Episode 4: Star Trek DayFirst off, I'm puzzled. I distinctly recall posting a blog (#3) yesterday, wherein I babbled about the upcoming John Carter of Mars film amongst other things. Yet this morning, I don't see it. This is especially bizarre since I've been cross-posting these things to my page on Blogger [http://wwjdee.blogspot.com/], and I don't see yesterday's blog post there either. I have no idea what to make of this.
Moving right along...
Unless you haven't been paying attention, the new Star Trek movie opens this evening [www.startrekmovie.com].
Despite this being my second blog in a row to mention movies, I'm not a film guy, nor am I trying to become one. Back in the day at Origin, where we made the Ultima and Wing Commander games, practically all of the game designers (I was still officially an artist back then) saw games as a stepping stone into Hollywood. What they didn't seem to realize is this essential dichotomy: the more something is a movie, the less it is a game.
Watching a movie is a passive experience, while playing a game is an active experience. Sure, you can make a series of tiny movies that you watch passively between short periods of game activity, but the two activities can't actually mix in the way that these designers (I'm looking at you, Chris Roberts!) seemed to think they could. Sprinkling bits of game into an ongoing movie just doesn't work; 'interactive movies' have been tried, and just didn't catch on.
On the other hand, raising the graphics and audio in a game to movie *quality*, and sprinkling short passive viewing moments into an ongoing game (without actually turning the game into a movie) *does* work. But it's not a path to Hollywood, its just a path to more realistic game environments for those games that can benefit from that sort of thing.
This concludes episode 4. Tune in tomorrow when I blather on about whatever other nonsense is on my mind!