Interview #3 (September 27, 1998)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Time for interview number three, this time it's Secret Ops lead designer, Cinco Barnes...

What does a designer do? What did you do for Secret Operations?
The designer works closely with the art and programming staff to generate the 'look' and 'feel' of the gameplay. Once the overall goals for the game are decided, the design team focuses on the creation of the game story, the fictional dialogue and the mission content. During the greatest portion of development, designers work through an editor called "MED" using a proprietary scripting language (that operates a lot like C++). With this editor and the powerful language associated with it, designers are able to create all of the game conditions that make for an exciting mission. On "Secret Ops" I was the Lead Designer. My responsibilities were to create the story, dialogue and mission objectives as "broad brush strokes" for the rest of the design team to flesh out later.What kind of qualifications does one need to become a designer?In order to become a successful designer, one will need to understand the mechanics of a good game. In this business it is easy to be confused (often intoxicated) by the memes and conventions of television and movies as an alternative to understanding the subtly complicated modes of gameplay/story interaction. Although understanding of mass media disciplines are crucial to building a believable script, they come in at a distant second to the understanding of CORE FUN. [Cinco] The most qualified game designers continually ask themselves and ask of their designs: What is the FUN THING that I do all of the time in this game? What is my production team doing to bring this FUN THING to fruition? The qualified designer is capable of eliminating the unnecessary in effort to focus on the elements of production that support the central FUN idea of the game.

Original update published on September 27, 1998
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