Burn down the house

This will probably float around the net quite a lot over the next few weeks. Either that or it will die a horrible death quietly and painlessly until the session is run again next year, but I figured I'd get on the ground floor either way. Here lies a semi-complete transcript (and interesting read) of the Burning Down the House panel hosted by Eric Zimmerman at GDC. Lots of interesting things said and complained about, and I agree with a lot of if.

One thing that struck me was the zine idea from the questions and answer period. Although I'm not sure he was talking about a specific game zine, maybe that is a possibility for a new distribution model. Not demo disks, but a subscription based game magazine released once every year (or however long) that has small games and mods from various developers. Innovative developers get first inclusion and publication, while others are used to fill the CD.

It's not a *new* distribution model, but its worked for many other industries. It might be worth a try sometime, so I may keep it in the back of my head as a future possibility.

From the game dev trenches

I'm here at the Game Developers Conference enjoying the company and the various wonders that come with being in a major city. I think I had a lot to say about GDC and what I learned from the game design session I was in today, but after setting up the a few things through email, checking the ScholarBlog and updating people with that and trying to log into this blog, I think I've pretty much worn myself out. This is fairly sad, since it's only (about) 12:00 or so. Granted, we're getting up around 7 or 8 every morning, but that's beside the point.

I think the the most interesting things I've talked to people about today or things I've discovered are these:

  • People want to share information and discuss information. I wasn't really sure how well the ScholarBlog was going to do, but it seams like we're going to have a lot of people updating it which is awesome. I don't know why this seams to be a trendency, but I think that people honestly want to share information they have for other's benefit, especially in an informal setting. I'm wondering if there's a game design in this, but I'm too tired to think of it now. I'll have to discuss with Darius tomarrow.
  • The MDA style of game analysis is actually pretty interesting from a producer consumer standpoint. Basically, MDA stands for Mechanics, Dynamics and Asthetics (sp?). Basically, it's an interesting way to look at games in terms of rules, instances of play, and the effects of that play. I really want to investigate the concept in terms of narrative levels (the approach I took, but never elaborated on in my thesis) and try to make comparisons. I think it would be fruitful and interesting.
  • Refocusing people is easier than trying to move them in another direction. For example, today (twice) I brought people back on track in game design workshops and ended up really helping out our end products with a simple "Well, really, let's not make this too complicated too early." type phrase. Both times, we ended up refocusing on simple rules and making some interseting play concepts out of the games. I can't take all the credit I don't think, but it was nice to contribute in a way beyond offering ideas (of which I actually did very little) and instead created an atmosphere more condusive to better ideas. I liked it.

Definately looking forward to IGJ from what Darius has told me, and I'm hoping I can run into a few of those "big name" developers over the conference. I've started talking to people about my thesis again, and its gotten me back into thinking about graduate study. If only I could make an actual decision, I'd be in much better shape.

A start, on games

I'm working on getting this newly created blog up, dedicated to ranting and raving about games, game design, interactive narrative and media theory. I can assure you no one is going to be too interested, but sometimes, you just have to write a few things down for public knowledge, even if no one cares.

So join me on this psychotic tour of the gaming landscape.