There is a lot of talk about a lot of buzz words in games these days (always i guess). Also on the other hand there are important and sometimes hyped or not, advice from the best which are not getting as much attention as they should. In my main field which is computer software, almost nobody knows or cares much about the history of the things despite it being so helpful. I'm not much into hypes and buzz words and am not interested in talking about what i don't know much about. Honestly I always get amazed when I see people without experience talk much in theory about practical matters which they are not an expert in or when i see people speculate a lot. Don't get me wrong, I like imagination and i love creativity but sometimes i read and see stuff from people which while reading/watching, I'm asking why on earth I should listen to you and neither the author's language nor reputation and not their logic convinces one to continue paying attention. If you ever wondered, this is partly why people put what they have done in their first slides. They usually don't want to boast.
However we are in a great industry. In an industry great enough that with all of the negative things and more than enough negative talks around, our best of the best talk about their business secrets at GDC and many of the videos of it it available online to watch for free. Gamasutra itself alongside others publishes world class articles and videos online and the tendency in general is to share and not to hide. Not that there is no big/great game which we don't know much about how it is made (Yes FIFA guys I'm talking about you :) ) but still we are a remarkably open industry compared to many.
big names of our industry are very humble and generous with their stuff. Many of Id software games are available online in their entirity to study and learn from. Our A++ masters like Sid Meier and Miyamoto are very humble down to earth people which credit almost everything other than themselves much and truely live in that way and talk in that way. I was watching an interview in a documentary with Mr. miyamoto which he was asked about how one of his games (I guess it was Mario) was such a big success? and he was like, I don't know. I was not expecting it either, Maybe it was an intervention from the above! Isn't that awesome to work in an industry which one of its best 3 designers is like that? I feel different from the day i saw that. Thanks for being such an awesome inspiration Mr. Miyamoto.
One other thing which reminded me how great our industry is was a great gamasutra blog post by Mike Acton which was a selection of great advice from Game Developer Magazine and his comentary on them. At the time I was looking for design advice. So i just went and searched for videos of the game designers which i want to have their advice and below is a collection of nice videos without much commentary since I'm not in a level to put commentary on the videos but it is a collection of gems which you need to collect. However there are many other great designers which i have not searched for and have not watched their videos yet. Also despite the fact that I'm an engineer since this was about inspiration for making a game of mine again, there is no awesome Abrash/Carmack stuff here.
Videos from those who we should listen to
Breath of the Wild 's GDC talk wasn't from any icon game designer (the designer might become one) but still it had a lot of great insights for anyone looking for game design advice. This one contains nice art and tech related things too.
A Q&A with Sid Meier This Q&A with Sid Meier and in general all of his talks are very humble, practical and very fun at the same time. His games like Miyamoto's are free from many of the things which cause many games to sell and amazingly he makes his games in accordance with his Christian faith by not having too much out of context sex and violence and manages to make greatest games in their genres and that is simply awesome. It is a reminder that not only games don't need hyper-realistic graphics to succeed but also they don't have to have too much violence or sexual content to succeed.
Psychology of game design is a talk from Sid Meier which is about what usually player expectations are and what they want when playing games. This might not apply completely to all set of games and gamers but fortunately or not most things discussed apply to biggest chunk of games. Some of them might feel counterintuitive but since they are all provided in context of a great war story with logical context from a world class designer and on a world class title, you know that you can trust it in a similar context.
Interesting decisions Did you read/hear that as well, that Sid Meier said that games are a series of interesting decisions? In this talk Sid talks about it. It is one of the cases and you just drop something in a context in a second but somehow since you are very great and very popular in your profession as well, it gets bigger than it should be. He reflects on it and also talks about the interesting decisions in games and how we can make them and ... again with lots of practical examples.
What is next in game design As Wright admits himself, the talk does not have much to do with its name but this talk from Will Wright is defiantly worth watching. It was nerdy funny and full of science and game design mixed. Interestingly it is about the part of game development which there is not much talks about. It is partially about the research that Wright does before pre-production of the game begins for inspiration and for making prototypes and goes into details on how ideas are formed and how he validates them and ... He also talks about Spore a lot.
Design Plunder is another talk from Wright which talks about design in general and how it can inspire game design. He talks about Christopher Alexander and many other diverse things but also a lot about Sims as well.
Miyamoto's GDC keynote Ok i can not say much about this other than go watch it. You'll learn a lot no matter what, if you don't learn a lot, you'll at least get inspired a lot.
Last but not least there are 3 talks from the beloved Nintendo CEO Mr. Iwata which are great to watch and watching them makes me feel good about the fact that I cried the day he left this world.There are not that many company CEOs which has the amount of detailed knowledge not only about programming but also about other aspects of designing great games. Here are the 3 videos.
Disrupting development In this he talks about their approach to disruption and how Nintendo makes blue oceans for themselves and a lot more.
Video games turn 25, a historical perspective and vision for the future In this video he talks about how Nintendo has made many different types of game and how they try to expand the market and it is a lot of fun and full of great advice.
Heart of a gamer In this video Mr. Iwata talks about his experience from the first day and what he wants a game to be and how he has the heart of a gamer which is probably very rare in game company CEOs if the company is big enough (not talking about game studios themselves).
What am i going to say. Try to make innovative fun games which are not too similar to the older ones but use the great advice from other game developers. Also yes it matters who is saying and what is being said both. It should have great logic, should be said in a good way and better to be said by a person of credibility specially if it is of a subject which requires more subjective analysis like anything design related and anything about the humanities.
Next time maybe i put videos of other great designers like Raph Koster and Warren Spector in a post. I know there are other great ones and i enjoyed for example reading Koster's Theory of fun a lot. I read it twice but i did not watch more since i started building my new game based on voxels and hopefully new mechanics which will talk to you about more in the future.