Christian Coder

... from the desk of

the Christian Coder

Visual Customization

Vision Statement

Vision Statement

In light of the many recent CRPGs which have been quite disturbing to me in terms of their content, I believe it is time for me to begin getting serious about honing my programming and finding like-minded Christian geeks (it's a positive term!) in order to press on towards the vision God has given me.

In the near future, I would love to begin work on a CRPG that has an interface that is common to many games in the genre (I do tend to prefer 2D games), but instead of

  • magic being glorified, being depicted as the spiritual means which your character's achieve their ends,
  • violence being the primary method of getting things accomplished, and the primary means of growth
  • focusing on war and death (not just the blood and guts of Diablo 2, for example, but for many CRPGs the entire plotline of the game, excepting the endgame sequence, is set in wartime).

Granted, there are arguments that some could bring against some of these points. I can hear this one now: "But Jeff, in Morrowind you could advance your character by simply picking locks if you were a thief!" You're right. There have been exceptions to these tendencies, but most of the time, CRPGs have followed an old Dungeons and Dragons model (regardless of the time frame the game is set in), and regardless of how you advance your character (by practicing skills or by gaining experience points), violence, stealing and magic use are integral parts in that process.

These games are fun. I've played them alot. I've even created a couple for my own enjoyment. But my point is, the presuppositions that these games are based on are not Christian in nature. Players are (generally) not edified by playing them.

I have learned much from playing video games. My spelling is better because I have played games which employ a lot of text, within and without their storylines. I learned cool words like "quaff" while I was in the sixth grade because I drank a potion in Ultima Underworld. I honed my mental mathematics skills by adding up the damage that my characters were doing to creatures in Final Fantasy (that game didn't have a cool health gauge showing the monster's current life). I could go on.

You probably see where I am going: what if there were a CRPG out there that communicated Christian truth? How would that game look? In what ways would PCs strive to better themselves, and how would they actually accomplish that? What things might the storyline emphasize so that the player were given the chance to get to know and love the characters they play? How might evil be presented for the evil that it is, and be decisively opposed by "whatever lovely"? And, the bottom line is, how would the game present the true Gospel while preserving the "fun factor"?

These are questions that I want to answer, for the glory of God, so that the Christian community could rise up and offer an alternative to what is out there today. Thirty or so years ago, the Christian music industry was hardly heard of. Now, because of the work of many dedicated Christians, many people are hearing the Gospel and being saved. The Holy Spirit is using their music to speak His words to people that might not yet come to church, or might not yet read the Bible for themselves. I believe that video games might be another wonderful vehicle for reaching people who might not be reached otherwise.

Another point that I find quite exciting is that there are many out there like me who love the old style 2D CRPGs (think Dragon Warrior/Quest and Final Fantasy series), as well as the old style 3D CRPGs (such as Might and Magic 1-5 and Wizardry 1-7). We might wish these games might make a comeback, like the old Atari arcade classics which have had remakes ported to Playstation 2 as well as PC (and I'm sure I've missed others). However, video game companies are ignoring this, and simply continue to churn out beautiful 3D landscapes and pretty pictures with Internet support, and I believe that many veteran CRPG players are frustrated with this. The exciting point is this: what if the Christian community were to offer CRPGs (with an underlying Christian ethos) which attempt to return to the roots of the CRPG genre and recapture the "magic" that makes gamers today wish that video game companies were still making similar products?

I am interested in meeting with like-minded Christians who believe that God might reach a generation of children and teenagers through Christian video games. If you have ideas, or desire help this vision be realized, or would just generally like to sound off on this topic, I would like to hear from you!

Interesting Articles and Resources in Christian Game Design

I thought I would include some articles in a subsection of this page, in case anyone was interested. They pertain to the intersections between Christian morality and fictional storytelling. These articles are by M. Joseph Young, who has been a long-standing chaplain of the Christian Gamers Guild.