Today is the annual Children in Need charity event, here in the UK. Although there are some cheesy and embarrassing aspects to the event on TV at times, the cause itself is very important and should be supported by everyone, no matter how small the contribution.
Which brings me onto the reason for this posting – why is the UK games industry not involved in some way? Why can we not use our combined creative talents to make a real contribution?
I’m not talking about rich publishers and developers giving away computers, consoles or old versions of games to put on a compilation disc; I’m talking about creating something new and exciting for which people would be willing to pay good money: An original game!
The industry has come in for a lot of bad publicity from certain politicians and sections of the media who want to paint the whole of game development as an instrument of the devil. Not only will this help us to re-dress the balance, it will show the world that the games industry cares about real-world issues.
Now, putting a game together – as we all know – is not as simple as gathering a few people in a studio for a day. Making a charity record is much simpler in comparison. If we wanted to create a decent game in time for next year’s event we would have to start now. Not only would we need to motivate a lot of people to contribute, we’d also need people to organise the whole event.
So, how could we even start to do something like this?
Perhaps publishers or developers could sponsor personnel? A producer here, a project manager there; others would sponsor programmers, designers, implementers or artists. A game engine and tools would need to be donated – one that would enable rapid development of the design. We’d need people who could oversee and coordinate the game on all possible platforms. We’d need testing houses to donate some time to bug-testing the game. We’d need musicians to donate soundtrack compositions. We’d need recording studio time and actors to donate their time to the project. Individuals could contribute by creating 3D models that others could animate. Still others could create concept sketches or donate code for cool gameplay routines. Marketing people could work together to help promote this in the biggest possible way.
We’d need publishers and platform holders to forget their differences and be willing to work together for a common good.
We could really make this work!
But what about the game?
My initial thoughts are that it could be developed in two ways – as a collection of five small games or as one big game.
Five small games would mean that there is more variety and so could appeal to a wider audience. For instance, there could be a five-a-side football game, a casual match-three game, a platform game, a skittles game and a word or number puzzle game. Or any list of games that we could come up with.
One single game could be something that’s a fun action-adventure in the style of Mario or Zelda with a bit of Day of the tentacle thrown in. It could be that the main character has to go around the game world collecting as much money for the cause as possible.
A third option, of course would be to combine the two and have a large game with optional small games that the player may have to unlock.
Ideally, we would get permission to use Pudsey Bear as the main character in the game, and would clearly need to work with the Children in Need organisers to ensure that we created a game that suited the branding.
So, what say you, fellow developers, industry professionals and gamers? Is this something we can do? Is this something we can launch from scratch and bring to completion within a year?
If this has piqued your interest and you think it would make a great addition to the Children in Need appeal, please pass on the link to this post, copy the post and send it to people who may be interested. Show it to your boss, your co-workers, your family and friends.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Labels: Charity, Game Development