Speaking at GDCOnline 2011

 Posted by (Visited 5777 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , ,
Sep 202011

I’ll be doing two sessions at GDC Online this year. The first and smaller one, is a panel in the Game Career Seminar:

Breaking into the Game Biz – Ask the Pros!

Day / Time / Location: Wednesday 4:30- 5:30 Ballroom B
Track / Duration / Format: Game Career Seminar / 60-Minute / Panel

Description: This panel asks what it takes to break into the game companies, gathering advice from the people who actually decide whether you’re coming on-board: the creatives & hiring managers. We’ve chosen luminaries from different studios and company types to answer all your questions!

Eligible Passes:  All Access PassGame Career Seminar Pass

The second one is the meatier one, a session in the Customer Experience track, wherein I shall attempt to show just how much of social media practice comes out of games, and if not, where it came from; and then, extrapolate out to the problems social media should be running into any day now; and wonder whether games ever will retake the lead in connecting people online; and what that all means to you, the developer, if you now are running a single-player game inside an MMO-like construct called an achievements system inside a virtual worldish thing called a social network owned by someone else.

It’s All Games Now! How Games and Social Media are Converging

Speaker/s: Raph Koster (Playdom)
Day / Time / Location: Thursday 1:30- 2:30 Room 6
Track / Duration / Format: Customer Experience / 60-Minute / Lecture

Description:These days, social media is looking an awful lot like games — and we don’t mean in the gamification sense! Rather, lessons drawn from online games have driven much of the development of the social media platforms we use today, from Twitter acting like real-time chat, to “avatars” that are public profiles on social networks. The cross-pollination between Internet communication systems and games has always been there, but now we’re at the point where we are putting games inside of, well, what looks a lot like games! What does ths mean for our customer experience? In this talk we’ll look at the parts of customer experience that are under your control as a developer — and the parts that are not. We’ll talk about best practices that don’t work in the new environment. We’ll examine the trends that are pointing the way forward, and talk about the problems and pitfalls that games anticipated that Web 2.0 might need to fix in version 3. And finally, we’ll see if we can peer into the crystal ball a little bit, and see if we can predict the future of connected gaming experiences.


  • A bit of a history lesson: where have we come from, in terms of community experiences?
  • A large chunk of science: learn about the underlying structures behind community features: synchronous and asynchronous interactions, communications, profiles, etc
  • A dollop of business: a frank evaluation of how our connected experience platforms work (and don’t work) today
  • A dash of futurism: where do we see connected experiences going? What is the future of community management, forums, blogs, and games-as-a-service?

Eligible Passes:All Access PassMain Conference Pass

Should be fun! Guess I better start thinking about writing slides for it…

Tobias Buckell kickstarter for a new novel

 Posted by (Visited 14651 times)  Reading  Tagged with: , ,
Sep 192011

Those of you who hung around Metaplace may recall that one of the guest speakers we brought in to the lecture series was science fiction writer Tobias Buckell, author of Halo: The Cole Protocol (there, your obligatory videogame connection).

I’ve always been more interested, though, in his original science fiction work. In particular, his Xenowealth novels Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose. They feature fast-paced action in a space opera sort of setting, sure, but with a unique flavor that comes from Toby’s Caribbean background. (You can read my brief review of Crystal Rain here — Toby himself describes it as “steampunk Aztecs invading a Caribbean lost colony world”).

Well, the publishing industry being what it is, the Xenowealth books are no longer forthcoming as traditional big publishing books. (You can read a bit about why here; Toby blogs a lot about the business of writing).

That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for those of us who want to read more in the Xenowealth universe, though! Today Toby announced The Apocalypse Ocean by Tobias Buckell — Kickstarter. That link has a preview trailer — and at the end of the trailer, a video from Toby that explains the Kickstarter project. The plan includes eBook and hardcover editions, as well as extra perks for higher pledge levels, like being written into the book as a planet or a spaceship name.

This sort of thing seems like a highly logical alternative for a writer with a devoted following and enough tech chops to get out there independent of major publishers. Since we seem to be heading for a future where all artists in all media will likely have to be “on tour” to support themselves, you may as well get a jump start on it now and support this Kickstarter, because darn it, I want to know what Pepper does next. 🙂



Gangs and Guilds in MMOs, again

 Posted by (Visited 7825 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Sep 142011

A long while ago I posted about some research that showed that gangs and guilds seemed to have mathematical characteristics in common.  A few days ago, I got this sent to me by someone at the department of CS and Engineering at the University of Minnesota:


I saw a previous post on your blog about similarities between MMOs and street gangs. Me and my research group (VWO) recently published a paper which contradicts the previous results. We thought you may find it of interest.

Thanks, Muhammad

The blog post about the paper can be found here, with some conclusions, and you can also read the pre-print PDF of the paper. It looks like this is based on the the same set of Everquest II data that many researchers have been using for a while now — I am unsurprised to see Dmitri Williams credited.