Monday, 10 May 2010

Logic Vs Creativity

If you read my previous article (Can games be classed as art?) you’ll have noticed I have a fair few issues when it comes to the art community. I do actually really like art, but I tend to admire works from artists like Escher and Da Vinci (who were both quite clever and produced technical drawings, not just random blotches of paint like many others.) In fact the helicopter design was inspired by Da Vinci, and I’m sure were all aware of the famous staircase perspective drawings by Escher (inspiring many things; the PS3 game Echochrome and the final scenes of the Labyrinth to name a few.) Anyway, now I come to the point of this article, back when I selected Art as an option at school and college I found a lot of people also selected it, not because they cared but because they thought it would be an easy option. Despite the fact that artists like Escher used mathematical ideas within their work, people seem to think that art can’t be academic or involve any intellect – and if I’m honest, I don’t blame them when observing most modern day pieces. Still, most people would later come to realise that as a subject it’s one of the hardest, most time consuming ones you can take.

Now I move to the opposite side of the argument, logic. Apparently people who program like me are dull and nerdy because their brains are so full of logic they’re incapable of doing anything creatively. Before college I had to attend a few interviews to talk about what I wanted to do, and when I mentioned my choices of Art and ICT the interviewer would look at me gone out. They’d tell me that, ‘they’d never really seen it happen before,’ and that ‘it might not work.’ In fact most timetables at school and college were drawn up to have art clash with more logical subjects because people were less likely to combine the two. At school I use to always be considered the creative one, and I was treated differently because of it. Now I’ve started introducing myself more as a programmer I get treated differently once again with statements such as, ‘you need to try and be creative even though it might be a bit difficult for someone such as yourself.’

The first part of my life was dedicated solely to art. I got into it because my mum, sister and cousin all did it. For that reason I didn’t really choose to, it just sort of happened. It used to irritate me at school though because people saw me as the “Art” person, which I didn’t want to be. I can’t even remember how I came to decide I liked computing, I’d always had fun on my Amiga, and then I got my first PC and it just clicked. My Playstation was what inspired me to consider being a game designer, and on leaving school the art supplies went in the cupboard and the programming books came out. Not that I’ve given up my art, I actually find it to be a really useful skill to have for what I’m doing.

When I started my game development course at university, I found that there were a variety of people. A majority were more maths or physics minded, and when it came to the more creative modules such as Flash, they would complain, a lot. Then there were the more creative people, who enjoyed using Flash, and even began to consider that maybe programming wasn’t for them. Obviously it would be quite difficult to be a programmer and a 3D artist, of which I am most certainly leaning more towards programming, but I still find being creative helps a good deal. For starters, I tend not to have as much trouble thinking up ideas for what to make unlike some of the less creative ones. I am also able to create some decent looking games on my own. It’s unlikely you’ll make many games solo, but for the odd university assignment you don’t have much choice. Last time I checked it was being called Programmers art, where the game would be exquisitely made, but the aesthetics would be poor (unfortunately some lecturers are a bit critical on appearance as well.) Then when it does come to working on a team, I’ve read books stating that the programmers and artists have a tendency not to get along because they don’t understand where the other is coming from. The artists want the game to look pretty, but the programmers want good performance. In that case maybe it’s a good thing to have a programmer or an artist who has some idea of what the other wants. I also find that with creativity, comes attention to detail, which can be useful in any subject.

When I write my CV I always try to make a big deal out of the fact that I am a strongly creative/logical person and how this can be beneficial. I reckon it makes me stand out more form the crowd because I believe it makes me unique. Amazingly enough, I don’t actually want to be a graphics programmer, and I’m more leaning towards areas such as A.I. Despite being a difficult mathematical area, perhaps I can bring some creativity to A.I. to make it operate in a better way. Like I said in my pervious article, when I program I actually feel like I’m being creative because I have to design systems and come up with solutions to problems. I love game design because of its ability to combine both logic and creativity.

Who says you can’t be a little bit creative and logical at the same time?

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