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General: Film Noir: What Can Game Designers Learn

SzarkSzark News ManagerMember Posts: 4,420

Gamasutra has posted an editorial article that attempts to explain how today's games could learn from film noir, not by copying superficial details, but by emulating the techniques noir filmmakers used to thrive in a movie industry that is not entirely dissimilar to the gaming industry of today.

In a hit-driven industry that requires millions of dollars brought to the table just for a title to make the qualifying round, TimeGate Studios designer Steve Gaynor opines that the lessons of film noir will pave the way for games to develop a new and engaging kind of interaction, opening the field beyond just the BioShocks and Halos.

In the late 30's through the 50's, American film was a spectacle-based business. The market was dominated by the studio system, and blockbuster epics and musicals ruled the public consciousness. The stars, budgets, and sets were enormous. It didn't take long for the entire enterprise to become very bloated. Eventually, pricetags began outstripping profits in an arms race to sensory overload. It was during this era that film noir was born.

Read more here.


  • SuvrocSuvroc Member Posts: 2,383


    That may have been the single most important article concerning today's MMO's I've read IMO.

    Kudos to the author for saying what needed to be said, I hope the industry was listening.

  • DataDayDataDay Member UncommonPosts: 1,538

    Originally posted by Suvroc

    That may have been the single most important article concerning today's MMO's I've read IMO.
    Kudos to the author for saying what needed to be said, I hope the industry was listening.

    not just mmos but all games. The game industry is not so different from the film industry. As a film professional i can say this thread is right on the money. Take a look at many of the popular indie/low budget games that have shown there is much more to learn. Mount and Blade is made by a husband and wife team, the first Gothic (gothic 1) was done by a small german crew, yet they made one of the best rpgs of all time in my opinion.



  • FlummoxedFlummoxed Member Posts: 591

    yes indie / noir / pulp is good in principle and anything that sticks it to the major game corporations is fine by me, but lets not forget the downside to this - just as in film and music and books, a ton of worthless crap gets churned out as well.  I dunno if flooding the market with cheese is all that admirable, it makes it even harder to find the 1 or 2 real gems.


    A couple areas where "noir games" (bleh is this a trendy buzzword now?) are showing up:

    Flash web games - check out some of the rpg's on Kongregate and elsewhere, considering the limitations the sophistication is surprising.

    Mods - things like Portal and many NWN mods are very good. 


    Yet how does all this apply to mmogs?  How can an indie / noir / pulp mmog ever make it?


  • Lunar_KnightLunar_Knight Member Posts: 292


    Originally posted by Flummoxed
    Yet how does all this apply to mmogs?  How can an indie / noir / pulp mmog ever make it?


    Have you ever heard of Multiverse ? If anything, it's at least one avenue of approach to it. I'm sure we'll start seeing elements of the industry splinter off and create more freeware tools for these kind of games.


    I liked the article. I now have a reason to hope for a brighter future for this form of media.


    ...but time flows like a river...

    ...and history repeats...

    -Leader of "The Fighting Irish" in DAoC on Hib/Kay-

  • ComanComan Member UncommonPosts: 2,171

    Indie games are on the rise already and there are being enough low bugets games released. The main reason for the rise of Indie game is the fact that the tools to produce such games are getting cheaper and some you can now even get as open-source.

    Personly I am an big fan of Indie games. Mainly becouse they have to sell there game though gameplay instead of fancy looking gfx's.

  • KeridwanKeridwan Member Posts: 118

    This is a really engaging piece. Well done on thinking outside the box.

    In DAoC we had a successful all female character guild called Femmes Fatales. We played Excal in Albion and at our peak we had over 30 members. There were great debates about female only gamers but as you can imagine it was hard to track the real identity of applicants and players. We did have a few choice questions that only females were likely to be able to answer when people applied to the guild.

    Anyways to get to the point we tried to emulate by role playing many of the film-noir themes and content with a particular focus on the femme fatale. We often used media studies literature to guide the role playing.

    There is a great book by Joan Copec called "Shades of Noir" and Ann Kaplan's brilliant piece "Women in Noir" which discusses LA Confidential, Bound, Blue Gardenia and Basic Instinct, lent itself very nicely to some our guild story lines. The essays in these volumes examine the widely studied and discussed genre from a variety of perspectives, not always agreeing on exactly what constitutes film noir or which movies exemplify its elements. Of course the classic film noir director, Von Sternberg, and the representations developed for Marlene Dietrich, capture the essence of what you are writing and might neatly be conveyed in MMO design.

    Have a great New Year !


  • TheArzhAngelTheArzhAngel Member Posts: 159


    To look at the top games out there, whil creating the game, and make anything that can be comperet to this games alot better in there game.


    Think forward, and find things, iders that have not yet been seen. eks from brain storm between gamers and not som guy whit the mony sitting in the office all day long.


    LISTEN to the beta testers, not a fes of em but all of em. Make pools to the non beta players, Read the forums. ect.


    I know its noew to some of they TEAMS out there, but new can be good.

    GW, WOW, AOC, DAOC, DOD, L2, VG.
    GW necro msx, WOW never maxd, DAOC reaver-paladin-cabalist-vamp max, L2 never maxd, VG never maxd.

    Daoc - Paladin. Classic.

  • ladyattisladyattis Member Posts: 1,273

    The biggest advantage to the indy games is that if it stinks you didn't pay near as much as if you bought a so-called AAA title, which can cost up to 60 USD anymore (as opposed to maybe 25 USD for a similar indy title game). Which means the better developers are always lean, but not starving, thus are compelled to compete for more players, so we win out with competitive indy game companies (due to a more skeptical audience) that tend to take new approaches to games (some good, some bad).

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