AUSTIN (KXAN) - At Electronic Art'sBioware division, it is the top secret new Star Wars game, whichcannot be shown on video. More than 100 people, at a cost of tensof millions of dollars, will work on this game and nothing else forperhaps four years before it gets to the market.
"Basically, I loved playing games as a kid," said Richard Vogel,Bioware studio director. "I had my little Atari, and I lovedplaying those games. Did computer science in college, and it drewme to the medium."
"It was challenging work," said Gordon Walton. "I didn't want tohave a real job. Later, it became more respectable and now it's areal job." So real of a job that now both the University of Texasat Austin and Austin Community College have accredited degreeprograms in game design. Also, they are not exactly scraping thebarrel to make ends meet either. The average salary of a gamedesigner in the U.S. is $80,000.
They labor in splendid isolation and wrangle in creative groups."You have to have confidence in your vision, but you have to haveenough humility to know when you're wrong and to accept otherpeople's ideas," said James Ohlen, Bioware creative director."That's a big key to being successful."
There is conception, then art and design, animation andprogramming. Several years later, you have a video game. "Oh, it'sawesome," said Ohlen. "When it's done, you get to go in the storeand hear people talking about it and you see the person with theproduct in their hand and they buy it. That's pretty cool."
You wonder, are they making the game for themselves or forconsumers? "I have to love what I'm doing so it has to be for me,"said Ohlen. "I'm going to have to enjoy the game I'm building, butat the same time, I do have to take into account feedback fromoutside."
Constant market testing goes on with these multiple player,online high-tech games, but there are other types of games. If youfind the high-end games too complicated, too violent, tooprovocative, there is a growing market called Casual Games.
At the Pogodivision, Mike Wabschall heads a dozen man team, cranking out a newCasual Game every six months or so. Their majority market is over35 years old. "As we mature, we enjoy playing games with ourfamilies," said Wabschall. "We also have a shorter amount of timeto spend on those types of games so we like to find games that areinstant gratification, easy to play."
The immediate future still rests with the complex,multiple-player online games, limited only by the imagination oftheir makers.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Two men were arrested and a third was being sought by police for the shooting death of 47-year-old Russell Martens.
Parking arrangements are a bit different this year at Austin's Trail of Lights, but there are options to suit just about anybody.
After two hours of discussion regarding the final design for Auditorium Shores, the Austin City Council decided to approve the design on a vote of 7-0 with amendments.