So as I lay here on my bed, wearing my Red Dead Redemption t-shirt that I now use as a Pyjama top, I was reminded of my preview time with the game back in early December of 09. I wrote up a thing about it for Pixel Hunt, in which I focussed mainly on the world building aspects of the game. They were quite impressive. At the same time, however, I was shown one section of a mission that was very un-impressive as it was obviously in an unfinished state.
At the time, they were demoing a mission by shooting a canon at a series of scripted horse and carriages in order to defend the main gate of a fort. After the first carriage was blown and it’s wreckage strewn across the road, subsequent carriages got stuck on the blown up wreckage. It was oddly fascinating to me to watch the AI which, at so many other points in the game, had performed so well to now fail so spectacularly to avoid the obvious wreckage. I kept expecting the horses to go around, but they just kept running straight into it and getting stuck, their hooves sliding over the ground in place as the animations struggled to catch up with their abrupt and complete halt.
It was interesting to see one part of the game so clearly bugged, and it had a kind of humanising effect on me. Rather than blast the game for being ‘broken’ (or simply, and perhaps more charitably, unfinished) it’s since made me realise that this thing, this game, was made – and for it to be made it was made by someone.
Game development has always been an abstract thing to me – even thought I’ve made games in ZZT and Megazeux before – it’s so hard to imagine that there is someone (or multiple someone’s) out there who are in charge of making everything behave normally. This is probably harder to do than I often give games credit for.