Thursday, February 21, 2008

GDC 2008

Today I went to the Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It was awesome!! I started off the morning pretty early, heading down to the Moscone Center around 8, and I got there just before 9am. I headed to a lecture that I could attend on my Expo Pass, but it was canceled so they told us we could go to anything. I ended up going to a lecture called "Master Metrics: The science behind the art of game design."
Master Metrics: The Science behind the Art of Game Design
Speaker: Chris Swain (Professor, University of Southern California), E. Daniel Arey (Chief Creative Officer, VisionArey Entertainment)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 9:00am — 10:00am
Location (room): Room 2001, West Hall
Track: Game Design
Experience Level: All

Session Description
With the dramatic increase in game complexity, production costs, and team size in recent years, teams and team leaders are more than ever in need of valuable and repeatable development processes, tools, and metrics to create, define, manage, and measure the vast number of play elements that make up a hit game title. But up until now, many of the development processes used by some of the best game developers have been either obscure, unknown, or undefined as an unknowable soft science behind the "creative process." We believe these processes can in fact be defined and learned, and that there are patterns and approaches to game development that dramatically increase the chances of a game's success. This talk is designed to compile and share with the audience the "best practices" of some of the industry's best practitioners. Under the auspices of the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, Interactive Media Division, we have asked some of the top Game Designers and Producers across the game business to share their techniques on how they define and measure that elusive thing called "play" and how others can benefit from their approaches and tools to make better games. Compiling these best practices to game development, and by defining how they can positively impact game production, we will present these tools and techniques to the audience and GDC body. We at USC feel this type of cross-pollenization is vital for the whole industry to grow and mature, and to reduce the wasteful process of reinventing of the wheel, as top developers share and raise the state-of-the-art for everyone.

Idea Takeaway
Audience members will receive and be instructed on between 10-15 valuable and repeatable techniques and tools as used by top game designers to develop their games, covering a wide variety of development stages, from concept inception to final play test. Each process and approach will be defined with examples to shown how they were applied to the game they were used on, and how they can be used for future development. Audience members should at the end of this talk be able to use and share these techniques and practices with their own teams, games, and companies to help them in their own development pipeline.

Intended Audience
This talk is designed for game designers and producers at all levels of ability and experience.
It was a reaaaaaaaaaally interesting and cool talk. They showed some really cool ideas like a heat map method of demonstrating which part of a game level caused most difficulty for the person playing the game. They talked about the evolution of the game controller, and a bunch of other really interesting ideas. Rachel from work randomly showed up and sat down almost right beside me!! It was really funny in a room of like 2000 people to see Rachel walk in, haha. So after that we took off to the Expo Floor and I chatted with a bunch of Autodesk people, John Yee was there, Jason Walter and a few other familiar faces. Good times!! I got a bunch of free shirts (good stuff), saw a THX 7.1 Game Surround Sound demo, saw a cool 3D scanner from Wacom and some guy modeling in Autodesk Mudbox with a Wacom tablet, pretty cool stuff. So after a bunch of walking around, it was time for a sandwich, and then time to head into work for the day. :)

Conference room

Hey, it's Rachel!!

Sony booth

Rachel and I bustin' a move on the Expo Floor

Hip hop flava meets Autodesk

Sweet Autodesk booth

This awesome 3D desk scanner from Wacom

A guy tweaking the scanned model in Autodesk Mudbox

Hey, it's the THX guy!! This used to be a costume!!

Crazy car seat controllers

This was cool, a Nintendo Wii Yoga game pad. Someone was using this controller for a Wii Sports ski jumping game too!!

Some live action mocap translated onto the screen

Blizzard booth

LucasArts booth

Sweeeeeeeeeet Maya shirt I got last night

Cool "" shirt, a company pushing for more game companies on Prince Eduard Island in Canada

Sweeeeeet Playstation shirt

Flashing THX buttons and a reaaaaaaally cool Force Unleashed Lightsaber bottle opener. :)

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