Tools vs. Creativity

Tools vs. Creativity

We’ve been thinking about writing some posts about the tools we regularly use to develop our games. We’ll talk about them soon. But this time, we want to offer some brief thoughts on the importance of tools vs. creativity when creating a game.

If we compare our methodology and common tools with other development teams, there will be substantial differences, probably. It does not mean that our way of working is better or worse than others. It’s just right for us. It’s the one that favors that, indeed, we are able to create a video game.

When we decided to dedicate ourselves to creating games, we knew we would have to tailor our knowledge and tools —we invite you to read more about our original professional profiles—. But we were always clear that we would use tools that —regardless of their potential— had a good learning curve and allowed us to achieve our goals gradually.

DB&R Tools
Above: details of some of our common tools such as Adobe Flash, considered obsolete by many and sometimes replaced by Toon Boom regarding 2D animation for video games. It still allows us to express ourselves quickly and effectively.

Clearly, tools can encourage creativity when they allow us to go further than expected, when they don’t pose a technical obstacle to certain ideas. But what we often see when attending to certain events or having the chance to talk to people who try to break into the indie field, is that people tend to obsess too much about the technology, and about learning to use the hottest tools and master the most complex resources without even understanding the simplest.

In the worst case, the result of months of effort and technical juggling is a poor quality product but, indeed, portable to any platform on earth. In other cases, they are projects so complex that end up not ever seeing the light. In none of these cases we have something to offer to the public with guarantees.

Sometimes this occurs to the extent that the perspective of the creation as a whole is lost. And it makes us wonder: where is the user experience, the artistic quality, the brave concept…? What does all this have to do with a tool?

“Clearly, tools can encourage creativity when they allow us to go further than expected, when they don’t pose a technical obstacle to certain ideas”

We cannot dispense with technology, but the reality is that only developers are interested on tools. Players perceive the quality of what is put in their hands, regardless of how it was created.

Our view is that the right tool is the one that allows you to move quickly and make the connection between your ideas and the end result as fast, confortable and transparent as possible. Is Unity that tool for you? Perfect. Is it Game Maker? Cocos2D? Flash? Game Salad? Twine? Construct?… Great too!

What do you think? Do you feel that sometimes technology keeps you from fully develop your creativity? Or quite the opposite?