Great Harvey Smith Interview

by Darius Kazemi on October 5, 2007

in design,industry,interview

So, in news not related to the Bungie/Microsoft breakup, there’s a great eight-page interview on Gamasutra with Harvey Smith. This is one of the best interviews I’ve read in a long time, and I think the reason is that Harvey is discussing what it takes to make a game that means something, but within the day-to-day constraints of game development. This part stuck with me:

I was recently adding a buzzard to BlackSite, and I wanted buzzards that wheel in the distance in the desert, and when you’re driving along, I wanted, 20 yards down the road, buzzards around roadkill. As you get closer, they turn and flap and ascend into the air, and as you get closer, you realize it’s a wrecked Humvee, and the roadkill is an American troop. That worked for me on many different levels. Some producer will look at that and be like, “Ambient Animal: Priority Four.” And I’m just like, “You don’t understand. This is really fucking important. I can’t explain to you why.” And he’s like, “Well, is it more important than fixing this bug in our animation system?” Technically, no! It’s a nightmare.

Read the whole thing. Harvey gives great insight on the quotidian life of the game developer who strives to be excellent in a AAA environment.


John October 8, 2007 at 1:40 am

I was struck by that comment, too. Why can’t you describe the importance of something like that? Is there no category for “essential nuance”? If not, why not?

I was also struck by Harvey’s admission about how much hiring and firing he did. Midway Austin has been hiring near-constantly for the past two years plus, as periodic IGDA Bulletin Board spam will attest.

Darius Kazemi October 8, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Ha! An “essential nuance” category would be pretty cool indeed. Although it would probably get abused by everyone who wants to get their pet thing into the game, so it should probably only be allowed to be assigned by leads.

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