game programming as an artform

antadam
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Post: #1
just wondering what you guys think...i read something on slashdot a while ago about game programming being accepted as a an artform. i'm trying to convince my college that if i write a 3d game it should be taken as independent study as art credit and not cs credit (already have too many of those). any comments/suggestions on doing so??? i'm already using lightwave, etc. for a lot of my modeling and animation, so yeah that's an obvious part, but i'm looking into other aspects of it including the sound portion, etc.
thanks in advance
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w_reade
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Post: #2
"Games as art" is always a tricky subject... my feelings is that most games will never be art, but the medium has the potential to make works of art. There was a long discussion in the Sex, death and games thread that touches upon this subject interestingly (IMO) - perhaps some of the arguments therein will help you.

However, the assets used in the game could certainly be classed as art (or at least design, which should be good enough for an art credit), so perhaps that might help...
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Post: #3
Following on with w_reade's idea, you could argue that programming your game is the process of developing an interesting presentation medium for your art / sound fx / music.

You could also argue that the way in which you implemented the sound and graphics in the game was also an artistic journey. Not only is making the 3D models and sound effects an artform, so too is the way you choose to present them in the environment.

If they STILL aren't convinced, argue that if you made a movie, it would be classified as art, and that your game is simply an interactive movie.
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Feanor
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Post: #4
Very topical! Tough, because "art" defies easy definition.

I would recommend that you consider not using the word "game" when you talk about your project. Also, that you de-emphasize the technical aspects and focus on whatever artistic explorations you are interested in making. Computer software is a medium of expression like any other. It does not have to be purely functional. It can communicate, possibly more than other media.

But when you say it's a game, you are fitting it into a category which is limiting, the same way that any categorized product will be limited. So, call it something like interactive story-telling, or virtual world creation, or a study in symbols, or something that makes it more than a game.

If I were one of the supervisors on your department, I would be asking myself, "How much of what he does on this game is going to be technical, and require engineering or design skill, and how much of it is going to be expressive, requiring him to learn new ways to communicate ideas to the users/audience?" Chances are that they will be resistant unless you can show them that the technical issues are not significant.

As far as games as art in general, I believe this is similar to other engineered or designed objects or works as art: they may have elements of art, or they may transcend their role and become as art (consider architecture), but most of the time, they are just things made for a purpose, either made well or made poorly. Most of the time, the best you can hope for is quality craftsmanship. Art which arises out of design seems to involve some kind of amazing synchronicity, where the designer finds a form which so perfectly fits the function and is so impossibly simple that there is no other way to appropriately assert its merits than by labelling it "art". But this is the art of form, judged by adherence to abstract qualities like symmetry, balance, weight, proportion, and suggestion. [Edit: I forgot colour, contrast, pattern and texture -- of course there are others...]

If a game is to achieve this, it will have to really find the perfect application of whatever technical approaches it uses, and not be guilty of cutting corners because the technology was "not there yet". Kiki the Nanobot, for example, is a great example of a design which is not at odds with its medium. There is no sense that MonsterKodi had to sacrifice quality because he lacked time or tools or materials. If your game idea makes people think, instead of just testing their reflexes, you will probably be able to sell it.
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Post: #5
The interactive movie/multi media experience is probably the best argument.

Otherwise people may say that game development or programming in general is art form.
But that is very different from the out put of the programming being "ART"
or fine art.

What you will find a strong argument for, is that programming and game development etc is a "CRAFT"... which boarder on "ART" but does not really cross the boundry into "FINE ART"...

- Mac Lead ZeniMax Online Studios
- Owner Plaid World Studios
- Resume: http://www.chrisdillman.com
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Post: #6
Hmm, I read this intresting article in EDGE a couple of years ago called "But is it art?".

I would say that game programming might not be art, but a way to metamorphizes several arts into one(graphics, sounds etc are all art).

"Gameplay Uber Alles. And if you can make it psychedelic too, great!" - Jeff Minter
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w_reade
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Post: #7
[cosmid's request] seconded.

And just a thought, which won't help you at all: perhaps code itself can be art. See http://www.ioccc.org/ if you don't believe me; some of the code there certainly satisfies the "uselessness criterion" of fine art, and can inspire powerful emotions in the reader to boot Rasp.
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burden
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Post: #8
Wacko

I'm a little put off by the persistent suggestion in this thread that adam is best off misrepresenting his work with "arty buzzwords" or as an (ultimately shallow) "interactive movie" or whatever.

There's really no need to sneak one past the artists -- if you're legitimately doing art, they'll get it. Some thoughts:

- As has been pointed out, you can probably explore games as visual design without fear that it's off-topic for an art credit. I tend to think of games as an outgrowth of 20th century design practice anyway, the other forms of which people generally learn about in art departments. If the point of graphic design is to communicate an idea, the point of game design is to communicate "play", with many of the same mechanisms, requirements and limitations. Make that connection and run with it.

- It's interesting to me how game-design tools are often homegrown, built specifically to express things in a very particular way, and how those tools interact with the products they create; and how that contrasts with the rest of the design world, where most of us don't code and are often at the mercy of our tools and the methods of working that they dictate to us. This doesn't lack scrutiny: look up John Maeda at MIT, for example. I can see ways of applying his work in graphic design to games and game-tools that would leverage your programming skills and still remain relevant and interesting to artists.

- Or, if you really want to, there's plenty of room -- and precedent -- to explore the medium itself as "fine art", to experimentally hash out the definition of "game", or what technology means in the context of play, or how that technology can be exploited or misused to interesting ends, or how art itself is kind of a game, or what interaction is all about and where that line can be drawn or obscured, or how the nature of intelligence is revealed in the face of AI, or to simply use your game-making tools to create something formally beautiful or to expound in depth on a particular idea, without concern (or turning on its head) the nominal definition of a game. This is nothing new, really -- there's a lot for you to look at.

- The issues brought up here of engineering vs art are red herrings, IMO. I know of no artist that is not often consumed with "technical issues" -- even those working in traditional media. A metal sculptor, for example, is an engineer in a very real sense, concerned with fabrication technique and material stress as much as some lofty concept evident in the final product. These are things that artists -- and art students especially -- need to prove are sound and capable of bearing the concept.

In that light perhaps not enough credit is being given to the decision-makers here. Artists understand the significance of tools, and the historical connections between art and technology; art educators want their students to understand that significance too, and will probably expect some reflection on how your technology-of-choice informs your decisions as an artist.

So, anyway... I do think you have some opportunity to pull this off, though if you're just looking for an easy art credit, you might consider taking intro to ceramics and building a bong like everyone else. Rasp
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antadam
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Post: #9
not so sure about misrepresenting it as a form of art...my wording isn't exactly the greatest thing, but I greatly appreciate your input on this. i'm getting a lot of interesting points
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Post: #10
Quote:Originally posted by cosmid
damn, that article must have been in an issue when I was still living in Canada (never saw the magazine there). I would have liked to have read that. Don't s'pose you know the issue number (or what the cover was) so I can check? I love Edge.


I think it was nr 42(nahh, it wasn't that old), but thats probably just my memory freakin' on me since I love the nr 42. It had a war helmet(or whatever you call it) on it, and the helm had stickers with nintendo, sony, microsoft etc on it. I think that was the cover anyway, or that could've been an completly diffrent issue. Hmm... I might have it here, I could take a look.

Rats, I didn't find it...

"Gameplay Uber Alles. And if you can make it psychedelic too, great!" - Jeff Minter
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Komick
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Post: #11
Quote:Originally posted by burden
Wacko

I'm a little put off by the persistent suggestion in this thread that adam is best off misrepresenting his work with "arty buzzwords" or as an (ultimately shallow) "interactive movie" or whatever.

There's really no need to sneak one past the artists -- if you're legitimately doing art, they'll get it.


I totally agree. I think that you best 'weapon' here in getting them to understand your point is to have a better understanding of artistic theory. For instance, the philosopher Wittgenstein wrote a rather interesting argument in which he actually compares art with games. I'm a little sketchy on the details, but he basically says that works of art can be defined the same way that a game is defined. Perhaps making an argument using a little intellectual firepower will serve you better than trying to 'pull a fast one'.
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Post: #12
Great film, but I can't remember the line you are talking about?

Thora Birch rocks.
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Nibbie
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Post: #13
Simple,Bored art=A way of expressing yourself in full view of the world right? Progtramming is most definately an art.
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Feanor
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Post: #14
Quote:Originally posted by Joseph Duchesne
Simple,Bored art=A way of expressing yourself in full view of the world right? Programming is most definitely an art.
Erm, this is the definition game. It never leads to anything. But who says programmers are always expressing themselves? Sometimes they are just doing their job.

But maybe there is something else at stake here. The point of taking arts classes is to get away from the science and computers. It is often valuable to do something different, to learn a way to work in other media. That is what I would expect a college to want of students in science programs. In which case "art" has less to do with it than exposure to a different environment and culture.
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Post: #15
Hmmm... Art?

What isn't art?

Sure I think programming is art, but then I think maths can be art. Games, good ones, make use of visual and aural art. How can they not be art? Some games verge on the interactive movie side of things, are movies art?

I'd say everything's art, oh sure somethings are more artful than others, a huge sliding scale if you want.

But games are definitely are. IMO And if anyone says otherwise, well... just say games are a medium for presenting art: graphics, art: music + sound and art: maths + code.
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