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Running of the Cows

posted by TelltaleGames Telltale Staff on - last edited - Viewed by 112 users
Today, I learned some interesting things about cows. Did you know, for example, that there are 52 recognized breeds of cows in the United States? That female bovines do in fact naturally have horns? Or perhaps most strange of all, that the web is full of enthusiasts for the awkward, clumsy beasts?

You see, dear readers, designing games is not all fun and frolic. Oh no! It requires dedicated and serious research. Delving into facts that might make mere mortals tremble with unknown terror. This research may include everything from exposing oneself to the arctic chill of classic games freezer lockers to carving one's way through the clammy jungles of cow fan pages. It is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for those who tend to be easily distracted by addictive online games or thoughts of tasty burgers for lunch.

I currently am on a mailing list of intelligent folks in the gaming industry. Recently, someone mentioned the desire to become involved in games while currently being ignorant of the gaming world and all it encompasses. Games were a new interest to them, and they simply hadn't spent their formative years mired in gaming shops or strategy guides. While many of us railed for this person to immediately start seeking out games with which to educate themselves, there was also the voice of dissonance which suggested that their ignorance was actually an advantage. That they were fresh and "uncontaminated"� by previous ways of thinking about games, and rather than expose themselves to every game experience possible they should take this "fresh perspective"� and run with it. (Not literally of course, as one might run from cows, but rather in the figurative sense that their lack of education might somehow grant them remarkable new insights into games from the perspective of an outsider.)

Piffle poffle. These are words which strike at my very soul and leave me quivering in my bed at night, unable to sleep or even to concern myself with new schemes for taking over the gaming industry. Research is extremely valuable to a game developer, and in fact to a creative thinker of any kind. The more one knows about things that are similar to what one is creating, the more expansive a library of ideas they have at their disposal. The more they understand the common pitfalls of what they are trying to make, and how they might go about avoiding them. The more easily they can communicate their flashes of lightning-bright genius to their fellows.

In short, being able to conduct good research is an extremely valuable skill. For a game designer, this research is being conducted constantly. Every game played, every fact learned, every behavioral trait observed, can be stored away in the vast dusty vault of the designer's mind to be pulled out for use at a moment's notice. A designer can spend weeks at a time completely engrossed in a project. While you may think they are discussing prevalent issues amongst dairy farmers, their devious minds are considering how every word you say may be applied to their current game. Eventually this can cause break-downs in marriages and isolation from friends. But we are not here to discuss my personal problems.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must return to my cattle appreciation web pages.
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