I have talked at length in this book about why players play games , but perhaps the most important question you as a game developer should ask is why you make them. Film director Krzysztof Kieslowski said that no artist has a chance of understanding her work if she does not understand herself and her own life, and what events have brought her to where she is. As you embark on your life as a game designer, questioning your own motivations in your work is vital to effectively using your medium.
The first question a designer should ask herself is how she came to work in computer games. Was it happenstance? Did a friend in the business happen to know of a position that was open ? Was she aimlessly searching the classifieds only to find an ad about game development to which she responded, Hey, that might be fun ? Did she see game development as something cool to do, much hipper than the jobs of her sorry friends who have to shuffle papers for a living? Did she really want to work in some other field, such as film or television, and when that career did not work out as planned she found that she could earn a living in the gaming business in order to pay the bills until something better came along? Or did gaming just turn out to be the profession which, given her skill set, would pay the most money?
As the reader might guess, none of the above are among the best motivations for working in games. There are people who come to gaming with more pure motivations, people who pursue it because it is what they want to do more than anything else. Of course, a designer might come into the world of game development with the wrong motivations only to find a passion for creating games stirred inside herself. Regardless of why she started working in games, what is essential is that now that she is developing games, she wants to truly make the best games possible.
I am continually surprised and disappointed by the number of people working in games for all the wrong reasons: because it is cool, because it pays well, because they do not have anything better to do. Game development may be more fun, stylish, and potentially profitable than many other professions , but these are side benefits that cannot distract from the true goal a designer must have: to make compelling interactive experiences. When other motives become a designer s primary guiding directives, her work is hopelessly compromised in a way that will hinder it from achieving its full potential.
The most likely person to make really brilliant games is a game designer with a dream. A dream that involves advancing the art of games beyond the more puerile and trivial concerns it may be seen wallowing in from time to time. A dream that involves a game-world so compelling players lose track of their regular lives as they play it. A dream that involves creating a work that captivates and involves players in the art as no other media can. A dream of computer games that enrich their players lives for the better. Do you have such a dream?