Articles of Interest

  • Recap of the Experimental Gameplay session at GDC. I was only able to attend the first 45 minutes or so, but what I saw was really entertaining. Most interested in the first slew of (sound-centric) games… unfortunately the recap only mentions some of them. Also, I learned of Petri Purho’s blog during this session; he’s a game designer with a great sense of humor. Check out his work.
  • Recap of Clint Hocking’s GDC talk about self-exploration in games. He makes a great point about games that implicitly force you to be “very good” or “very evil” (which is pretty much all games with a moral slider). Doesn’t that arbitrarily limit the player? Doesn’t it cut out some interesting design opportunities?
  • Three Rings’ Whirled will be a web-based UGC toolbox / virtual world where people hang out and create their own minigames. I know of at least three other projects along these lines; I wonder how many hundreds are in the works that I don’t know about.
  • EA’s Neil Young talks about their new BattleCast feature (basically, other people can tune into your game session as watch along.)
  • Microsoft finally announced Games for Windows Live; aka the Live service on your PC. Most people are talking about achievements, multiplayer, etc, but I’m more excited about ways this can help foster user-generated content.

23 responses to “Articles of Interest

  1. How does Games for Windows Live foster user-gen content exactly? It’s a cool service of course, but I didn’t see anything about a UGC tie-in.

  2. It was a general statement (as opposed to specific reference to anything in our press releases.) IMO, Windows Live could become an interesting conduit via which developers solicit user-generated content on the PC (where it is easier to create) then port it over to the console.

    There’s some cool stuff that we (Microsoft) could do with it, too, but I can’t share my thoughts on that in a public forum, unfortunately.

  3. 1) I work in the same group you do and I second Jim’s question! :-)

    2) I attended Hocking’s talk. (Clint is the best speaker evar!) Your comment misses the main point. It was less about the black/white vs shades of grey thing; than it was about how there are few if any games that present these choices to a player that make them question their OWN values. It’s not a good/bad choice vs a kinda-good-kinda-bad choice; it’s about whether it’s possible to present a choice to a player in a game that would cause them to say ‘what do *I* feel is the correct thing to do here?’.

    3) The audio game experiments were the results of the latest indie game jam, so my guess is htat they’ll eventually end up on http://www.indiegamejam.com like past year’s have (2005 being an exception as it’s wrapped up in some Sims IP stuff I beleive).

  4. > there are few if any games that present these choices to a player
    > that make them question their OWN values

    From the transcript, it seemed like he was also interested in exploring a game that would enable people to meaningfully follow a “gray” path — which is very interesting to me. I hope that wasn’t completely out of the realm of his talk.

    In most RPGs with a moral slider, for example, if you follow a gray path you effectively limit yourself (i.e. the most powerful spells/forces are for “very good” or “very bad” people, and i.e. the NPCs in the world only react in interesting ways to “very good” or “very bad” people.)

  5. Yeah, the ‘gray path’ was seen as one where choices weren’t as clear, and perhaps that was a path to cause you to examine your own feelings on the topic, so it was a way to getting to the heart of the matter: self-exploration

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