我所制作的《Finding my Heart》和《MegaDrill》这两款游戏在设计方面存在着差异，但是更大的不同还是设计过程。其中一款是艺术而另一款却不是。我将简略地解释这两款游戏的设计过程，随后谈谈关于这两部作品所带来的结果。
过程1：《Finding my Heart》
《Finding my Heart》是一款源自内心深处的游戏。制作这款游戏的唯一动机很简单，就是努力做好它。因为我的想法是制作一款小型简单的历险类游戏，所以关于这款游戏的理念和故事很快就浮现在我的脑海中。我先写下了游戏脚本，并立刻察觉到自己将会创造出这款游戏。我并未做任何市场调研，也未效仿其它成功的游戏，也不在意其它游戏。我之所以会制作这款游戏，只是因为那时候我觉得应该这么做。
在完成并发行了《Finding my Heart》后，我很失望这款游戏并未为我带来多少利润。鉴于这款游戏不可能帮助我更好地维持生计，我决定去研究一些较受欢迎的游戏，从中挖掘到更多利益。《购物车英雄》和《Learn to Fly》首先吸引了我的注意。这两款游戏的理念都很简单，玩家只要尽可能地走得远，便能升级，然后反复进行挑战。当我在玩这些游戏时，我想到了一个主意，即将游戏场景转移到底下，让玩家从走得远转变成挖的深。这个理念与上一款游戏完全不同。我坚定地运用了升级概念并设置了一系列的奖励机制（游戏邦注：抢钱以及收集奖杯）去吸引玩家的注意。结果我成功了。这种动机让这款游戏获得了巨大的成功并赚取了大把的利润。我只是从外界的角度去揣摩人们喜欢什么，并因此提供给他们想要的东西罢了。
这两款游戏的结果与我早前所预料的如出一辙：《Finding my Heart》是一款很棒的游戏我为之感到骄傲，而《MegaDrill》则是一款有利可图的游戏，但是我却不会引之为傲。虽然每款精心设置且带有盈利奖赏的游戏能帮我继续制作更多的游戏，但是它们却不是我真正发自内心而创造出来的。也就是说我对于这些游戏的投入远远不及《Finding my Heart》。
我们也能从公众的感受中看到这种结果：关于《MegaDrill》的评价都较一般，但是关于《Finding my Heart》的评价却较为个性化（不论是发自内心的讨厌还是真正的欣赏）。这种情况着实让人倍受鼓舞，这就意味着一部真正的艺术品虽然不敌商业游戏，在市场中的份额大大不足，但是它却能够在观众内心深处产生巨大的影响。正是如此我才想要重新制作那些对我来说有意义而不再只是适应市场需要的游戏设计。
我想用一名玩家对于《Finding my Heart》的评价作尾声：
Art is not a result, it’s a process
Is this art? Is this not art? How can we tell really? Art is ever present in our lives but also so subjective. To one a particular piece of production is great art and to another it’s just rubbish. My guess is that we can never come to any universal definition of what is art, but to me, art is much more in the process, in how we do things, than in the result of that process.
When is it art?
To me, we create art when we do something for the sake of doing it. In these cases, we are most likely to be driven by the desire to express something; a feeling, pain, joy, a message or a reflection… The process is highly internalized and comes from deep inside ourselves. If we are not driven by these internal motivations, then we are driven by external ones like peer pressure, engagements with others, the need to make money, hunger… In these cases, not only does our motivations come from external sources, but we also look OUT for cues about what we should do; how do people react? What other production has been successful? What do experts think about this particular technique? Etc..
Art comes from deep inside and, in this matter, I believe that the only person that can really judge if a production is art or not, is the artist that produced it in the first place. This is why I will here look at two of my own productions (follow the links below to try the games).
Play Finding my Heart
My own process
The last two games I’ve created are widely different in their design but mostly in the process by which I came to designing them. One is art and the other is not. I’ll briefly explain how I came to design both of those games and then I’ll talk more about the result of my work.
Process 1: Finding my Heart
Finding my Heart is an example of a production that came from deep inside. The only motivation to doing the project was to do the project. I felt like doing a small, simple adventure game and the idea of playing with and using emotions as part of the story came to me very quickly. I wrote a scenario and knew instantly that I would create this game. I didnt went through any market study, I didnt looked at other successful games, I didnt CARED about other games. I just wanted to do that one game because I thought it was the right thing to do at the moment.
Process 2: MegaDrill
After completing and distributing Finding my Heart, I was slightly frustrated that it did not made much money. It did not seemed like a good way to actually make a living so I went on to look at popular games, in search of a sort of “gold mine”. The games that caught my attention were “Shopping Cart Hero” and, more importantly, “Learn to Fly”. The idea is very simple: go as far as you can, upgrade, try again. I played with that concept until I came upon the idea of going deeper underground instead of further away. This felt different enough to be original. I applied the upgrading concept very faithfully to what I had seen and threw a bunch of rewarding mechanics (grabbing money and collecting trophies) to keep the player hooked. I was set. The motivations here were mainly to make money and get a widely successful game (but mostly to make money). I looked outside to what people liked as much as possible and tried to provide.
Quite simply, the results for both games are exactly what I had first envisioned: Finding my Heart is a beautiful game that I’m very proud of and MegaDrill pays the bills. But I’m not particularly proud of MegaDrill. Sure, it is a good, very polished game and the monetary rewards are great and will allow me to produce more games, but it is not something personal to me. It doesnt come anywhere close to the love I have for Finding my Heart.
I think it also shows in the public’s reception: the comments for MegaDrill are very generic while the comments for Finding my Heart are often very personal (going from a deep hatred for the game to a profound appreciation). This is very encouraging, as it means that a genuine work of art, while it may not have the same market presence as a purely commercial game, has the power to make a deep impact in the viewers. That alone is a strong incentive for me to go back to make games that are meaningful to me and not only “market studied” designs.
Game CAN be art. If this short analysis of my early work does not prove it to the world, at least it deeply convinces me of it. This is what I’m looking for. If I had to go through life making games for the sake of making money, I’d probably drop it all and go find something better to do (like becoming a lawyer or a doctor). But I have the soul of an artist and I found that games can have a real impact on the players. This fuels my drive to continue in this path.
As a closure, here is a player’s comment on Finding my Heart:
So this is kinda ironic… While play this my girl started complaining that I spend to much time on the computer and not with her. I never was able to finish the game as she kicked me out. While at a friend’s place later that night I started playing it again. I guess it’s now time to copy what happened in this game…（source:gamesandmen）