My UAH talk: Digital Bards

 Posted by (Visited 3221 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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The Sunday Song: World Trade Center

 Posted by (Visited 2705 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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