Warren Spector (him of Deus Ex and more recently Epic Mickey fame) has issued a challenge to the development community, suggesting that veterans like John Carmack and Tim Sweeney should apply their considerable talents to non-combat AI rather than engines and rendering. He believes that games are still poor at conveying "basic human interactions," and concentrating on that front will pull the industry forward.
"I've been actively trying to shame some of my fellow developers, specifically John Carmack and Tim Sweeney," Spector explained to Eurogamer Germany. "Can you imagine what games would look like if those two guys spent as much time working on non-combat AI as they do on rendering? Can you imagine what games we would have if John Carmack decided he wanted to create a believable character as opposed to a believable gun?
"I mean, oh my god! Those guys are way smarter than I am. I don't know how to solve the problem, but they could figure it out."
"Stop rendering!" he commanded. "Start creating humans or mice. I don't care which."
Spector continued by suggesting that many studios are used to applying traditional console controllers to combat and exploration mechanics, but have trouble translating it into conversations, emotions and "basic human interactions." "I find it annoying where people don't try to solve that problem, he elaborated." But I understand why. It's a very hard problem to solve. One of the reasons I find games like this so appealing as a developer is, at Disney it's hard to make a game like most other companies force you to make. They don't even want you to do a game like that."
"So where I am in my life and my career, I want to explore things like, what does it mean to have a brother? How do you form a family? Disney is a great company to work for if you want to talk about the possibility of redemption, and how important family and friends are to you. Most companies are not interested in that."
"We focus a little bit too much on violence, but we all know how to do it. It's easy. And a lot of players seem to like it. It isn't all we can do and it certainly isn't all we should do."
Spector joins a growing number of developers and pundits who want to see games plumb emotional depths and experiment with more profound concepts, but with the next console generation looming, graphics are likely to be a priority for many studios - not to mention gamers. [via EG]