So, I currently still do not have a complete game under my belt. Rather, I don’t have something that I would myself call finished. One could argue that a game is never finished, I guess, that is unless you destroy the source code for the game, and turn away anyone who even mentions the game.
I recently outlined all that I believe that I need to do before I’m finished, not counting bugs or potential revelations. As I started to outline the final task, I began to wonder if this game will be complete. Not in the sense that it has a start, middle, end, each of which can be reached by potential players, but will others who play this game will receive a complete experience. How well does everything the game merge with each other? Do the ideas that are contained within the game correlate to their juxtaposed ideas, or am I trying to put a square peg in a circle hole? I’d like to assume that I’m achieving the former, but how many people, aside from those who hate their jobs, really do believe that they’re making a bad product while they’re in the middle of it? Furthermore, what can I do to make sure that I do have more of a complete game?
First, I guess I’d need to clarify what makes a complete game. Akin to what I said before, it is possible that a complete game require all of its elements to be related to each and every instrument within the game. Now, we can easily say, “Every game is complete, because everything relates to each other because they’re in the same game!”. I would say that this is not enough. Using that argument, you could easily say that anything is complete in that it relates to itself, an argument that I care nothing about at the moment. If we move a bit deeper, you can say that a complete game is one where each of the elements of the game relate to each other, and do it well. The art of the game helps get the story across, and doesn’t just play nice in the same room. They actually get along well (There’s probably a reason why Kirby’s Epic Yarn has that art style, as opposed to taking the art direction of Killzone). This is probably a better direction for discussion about a complete game. One thing that cannot be overlooked is the level of player activity. Since video games are more of an interactive medium, how well the player is integrated into the game is very extremely important.
Now, a complete game does not translate over to a good game. This may seem obvious, but still probably warrants some sort of discussion. I may even find a game which I label incomplete as good, while a game that I can call complete makes me feel like I wasted my time.
In what I’m calling a complete game, for now, how much does each element need to related to the next? I mentioned before that they need to marry each other well, but does every change to the story need to be reflected in some sort of change to the music or the environment? More often than not, I would argue no, possibly invoking “Less is More”. It would be nice, and probably more complete (if we’re defining levels of complete), if everything could directly change an attribute somewhere else, but it may not be necessary for this to be done. The term ‘Overkill’ can be applied.
There’s usually a problem when the question beginning with “How well” is asked, mostly because it seems like it is one that is geared towards asking for an opinion. Subjectivity is great….sometimes.
Furthering the idea of making a complete game. Can it be done? Will any creator of a project ever say “I think that everything I did was perfect, and that I wouldn’t go about changing anything!”? I would like to think no, but there are people who probably think that. I’m guessing that the majority of post-mortems out there include at least one “Should have”. This potentially means that many developers believe that their game could be more complete, more relevant to itself; the pieces of the puzzle fit well, but there are still gaps where some things disconnect (this may lead into the idea of……perfection).
A lot of this can be looked at much more deeply, and later on in life, I may think about it. But that’s it for now. It be nice to know if creating a complete game is possible, and if so, are their multiple levels of completion. Who knows?