December 6, 2006
A vibrant lineup for this March’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is now fully online, packed with interesting talks. Here’s a few that caught my eye, listed in alphabetical order. (My eye is more business-oriented these days than it used to be.)
Can You Make Them Cry Without Tearing Your Hair Out? Emotional Characters
Casual Games Summit
An impressive lineup of successful casual game developers discussing design, business, etc.
Game Design Challenge: The Needle and Thread Interface
“The Game Design Challenge is back for another year, with three talented designers tackling a very unusual design problem. Their assignment? Design a game with a highly unorthodox input device: a square of fabric, a needle, and some thread. At the session, each panelist will present a unique solution to this game design enigma, and the audience plays an important role as well ? by voting in the winner of the Game Design Challenge 2006.”
Independent Games Summit
A diverse lineup of indie game developers including a panel on innovation in indie games, Telltale’s Dan Connors on episodic indie games, the “casual cash cow” by Eric Zimmerman, and many more.
Interactive Storytelling Boot Camp
A tutorial on contemporary techniques and methodologies to help you “alchemically combine story, emotion, and gameplay into the nonlinear elixir called ‘interactive storytelling.'”
The Metagame: A Battle of Videogame Smarts
The Metagame combines a gameshow format with strategic competition and lively debate. Inspired by Herman Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, in the Metagame six videogame sages compete in a battle of aesthetic analysis and critical connections.
Next-Gen Conversational Characters for Serious Games
Michael and I are giving this presentation in the Serious Games part of the conference.
Persuasive Games: Introduction to Procedural Rhetoric
You’ll never guess who!
A Practical View on Interactive Storytelling: Drama Games
Santiago Siri (of the blog Games Are Art) will “show some practical demos on how we can use interactive storybuiding tools to create games that don’t only explore territories, but can explore ideas and emotions as well.” Part of the Serious Games summit.
“this next generation of gaming should be equally remarkable for its emphasis on broadband-enabled social systems, multiplayer games, and user-generated content. This panel will grapple with the benefits and challenges of *sharing control* with gamers. Issues include: how can developers involve consumers in the design process, how can user-generated content help and harm a game, what are the best ways to prevent “low quality” UGC from frustrating the community, and how can user-driven marketing be encouraged?”
SPORE’s Magic Crayons
Chaim Gingold on “why Spore’s editors look and feel as they do, how they interoperate with the game’s tech, gameplay, and high level concept. How games and software that enable player creativity work, from a design standpoint. Techniques for designing and incorporating player expression into a game.”
Ten Games You Need to Play: The Digital Game Canon
“Developers will learn about what the best games of the past can teach game designers now and in the future; game researchers will learn about the history of game development; and everybody will learn why it is important that we preserve the games you need to play.”
Finally, here are two posters that look interesting:
Comparing First-Generation Drama Engines
Patrick Dugan sez: “Significant advances have been made in the field of interactive storytelling and drama, both in terms of conceptual design tools and working engines. This session evaluates four drama engines, Storytron, Rocket Hearts, Drama Princess, and Facade’s, and uses fresh perspectives and models to compare their strengths, weaknesses and aesthetics.”
Experience Variance Through Multiple-Perspective Management: A New Paradigm in Interactive Storytelling
“Methods in communicating stories and literary ideas have long been expressed through various forms of media. In an era of interactive technology, the introduction of experience variability to the art of storytelling requires some form of intelligence or management on behalf of the medium itself.”