I was recently discussing on a board a decline in hobby game developers and mod makers because of the rapidly growing amount of work that has to be put into it just to accommodate for all the new gizmos people are adding to game engines. I’ll put some of my discussion here:
This, in my mind, is to a large extent because of a perception which is held by a large portion of the industry: that to make a game that’s better than the competition, it has to simply have more features or be more interesting looking, or have more stuff than the other guys. What a game really needs is to be different. It needs to be creative. Otherwise, you have to make up for your lack of creativity with new features, the bells, the whistles, and your game gets really hard to make content for because you have to have specular maps, bump maps, cube maps, height maps, command maps and treasure maps.
I’m making a game from scratch with a few other people right now, and while I do plan to have fragment shaders, I only plan to do simple PPL with specular and specular maps. That’s it. No bumpmapping, offset mapping, reliefmapping, HDR, etc. Of course, that’s not going to be the extent of the graphics (i.e. there will be sweet particles, models, etc.), but I don’t want to have to make 4 textures for every texture, that’s ridiculous :p I think in general, more effort should be put into new ideas, instead of just making the old ones look pretty. Of course, I’m always up for taking an idea that people love and are familiar with, and putting a new spin on it. This gives the player something he knows, but mixes in something new and exciting. That’s what my game is going to be doing. But that’s a design decision I guess.
I’ll post more about that game I’m making later on, by the way.