In response to "Designers' Little Helpers" from The Escapist Forum: Although I'm not a professional game designer, it's something that I aspire to and something I've been working towards for a long time. Research included. Funnily enough, STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl is this game for me, for reasons that are completely beyond me.
I too suffer from early onset Designeritis, and this is probably why I have a list of 25+ games to finish, generally because I play them, I pick them to pieces, and then anything beyond that has really lost its appeal, but there's often something about a game that will hold me.
Going back to games that I continually enjoy, I'd like to add Banjo Kazooie. This game, although visually dated, is paradoxically, a fine example of visual design. It excels at creating a unique style as well as consistently clever, functional, and generally humorous level design; also to some extents atmosphere, however quirky the game puts itself forward as, it still holds a real magic about itself. I think this is also the determining factor with STALKER, it just has such a well composed atmosphere, it's one of the most believable, yet surreal gameplay journeys I've been on, one I've repeated time, and time again.
I like how the list that the designer repeatedly goes back to seems quite different from the list that gamers go back to. We go back to our Marios, our CoDs, our Halos, our Valve games, and so forth, but the designers go back to simpler, more personal games. Interesting, how the games set up to be the next big titles aren't the ones the designers are pulling from.
In response to "I, Gaijin" from The Escapist Forum: The problem with Japan being a clean, polite place is that you have to stay in your place until you've been there for a long time, because that's what being polite is.
A fascinating read.
I hope to one day enter myself into the game industry, either independently or joining a company, and this article provides many interesting insights. I find it amazing that with today's world connecting technology one can have a successful job even in a foriegn environment.
In response to "In Transition" from The Escapist Forum: I have no comment for this, but they I read what that game 'Train' was about, and... wow. That's a punch in the gut. That's what game design needs these days. Punches in the gut. Not things like the airport scene in MW2, which are pretty much a flick to the ear after which the victim lies down and pretends to be in pain to help alone.
May your life be as you wish it to be, Brenda, and may games turn out how you expect.
In response to "Game Development for the Damned and Delirious" from The Escapist Forum: Internet communities are harsh mistresses and you have to be able to cope with that if you really want to get something done as a solo-developer.
Most of the young kids coming in are just dreamers though and you can't begrudge them their enthusiasm. There should be a 'softer' way of lancing their bubbles but there simply isn't. Your grand idea is not grand and the insight you've acquired into its execution is worthless in sight of the labour ahead of you. Until that realisation strikes and you recover from it you're not going to produce something worthwhile (put bluntly).
Funnily enough I've had this experience myself with writing rather than gamedesign even though I'm actually a programmer by trade.
On the other hand there´s nothing more misleading than a community which only spouts praise at your works. Exemplified by the hordes of artists on Deviantart who produce nothing worthwhile and get nothing but praise leading to souldcrushing dissappointment later on.
Thanks for the article Bradley, it set me thinking.
I admit there have been times on the game dev forums where I have ridiculed a "I have a great idea" post, or felt smugly superior when I hear some guy gave up on his dream due to lack of interest. But on a whole my experience with Indie Game Dev sites has been quite positive.
Many times the old guard have helped me over come a technical hurdle. There is no better place to turn if you need a function or a library that does this, this, and this... but you don't know its exact name. I have even reciprocated towards younger members with regard to their coding troubles.
I can get some free play testing done by submitting working demos. Usually people are pretty supportive once they see I put in some effort into an idea, be it concept art, design doccument, or demo. I think effort you put in outside of these forums is what mostly determines how people will react to you. For example asking a technical question before asking google will get you shunned. Where as asking a technical question and listing the google searches that have not turned up useful information, will get you pity and maybe even help.
Our differing experiences may also be due to the forums we go to. I have found TIGSource and Allegro.cc to be very supportive environments. I never went near gamemaker forums because I don't use gamemaker.