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Food for Thought

Post by rabid squirrel on Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:38 pm

Read an interesting book yesterday/today - Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Fear-Observations-Rewards-Artmaking/dp/0961454733

Here's an excerpt that I think is relevant to my perspective on Line Rider
(page 94)

"Artists who need ongoing reassurance that they're on the right track routinely seek out challenges that offer the clear goals and measurable feedback—- which is to say, technical challenges. The underlying problem with this is not that the pursuit of technical excellence is wrong, exactly, but simply that making it the primary goal puts the cart before the horse. We do not long remember those artists who followed the rules more diligently than anyone else. We remember those who made the art from which the "rules" inevitably follow.

More insidiously, technical standards have a way of taking on all the trappings of aesthetic standards. There is widespread agreement, for instance, that it's a genuine challenge to impart rich blacks and subtle high values to a photographic print. At some point, however, this seemingly neutral observation gave rise (especially among West Coast landscape photographers) to a moral imperative that photographs should display such tonal perfection. As this genre established itself, criteria for judging a print increasingly concentrated on the virtuoso technical performance needed to produce the desired tones. Subtlety of tone became, often quite literally, the primary content. An equivalent fate befell much twentieth century symphonic music, which was seduced by arcane harmonic theory to the degree that its critical audience drifted progressively to other idioms (like jazz) that remained grounded in the rhythms of the real world.

To the viewer, who has little emotional investment in how the work gets done, art made primarily to display technical virtuosity is often beautiful, striking, elegant...and vacant. To the artist, who has an emotional investment in everything, it's more a question of which direction to reach. Compared to other challenges, the ultimate shortcoming of technical problems is not that they're hard, but that they're easy.

Artists, naturally, would be the last to admit that, if only because heroic accounts of grueling hours spent building the mold or casting the hot metal remain de riguer of artistic conversation. But while mastering technique is difficult and time-consuming, it's still inherently easier to reach an already defined goal - a "right answer” - than to give form to a new idea. It's easier to paint in the angel's feet to another's masterwork than to discover where the angels live within yourself. If technique were the core issue in art, our nominee for the Famous Artists Wax Museum would be the lifer at San Quentin who spent twenty years constructing a perfect replica of the Eiffel Tower from toothpicks. (And well, yes, in its own way it was pretty impressive!) But that's not the way it works. Simply put, art that deals with ideas is more interesting than art that deals with technique."

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by rabid squirrel on Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:57 pm

okay so the relevance of this is apparently hard for people to grasp

I think the best example is Supersonic Motion vs Hybrid Eclipse. Why did SSM win by a landslide while HE was consistently faster, more powerful flings, more balanced manuals, more skill in fling execution, etc?

My opinion would be that, since Line Rider is art, the tracks that deal more with new ideas are just plain more entertaining than tracks that deal with execution of established technique. I've talked about this a bunch before, but here are two professional artists and art scholars saying the same thing.

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by Chuggers on Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:01 pm

it really depends on how you view lr, everyone has a different view point
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Re: Food for Thought

Post by ACwazHere on Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:33 pm

I totally agree. This is why tracks like Phunner, WTM, conun's wot, SSM, etc. were so well-received. I think that people should stop worrying about how technically proficient their track is (how "good" it is) and worry more about creating something straight from their brain.

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by Chuggers on Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:47 pm

I think its stupid when people push the technical standard, and equally stupid when people reject it.

@Chuggers wrote:I think its stupid when people push the technical standard, and equally stupid when people reject it.
QFT ^^

If you enjoy making a track in a certain manner, make it in that manner.  The way the community reacts should mean little to nothing to anyone that releases a track
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Re: Food for Thought

Post by rabid squirrel on Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:43 pm

@rabid squirrel wrote:The underlying problem with this is not that the pursuit of technical excellence is wrong, exactly, but simply that making it the primary goal puts the cart before the horse. We do not long remember those artists who followed the rules more diligently than anyone else. We remember those who made the art from which the "rules" inevitably follow.
repeated as response to chugs ^

Note that there isn't anything "wrong" about any approach to playing Line Rider. Just that we tend to make art that is more celebrated, more admired, and more meaningful to ourselves when we focus on new ideas.

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by Z_N-Freak on Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:11 pm

I really get the excerpt. Nice message and seems true to me. Watched Phunner today for the first time actually and it beats all the technical mumbo-jumbo by a landslide, it's so much more entertaining in so many different ways. So many new things and ideas being thrown at you. I actually have a lot of ideas I have in my head I'd like to create, but to me the technical stuff would be actually easier to do than that, because I have no experience with video editing and syncing music to a track. Some lovely things can be done still, I'm sure Smile

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by roflmaoqwerty on Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:14 pm

Argh, I always kick myself when it comes to this argument. While I totally believe in the execution of ideas being superior to technique, and I try to exemplify this in my tracks, I feel like I need to still maintain a level of technical excellence (a prohibitively high level, to boot). The reason you haven't seen any tracks from me in over a year isn't that I've been short on ideas; it's that I know how well I can perform on a purely technical level and won't let myself make anything that doesn't meet these self-imposed standards. So until I find a way to transcend my own technical ability, I won't be happy with even the best ideas that I come up with.

tl;dr: I'm never releasing another track because technique is an inescapable arbitrary construct

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by RyderLR on Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:39 pm

Line rider is a game. It's an art medium, it's a toy. It's whatever you want it to be, whatever is pleasing to the viewer doesn't matter to the creator. I 100% agree with Chugs.

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by ScrungleBlumpkus on Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:08 pm

I'm sorry, but I'm one of the people who started out seeing it less as art but more as a place to exercise myself technically. Howefgver, as I play more, I see the artistic side more and am so excited to get into that.

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by Conundrumer on Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:46 pm

So obviously I completely agree with rabid's perspective, but it's important to keep in mind that there is no mention of right or wrong.

There's nothing wrong with making a track that's like solving a puzzle, created purely for the excitement of technical exercise. If that is your intention, then of course you shouldn't care about the general audience. The only relevant audience are other like-minded people who have an appreciation of this puzzle-solving.

However, if your intention is entertainment or expression, then you must consider the general audience, since there needs to be a viewer to be entertained or to express to. It's not constructive to totally ignore the audience in this case.

In the end, the tracks that you should be making are the tracks that align with what you value about Line Rider, and these tracks should be primarily judged based upon the intentions.

EDIT: I described the values of track makers in a separate thread


Last edited by Conundrumer on Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:09 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Food for Thought

Post by ScrungleBlumpkus on Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:05 am

@Conundrumer wrote:So obviously I completely agree with rabid's perspective, but it's important to keep in mind that there is no mention of right or wrong.

There's nothing wrong with making a track that's like solving a puzzle, created purely for the excitement of technical exercise. If that is your intention, then of course you shouldn't care about the general audience. The only relevant audience are other like-minded people who have an appreciation of this puzzle-solving.

However, if your intention is entertainment or expression, then you must consider the general audience, since there needs to be a viewer to be entertained or to express to. It's not constructive to totally ignore the audience in this case.

In the end, the tracks that you should be making are the tracks that align with what you value about Line Rider, and these tracks should be primarily judged based upon the intentions.

This ten thousand and inifinityleven times.

Chuggers and I one time wer about the rest of the community never appreciating us for being quite technically capable in LR. However, we came to ehte realization that we were imposing an expectation upon the community which was unfair of us and it was equally as unfair of us to get upset when the community scratched their heads and said, "So, what exactly is the point here? Not necessarily enjoyable, otehr than the impressive feats."

I will very likely end up releasing more show off trac. But I want to sent those exactly as such. My next idea, however, is a music syncing track which would've been impossible without the experience I've gained from collaborating and working solo tirelessly to grasp the concepts of the game to the fullest.

I want to direct my attention now to the general audience.

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