The Games for Learning Institute: Research on Design : 10am – rm133 (summary)
arrived 5 minutes late.
Three G4LI speakers. Ken talking first (looks like ted raimi), about how we (schools) usually try to make games with no idea how, and thus threw/blew a bunch of money. So his group turned to science(!). …dropped a game name, but i didn’t catch it (mac was still booting up). check slides? (numbers in circle… factoring?).
Talking about eye trackers. shows horrific old torture device to prove kids won’t wear. then talks about the built into tv solution (likely the one those rude Australian bastards invented. “Tobii“). claims you can’t get these for less than $20,000. He’s unaware of cheaper solutions, classic (I recall Arrington Research selling one for just a couple grand that used black and white imagers. Wonder if he’d take it seriously…).
4:15- Increasing Our Reach: Designing To Grab and Retain Players
Apparently this is the keynote. Speaker rants off a charming intro about not being that indie, and his fears that the crowd will rush the stage and attack him (well that’s kinda what he was implying. he wasn’t that explicit).
This year his company released “Spider: the secret of blah blah manor.” It uses a design philosphy he calls “Immediacy with depth” (first 10 minutes should always be awesome, while depth brings you back). his focus is on applying this to iPhone games. Continue reading
3:30 – 5th Cell: from mobile to handheld & beyond (scribblenauts) (summary)
I had to run across from North hall basement to South Hall mezzanine, with zero time break, so i showed up 7 minutes late.
I thought this talk turned out to be a waste of time. but maybe I missed something in beginning?
Drawn to life led to many inquiries about making kid’s games. so they made Lock’s Quest to break out of the paradigm. (he asked for a show of hands as to who had played Lock’s Quest. I had the sense no one raised a hand. What the hell is Lock’s Quest?). Continue reading
3:00pm- Code of Everand: Designing the Serious Casual MMO (summary)
I thought this talk was excellent.
Essentially, the speaker works for a hip NY group, who usually do real world events. They were approached by UK government agency to develop something about road safety which kids could actually respect. They chose to go for a fantasy video game, and focus on sneaking in the “teaching” under guise of metaphor and fun. Continue reading
1:45pm- Meta-Game Design: Reward Systems that Drive Engagement (summary)
This talk moved fast, and seemed more business (“user manipulation”?) minded. She presented a diagram which designated three levels of game (representing player interaction? feedback?). basically:
1. Experience points (represent the time player puts in)
2. Skill points (player’s demonstrated ability),
3. Influence points (player’s friends and sharing). Continue reading
11am:Google Phone Line-
Found myself standing next to some cool people.
– Daniel Cook – works for Microsoft as well as his own “Lost Garden” projects. He has worked on a game called “Ribbon Hero” for Microsoft, which teaches you about the new office “ribbon” in Word (and other office suite apps?)
– Susan gold – Apparently formed/lead (?) IGDA’s education SIG. Later saw her at the White House session, introducing important people.
– Jonathon Myers – while we discussed learning methodologies and the fine line between fun and factual, he mentioned that I should really read Howard Gardener’s “Multiple Intelligences”
Across the hall…
10:30am- Abusing Your Players Just For Fun (summary)
This speaker was cool. One of these “hipster indies” that seems more interested in games that are art/expression than … well, fun. I guess.
His slide show featured jarring strobe graphics. He talked about the way in which we enjoy David Lynch movies, and played a clip of the “call me, I’m at your house right now” scene from Lost Highway. Then he pondered what a video game equivalent would be like (Killer7 is basically where he started, though he journeyed off into zillions-of-weird-examples land).
Thought I’d take a break from not writing much about flash programming to dump all my notes from GDC last week. I’ll start and end with an overview, and likely seek to be a bit freakishly detailed in the middle. If anyone would like a more polished/streamlined report, please just let me know.
The annual Game Developer’s Conference takes place down in San Francisco, and is a place for all forms of game developers to share knowledge. Since I develop educational tools that walk the line between fun games and fact-heavy exercises I was rather thrilled to attend this year. There were over 400 sessions (maybe an average of 5-10 overlapping at any given time?). I went through, read each description, and carefully planned a schedule for each day. As part of the pass I had, I’ll be able to access video for all recorded sessions (access begins in a couple weeks, and lasts until next year’s show).
I’ve gone several times before – manning a booth for local Corvallis-area Motion Capture wizards NaturalPoint in the expo portion of the show- but I’d never had a chance to actually go in, sit through sessions hosted by legendary game designers, and mull over the thoughts being thrown about.
Anyway. Basically, from around 8am to 6pm each day I ran around between different rooms in the two different buildings (Moscone North and South, joined by an underground hallway) – desperately trying to absorb THE KNOWLEDGE.
GDC had 18,250 attendees this year. Continue reading