Thursday, April 19, 2007
One Good Turn...
Well on the weekend past I attended SupaNova in Brisbane. I was on a panel"what makes game characters work", and I was also supposed to help judge their art competition.
The art competition theme was "draw a game" character.
Well that could be anything and it was.
So what was the stick thats poking lach to talk?
Well I love kids art-they're completely crazy.
If you put any of it on a tshirt I'd wear it most of the time. And thats the problem- they only had one 'winner' per category(I suppose because of their scabby prize limitations).
So I said you have to have honorable mentions, because , I reason , like any artists, they want some recognition and reassurance to 'keep on that path'
- Well if it was me I'd want encouragement dammit,- they took the trouble to enter the damn comp.
Even having your name mentioned in front of others is a big deal when you're little,- well it was to me when I was a kid.
So we all picked a few in each category as 'honorable mentions'. Later they announced these winners to a largely empty auditorium because they left their announcing so late everyone had gone home. Then we had that panel discussion. I have in my brain a stockpile of 'saved discussions' (with milenko) about topics such as "what makes a character work"(well our discussions would be more along the lines of "why character X is fucked in our game" and "the way things oughta be done" ).
I think i probably looked autistic as i spoke but I think the point I made were good. For example I talked about the problem whereby:
1. game has huge budget and therefore huge risk- money men demand that character have appeal and that people get it.
2. In order for people to 'get it' money men demand we reach for well worn archetypes and cliches(even in terms of game ideas not just characters) because they're recognisable and therefore accessible- people 'get it' without having to read the fine print.
3. Original ideas and dangerous ideas weeded out, whats left is very similar to 10 other games currently released or in production, and custom made to sink without trace.
The only way is to go to the source, do the original research, do the research on what exists so you don't tread on peoples toes, and then let the ideas themselves guide art (and then the art guide the ideas in a loop as eveyone gets excited).
So to the two of you and your dog that were watching that afternoon- I hope at least that any drool stains formed while you were asleep caused no embarrassment. I've left some annoying stuff out(like their stupid fucking security wristbands they insisted I wear constantly for 2 days)
but the bottom line on Saturday was I that close to not bothering to turn up on the Sunday - because I figued they we so unorganised they wouldn't notice I wasn't there.
Turns out I was right in a way.
Aaaaanyway the next day i did go in, and I resolved that, like the year before, I'd bring a few drawings to give to the 'kids under 12yrs' section.
Why? well they might't be genius but thats all I've got to give prizewise, and I reckon my half hour drawings are a fair trade for theirs,
and I know kids like dinosaurs and monsters- which is pretty much all i do.
Well i do nudie women too, - I'm sure they'd like that....... anyway.
Sunday I turn up with a few drawings and find out they'd decided I didn't have to be there - that they give me a break because they didn't want to put me out. If I'd been told before hand then yes, that might have been a good thing, but there I was standing stupidly with drawings I'd dragged in feeling like a complete idiot for bothering.
Undeterred I said here's some drawings for the honorable mentions anyway.
One of the kids dad seemed genuinely impresssed with the dinosaur drawing I gave, and also it seemed by the fact that something so personal was just given away.
I shook his offered hand,- signed my drawing(which i stupidly almost never do) and left feeling wierd but good.
Heres the drawings I gave away on sunday- all A2 or bigger.