and I'm happy with LSW, we should both be happy with CT
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February 25th, 2008, 22:19
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Sorry, I thought you were talking about wanting to make something fun for the majority, not dumbing down.

As far as I can tell this thread isn't talking about games targeting a genre with a traditionally high standards of depth and complexity. CT is saying you can have depth without complexity. And he holds up LSW as an example of the kind of game he aspires to, so if you're happy with LSW, and I'm happy with LSW, we should both be happy with CT
I wasn't aware of any strict topic lock in the thread

Anyway, I've read several interviews with CT and he seems a smart guy. However, because he's happy with LSW and I'm happy with LSW (I find it a cute game) it doesn't follow that I should be happy with CT. At least I don't find that to be a logical conclusion in any way whatsoever.

I might appreciate something like Independence Day, but if I took The Godfather and tried to turn it into something like ID, I don't think a lot of fans would appreciate it. Of course, that's a bit extreme but it should serve as a demonstration of my point.

Also, I don't subscribe to the belief that you can entirely seperate depth and complexity, though I know many would argue that it's possible. The problem is semantics and how each of us interprets those concepts. Is Chess a deep game? Is it complex? It's not a clear cut thing to answer, and so I don't think we can really debate this without first defining precisely what we mean, and frankly I don't think I have the energy for that right now.
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February 25th, 2008, 22:42
Perhaps the adage 'simple to learn, difficult to master' can serve as a passable example for now. DS fails on that measure for me, but LSW passes. Supreme Commander almost passes for the single player game, but it has too much depth in multiplayer to be accessible for more players - it's competitive rather than co-operative as well.

In the interview (PC Gamer, UK, issue 182) he likens SupCom to a game that people expend energy on playing, but says that his ultimate aim is to make a game that cycles between expending energy and recharging it. He also says he's tired of recycling the same old core games.
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