Game talkCommentary on “Still Logged In”

 Posted by (Visited 484 times)  Game talk
Mar 152017
 

I seem to have touched a bit of a nerve with my talk at GDC! (The page for the talk with slides and video is here). Some of the coverage and links so far:

While the official talk title is “What Social VR and AR Can Learn From MMOs”, it gradually becomes quite clear that anyone working in tech nowadays — or for that matter, anyone interested in the future of real world governance — should watch it too..

Why are new VR/AR developers so slow to learn from past MMO experience?

“I think a lot of them don’t even think to look,” Raph tells me, “or think with the goggles first, like I mentioned in the talk. After all, social media web people didn’t look either.”

New World Notes

It also hit BoingBoing, where Cory Doctorow wrote quite a little essay around it:

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Mar 052017
 

I have put up a page containing both a slideshow and a PDF download of the talk I delivered on Friday at GDC 2017.

I think it came out a bit more somber than I had anticipated, certainly more somber than the sample slides I submitted. We shall see what the long-term reaction is, as I pulled no punches in describing the awesome responsibility people have in building online communities.

I was also losing my voice, so it was very much a deliberate and slow presentation compared to my usual “high speed brain blast” as one attendee once described my usual speaking style.

Not only was this in the afternoon of the last day, but I was opposite the Experimental Gameplay Workshop, which is one of the best-attended sessions at GDC usually. So the room was definitely sparser than usual. That said, there were several old virtual worlds hands present to confirm what I said, backing me up during the Q&A period, and there were also a number of current developers of both social VR worlds and even social AR games like PokemonGO. (In fact, I heard a few members of that team were in the audience, and I hope I didn’t offend by picking on their game so much).

The session was filmed, so hopefully video will be forthcoming; once it is, I will post a link to that as well.

Game talkMiscWritingSome updates

 Posted by (Visited 567 times)  Game talk, Misc, Writing  Tagged with: , ,
Feb 252017
 

Wow, I have been slacking off on the blogging. Not since October? Yeesh.

What’s happened is that I have been posting updates to Twitter, instead. Which this blog does notify (as well as Facebook), of course, but it does mean the site itself gets neglect!

So, to catch you up!

  • I am speaking at GDC 2017 next Friday, 1:30-2:30pm, on the topic “Still Logged In: What VR and AR Can Learn From MMOs.” This talk will be going over lessons painfully learned going clear back to the text mud days, on issues like harassment, governance, importation of bias to the virtual world, and much more. It’s cross-listed on the Design and Advocacy tracks; I think this latter means that I am allowed to be grumpy on stage.
  • The 10th Anniversary Edition of A Theory of Fun for Game Design goes to press in Korean next week! It looks like the picture on the right, and I hope to get a copy soon. Meanwhile, despite the book’s advanced age, it continues to get featured regularly in various places, such as this podcast.
  • I improved my “history of all videogames” arcade cabinet with upgraded robotic parts so that the monitor now smoothly auto-rotates from horizontal (for landscape arcade games and most home consoles) to vertical (for stuff like Centipede, Raiden, and of course, Vectrex emulation). I did a lengthy write-up of the process and am incredibly tickled that it’s now stickied on the ArcadeControls.com forum (the central hub for anyone building or restoring arcade cabinets) for reference for anyone else who wants to do the same. Video of the rotation is also at that link.
  • My 2014 talk on “Practical Creativity” also keeps getting attention, most recently as a GDC Video on YouTube (also on preceding link), which also has prompted folks to request a PDF of the slides, which was helpfully assembled by @B4ttleCat on Twitter. Grab it here.
  • You can also find an abridged version of my little piece on Games design and UX design in Portuguese now, thanks to Andressa Antunes. This is another one that seems to have legs, and gets cited a lot lately.
  • I managed to make it, despite a cold, to Doctor Cat’s amazing marathon “Gaming Legends” Twitch stream of interviews of developers. Video was posted up a while back. I encourage you to check out all the videos, if you have a full 13 hours of free time… there’s some amazing stuff in there. Scott Adams, Jordan Weisman, Steve Meretzky, Bruce Shelley, Lord British, John Romero, and lots more.

There’s been quite a lot more, but maybe I should just direct you to the Twitter feed (which is now working again in the sidebar).

Um, I’d promise to blog more often, and particularly, not just make it be random brags and updates about talks but back to meaty articles. But my track record hasn’t been great. Tell you what, once I get back from GDC, maybe people might throw me questions. 🙂

Game talkMy UAH talk: Digital Bards

 Posted by (Visited 2178 times)  Game talk
Oct 172016
 

CulOlhYWAAARDBHI just posted up the slides and a video of my talk at the University of Alabama Huntsville, called “Digital Bards: Interactive Media and the Evolution of Storytelling.”

The video is an audio recording plus the slides; something I suppose I ought to do more often. It’s also two hours long, because there is a full half hour of Q&A at the end. Alas, the slides have basically no text on them, so the recording is really the only way to get the gist.

The talk is indebted to Matt Worch’s GDC talk on oral and print culture, which I have showered praise on before. It takes quite a while on the history of authors pushing against the conventions of print culture (as described in my post on interactivity) before giving a brief tour of some of the ways in which games are and aren’t traditional storytelling forms. So it’s fairly academic — but if you are interested in any form of digital storytelling, whether it be adventure games, hypertext, or walking simulators, it might be of interest.

Plus, I called Dungeons & Dragons “the most important advance in the field of literature in the last 500 years.”

Sep 282016
 

I recently had the chance to sit down with Markee Dragon, during AGC. It was at the offices where they are making Crowfall, but we didn’t really talk about Crowfall. Instead, we talked about… fish tanks.

Or more exactly, about game design in general, and then about how there are systems in the world around us which provide inspiration, and how a lot of them, like gardening, just have really bad user interfaces. Which led us to fish tanks, and the rich and complex game system that exists in one. So we kind of started designing that game right there on the fly.

It was a highly entertaining conversation, for me at least — and now Markee has released the video, so maybe it’s entertaining for you too!

 

Sep 252016
 

slide1Here it is, in all its mathy glory: Gritty Systems Design for Retention.

I barely pulled off getting this one done in time. I knew what I wanted the shape of it to be, largely prompted by some of the design choices I saw in Pokemon Go. But I also knew it would involve an awful lot of spreadsheet work and an awful lot of graphs. And I wanted to make those graphs real, not just sketches, so that people could walk through the math and see how it worked.

So — I had notes, but then worked from 10pm to 3am the night before, and then from 9am to 2pm the day it was supposed to be delivered. I don’t recommend cutting it quite this close (the talk was at 4:45, so I finished with not quite three hours to spare).

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MusicThe Sunday Song: World Trade Center

 Posted by (Visited 2100 times)  Music
Sep 112016
 

I wrote this in the days immediately after 9/11. I recorded it onto a 4 track cassette recorder, basically live, then overdubbed some harmony vocals I was hearing in my head.

It’s a sketch. It’s way way long. It’s tentative. Pretty sure the whole thing is all sped up slightly, so if I sound a little chipmunk-like, that’s why.

Somehow, it’s always felt like recording it again would lose the immediacy. So I never have, and I fact I just about never play it. But if there’s a day to post it, it’s probably today.

The stories in the song are all true.

Aug 152016
 

agc2016logo-547x286I’ve mentioned it a fair amount of Twitter and Facebook, but I wanted to call attention to it here again, for those who still follow such antiquated things as blogs! I’ll be speaking at the newly revived Austin Game Conference, taking place in Austin of course, on Sept. 21 and 22.

For those of you who fondly remember the various incarnations of game conferences in Austin — this event is going to recapture that vibe, I think. The advisory board is pretty much the same crew of folks who curated all those excellent conferences for a decade, starting back in 2003.

My topic:

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Game talkA Poke-roundup

 Posted by (Visited 2862 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Jul 192016
 

My piece on how “AR is an MMO” traveled far and wide this week. Among the appearances:

There’s probably more to come — I was asked about interviews by several outlets this week, and actually said yes to at least one, as I recall.

If you’re looking for more to read from a game-design specific angle, I recommend

Also, you may recall I mentioned that alternate client views is common in MMOs? Well, here’s your global map of where all the Pokemon are. If you can get in — it’s overloading with traffic.