Game talkGDC 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!

Game talkGame Developers Choice Online Awards

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May 272010

GDC Online is getting its own awards, specific to online games! This builds on the Game Developers Choice Awards that have been given for the last ten years at the main GDC.

The award ceremony will honor the accomplishments of the sometimes overlooked creators and operators of online video games – from large-scale MMOs through free-to-play titles to social network games. Awards span excellence in live services, technology, game updates, online game design, and more.

via Game Developers Choice Online Awards official site

Game development professionals with a account can submit nominations in a bunch of categories. A big thing in the awards is that they recognize live operations as well as launches, so the categories include:

  • Best Online Game Design Award
  • Audience Award
  • Best Online Visual Arts Award
  • Best Community Relations Award
  • Best Online Technical Award
  • Best Social Network Game Award
  • Best Audio for an Online Game Award
  • Best New Online Game Award
  • Best Live Game Award

There are also a couple of special awards: an Online Game Legend award recognizing an individual and their career; and a Hall of Fame Award for a game.

Game talkGDC Online reg open!

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May 262010

Time to go register! This is the same conference as GDC Austin, just renamed to “Online” and now covering all sorts of online games including social games and MMOs.

Ticket prices are at a 40% early registration discount until September 1st, with a 55% alumni discount for those who attended last year. Five different pass options and prices are available on the GDC site.

via Austin’s GDC opens 2010 registration under new name – Massively.

Game talkGDC Online submission deadline soon!

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May 122010

GDC Online, formerly GDC Austin, is coming up on the deadline for submissions. Send in your proposals by May 19th!

The deadline to submit to GDC Online (formerly known as GDC Austin) is approaching!
Send in your proposal by May 19th. Full details here:

The conference is still online-focused, and this year will encompass social gaming and other forms of online games as well as its usual deep focus on MMOs.

The Game Developers Conference Online focuses on development of connected games including social network titles, free-to-play web games, kid-friendly online titles, large-scale MMOs, and beyond.  Conference tracks focus on business and marketing, design, production, programming and how to achieve success going live.

I am really looking forward to it this year. There’s a new track on Live, which includes community relations, Live management, metrics and A/B testing, and that sort of thing. And there’s a stack of cool summits too: iPhone, iPad, the long-running Game Writers Summit renamed as Game Narrative and broadening in scope, and even a 3d stereoscopic summit.

Game talkGDCA: Schubert on The Loner

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Sep 232009

Gamespot has a writeup, and Damion has posted his slides. I missed the talk, but it sounds like it was a good one!

“The irony of being alone in an MMO is inescapable. Being a loner is OK, but feeling lonely is not.”–Schubert, on why even solo players care about a well-populated world.

via Old Republic dev discusses massively multiplayer loners – News at GameSpot.

Slides are here (in PPTX format).

Sep 222009
Using isomorphic graphs to analyze MMORPG combat

Using isomorphic graphs to analyze MMORPG combat

I have posted up the slide deck (PPT) and a page of images of slides for my GDC Austin talk, “Games Are Math: 10 Core Mechanics That Drive Compelling Gameplay.”

This talk starts out with some game grammar stuff that may be familiar, then moves into looking at a definition of NP-complete problems, then provides ten examples of how they can be used to look at games, then finishes by examining cognitive bugs in the brain that many games exploit. Please note, I am not a mathematician nor even claim to be very good at math. 🙂

As usual, this along with all my other talks can be found on the Gaming Presentations page, reached by clicking “Games” on the top bar of the site, then choosing Presentations from the sidebar. For those of you who never click the top bar and think all that is here is the blog — there’s a wealth of stuff available there. 🙂 I’ve recently updated it to include a few presentations that were buried and hard to find, such as the audio for my Games For Change closing address, the videos for Living Game Worlds IV and Siggraph Sandbox, and more.

Sep 222009

Randomness has been part of games since their earliest inception — and when I say “earliest inception,” I mean deep into the unwritten Neolithic past. Game scholars sometimes point to The Royal Game of Ur as the earliest known game, and in a sense it is — but we also know of games from any number of Neolithic cultures that survived into the modern era, many of them documented by Stewart Cullin in a series of books for the Smithsonian, published in the early 20th century.

— Play This Thing! | Game Reviews | Free Games | Independent Games | Game Culture.

Go read, it is awesome.

Sep 182009

Gamasutra – News – GDC Austin: Raph Koster’s Deceptively Simple Coin Toss. It’s got a couple of images. 🙂

He offered several examples of complex games broken down into abstract graphs. For instance, he took the strategy board game Blokus, in which four players use tiles of various shapes to try to block other players’ ability to place a piece. Only corner-to-corner contact is allowed between pieces of the same color. No edges can touch, and the object is to use as many of your allotted tiles as possible.

Sep 182009

Xemu’s Long-Winded Game Industry Ramblings :: AGDC ’09: Raph Koster on Games and Math is a liveblog of the talk I gave a couple of hours ago here at GDCAustin.

The talk was first a very brief intro to game grammar approaches, followed by digging into the math behind very common game mechanics that have stood the test of time, and then lastly a look at some of the “bugs” in human cognition that games tend to exploit. It was supposed to be an intermediate talk, not superadvanced, so I hope I hit the right levelof complexity for everyone!

The room was pretty packed — 300 people, I am told! There’s also commentary on Twitter if you go looking.

I will try to get the slides up soon.