GDC Online track keynote

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Aug 312010

Gamasutra has an article up about more GDC Online talks, and mentions in there that I am giving the design track keynote.

Classic Social Mechanics: The Engines Behind Everything Multiplayer Speaker/s: Raph Koster (Playdom)
Day / Time / Location: TBD
Track / Summit: Design
Description: Games have been multiplayer throughout history and have always been fundamentally social. Today were seeing an explosion in games driven by new ways of interacting with people online. Many lessons are available to us from both anthropology and the history of games that demonstrate that sometimes, social mechanics are just old wine in new bottles. In this lecture well cut through the terminology and look at the underlying mechanics and principles that drive sociable gameplay in everything from Facebook games to sports.

I’m looking forward to this one. 🙂 Different but similar to the math one from last year, I hope. It’s been (gasp) seven years since I did my talk on social networking theory, and a lot has evolved since then.

I should also mention that John Donham, who I’ve been working with for years now at Metaplace and now Playdom, is giving a talk on moving from AAA game development to social games — a sort of “top ten bad assumptions” overview, that is looking really good (I get to peek over his shoulder as he preps…)

Early reg discounts end tomorrow! So go sign up for 40% off if you haven’t already!

Aug 172010

“Cloud gaming could completely change how the video games industry works,” [EEDAR CEO Greg Short] said. “Why would you play FarmVille when you can play World of Warcraft on the same machine?”

via EEDAR: Cloud gaming could kill Farmville | Games Industry | MCV.

No, Greg. Let’s not confuse a delivery mechanism for an audience. A huge part of the audience that likes social games doesn’t like World of Warcraft. I know this is shocking and bizarre to hear, so let me reiterate it. They don’t like the games you do.

It is true that cloud gaming offers higher levels of presentation right now. What it doesn’t offer is the right sort of content for the mass market audience.

Could you deliver a social game that has broad appeal via cloud gaming service? Sure. You could have done it via a Playstation 3 too. But nobody did it because of the audience mismatch. And the cloud gaming services’ prime selling point is that they deliver high-end graphics.

We are already seeing social gaming move onto mobile devices that have plenty of power to deliver fancier graphics. And when we do, we see that it isn’t the graphics that make the difference. It’s the gameplay. And the fact is that overall, and granting that there is plenty of evolution to come, social games have the right gameplay for the mass market.

Art game “My Divorce”

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Aug 162010

It’s a response to Rod Humble’s The Marriage. It seems to have a bit more of a specific “moral” than Rod’s game, according to the author:

My experience (and intention) shows that the game can only be won by constantly focusing on the “children”, often at some sacrifice to the parents.

My Divorce: A computer game by Brett Douville

The game is directly inspired by The Marriage, using basically the same art treatment, similar controls, and so on.

[via @bbrathwaite]

A few interesting links

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Aug 162010

Just got back from vacation! I had a lovely time. I also had some interesting stuff sent to me, which has piled up in the mailbox. So here’s a couple of interesting links.

The editors hope to attract a wide range of writing to Metaverse Creativity, including ideas about artificial-intelligence systems, landscaping, zoological and biological creations, and even virtual-world fashion design. Second Life’s relations to psychology, law, and technology are another focus. Plans for MC‘s first issue include a piece on how technological prostheses—beginning with the telescope—have altered human perceptions. Another article explains what neuroscience reveals about the benefits of the kinds of brain plasticity that simulation in virtual worlds can enhance, while a third edges up demurely on love in Second Life with a take on virtual-world adaptations of Korean romantic puppetry.

Avatars as Editors – PageView – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

If I can meet my kickstarter goal of $5000, phase 1 of my trip will commence. Starting in Korea, where I currently reside, I will fly to Vietnam, and explore Southeast Asia via land travel (bus, train, walking) over a period of 4-5 months: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar.

I will then venture into China, and make my way towards the coast, where I will depart for Japan sometime in the Spring, in time for the planting season, where I will most likely spend some time volunteering on organic farms. I’m scheduling about 6 months for the whole trip…

If I can meet my $5000 kickstarter goal, that should cover most of my expenses through Southeast Asia, Japan and China. I would like to make at least two games for each country I visit, so we’re looking at probably 10-15 games. There’s no cookie-cutter mold for the games, though, so it will also depend on the size and scope of each individual game.