Philosophical Ranting of an Engineer

Games In the Image of Me

April 24th, 2005

There was a LAN party tonight that I went to. It was a different group of people than those that I usually play with. They mostly played games I don?t find particularly interesting. I started off playing some Counter-Strike, which is fun. I did all right, nearly a positive kill ratio in most games, which isn?t too bad considering I never play the game. I also played some Battlefield 1942, but since there were only about eight players, the server was filled with bots to have 20v20. The bots are annoyingly stupid, usually the ones on your own team and I was frustrated. Last I played some Half-Life 2 deathmatch and actually got a positive kill ratio. All of those games are fairly light on the teamwork aspect. I am sorry Counter-Strike players, but when I think of teamwork I heavily weight the amount of strategic decisions that must be made and the carrying out of those decisions. Counter-Strike lacks those.

I have come to realize, probably over the last several years, but most drastically in the last few months, that I really appreciate games that require teamwork. I want to design teamwork-oriented games. I have also begun to realize that the social organization is something that interests me. How do I get these 20 people who will never see each other, to cooperate? Heck how do I get my 5 friends to cooperate with each other? As I see no other inruiging thoughts on that I move on to, ?why do I want to design games like this?? For the why in a reason often gives great insight. My thought process went something like this: I love people, I love teamwork, I love cooperation, strategy, organization, tactics, plans, rules, structure. I love having control over these things. While I do not think I am a great leader, I enjoy the responsibility of challenges. I have always liked design, whether it was building Lego castles, or changing the rules of whatever game I made up when I was little, or designing games from scratch, or building a Popsicle stick bridge, or modeling, or creating Warcraft III maps. I like to design. Then it hit me.

In designing games I am trying to be god. Think for a moment before you judge. When creating a game I design it in a way that would be interesting to me. I get to decide everything; I get to tweak whatever I want. Then if I play it and I don?t like something I can change it. I am in complete control. I am god. This is of course human nature to want to be god. And so my first response was a bit of shock and repulsion. But what is wrong with realizing that that is a motivation behind my interest. It is much better that I recognize this so I can deal with it if necessary.

So what does this mean? ?This game is created in my image and I see that it is good,? does not seem so farfetched. Isn?t that what artists do when they paint? We have this need to create things that mirror ourselves. I am not sure I can learn much from this, except I can learn about myself from what I create. So I will continue to think about designs, eventually work on some of them, and from it learn who I am.

Sorry, comments are closed for this article.