Thursday, May 21, 2009

Planning for Greatness

How can you plan to achieve something which is great? This is quite an interesting problem when the details of the end result are unclear as they always are with any entertainment production. If I were to supply an answer to this question I would have to begin with trust. Mutual trust is imperative to greatness.

This pops up in the game development industry through various funky ways. Almost no one has enough credibility in the gaming industry to be trusted with anything that is not an oldskool artform such as painting, writing code or making music. This results in a tiny number of pioneer game design luminaries riding a positive feedback loop of trust which everyone else struggles with aiming for a foothold.

A lot of people are struggling to develop trust in the arform of game creation (design is not an artform) but almost no one is reaching a point of credibility. The number of people who prove their ability to make games which work is enormous, the number of people who prove their ability to reliably create game which are profitable business is miniscule.

Almost everyone who has created profitable games did so by getting lucky. I usually call this kind of system a "darwinistic process" which means that the reason why they were successful is obfuscated by complexity. This is also the reason why a "repeat performance" is extremely rare on the level of the individual production unit. Getting lucky is a statistical anomaly and it is even more rare to get lucky twice in a row.

To plan for greatness you have to understand this pattern. Even if you do have a "trusted" fellow who can claim responsibility over a portion of the creation you have to understand that this person was mostly likely just lucky and got involved with a project which had a randomly lucky destiny. Armed with this knowledge you need to integrate the experience from this person with the new team. Teach everyone in the team how the successful fellow learned to reduce the statistical probability of failure with healthy motivation. This will develop trust.

Trust can also develop in several other ways. I would personally recommend communication as the primary tool. Once you have trust you can have success. If you demand success to feel trust you reduce your chances of success to the same level as all the other random mutations within the darwinistic soup of creativity.

Btw, being just another random mutation in the chaos that is life gives you a very poor probability of success.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Prelude to Greatness

The world of music production has shown me something about the concept of greatness. Greatness comes from the performance of the artists and experts involved with the production of music. You can sense a great production in the making when you have good performers getting their pieces just right.

The Robot Band Spaceforce are not great in this sense. I know that because the work behind their performance is not just right. Their level of ambition is also too high for me to complete within a reasonable amount of time. To prove this point I will have to make some less ambitious Robot song which I can claim reaches Robot greatness.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Iteration 2

A lot of various edits from the previous version. Now the video also contain a very cryptic little story.


Note: The production value is still extremely low, the whole piece of work has not been given a large number of hours. The low production values makes it some kind of fun on a wierd level.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

No great result is really random

I was fiddling with the mix and arrangement of the latest Spaceforce song and realized that I was messing with something that one of teachers said in at Musicians Institute. It wenst something like this:

- Parts of the production might appear to be random, such as the slight out of tune guitars on a nirvana album, but in truth it never is random. It is well through out and set to be just that way conciously.

There is a lot of wisdom in this and it does apply to a whole lot more than nirvana songs. It happens to apply to Spaceforce as well, when the production is young it has a lot of randomness in it coming from the first iterations which define the structure of the work. But the process of finishing anything is partially about removing everything random and replacing it with the concious refinement of the data.

This also applies to game design and storytelling, maybe you start with randomly generated pieces, but you should be well aware of why you keep anything which was randomly created. It will rarely do more good than harm to the end result.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Feature Creep or Vision work?

Ok so now I have made this rather horrible video with the robot band. This had a series of interesting consequences. One is that I now feel the urge to refine the music so it shows off the individual talents of the robots better. If I go for this I'll have to make some major rearrangements so they all play solos, Doppz is missing his synt-bass solo, which is a quite rare beatie anyway. And Some cool synchronized solos would be interesting between the guitar robot and the keyboard robot.

After the rearrangement would be done which is an effort of several evenings of work at least I will have to make a new video which shows these new scenes.

Since I have no practical limit on the ambition of the production other than doing it for the fun of it I will categorise this type of work as product iterations. The music would be iterated farther to fit a more well defined vision.

If I did have a set of measurable ambitions and, not that it would happen but if, the work already qualified as sufficient I would call this type of further iteration as overly ambitious or feature creep.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

This works, in some ways

So this is the result of putting sound on Blogger. To get sound up you got to make a movie, add the sound to the movie and upload it through some beta enabled version of Blogger which connect with google video somehow.

So this is iteration 1 of a Spaceforce song. Just finished tracking everything and set some levels, spent hours removing compression from some samplers. As first iterations go not a whole lot of the thing is done with much effort yet.

Since you need to have a picture along I couldnt help but make a low budget video to go with the robot performance. All in about a day and a half of work to write, record and mix, then about 2 hours for the fantastic video. Maybe interesting things will happen when I start mixing this thing.

Noticed that uploading the thing sent it through a pretty bad audio processing which probably reduces the size of the sound data by a few %, at the cost of nasty swischy-swoschy compression defects.