Will Wright, creator of the bestselling “SimCity” and “The Sims” is the winner of the LARA Honor of 2012th The Games Market exclusive interview he talks about the ups and downs of his career and explains why not have unlimited funds for good game design. Mr. Wright, you have worked over 30 years in the gaming industry. Have you ever regretted this career choice?
No, never, despite this long period. Most of my youth I have spent reading and researching about the different areas of expertise, because I was so curious. Later in college, but eventually came the time when I had to decide on a direction. Then I realized that I, as a game designer can continue to deal with different topics when I’m making a game out of it. It seems to me outside of work as an author of the only profession in which the problem goes like this.
Would you still do something different when you look back on your career?
No, because everything I’ve done in my life has brought me to where I am today. Even from my mistakes and unsuccessful games I’ve learned. Such a question can make any man looking back over his life, but I am of the opinion that even wrong decisions decisively shape and form part of the character. Knowing this principle, I see no reason to change anything.
What was your most frustrating moment as a game designer?
I can remember that I am at work on The Sims, I had to contend with a lot of headwind, own, even within my company. I have seven years more or less in the background working on the concept, because I was convinced. It was very frustrating during this time, again and again with resistance from colleagues and business partners taken. There was more beautiful than “The Sims” was the publication a success. the other hand, there is also always been the criticism that I was inspired. A game developed to find the right from the start great at all, would find I pretty boring.
The most frustrating moment was really good but in retrospect, “The Sims Online,” because it did not have the desired success in the market. We have the game for technical reasons, never reached the desired level, for example in relation to the content created by players. Unfortunately flopped “The Sims Online” then too.
What was the best moment?
He was about six months after the publication of the first SimCity. At this time began the success. I thought the topic urban planning more for a niche and was therefore really surprised by the huge player interest.” SimCity “the first computer game was ever that of the magazine” has been discussed in Newsweek “in a separate article. That fills me with pride to this day.
What has changed since the profession of game designer?
Clearly, the number of people who work in a game. When I started, I was sitting alone at home and have in addition to the programming and artwork and sound effects made. Even the manual I’ve written. Fifteen years later, I was suddenly responsible for teams of 50 people, with experts in each sub-area of development. Nowadays, teams are even greater. Hundreds of people have to work well together, so that at the end of a good game comes out. In addition, care and communication have also changed. Previously it has worked for years in a game, then released it and watched as it arrives at the players. Today it has been during the development of much more input from fans, and after release they are working on updates and additional content. Parallel were already conceptualized a new title. The work of a game designer is less cyclical than it used to split after games.
What is your favorite game beyond your own title
Since there are so many games that I like. But if I set the number of hours do you play, then the ” Advance Wars “- series on the Nintendo DS. Around tactic I find challenging and relaxing at the same time. It also reminds me of my childhood, when I was playing very much demanding, tactical board games like “Panzer Blitz”. In this scheme fits well the great ” Civilization “series by Sid Meier, I have also played countless hours.
Electronic Arts has just released a new ” SimCity “Announced. Does it bother you that other designers are working now on your heritage?
No, absolutely not. The studio of the new “SimCity” is funny enough, in the neighborhood, and was the lead designer on ” Spore “My art director. So I invite the team is sometimes, to show me his work progress. You have good ideas for the series. To be honest, I’m actually glad that someone else” has SimCity taken. “I have ten wonderful years working on the series, but eventually you have to turn to something new. This does not mean that I do not like a new version of “SimCity” look.
Listen to suggestions for the new team, you make?
I share my opinion but like them, but with non-binding. These are all very talented designer. They show me their “SimCity” more out of professional courtesy, not because they would need help.
What exactly does your new club, the “Stupid Fun Club ‘?
I can not talk about everything. We are working on several projects in the fields of television, toys and games. We will shortly announce a joint venture with a famous Hollywood studio.
The idea of ”Stupid Fun Club” is to carry the game development philosophy in other entertainment industries. Last year we participated in the television series “Bad Karma” worked, which arose after the crowdsourcing principle. A community on the Internet helped to design the set, chose music and I even participated in the scripts. It was an experiment on how to bring the creativity of the user to television. In addition, we are always on the go in Mobile games right, but have nothing official announced.
With crowdsourcing you already have experience of how it looks with crowd funding? We are inspired by Tim Schafer’s success soon see a game from Will Wright to kick start?
For me as a designer, the financing has always been secondary. The question of where the money comes from, I like to leave another. I’m concentrating on making a game that as many people as possible to make fun. I think not, “I’d like to make a swarm funded game.” Instead, I think, “I want to make a game with this or that content.” If Crowdfunding should be the way to do this – why not? But the most important, for me the game concept.
If you had unlimited funds, what would you develop for a game?
(Laughs) Definitely needed a game that unlimited funds! The task of a designer is to work within given constraints and still achieve the maximum. The well-known designer Charles Eames [furniture designer, 1907-1978. Prosody] once said, “design limitation – no restrictions, there is no design.” Even in games I have to try to get out of the existing technical, financial and intellectual resources for the best. This is the true art. The idea of unlimited resources, is almost frightening. In “Spore” We have spent a lot of money, have more than we probably should have done. Nevertheless, we had to work within technical limitations. The elimination of all financial barriers appears in my work as a designer is not very helpful.
What tips can you give to young game developers are now starting a career?
Begin together and design of simple things that you think is right and good. Show your products, be they ever so small and easy to other people. Whether you have designed a chair or a game, you learn only by iteration and failure. As a designer you have to be brave. Be curious shy, you do not find inspiration in “absurd” acting areas: architecture, product design, landscape design or user interface, for example. Unfortunately, many developers are now very safe. You say, “I want to make a game that is like XY game, but with this small change.” This is hardly revolutionary.
What is the biggest issue in the gaming industry over the next five to ten years?
The games telemetry. We can already measure on an unprecedented measure exactly how gamers play. More and better analysis tools can help them analyze data and understand our customers better. Instead of using focus groups or market research, we can measure on a per minute basis, when each player has spent as much time at which level. I know of no other industry with the opportunity to understand their consumers, so can easily and accurately. Thus the art of game design is always metric, but also more reactive and more flexible, because a game even after release to the needs and wishes of the players can be personalized and adapted accordingly.
Your ” SimCity 2000 “(1993) was the first game I’ve played a long time. We then sneaked an extra afternoon in the computer room of our school.
(Laughs) The idea that young people voluntarily sneak into a school mutete, plenty of absurd – on top of that, learn something about urban planning. That teachers apparently did not want to use computers for games, shows the still widespread misconception that games are not a legitimate form of Wissensvermitlung. Although they are the most effective form of learning. Instead of allowing students to learn about urban planning, computer operation, and foreign languages, even prevents access to school education. The operation of modern computers has become particularly with the iPad so much easier. Nevertheless, until now, hardly anyone uses these facilities for the transmission of knowledge to students. I find that very sad.