While many video games can seem almost effortless, letting you do impossible jumps, drive cars at breakneck speeds, cast magic out of thin air, and so much more, in fact. manufacturing these games is a superhuman feat in itself. A single game often requires the efforts of a huge team that painstakingly works out every detail, and very little is easy, as detailed by many of the developers who have spoken to IGN Rebekah Valentine in this article you should read.
Valentine’s article contains many compelling stories from developers answering this question, “What is one thing in video games that seems simple but is actually extremely difficult for game developers to create?” “
Take elevators, for example, which in a video game aren’t just a moving platform behind doors. BioShock and BioShock Infinite Chief Designer Bill Gardner described the potential issues with just trying to break into one:
First of all, you must invoke [an elevator] via a button or other. By calling the elevator, you open up the possibility for the player, items, or AI to wander underneath and get crushed or trapped. So suddenly you have to face this. It is an invitation to make your enemies or companions stupid, to steal physical items, or to block quest items.
Or how about the act of responding to any player input? Here’s how Johnnemann Nordhagen, developer at Dim Bulb Games, talks about it:
Something I have spent many hours on is player input. It sounds simple – you hit the space bar; You jump. But then you start to fall in all special cases. What if the player is crouching? What if you want the space bar to also activate the items the player is near? What about gamers using controllers instead of a keyboard? How about letting players remap their control scheme? What happens when the game is paused or in a menu? What if, God help you, it’s a network game and you need to send it to a server? It turns into a system that requires multiple layers of abstraction to be able to handle all the possible things that could happen in a game when a player wants to jump or press the space bar.
And the developers in the article don’t just discuss the challenges of the game mechanics; they also describe difficult aspects of things like storytelling and location. Here is just a very good anecdote, from JC Lau, producer at Harebrained Schemes:
When I was working at Xbox in localization it was when the console rolled out its friends list feature and there was a little pop-up that said, “Socialize with your friends” inviting people to use the list. friends. In Polish this translated to “Support socialism with your friends”, which luckily got caught.
The entire article is filled with other interesting details and stories. Great games are easy to take for granted while playing them, but the stories of these developers are a good reminder that game development can be very difficult. I highly recommend that you take a few minutes out of your day to go read the Valentine’s Day story on IGN.