At last years LOGIN conference Peter asked me to do a debate. Knowing that I was bit outspoken in my views on technology and game design he pitted me against Isaac Barry of Gamehouse. Our topic… “Should game designers be allowed to write code in a scripting language”.
Watch the video if you want to get into the debate. It is a bit slow initially. I was a bit evil and switched the tables on Isaac in the opening statements by framing the debate around MMO’s and then conceding his main points around casual games. Issac recovered about halfway for some fun points.
Or you can read more….
With modern Game Engines like Unity3D and Pushbutton for Flash it is possible to create a small game with a talented programmer/designer and artist. In fact for a small game this might be the perfect combination… if you can find someone who is that talented.
The problem with this approach is that it does not scale. Not only is it hard to find programmers that are good at design (or designers that are good at programing), you also create a tug of war if everyone is convinced they are designing the game. Too many cooks really do spoil the broth.
In a modern MMO the engineers must be extremely disciplined and focused on creating great content delivery systems. An iterative process that focuses on testing and quality is critical. Handing a scripting language to designers that do not share that focus will only frustrate everyone.
I still feel horrible about going for the cheap laugh at Galaxies' expense. Unfair!
But my favorite part was at the end, after the artificial either/or of the debate had passed to "depends on the project and team" that a designer from the audience wanted to support my earlier position by pointing out that designers need to be able to make major system changes late in the project. "Uh no, dude. No."