Daily Herald
Kids ask: How do you make video games?
By Hope Babowice | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 5/26/2010 12:01 AM

A student in Jennifer Janik's third-grade class at Big Hollow Elementary School in Ingleside asked: "How do you make video games?"

Mario Lord, creative designer for the recently released Nintendo Wii video game "Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands," and Tom Salta, video game composer, explained the process of creating a video game.

"Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands" took two years to complete, Lord said.

"At the highest peak there were about 70 people working on the Wii version, which is about the same amount of people it took to create the PSP version."

Salta, video game composer and creator of the new game's Middle-eastern-inspired soundtrack, added, "The level of detail that goes into creating each and every texture, animation, lighting, artificial intelligence, level design, etc. is truly amazing."

Lord said the video game development business crosses all national and international borders.

"The Wii version of 'Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands' was entirely developed in Canada in Quebec City. Voice actors, recording and music were done in the U.S. There are plenty of game development studios around the world; there are studios in Europe, Asia, Africa and as far away as Australia."

Salta, based in Connecticut, has composed music for video games, record albums, TV commercials and played on tour with many rock musicians. He composed the Wild West-inspired music for the video game "Red Steel 2," military-inspired music for the video game "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter," and a record album "2 Days of Die" with a title track that became the theme song for a Volvo television commercial. Being a fan of video games has broadened Salta's understanding of the schematic and feel for music that works best with video games. He creates music in components that can be reconstructed to fit each game scene.

Anyone could create the next great idea for a game, Lord said.

"It often costs a lot of money to push forward a new concept, but since the advent of the Internet, portable phones and portable game consoles, it's open to anyone to come up with new ideas and turn them into the next success story."

Video games in the future could be entirely 3-D. Lord labeled it augmented reality.

"It puts forward the total immersion of the player. In the near future you won't just play the game as an external viewer, but literally be part of it and influence its content through your actions."

Check these out

The Fox Lake District Library suggests these titles on video games:

• "The Ultimate History of Video Games," by Steven L. Kent

• "Eureka: Great Inventions and How They Happened," by Richard Platt

• "The Race for a New Game Machine," by David Shippy