Been avoiding the page a little lately. I’ve been putting a lot of work into the redesign. I can’t get the colors quite right on my sister’s computer. This week I should be able to get my system going, and with PhotoShop I should be able to get the colors more like I want. After I get the colors right, do a background image, and create some corner rounders for the layout boxes, I should be able to go live with the new design.
However, I just filled out a survey for Sony’s PS2 site, and I typed this into a box that asked something like, “What do you think is important in videogames today?” So this is kind of a cheapo post, but it’s a post nonetheless.
The one facet of games today that I feel is suffering is polish. There are some games that miss deadlines, but for the most part it seems that developers try at all costs to deliver games before Christmas or before whatever their deadlines are. I feel that games are released that seem as though they are only 99% or even 95% finished. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City could have used a lot of polish, a lot of finishing touches. Taking damage when you run down stairs, streets popping in as you drive over them … even the clothing system that seemed worthless. But Vice City made it out before November. It could have used another month of development and still had a nice Christmas release. Maybe it should have had more than a single year of development. Of course, PC games can be updated with patches. It looks as though Xbox Live can deliver new levels and characters, and apparently Unreal Championship will release a patch over the Live service. Official magazine demo discs could also provide updates, as was the case with Dead or Alive 3. Unfortunately, a hard drive is a neccessity for complex patches. PS2 doesn’t have a hard drive (yet), but it would probably enable patches to be a viable option. Perhaps PS3 will come with a built-in hard drive. Of course, giving developers the option of releasing patches may make for even more hurried releases. And users without internet access or a broadband connection may be left in the dark even more than they are now in regard to the quality of game releases. This is an interesting problem. Perhaps consumers who purchase M rated games such as Vice City or Unreal Tournament/Championship would be more likely to have Internet/broadband than consumers who purchase E and T rated games. In my experience, M rated games tend to be more complex, and also appear to be most likely to be most in need of a patch. So perhaps patches for M rated games would not only be the most needed, but also the most widely downloaded.
One more thing: Brian Lewis keenly pointed out that the Jordan vs. Jordan commercial that I liked used complex computer special effects, which I derided and plan on deriding more in a future post. Lewis’s comments got me to thinking, and I’ve concluded that it’s not the use of the technology that bothers me, it’s the use of the technology for technology’s sake. Or using the technology just to prove that it can be used. The kid getting sucked into a Pepsi bottle? Kind of stupid, but it was a visual effect that wasn’t possible a couple years ago. The Jordan commercial? It was made so we could see Jordan playing basketball against a younger version of himself. Technology … for art’s sake? I guess that’s good enough for me.