GDC07: A few things come to mind yet

I’ve put this off for days, guess I’ll never be a real “blogger”, timely updates and all that :p
A few things I remember about GDC before they fade forever…

I’ve been dying to get a Cintiq for years but unfortunately for me the price is out of my range. At the Corel booth they actually had one. I tried it out, but alas found that it would be pretty annoying to use. My hand always seemed to be in my way as i tried to draw or pick things from the menus. Probably one could get used to it. But the person they had demoing the new version of Painter at their booth eschewed the Cintiq for one hell of a large Intuos tablet. He told me his weapons of choice are the hugest wacom in the world and his MacBook Pro (Althea ;)). I approve! And have adjusted my desires accordingly. About then it hit me… I just met Andrew “Andriod” Jones!… and I went slightly fangirl on him (sorry about that -_-) but the guy is a legend on the boards for his 1000 portrait project. It took a good look at him and then at the fantastic things he was drawing on the big LCD screen for me to recognize.

We spent various evenings dining with the lovely Cameo Wood and she introduced us to Adrian Hon who is lead game designer at Mind Candy who run an Alternate Reality Game (ARG for short) called Perplex City. They both proved to be excellent dinner companions. We also met up with Alex Mouton who has helped us out with graphics programming on 8 a few years back but is now working at Doublefine. It’s always a pleasure meeting people face to face for the first time that you’ve known only virtually. But these are fascinating folks that I would love to have around on a daily basis. I hope we all meet up again someday!
Over burritos at the Cancun taqueria together we witnessed a gang war shooting (o.0) San Francisco has got problems.

gdc07_20070308_0054.jpg As for the conference itself. hmm… I missed the Phil Harrison keynote and the awards ceremony but I did make it to the Miyamoto keynote. It was like getting a lecture from your old uncle. I really appreciated hearing his point of view on things but lets face it… getting speeches through a translator would make anyone sound like your old uncle.

gdc07_20070309_0088.jpg I loved our booth. We weren’t there enough… standing around the booth somehow didn’t seem like the best use of our time. So sorry if you came by and we weren’t there. Whoever left the SKOTOS comic book, Please contact us because we’d like to know who you are! thank you.

I saw flOw in its big fat hi-def format PS3 verison and found it, in atmosphere and motion, impressive in the extreme. Kris Force (who is working with us on The Path) came to me similarly breathelss about the sound design in that game.
Little Big Planet – hey, I like it ! Good on them.
Both of these games are made by small teams, look like quality products and they offer open gameplay experiences. I really think that The Endless Forest (no goals other than the ones you make, no game rules as such) is looking less and less like an oddity! The more games like this the better!

And speaking of quality… Aquaria, winner of the Independent Games Festival looks fairly spectacular. I only got to play it for a minute or two but I thought it was very charming. Derek Yu did a fantastic job on the graphics for this one.

But this whole meme Sony (and others) had going about user created content, “a Youtube for games, an iTunes store for games, a myspace for games.” uuugh.

gdc07_ms-2 gdc2007_Page88_darkside I like to draw during speeches, it kind of started years ago as I realized I was good at remembering faces but not names. So now I draw the two together, and it seems Michael doodles like a madman =) I put up our notes in the Gallery section of the site here because there are (still) too many thoughts about the sessions for us to translate them into prose. Much will filter into our practice in the months to come, I’m sure. Particularly memorable was the micropayments round-table hosted by Daniel James of Three Rings makers of Puzzle Pirates. What a guy, he came in costume… I like to imagine he always dresses like that though. rock on!
You wouldn’t believe how sucessful something like Habbo Hotel is financially! And even games with much less of a reputation are incredibly sucessful. These developers running sucessful online micropayment games gave up some numbers and strategies in this discussion. Can’t thank them enough. It was fascinating, inspiring, gave us more than a few ideas… Mwuahahahahahaaaa!

Random people I went up to, spoke with, and gave a card include: Hiroshi Minagawa of Square Enix: after I walked in late to the FFXII postmortem talk (>.<). I told him, through a translator, how much I was awestruck and inspired by his work and tried to convince him to download The Endless Forest, I hope he understood, I hope he did, but yeah. The 1up show presenters Kathleen and Luke… told Luke that I deeply disagreed with his opinions on flOw. Hey, I shook Justin Hall’s hand and heard all about his Passively Multiplayer Online Game, I look forward to further developments there.

gdc2007_Page88darkside.jpg I couldn’t help being slightly disappointed by Suda51’s talk “Punks not dead”. He has an idea of punk that I do not agree with. Seems he’s got down the form but not the content. In my opinion punk is not about pleasing your corporate masters and getting to put in more blood. Punk is about daring to be (very) different from the status quo… now if he would make a game with no guns and no rules maybe i’d have more respect. 😉 I _am looking forward to the remake of The Silver Case on Nintendo DS though.

I swore to myself I’d make it to Cliffy B.’s Gears of War postmortem (I am morbidly fascinated by his game design philosophies.) But it was at 9am… it …didn’t work out. And by the time I got there the hall was full to capacity and couldn’t get in anyway. Guess I will have to pick that one up on GDCRadio.