Tim Schafer’s GDC Lecture

July 29, 2006 at 12:06 pm (Games)

GuyBrushTim Schafer and Ron Gilbert names will be embedded in any ones mind who used to play games in old 2D world of Lucas Arts Adventure games. Those guys were genius game developers with perfect characters that never had to be macho men to be called heroes. And perfect stories that translated into fun rather than just saving the world from the next nuclear holocaust. Tim Schafer explained his inspirations and key points on which developers should focus to bring that same charm in their games at GDC (Game Developers Conference) 2004. Some key points were:

  • Characters should be wish fulfillment. This doesn’t mean they can’t be goofy, or nerdy, or losers.
  • Create supporting NPCs as you would the ideal road trip buddies. Making them annoying, offputting, needlessly stupid or generally hateful and then sticking the player with them through the whole game is just sadistic.
  • Write the PC as you would a character in a movie, a character that a good actor would jump at playing.
  • Backstory: Making up pasts for every single one of your characters, big ones or not, makes it insanely easy to imbue them with neat little traits by pulling from the past you’ve created.
  • Steal stuff, but steal it right. Steal stuff from life, especially. From your own life, from your friends’, from crazy things hobos tell you on the street. Steal what makes good things good. So if you’re stealing from GTA, stealing the hookers and mobsters and violence is missing the point. Steal the fun, the open-ended gameplay, the facetious attitudes.

Now those are the words of a real Gamer and Developer, he who unlike Electronic Arts doesn’t just want to earn but want to give the player the pleasure he deserved after paying for that game.

Hear the complete audio lecture @ GamaSutra

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