Inspiration From Other Forms Of Media

As I am settling into my new house (which is why I have not posted for so long), the lack of Internet and cable television has caused me to spend evenings watching Netflix movies, and I have seen some great ones. I finally got around to watching No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, and Micheal Clayton. All of those movies were awesome works of art, and extremely inspirational to me. As I was watching the end of Micheal Clayton, where George Clooney’s character is just riding around the city in the back of a taxi with the wonderful, smug look on his face after taking down the bad guys, I just felt inspired to delv even harder into making games.
Michael Clayton PosterIncredible Toons
Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t make me want to make movies, or tell stories, or try to make games into movies like so many game designers seem bent on doing. No, it simply made me feel warm inside and inspired to work harder on OUR art form, i.e. making games as fun as I can possibly imagine them. Movies are good at looking into the human condition and telling stories. Games are good at interaction and providing people with a fun experience. Excuse me while I go work on that.

-Jeff Tunnell, Game Maker
Make It Big In Games

  • jgostylo

    Jeff, glad to see you back on the blog. That seemed an odd topic but I can relate that seeing good art makes you feel like producing good art in your own medium.

    My inspirational medium as of late has been some videos of a Warren Spector lecture series on game design he did at UT Austin where he interviewed a bunch of famous game designers. I don't want to bankrupt the guy who is hosting it by posting the URL here, but if you were interested in hosting the videos I can send you the link.

    One of the biggest revelations I acquired watching this was how common failure was even with very successful designers and how to deal with the failure. This has been weighing on me recently with a published game that did not go anywhere, a game I shelved after 2 years of work, a flash game I am working on with a friend while we both maintain a job, and a web MMO that I finished and am trying to foster into a community. (http://www.terratanks.com (I think you would consider it a failure if I missed that opportunity))

    I have nothing yet that I can consider to be a success (meaning I can support my family with it and do it full time) but after watching the videos I realized that I just can't do anything but make games if I want fulfillment in my life.

    Can you post some insight on project failures, shelved games, and in particular what you think is the best way to recognize failure and reach the point of success as quickly as possible? What habits have you noticed in others that made you think “that person is just going to flounder in mediocrity their whole career?”

  • jgostylo

    Jeff, glad to see you back on the blog. That seemed an odd topic but I can relate that seeing good art makes you feel like producing good art in your own medium.

    My inspirational medium as of late has been some videos of a Warren Spector lecture series on game design he did at UT Austin where he interviewed a bunch of famous game designers. I don't want to bankrupt the guy who is hosting it by posting the URL here, but if you were interested in hosting the videos I can send you the link.

    One of the biggest revelations I acquired watching this was how common failure was even with very successful designers and how to deal with the failure. This has been weighing on me recently with a published game that did not go anywhere, a game I shelved after 2 years of work, a flash game I am working on with a friend while we both maintain a job, and a web MMO that I finished and am trying to foster into a community. (http://www.terratanks.com (I think you would consider it a failure if I missed that opportunity))

    I have nothing yet that I can consider to be a success (meaning I can support my family with it and do it full time) but after watching the videos I realized that I just can't do anything but make games if I want fulfillment in my life.

    Can you post some insight on project failures, shelved games, and in particular what you think is the best way to recognize failure and reach the point of success as quickly as possible? What habits have you noticed in others that made you think “that person is just going to flounder in mediocrity their whole career?”

    • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

      I find that I get much more inspiration from media outside of the game industry. Music, movies, books, and real life give me inspiration and ideas. Seeing somebody else ply their craft in an expert manner makes me want to get better at my craft.

      BTW, I checked out your Terra Tanks project. Could be cool, but your front page need a redesign. Most people will not even sign up for a free account unless they can see what they are getting into.

      Thanks for the ideas on future blog posts.

      • jgostylo

        Thanks for the tip. I will see what I can do. Unfortunately for the layout of the page my strengths of rules and guidelines for games far outpace my skill for visual layout :).

        Your comment about inspiring media makes me wonder whether your inspiration from other media and not in lecture of game topics speaks more of your veteran status as a game maker or your personality.

        I would assume it is mostly personality but I would not totally discount the other. I love seeing how other people go about solving what they perceive as problems. Maybe you have been there and done that and have seen the same thing too many times.

  • Novack

    While some Hollywood film directors think games are not creative enough (I will not say names, lets just call them “Arrogant Bastards”), others agree on the videogame as the final successor for the film art, allowing a new whole space where there are no more spectators, but characters/players of its own story.

    As a matter of truth however, the mainstream studios are not getting the memo, as the infinite posibilities are limited by the risk of earn not-so-much money.

    Good Times for us indies.

  • Novack

    While some Hollywood film directors think games are not creative enough (I will not say names, lets just call them “Arrogant Bastards”), others agree on the videogame as the final successor for the film art, allowing a new whole space where there are no more spectators, but characters/players of its own story.

    As a matter of truth however, the mainstream studios are not getting the memo, as the infinite posibilities are limited by the risk of earn not-so-much money.

    Good Times for us indies.

  • http://blade-edge.com Gaiiden

    I haven't seen There Will Be Blood yet, but the other two I caught in theaters and were indeed amazing movies. A compressed air gun. Brilliant.

  • http://blade-edge.com Gaiiden

    I haven't seen There Will Be Blood yet, but the other two I caught in theaters and were indeed amazing movies. A compressed air gun. Brilliant.

  • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

    I find that I get much more inspiration from media outside of the game industry. Music, movies, books, and real life give me inspiration and ideas. Seeing somebody else ply their craft in an expert manner makes me want to get better at my craft.

    BTW, I checked out your Terra Tanks project. Could be cool, but your front page need a redesign. Most people will not even sign up for a free account unless they can see what they are getting into.

    Thanks for the ideas on future blog posts.

  • jgostylo

    Thanks for the tip. I will see what I can do. Unfortunately for the layout of the page my strengths of rules and guidelines for games far outpace my skill for visual layout :).

    Your comment about inspiring media makes me wonder whether your inspiration from other media and not in lecture of game topics speaks more of your veteran status as a game maker or your personality.

    I would assume it is mostly personality but I would not totally discount the other. I love seeing how other people go about solving what they perceive as problems. Maybe you have been there and done that and have seen the same thing too many times.

  • http://www.redthumbgames.com joshuadallman

    Two of my favorite places to find inspiration for game ideas are book stores and toy stores (or better, the toy section of thrift stores, which has more chaos in its mix with which to play with).

    When in book stores, I beeline to the kids section. Just this week I bought two kids books, one about magic, and another about dragons. I have no kids, these books are for me – both books will serve as creative grist for the mill. Every game designer should have a “creative library” or “well” to dip from, so to speak.

    Movies are another natural source of inspiration. When I was a kid I had a writing teacher who used to say “There's a story in everything.” Well there's a game in everything too, if you can find it! Inspiration is all around. Always be open to finding it, and find it you will.

  • http://www.redthumbgames.com joshuadallman

    Two of my favorite places to find inspiration for game ideas are book stores and toy stores (or better, the toy section of thrift stores, which has more chaos in its mix with which to play with).

    When in book stores, I beeline to the kids section. Just this week I bought two kids books, one about magic, and another about dragons. I have no kids, these books are for me – both books will serve as creative grist for the mill. Every game designer should have a “creative library” or “well” to dip from, so to speak.

    Movies are another natural source of inspiration. When I was a kid I had a writing teacher who used to say “There's a story in everything.” Well there's a game in everything too, if you can find it! Inspiration is all around. Always be open to finding it, and find it you will.

    • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

      Nice thoughts, Josh. Toys and books are huge sources of inspiration for me as well. This post was just because I was particularly inspired by some great movies made be great movie makers. I love your saying about there is a game in everything. I used to say the same thing, and one day I was saying it to Randy Dersham while sitting in his office looking down at the bus station. I was bragging that I could even make a game out of what goes on at the bus station, and I did. Well, after a few iterations, the “game” became a story telling screen saver named Johnny Castaway.

  • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

    Nice thoughts, Josh. Toys and books are huge sources of inspiration for me as well. This post was just because I was particularly inspired by some great movies made be great movie makers. I love your saying about there is a game in everything. I used to say the same thing, and one day I was saying it to Randy Dersham while sitting in his office looking down at the bus station. I was bragging that I could even make a game out of what goes on at the bus station, and I did. Well, after a few iterations, the “game” became a story telling screen saver named Johnny Castaway.

  • http://www.LawrieCape.co.uk Lawrie

    “Making games as fun as I can possibly imagine them” – Sid + Al's Incredible Toons is a great illustration of this. I have many happy memories.

  • http://www.LawrieCape.co.uk Lawrie

    “Making games as fun as I can possibly imagine them” – Sid + Al's Incredible Toons is a great illustration of this. I have many happy memories.

  • http://www.greyaliengames.com Jake Birkett

    I finally got round to watching No Country and There Will Be Blood recently and thought both movies were outstanding with great atmosphere. They stood out form the crowd of modern thrillers easily.