John Talks To Avellone, Tornquist, Introversion & More Live

By Alec Meer on June 22nd, 2013 at 12:09 pm.

Hullo! I write this from a chair in an oddly purple room at Rezzed, where on the stage in front of me Mr John Walker is talking to an array of gaming luminaries from Obsidian, Red Thread, Mode 7 and Introversion about the strange business of PC games, the sinisters ways of publishers and more. Watch it live, or after the event if you’re a slacker, below.

I am posting this from my phone, so if anything doesn’t work please blame Ian HTC, not me.

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27 Comments »

  1. povu says:

    That was an amazing selection of people for the panel.

  2. Quasar says:

    I enjoyed the panel, though I do think it may have focused on Kickstarter a little too much. Not really their fault though, there’s only so much you can discuss in less than an hour. Definitely worth watching, still.

    • bills6693 says:

      I think kickstarter is the big thing at the moment though. Its been a bit over a year since the boom in kickstarter games and it has been a major, interesting and evolving aspect of the industry ever since.

      It isn’t the only thing, but it is probably the bigest thing out there at the moment in PC gaming.

      • Quasar says:

        I agree that it’s important, but I’d argue that the rise of quality free-to-play games is just as interesting, as it’s a completely new way of doing business.

        I’d definitely like a longer discussion/podcast thingy on the subject.

  3. Noviere says:

    That was a great panel! The opening slide was brilliant.

  4. Crosmando says:

    Remember to report in to tell us if Chris Avellone is as good-looking in real life as in photos

  5. AngelTear says:

    It was interesting, but I was kinda sad that, for most of the time, they sounded more like “marketers of games” than “Artists expressing something through the medium of game”; even Ragnar, who is supposed to be a lot more like the latter.

    • Noviere says:

      To be fair, the topic of the panel was business models ;) There is another panel with Ragnar in about an hour though.

      • AngelTear says:

        I’ll try to explain better what was off for me.
        It was all that talk about “what the players want”, all the time everywhere. They touched on the issue of being too subject too feedback, to the point of obscuring the dev’s vision, and that’s really something that worries me. I would have liked to hear more talk about “this business model gives me more freedom to realize the game i was dreaming of”. Instead all they’ve said is that their new publisher is the people because publishers don’t understand, implying that publishers should simply make better marketing researches to really understand what people want, and if they did that, the system would mostly be ok.
        What the public wants is almost always a bad thing, except for sale figures. In information it’s a bad thing (people always naturally look for what confirms what they already know or think), in philosophy it’s a bad thing (One of my philosophy teachers said that “if you’re not making someone angry, you’re not doing philosophy right”) and I’m convinced it’s a bad thing in artistic endeavours as well (see Dickens’ Great Expectations and the hypocritical, feedback-based “happy” ending that clashes with the rest of the novel’s mentality).

        I can definitely see an enlightened publisher within a traditional system being a much better place for a “game artist” than a feedback-based system. Players aren’t developers. They’re players. Some may have good ideas but most of them will not be able to contribute to making a great game, because the developer is supposed to have a better vision about game-making than most players do, about the plot, and the gameplay and the interaction of the two.

        The only thing players should be involved in, in my opinion, are marginal things like glitch testing and smoothing out menu designs etc.

        • Ross Angus says:

          I had similar thoughts: would The Void be made under this model? It’s a game I bounced off pretty violently, but it’s got a singular vision, which could only have be watered down by community nagging.

        • RedViv says:

          You have to regard it as talking about the specific games, and the specific approach to communicating with the supporters, about very specific changes. Nobody suggested that it would be an end-all solution to all problems that make bad games, and it’s been mentioned that the isolated nature of triple A serves triple A well, just like Kickstarter would not be good for Introversion or their games and the atmosphere they are created in.
          Which is why I do not think anyone sounded very “marketing” to me: It lacked the usual sweeping generalisations, as the tales are of actual communication and reaction, not weird uncertain surveys or market research or anything.

          I also doubt that the artistic integrity of a game could be so very compromised here. After all, the dialogue would have to be led through actual debate if something were to be dangerously off to most of the players. It would have to be a rather rubbish mind of a creator to bow to that, just because.

  6. fuggles says:

    Hoping for some footage or news of the chaos engine from rezzed. Hoping.

  7. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Well I didn’t know publishers were left handed(I think that’s what you meant). Thaks for that I feel oddly complete!

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Well that was interesting. The nouveau corporates liking the new platform for THE MONEY and the old school harking back to the spectrum/bbc/acorn etc years. Just seems we will have a new tier of ‘not publishers’ taking your ‘preorder’, sorry ‘ Kickstarter backing and then making a game!

      I think a couple of those chaps (you know the ones) will end up making a lot of money, I’m just sad that John couldn’t find any women for the panel. It’s also sad that the days of talented geeks who could craft a good game in their bedroom are gone. A couple of those on the panel would be physically dismembered in the business world
      :o/

  8. heretic says:

    great panel!

  9. Crimsoneer says:

    Sidenote – Rezzed was awesome, but for some reason, there was no free swag at all this year. Got loads of free t-shirts last year. What happened?

  10. Pulsifer says:

    Brilliant panel. Well done.

  11. Dan Milburn says:

    An interesting panel, but as others have noted, it could have done with more diversity, both from the ’5 white guys talking’ angle, and because a serious discussion of modern gaming business models that completely ignores the rise of free-to-play (one barely comprehensible question from an audience member aside) seems like it’s not really considering the full picture.

    My take from a day at Rezzed is that the thing that’s really enabling a lot of this stuff is Unity. Particularly liked Chris Avellone’s explanation (in his Project Eternity presentation) of how they couldn’t even use their own in-house engine because of all the expensive middleware associated with it and so Unity became the best choice.

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