Post news Report content RSS feed An Open Window: PLD +57

In today's update I'd like to show you more media, a short return to last weeks topic and give you my views on "artsy MODs".

Posted by Hezus on Mar 28th, 2011

An Open Window: Project Launch Day +57

Hardly a week it has been since the last update yet it seems like a long time. I took a week off from development because the creative and motivational fluids weren't flowing. In that case, it's better to focus on other things for a bit and get back to work with renewed strength. And so I return with lots of media and a new article.

Before I start, I'd like to recap on my last article about copyright issues. In response to the article, Podcast 17 had a short discussion about the subject in their last episode. You can listen to the extract here:

If you haven't noticed already, the images page has been updated with the latest shots of the first detail art pass. In this pass the most important details are added to the map. These are the details the player can interact with or will influence his roaming freedom. Of course they also set the mood and theme of the room. For those unfamiliar with art passes, I'd like to point towards the article I wrote about the subject. Here is another series of images of a previously unrevealed room, which is taking shape from it's very first concept layout.

The bedroom in 3 phases: first design, texture pass and first detail pass. Final detail and lighting passes yet have to be done.

So much for the media part. For today's article, I'd like to take a shot at the classification people have been giving this and other similar projects. Something they like to call "art/artsy mods". For this subject, I'd like to steer away from the question what exactly can be defined as art and whether game design is part of that. Instead I want to get down to the semantics of the word.

If someone would label my work as "art", I'd be honoured. "Artsy", however, implies that it's pretentious and not quite reaching the level of actual art. I've seen MOD's like Dear Esther and Radiator defined as "artsy" by sceptical viewers. But even the supporting viewers would use the word "art" to describe these MODs. Personally, I think the term should be defined better.

A MOD which I would label "art", is Adam Killer. This Half-Life MOD was made by an American artist named Brody Condon. His intent was to create psychedelic art and he used a game to accomplish this. From a modding perspective, this could hardly be considered a MOD because its design was terrible and bugged. However, from an artistic point of view, it achieved exactly what it should. Therefore, calling it an "art MOD" would be justified.

Dear Esther, Radiator and also AnOpWi do not fit into that category. These projects were made to be actual modifications firstly. Secondly, they were meant to be something different than the original game. People might call it art because it attempts to be different or have more meaning than the average shooter but as for aspect of design, they are not more artistic than the commercial shooters. Just like them, the "art mods" also try to achieve player satisfaction by creating gameplay, only in unconventional ways. If you want to classify them, I'd suggest using the term "alternative MOD" would be in order.

Ultimatly, I hope the alternative MODs will inspire the commercial developers and help create better games. With those words I'll conclude this update. I would very much like to hear your comments on todays subject by presenting the QotD.

Question of the Day:
Do you consider alternative MODs to be more artistic than regular MODs/games?

Post comment Comments
Metalspy Mar 29 2011 says:

I don't feel I can fully agree with your art, alternate and regular mod subtypes (although it makes sense), but yes, I guess I consider alternative mods to be more artistic than regular mods/games. To be art it doesn't necessarily have to have (what?) a special visual art style, it can also be art in other ways, for example the way the story is told. If that is original and executed well I'd say that is art too in some cases.

Meh typinig this post right after I got out of bed wasn't such a good idea I think, this probably doesn't make much sense :P

+1 vote     reply to comment
SPY-maps Mar 29 2011 says:

art, art, art,
what is art. when i look at most "art" paintings then i can only describe them as terrible rubbish. and that when other (such art) loving people describe them as "real art". guess it comes all down to what you're taste is. i do see myself as a artist, i have made loads of commic books, sp-mods, and some animation movies (with super 8 movies, back in the old days). i guess you could compare art mods with art paintings, they are most of the times liked by a small group of people, or they are worth a ridiculous amount of money, but then we speak of investment. so, i don't think that we will see many new art games, simply because most people will not like them. i would love to talk on and on about this, because it does intriek me for many years, but i only can place 2000 characters here and i probably already have used them all now.


+4 votes     reply to comment
Hezus Author
Hezus Mar 29 2011 replied:

We seem to have the same problem :) You can't explain more because of the 2000 char limit and I can't because no-one wants to read huge walls of text. That's why I left out the part about the definition of art and the value of it (sentimental or in plain good old fashioned cash). What can be said is that it's a personal matter, so that's why I'm interested in people's opinions. Marcel Duchamp entered a urinal into an art exhabition in 1917, which raised the question what art truly is, so pretty much anything goes. To me it's not the actual product, but the thought behind it that is the art. For that matter, a lot can be considered art, including video games.

+1 vote   reply to comment
deagosane Mar 29 2011 says:

SO who are you to consider whats art and whats not?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Hezus Author
Hezus Mar 29 2011 replied:

I think you mean "decide" instead of "consider". In that case, I don't decide anything. Even though the definition of art exists, imho it's a personal matter what you consider to be true art. In my article, I don't even try to challenge the definition. Instead I talk about the quick classificaton these types of mods have been given and how there is more to consider in the matter.

I gave my opinion on the subject and if you disagree with me, I invite you to do the same.

+1 vote   reply to comment
xXMaNiAcXx Mar 29 2011 says:

Yes, mostly yes, what really matters is what is art for you.

+1 vote     reply to comment
macacos2 Mar 29 2011 says:

Anyone can take a **** on a piece of paper and call it art.

+2 votes     reply to comment
DarkRaidor Mar 29 2011 says:

Question: would this be considered a true art mod (in your opinion)?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Hezus Author
Hezus Mar 30 2011 replied:

EddieC (the creator) wants to bend the rules in games and thus create actual alternative gameplay. What to make of the rest of it, he leaves up to the player. While that thought could be seen as "artistic", I wouldn't want to dig deep into what message he wants to send to his audience, other than "whatever you think it is". Personally I wouldn't see Tedium as a true art mod, because, to me, it's about gameplay. Maybe other people felt the "reflection of society" (as he hints to) but apparently that was wasted on me.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Herr_Alien Apr 4 2011 says:

If you, the creator, think that it's a piece of art, then don't submit it to a mod site where all entries are judged by playability, achievements and graphical quality. Submit it to an art site, where it will be judged by the emotions it evoked, by the skilled use of ... whatever feature to trigger those emotions.

When you submit your piece of cr ... erm, art, to a mod site, you labeled it as a mod. Stop passing it on as art, on that site at least.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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