Brisbane has a faux beach right in the middle of the city! So we sat on it. And I learned a new thing: Australian money is waterproof. It's not made of paper, but nylon. How completely hilarious is that?
It's about 4pm here, and something like 6am in the UK and 10pm the night before for US West Coasters (I think), which is where my body clock is right now. Normal service will resume once I've tired of watching water go down the sink the "wrong" way, and drunk a bit more coffee...
Having just stepped off a plane from San Fran yesterday, today I get back on one and head to Australia via Singapore. I think I'm going to gain a whole day, or lose one, or something equally brain-boggling.
And so, I leave you with Travian to puzzle over. It's got 75,000 active players, it's a web-based resource management MMOG - and it's only been live a few months!
Suttree hit something on the nose here: Web MMOGs have a massive advantage over their more flowery 3D cousins: flippability. You can work and play at the same time, with no alt-tabbing. No memory switching. IM's won't interrupt much. Email can be read. Oh, and no download, of course.
Expect to see many, many more of these web-mogs in the years to come.
Web-mog!I thank you. You heard it here first. *runs*
As fans of the show would expect, the game is loaded with gossip, betrayal, murder and sex - you know, all the things women like," says Mary Schuyler, the producer of the title at Buena Vista Games.
I do love a bit of betrayal with my porridge! Otherwise, it sounds like a fair stab at a spin off, with a very safe templated appeal-to-women style, i.e. Sims-y. With dialogue. And sex. Wicked.
Housewives, a dialogue-heavy mystery with an emphasis on social interaction and character customization, is geared toward female players. ... Before moving into the neighborhood with your husband and son, you customize the look of your housewife by selecting from hundreds of facial features, body types and clothing options.
Housewives also borrows a few Sims-esque features, such as the ability to customize furniture in your home, upgrade appliances and walk outside to see what the neighbors are up to.
Well.. so far, pretty true to the show, eh? And if you're thinking, "omg, Sims with a skin", it does sound like they're planning to introduce all sorts of fun stuff like stealing, gardening challenges, mini poker games to earn in-game cash... housewives rampage!
It'll be interesting to see how they market and sell this, because I'm guessing not many blokes will buy this game. Still - gardening, sex and poker? Who wouldn't like that?
10. “How does games music impact a player’s effectiveness?” (Gianna Cassidy et al, Glasgow Caledonian University)
This study looked at a player’s ability to do missions and do well and complete the game. They picked missions in PGR2 and added different soundtracks; aggressive music, relaxing music, any music (player chosen), silence and soundtracks. They measured speed of player, accuracy, emotional arousal and attention to the game.
The most interesting thing was that the emotional impact of music had no correlation with player effectiveness in the game. The music could really pump them up but it wouldn’t help them play better. Marked improvement came from when the player picked the song themselves.
Scores went up dramatically when players choose their own music.
So game music is not just about world building or impact and player success hangs on the music in the game.
How are you using game music to support or challenge your players? How are you going to use the fact that players selecting their own soundtrack makes them better gamers?
Obviously, last year was hard to top. But this year was good: there was crazy tension on stage, real emotion, some belly laughs, a good mix of folk: Chris Crawford, Seamus Blackley, Jane Pinkard, Frank Lantz and Jonathan Blow, joined by Robin Hunicke, Chris Hecker, Jason Della Rocca and the inimitable Eric Zimmerman rabble-rousing the panel and crowd.
The passion in the room was tangible...
Eric: Welcome! We’re gonna begin with a few words from Jason Della Rocca.
JDR: So this is a fun session. It’s really important to the IGDA. We deal with all sorts of issues to advance folk’ career, etc. Now, last year there was some disapproval with the rant approach, it seemed overly negative. Maybe we should not rant so much but maybe rave… [ ../..]
Eric: If you hear things you agree/disagree with, join IGDA. It’s the vehicle we have for voicing our concerns, desires, fears, hatreds and what we love about games. Why are we here? Because we love games. We like to play games, we like to talk, make write about, publish games.
On the other hand we don’t work in a perfect world. There are things wrong with the industry, with games, with who’s making ‘em, how they’re being made. There are some very very fucked up things about the game industry.
Every year at the GDC there are always rumblings in the corridors, dissatisfactions here, resentments there. I wanted a session where the angry subtexts are brought out on the surface so we can work thru them. You’re gonna hear some rants tonight but it’s in the productive service of trying to make things better. We have an incredible panel for you, of firecrackers, hotheads, curmudgeons, some young turks.
Will Wright's speech was all about space and aliens and robots and astrobiology. I couldn't possibly keep up with him, he's hi-octane, so I just drifted on a comfortable warm cloud of Wrightness. I now know that there are 100 billion neurons in our brains, 100 billion stars in our galaxy and a 100 billion galaxies in our universe.
Will on how to design games:
My advice: take your time at the bginning, give yourself space to research and think. Cast a wide net. You need to discover which 90% of your material that you find is irrelevant for your game. Enjoy being obsessive. That helps a lot. Cultivate the same obsession in your team. Things well understood are explained well. You’ll be a teacher to the people in your team, but also to the people playing your game. You can change your players. At a very deep level, you can change the people who play your game. You shouldn’t take that lightly and it’s also something you shouldn’t squander.
This was a lovely set of tales. We got a demo of a Zelda game for DS, we got a free copy of Brain Training for the DS, and we got a lot of laughs from the lovely man who heads up Nintendo. While they're clearly saving all the Nintendo Revolution details for E3 [nngh], this was still a wholesome, hearty speech.
As ever, just my notes, not a transcript. I can't listen and make sensible notes at the same time, so I just slam down the bulk of what's said.
Thanks for giving me the honour of speaking before you again this year. In my work I have to talk to a lot of people but as you all know since I still have the heart of a gamer I have most fun talking to you.
Once upon a time way back in the 1980s a company became number one because its products meant fun to young people. But then in the 1990s another company became a bigger brand and its bigger budget took away the first company’s number one position. Luckily this company had a product that was still appealing, and this company used a strategy to win over new customers. It would redefine its own business and expand it market to new users. Could this work, this company asked? Well we know the answer, the answer is yes. Because that first company, Pepsi,
…became number one, displacing Coke; it stopped asking “how can we sell more cola”, instead it started asking, “what else do people want to drink”. Today Pepsi is number one in bottled water, sports drinks and health drinks, and it remains number one in the snack business too. As every game developer understands, the three basic food groups are Fritos, Cheetos and Doritos.