Warning: this is long. I want to start by talking about overwatch. I'll get to creativity in a few paragraphs, but both subjects are interconnected, which is why I wrote them together in one post. A few hours went into writing this down, but I did it anyways because I believe I have some interesting stuff to say, hopefully it would be interesting to you as well! Bear in mind this is my personal opinion from this point on, so feel free to disagree with all I'm saying. So I recently got to play Overwatch. I just had to find out what all the fuss was about. On the surface, Overwatch is a great game, and can be great fun to play. I actually kinda liked it. kinda. Let's start with the good. The artstyle of overwatch is very pretty. The game is also well balanced, and the maps aren't too bad either. The game enforces all players to cooperate, with such brilliance, that it leaves all fps games I've seen in the dust. Teamplay and support classes have never been done that nicely, at least as far as I've seen. The guys at Blizzard didn't just copy-paste tf2, there was clearly some thought put into it. Copy-paste-special, if you may. (here comes the butt... and it's a big butt) But, despite it's improved, teamplay-oriented features, despite it's technological superiority of at least 9 years over it's main competitor tf2, and despite it's clever mimic of so many features from other fps games, mainly tf2, it clearly is no more than a storm in a tea-cup. A great game, that seems to have all the things a good game needs, but only on the surface. Let's dive down. We'll start from OW's gameplay- the place where OW is supposed to shine. And it shines indeed. One of the things I liked was the "ultimate" thing. It is, in some way, the Overwatch equivalent of random crits- a way to achieve superiority over other players, and a way to mix things up, even tip a fight for the benefit of the weaker player or the weaker team. The "ultimate" abilities, much like random crits, help less skilled players win over more skilled players, in a fair manner, and gives you that "power at your fingertips" feeling, just like random crits. But that's the surface again! I promised we would dive deep! let's go down again. An fps game is based around a simple principle: skill+guts=reward skill- being good at a certain task in the game (aim, positioning, surprise, flanking, etc) guts- basically, taking risks reward- winning, killing an enemy, securing an objective etc. And here's where we reach the heart of Overwatch, only to find out there isn't any. Overwatch fails to provide the same levels of skill and guts that tf2, for example, succeeds in. First- skill. Overwatch clearly requires plenty of skills, and I have no doubt that it's hard to master. However, in the dev's quest for ultimate balance, they removed one of the things that can make an fps game, such as tf2, great. I'll call those things "optional skills". These are the unique things to master, that aren't simply aiming better, positioning better, etc. The best example is explosive-jumping- something insanely complicated, and totaly unessential for playing the game. Soldiers don't have to be rocket-jumping, it isn't part of the core game features. But in certain situations, it can be beneficial. Trimping, sentry/dispenser jumping, uber-chaining, taunt-killing, and many other abilities, can be considered as "optional skills". Overwatch doesn't really have these. The OW demoman has a built-in, extremely simple sticky jump, and the OW soldier has the most lame "rocket jump" I've ever seen and will ever see. There are no "optional skills" in OW as far as I'm aware. Overwatch doesn't have the engine flexibility tf2 has, that enables players to do foolishly-epic things, things so idiotic and so complex that they might actually work, things that require great skill (and plenty of guts), and in turn, might provide you with great reward. In a sense, mastering a certain class in OW is much easier than in tf2, because it has nothing other than it's basic core mechanics. Next- guts. This one requires some knowledge I don't possess- an OW dev commentary. If there is one, I'd love to hear it. But I'll be basing my claims off of tf2's dev commentary. Tf2 doesn't have smgs and assault rifles for a good reason, and it has been clearly stated. players shooting each other from a great distance behind cover, just isn't interesting or fun. It misses the "guts" part of the system. IRL it's the best way to win a fight, because it's less dangerous, less dangerous = less exiting = less "guts" factor involved. But in videogames, it's the other way around. That's why tf2 is flooded with shotguns and has such an intense damage falloff- the closer you need to get to the enemy, the more danger there is, but the reward would be greater. Again- skill+guts=reward. shotguns are more about taking the risk, flanking, shooting at the right time, dodging the enemy and so on- great risk taken, great skill required. The entire spy class is all about that "guts" factor, taking huge risks that might lead, if you have the skills, to great success. OW has small damage fall-off and plenty of rifles and smgs. It just doesn't enforce close-quarter combat as much as tf2. OW's melee is even more lame than the OW's soldier's fart-jump. In tf2, restricting yourself to using the close-range melee weapon during a fight is a great risk taken- you'll have to get really close to hit the enemy, which is using a standard long range dangerous weapon. So for that risk, you deserve a high crit rate- killing most enemies in one hit, or if not, then at least a nice 65 unit damage. Taunt-kills are an even more clear example- huge risk taken, instant kill guarantied upon success. From my playing experience, OW is missing risk. The only risks are from map-related design such as chokepoints or objectives, and that's the only time you can feel the heart pounding- when you are pushing through a choke, or capping an objective on overtime. The fighting feels like it's just about aim, and knowing when to run and when to attack. That's nice, but it's missing a fundamental part of the game. My bottom line is that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Overwatch's devs took no real risks. They made yet another class first person shooter, another tf2 clone (not that I have a problem with that, but let's admit this isn't really creative and risky). Their reward- the game they made, seems to lack the same aspects they lacked during their development, and in return, my satisfaction from the game, as a player, isn't as good as it could've been. So Overwatch is an example for a safe bet, no risks taken, in the field of creativity. Creativity. We as content creators here at tf2maps, claim to embrace and praise creativity. But we don't. Wait, taka, I hear you say. What are you talking about? Of course we want creativity! Well let me explain what I mean. but before I explain, I'd have to ask you not to take what I'm about to say the wrong way. I'm not cynical at all, and all I'm saying should not be taken as preach or as anger. I'm writing this because I think it's lead to some interesting thoughts that I want to share with you. Nothing here is personal. Don't take it as such please! With that out of the way, let's go back in time, to the 1st of april. Alright. April fools! The best time to get creative here in our little mapping community. I take my hammer and my logic-setup capabilities, in attempt to build the ultimate creative map- pls_payloadspam! pls_payloadspam has done something that's never been done before: it introduced a totally custom gamemode, something that was truly never seen before, not even similar to anything. It's logic system is so complex it took me a few weeks to make. It's not based off pl. not off cp, ctf, rd, or any gamemod, for that matter. It is an actual entirely 100% CUSTOM gamemode. That's my masterpiece, a work of art, based off of nothing but raw entities, a true challenge. The ultimate creativity, I suppose? (btw decompiling a map is still strictly forbidden w/o premission) Then came the gameday, and my map was found to be very bad gameplay-wise, which was quite expected, considering it was never tested before. But, every time the map turned up on the gameplay, it was met with such waves of hate, rtv's, and negative "feedback" I was really surprised. Usually this community's feedback is constructive and useful, but this time it was something along the lines of "your map is aweful, you should take all it's files and delete them because you built a terrible unfixable map". Wait, what? At first I tried to 'milk out' some useful feedback from those people, and after I failed, I sat down and tried to understand what caused that unexpected response. Were they afraid of something? Was it furstration? Did they just feel confused because my map was "too confusing for new players?" Yet none of those theories made sense. Then I thought of a somewhat wierd, yet reasonable idea: maybe my map was too creative? Players aren't looking for creative maps, prehabs? maybe they are looking for something more casual, like a stock gamemode spin-off, or a humble lazer saw-infested map? At the end of the day, I was wrong all along, misunderstanding the true will of players? So I researched about the subject, and found this: (skip to around 1:05) This was clearly an interesting poit of view, wasn't it? Why work so hard inventing and debugging complex game logic, when you can just make another koth map like everyone knows and loves? The skill and the guts required for making a new gamemode are simply not worth the 'reward', I'd say. But it wasn't until 'The Getaway' was released, when I truly understood the whole idea behind creativity or lack thereof, in prespective of guts and skill. For those of you who don't know, 'The Getaway' is the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' 11th album, released about a month ago. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers are one of my favorite bands of all time. All you need to know, however, for our skill+guts=reward discussion, is that they're skilled, (to say the least) and they also got the guts, for that matter. When I first heard their 1st single for 'The Getaway', called 'Dark nesseccities' (above), I thought to myself: "that was some great music!" And then I thought: "But it is simply more of the same! it has nothing new to it." But then, a third thought struck me:"I don't care! It's fantastic even if it's not a true innovative masterpiece! it's not about creativity or lack thereof, it's about enjoying great freaking music!". I could stop here, reaching a catharsis of sorts, by claiming that creativity might seem like the true thing to do, but being uncreative isn't bad either. However, being uncreative is more profitable in terms of playtime, target audience, and prehabs even finance, as Overwatch's devs proved to us a few paragraphs above. But there's still a bit left. A few days ago I bought the album 'The Getaway', and I think it helped me reach a new and improved conclusion/catharsis. 'The Getaway' is not more of the same. It has innovation, it has creativity. It's not ground-breaking, but it's not 'Stadium Arcadium' all over again ('Stadium Arcadium' is the Pepper's 9th album, and while it had some great songs, in my opinion it wasn't innovative, to say the least...). Prehabs there's a middle-groud for all of this- a certain point where you're not being as creative and ground-breaking as you could have been. Instead, you are managing to keep your target audience in their comfortable "more of the same" zone, while still inventing something new. That's where us content creators should be- somewhere between Overwatch and pls_payloadspam, probably right around 'The Getaway'. thanks for reading, hope I left you some interesting things to think about, and drive safely.