The Authenticity Revolution

Via Kotaku, we hear about a “credibility budget

Gamedev website Gamasutra has a feature up that puts into words a concept I’ve been struggling to explain for years. The author modestly calls it “Ken Perlin’s Law”, but I venture that his own term, “credibility budget”, is far more catchy:

That’s as good a word as any.

Games often create premises that stretch the bounds of reality as we understand it, but it’s typically due to a limitation of the game – it’s hard to simulate reality.

On the other hand, movies face almost the opposite problem. They’re shot predominantly using real people, with real props; the action blockbusters have been working for years to try to escape the bounds of reality.

But I think we’re at the start of the authenticity revolution – the credibility budget is another way of putting it. As audiences become smarter and more informed, you won’t be able to blow up a car Top Secret-style when the bumper gets a slight knock; authenticity will be required. On reading that wikipedia entry, what I thought was cunning movie satire of big budget action movies was actually commentary on the brand of car. But I think it makes my point anyway.

Get the physics close to right, then stretch them just a little. Don’t blow your credibility budget. Stick to the established rules of your universe. All good advice.