Being open to questions doesn’t begin and end with the game writer-developer relationship. When I go to game expos, I like to ask questions. Sure, I like to see the previews and sometimes, I’ll hop on and play a classic game like GALAGA. But usually, I go look at the new games being demo’ed and if there’s somebody nearby to bother, I’ll ask specific design questions, e.g. Why did they decide on this aspect of the design? Did they know about this factor? Asking questions is something that filters in and out of work, life, and play.
At conferences, as previously mentioned, we have a good time at parties and sessions. We always seem to find people willing to engage in scholarly discussions, whether at the AI dinner or at the hotel lobby. Industry parties are also a gold mine of shop talk. At the last event I attended, I asked an audio engineer about voice-over set-ups for an ensemble cast. I talked to a programmer about localization issues. He told me that at his studio, they design the interface for German as a default since it tends to have the longest words. As a rare treat, I met a game writer from a French game company. He told me that the sex quest with the dryad in the game, THE WITCHER, was tasteful and thought more games should incorporate mature themes.
While working, we ask questions, but we also like to receive questions from developers, especially ones of the clarifying sort. It’s part of the back and forth of production. Since changes to quests, back story, or other content may occur during production, we need the channels of communication to be open.
What’s the best answer to a game design question you’ve ever come across? What’s the best question?