Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Biting The Hand

About 1.2 billion internet years ago, which for all you young kids is not last week, I used to read a web article published for a time on the site Happy Puppy. This is the really abbreviated wiki entry for it , in case you're interested, but it doesn't even scratch the surface.  As far as I knew, it was the site to download demos from.

Back in the day commentator Jessica Mulligan did a regular column, blogs didn't exist for us yet, called "Biting the Hand".   As an insider in the games industry (working mostly on MMOs at that time) it was a cool insight on stuff.  I don't know what ever happened to her, but she had a prophetic view.  And I think she followed the development of Star Fleet Command from the boards, which would make her the absolute of cool in my books.

Way back then she did a column on the introduction of user content to games.  I can't remember the context exactly, but I seem to think that one of the MMOs was considering allowing users to develop content.  I also seem to remember her thought son this were that the vast quantity of content generated this way would not in any way improve its quality.  Something about poo and sewers and volume of flow, but I could be making that last bit up.

And now I'm here to apply the same principle to Greenlight on Steam.  You may not have been bothered by this yet.  It looks like Steam has created a forum where every not-quite successful game developer can throw a "we're cool too!" on my Steam front end.  And most of these efforts look like rejects from the Apple Store.  If every third one isn't some kind of Minecraft clone, and seriously why would you want to, I'll eat my hat.  I'm speaking "metty-forik-lee".  For one thing I don't have a regular hat.

I'm honestly not even sure why it bothers me.  I know it has to do with the same horrible feeling I get at a convention when somebody wants to show me their partially cooked game.  "Hey look at my stuff!"  Are you referring to this left over pile of cut up cereal boxes?  Oh, those are "game pieces".  Yes, I need to be more tolerant of nascent talent.  No, I don't have a constructive action plan.

I guess it comes down to this:  I won't let anybody see anything I'm working on until I'm ready to sell it.  If I apply this principal to everything I see from everybody else either I'm way to fussy about completeness and "showability" or everybody else needs to rethink.

And no I will not buy your game on Steam if you made Terraria with one more thing to mine.  Or yet another game where "the environment is the game".

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