Online Game Legend

 Posted by (Visited 8917 times)  Game talk, Misc  Tagged with: , , ,
Aug 302012

Today the press release went out announcing that I was selected to receive the Online Game Legend Award at the GDC Online Choice Awards. This award is voted on by fellow developers, and it’s basically a lifetime achievement award.

The Online Game Legend Award recognizes the career and achievements of one particular creator who has made an indelible impact on the craft of online game development.

This rather leaves one thinking, “Well, now what?”

(Warning: introspection ahead…)

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GDCOnline reg is open

 Posted by (Visited 9195 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Jun 142012


Game Developers Conference Online 10.09.12 – 10.11.12 | Austin, TX.

This will be the tenth anniversary of what was once known as just the “Austin Game Conference.” It has always been focused on online, from the first day, back when getting together enough people to talk about online games for multiple days was a challenge.

Now online is where it’s at — just as we were saying all those years ago. It’s shaping up to be a a great set of sessions (disclaimer: I am on the advisory board, so I am biased!).

Trivia: this means it will also be the tenth anniversary of “A Theory of Fun” — the original talk was a keynote at the very first conference.

Speaking at GDCOnline 2011

 Posted by (Visited 5790 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…

Oct 082010

The intent of this talk was to do a “powers of ten” sort of look at multiplayer mechanics… not really to describe anything new, but instead to try to take the whole big spectrum of what we think of as multiplayer game design, and do a cross-disciplinary look at it. I covered a bit of game theory, a bit of psychology, a bit of evolutionary biology, a touch of history, a heavy dose of sociology, a dash of social networking theory, and of course, game design stuff.

My hope was that when done, it would both serve as a good context for thinking about multiplayer games of several sorts, and also as just a plain old reference, something to point at when discussing things like what the impact of gifts and wall posts are in social games, or why some MMOs have longer retention cycles.

So here it is as a PDF, for your perusal. I tried to make the slides stand on their own as much as I could, but of course, the actual voiceover would make many slides more comprehensible. For that, look for the actual session recording to appear on the GDC Vault.

Long-time readers will notice that there are bits here that reference and repeat elements of much older presentations. I recommend following up this one with the math-heavy but extremely related presentation on social network theory Small Worlds: Competitive and Cooperative Structures in Online Worlds (PDF), if you have not seen it before… I gave it back in 2003, a year before Facebook launched. 🙂 It digs a lot deeper specifically into many of the characteristics of large scale-free networks in games.