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Author Topic: I am going to GDC  (Read 8823 times)

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Bongo Bill

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #60 on: February 24, 2008, 02:42:47 AM »

You can't expect to compare the bulk of games to the elite of social networking. For every Captain Bland's Monotonous Adventure there's a sub-par and buggy YouTube ripoff with an even dumber name, and for every genuine Facebook there's a Spore. I maintain that it's enough for the true visionaries to have free rein, high ambitions, and budgets that won't allow corners to be cut. The projects that I saw underway at GDC give me great confidence that this is the case, more so now than ever before. The lowest common denominator will follow at its own lumbering pace, which is fine, because it couldn't ever be forcibly changed anyway.

As for prediction. Technology is one of the easiest things to predict, at least within about a ten-year period. You simply look at who's working on what and how fast they're getting it done, and then you see which of those projects would be useful for speeding up the others or driving them into obsolescence. Then you cross-reference it with the priorities of the people who'll be buying and using them, and the unique features they represent over the existing equivalents. The rest is really just math. This isn't just bullshit, either - Ray Kurzweil has a pretty stunning track record, and those are exactly the methods he's been using - and making money off of - for nearly twenty years now.
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Kazz

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #61 on: February 24, 2008, 04:35:08 AM »

More games need to be (not have, be) toolsets that the player can use to create and share.  That's what toys used to be for, when I was three; now, games are just challenges and the designer gets to have all the fun.  I don't think TF2 is fun anymore; every match feels the same.  Fuck, you can barely even customize yourself in World of Warcraft.

At the same time, Second Life is irritating because it's just a bunch of people I don't like expressing themselves.  I don't care about your self-expression, now pay attention to mine!

Spore is going to do a good job of featuring an infinity of human creation without any of the bullshit that goes with human interaction.

Iron Mongrel: I think I've got a handle on your argument.  I think you're either trying to say that face-to-face human interaction is in danger, or that people here think it is.  Clearly you're not okay with that.

Online, people only come in contact with those they actually want to come in contact with.  In meatspace, people come in contact with stupid assholes with startling regularity.  Fuck, I hope face-to-face interaction is in danger.

Is this forum exchange somehow less valid because it didn't take place in person?

edit: Don't answer that, it's a hypothetical and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to agree with anything that anybody says anyway.
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Mongrel

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2008, 09:55:02 AM »

I maintain that it's enough for the true visionaries to have free rein, high ambitions, and budgets that won't allow corners to be cut. The projects that I saw underway at GDC give me great confidence that this is the case, more so now than ever before.

I'm happy to agree with the first, sentence - could we get some examples of the second? I mean seeing as I'm not one of the ones that went to GDC. All I've seen so far is stuff like the neat personalization effects of better character creation in APB.

@ Kazz:

I am saying that face-to-face interaction is in danger, but not in danger in the sense that it will disappear, but in the sense that people's ability to handle face-to-face interactions is decreasing. Sure you met some assholes in real life, but hey you meet assholes online too. It's just that on the internet, it's easier to join a gated social community. The internet isn't really improving the quality of your connections of in and of itself, it's just presenting an illusion of doing so by directing you to those with superficially similar interests. And a lot of kids are growing up spending a LOT of time online, thinking that they only need the social skils to survive in an online world.

Right now, not a lot of interactions on the internet carry a lot of weight, which is colouring our view of the whole situation. When people are dicks online, you block them, ignore them, upgrade your spam filters, ban them, move to another site or whatever. But in real life there are direct physical effects and a lot of intangible qualities that are far from being duplicated. The reason that internet communication seems more alluring is because it doesn't 'matter' yet. The negative consequences are small. But people need to learn how to handle adverse social situations and this means... experiencing bad things without running from them!

I understand what some of you here are trying to say: that the time will come when online communications are either as capable of handling those missing elements as reality OR provide something truly new that reality cannot provide then online communications will become a new facet of human existance, at least partially supercede conventional communication. Well, I would argue that we're nowhere near the first, but we are living the second right now. And I'm not impressed.

Sure, we can have interesting online arguments discussions like this, we can hunt for rare collectibles, do research, and casually meet people far away, but the list of what we can't do is so huge. Look, let me use a clear positive example.

I met my wife online, but I had to marry her outside in the real world. There are many, many things that I can only do with her in real life and right now, these vastly outnumber the things I can do with her online. The things that I can do with her online that I can't do with her in reality is small and unimpressive. And I don't see anything coming to replace that experience or provide desireable alternatives.

In the history of media advances, we had writing which allowed basic information to be recorded and shared, we had the camera, which allowed visual information to be recorded and shared, and we had radio and telegraphy, which permitted instant-speed long-distance communications. What the internet has done is combine all three, this is a huge step, useful and important, yes, making the internet sort of a one-stop-shopping location for all your information needs. However, the total is not yet more than the sum of its parts.

To go on about a game as the that makes that step is natural because online gaming features many aspects of interaction that aren't present in say, a forum. But as I moaned earlier, it's just as absurd to say that our lives will be substantially spent online as it would have been to say that our lives would be spent reading, watching videos, or talking on the phone. The greater tragedy is that those unfortunate kids from the first paragraph think that that online and offline are equal right now and social development is suffering because of this.

More games need to be (not have, be) toolsets that the player can use to create and share.  That's what toys used to be for, when I was three; now, games are just challenges and the designer gets to have all the fun.

Precisely.
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Kazz

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #63 on: February 24, 2008, 10:43:04 AM »

fuck's sake, i'm tired of you seperating online and in-person interaction like that.  i'm THIS CLOSE to thinking you're trolling.  you sound like a science fiction author, seeing advances in communication and going "Fuck, we're flushing reality down the toilet!"

nobody's arguing that online interaction lacks depth.  that doesn't mean we're all socially incompetent now.  i mean, shit, your relationship with your wife wasn't poisoned by the shallow, impersonal internets, was it?

fuck, why am i even having this conversation
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Sharkey

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #64 on: February 24, 2008, 10:55:24 AM »


Again, I'm not denying the possibilities here. I'm just saying this is all very vague. Regardless of future projections, we're not yet at that 'value-added' communications stage.

Ah, that's the disconnect. I think we are at a 'value-added' stage in some circumstances. Sometimes a face-to-face meeting is worse because someone is a genuinely loathsome human being and it just didn't come across, sure. But in my experience I've had meetings with a lot of people I've known online for years, and I found their personal presence unbearable. Not because they're any less intelligent or insightful or just plain funny than I took them for, but because in person they're ugly, rude, and frequently just plain socially retarded. It's maybe not entirely right to hold that against someone, and in circumstances where I know better I can try to put it aside. However, I never would have bothered to get to know these people so well if I'd only had contact with them in person. It's a pretty clear case of less-is-more. The filtering of irrelevant, handicapping information.

They're still people, and the interaction is every bit as real. Sometimes more so.
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Brentai

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #65 on: February 24, 2008, 10:59:52 AM »

Aren't you the one who always described us as "little imaginary people in a box"?  Because that's pretty much how I've come to think of everybody on the internets at this point (except maybe Vance, who's the only flesh and blood person I'll probably have to ever see again.)

Of course, the fact that I do business in Vance's brick-and-mortar establishment because I met him on the internet is probably proof of somebody's argument.  I haven't been reading.
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Mongrel

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #66 on: February 24, 2008, 11:07:11 AM »

fuck's sake, i'm tired of you seperating online and in-person interaction like that.  i'm THIS CLOSE to thinking you're trolling.  you sound like a science fiction author, seeing advances in communication and going "Fuck, we're flushing reality down the toilet!"

nobody's arguing that online interaction lacks depth.  that doesn't mean we're all socially incompetent now.  i mean, shit, your relationship with your wife wasn't poisoned by the shallow, impersonal internets, was it?

fuck, why am i even having this conversation

I am separating the two. They are not equal.

Right now having a true meeting of the minds is more difficult online than it is in real life. Sure, you may meet people and click right away, but online communication is missing a lot of information, information which is filled in by each person's assumptions. This is why real-life meetings are less-than hoped-for, as the other person has not met your self-created expectations. Until we do away with face-to-face contact entirely, this is a valid concern, and I would argue that even if we did eliminate face-to-face contact, it would still be a valid concern.

My relationship with my wife wasn't poisoned, but both of us find online chat to be an extremely unsatifying way of communicating. If you think that an IM window, phone call, or video is the same as sleeping in the same bed, I can't help you.

I'm honestly not trying to troll here. Do you seriously think that everyone acts exactly the same online as they do internet than they do in real life? If people behave differently in each space I'm going to separate the two to at least some degree.

@ :sharkey: :

Hm. I can see that argument. I guess in my experience, I feel like if the online medium is masking someone's gross social failings then we're both participating in a falsehood that taints our communications. Eh. again, that's my personal opinion. As I said, I hold people to a fairly high standard. If you're retard in real life and use the internet to hide that, I see that in a negative light, feeling that either the individual or society needs to address that problem (see: Dead WoW dork).
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Kazz

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #67 on: February 24, 2008, 11:13:32 AM »

iron: this is my last post on the subject because, at this point, i think you're taking your point seriously, and if I didn't know that then I would sincerely believe you were trolling.

of course online interactions and in-person interactions are different.  i don't have long, meaningful conversations with my girlfriend over the internet.  that doesn't mean we shouldn't fucking use it.  and i'd argue that a true meeting of the minds is more possible in writing, because i have enough time to compose my thoughts.  i can tell you that in person, i'd be a gibbering wreck trying to comprehend what the hell you're so upset about.

sharkey:

it should be noted that you had sex with them in equal measure.
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Thad

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #68 on: February 24, 2008, 11:32:11 AM »

If you think that an IM window, phone call, or video is the same as sleeping in the same bed, I can't help you.

Oh good, I've been waiting for an opportunity to use the :strawman: emoticon.
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Mongrel

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #69 on: February 24, 2008, 12:50:54 PM »

Kazz:
In person I certainly hope you wouldn't be gibbering wreck, as any conversation would be civil and sedate. I often have animated conversations, but they tend to be cheefully animated, rather than anything to make my friends cringe.

I'm arguing various points, and exerting some effort to try and maintain what argumentative cohesion and consistency my feelble brain is capable of, but I'm not raging away, mashing my keyboard in frustration at losing some argument on the intarnets. If I've failed to convey that I'm just discussing points, then certainly that's an indictment of my writing skill, but it's also a demonstration of the inadequacies of this medium.

Personally, I'm similar in that when I write, the edit button and timeless nature of the medium allows me time to compose and edit my thoughts, so my writing is more well-considered than my speaking. But I feel that if my verbal skills are lacking in this regard, that I need to practice good self-improvement, bettering my vocal skills as opposed to just writing more often. 

Thad:
That counts as communication if you're thinking about it in the right way :>_>: :vampire: :smile:

But fine. Replace sleeping with kissing (and if you think THAT doesn't count as a form of communication well, never mind, I'm not going to even bother fighting THAT one).
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Norondor

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #70 on: February 24, 2008, 01:59:24 PM »

But in my experience I've had meetings with a lot of people I've known online for years, and I found their personal presence unbearable. Not because they're any less intelligent or insightful or just plain funny than I took them for, but because in person they're ugly, rude, and frequently just plain socially retarded.

Ouch, man, ouch
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Kazz

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #71 on: February 24, 2008, 02:02:35 PM »

But fine. Replace sleeping with kissing (and if you think THAT doesn't count as a form of communication well, never mind, I'm not going to even bother fighting THAT one).

 :fail:

you don't even know what we're trying to tell you, do you.
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James Edward Smith

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #72 on: February 24, 2008, 02:58:46 PM »

Hey :sharkey:,

In your article you said logarithmic curve, but I think what you meant was an exponential curve.
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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #73 on: February 24, 2008, 04:25:21 PM »

But in my experience I've had meetings with a lot of people I've known online for years, and I found their personal presence unbearable. Not because they're any less intelligent or insightful or just plain funny than I took them for, but because in person they're ugly, rude, and frequently just plain socially retarded.

Ouch, man, ouch

No, that's actually a pretty fair point. The inverse applies, too; there's some people who you're totally cool with in person, but online they consistently come across as a blithering idiot.
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Bongo Bill

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #74 on: February 24, 2008, 05:06:40 PM »

More games need to be (not have, be) toolsets that the player can use to create and share.  That's what toys used to be for, when I was three; now, games are just challenges and the designer gets to have all the fun.  I don't think TF2 is fun anymore; every match feels the same.  Fuck, you can barely even customize yourself in World of Warcraft.

Oh goody, now's my turn to shine.

Right off the bat, it was clear that even Microsoft understood the importance of letting the people make the games - even if they're going about it in an extremely narrow fashion, the fact that all this XNA stuff exists at all is a clear indication that people are starting to realize it's important to let amateurs make games.

Thursday morning I saw Soren Johnson attribute Civilization IV's success to the extraordinary lengths to which his team went to make the game extensible by the players. Obviously this is modification rather than creation, but it's another sign of the increasing importance placed on amateur participation in the game development process.

Shortly afterward, Rod Humble showed off an in-development version of The Sims Carnival which to me seems to be exactly what you two are asking about: this is a website where anybody with five minutes and, optionally, some JPEGs can make a simple Flash game, and an hour or three in the offline editor can make you a totally original one. The first half of his presentation was an exploration of the fact that every single game that predates, say, 1900, and a good portion of the games since then, are in fact modifications of earlier games whose rules have been lost to time. His biggest central point was that the act of creating games cannot be separated from the act of playing games. And this guy works for EA.

The last, biggest panel of the conference was Raph Koster and his programmer whose name I've forgotten showing off Metaplace quite convincingly. I'm going to assume you all know that Metaplace is two things: a generic protocol for making persistent multiplayer online games, and a private, commercial website where games made using such a protocol can be hosted. I don't think I need to point out how true to this spirit of "democratization" it is to have an MMO not tied to a particular client, where the server-side logic is CGI, and where the central place for showing these things off includes a robust set of parametric tools that make non-programmers.

There was a panel about Facebook that I didn't have time to see, and some others that clearly touched on this issue.

So let's go over what I saw: an increasing awareness that people really want to make games and really want to play games that amateurs have made; an awareness of the examples set by YouTube and Facebook that can let developers monetize free user-created content; and not one but two enormous services intended to open up game design to non-programmers like your grandma, both of which have some undeniably impressive tools working for them. I'd say there's three but XNA is a bit more advanced than that - which, I think, is a good thing, because you need a spectrum of tools at various degrees of sophistication.

One such project would be an interesting but doomed anomaly. Two projects indicate that different people are seeing the same trends and thinking about similar solutions. Three means that it's about to become a trend.


I maintain that it's enough for the true visionaries to have free rein, high ambitions, and budgets that won't allow corners to be cut. The projects that I saw underway at GDC give me great confidence that this is the case, more so now than ever before.

I'm happy to agree with the first, sentence - could we get some examples of the second? I mean seeing as I'm not one of the ones that went to GDC. All I've seen so far is stuff like the neat personalization effects of better character creation in APB.

Aside from the above, I suppose in this case it's more like Marketing now sees enough money in customization and user participation that Design's best and brightest can convince them that it's important. Audiosurf was released the week before the conference, and everybody at the GDCA either loved it (even those who hadn't bought it yet, because there was always somebody nearby who had). It was a concrete example of how user-generated content can make your game awesome. There was Soren Johnson's talk about how he'd managed to make everything, especially the AI, work with modded versions of Civ 4; there was Clark Davies attributing the entire commercial and critical success of the Wipeout games to the customizability and social stuff those games have; there was the fact that the best game of the year, Portal, was made without any Hollywood-style meddling with the concept. Looking back over the panel listing at all the ones I didn't get to go to, I have no doubt that there's more than a few there that would support this point further.

Captain Bland's Monotonous Adventure IV-XIX will still be made. There's no question of this. But a developer who sees the value of participatory games and who has the skill to design one now has the vocabulary and the evidence to convince marketing that it's not just one guy's artsy hunch, but something that you can make money off of. GDC represents the zeitgeist of the entire development community, and participatory development of that sort is on everybody's mind.

Even ignoring the people who went off and started their own companies to pursue this notion, like Raph Koster did, you've still got a trend in this direction. If Electronic Arts can get on the bandwagon, not once but twice (with Spore and The Sims Carnival) then I'd say that the bigwigs are beginning to come around. There's probably never going to be total unrestrictedness for professional non-indie developers, but a big, new idea has been drummed into Marketing's head.
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Brentai

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #75 on: February 24, 2008, 05:52:32 PM »

At the risk of re-derailing this topic, I am now in the process of trying to pitch the idea of a bar centralized around the concept of being able to IM other people in the place before moving in for face-to-face interaction.  I'm sure there are places that have this already but none that make it the point of the whole venture.

Just saying, I may call the whole thing bullshit here, but I'm the one living it the most.  And that makes me
 :sadpanda:
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Thad

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #76 on: February 24, 2008, 06:28:48 PM »

But fine. Replace sleeping with kissing (and if you think THAT doesn't count as a form of communication well, never mind, I'm not going to even bother fighting THAT one).

 :fail:

you don't even know what we're trying to tell you, do you.

HINT: the text for the :strawman: emote is "strawman".

But in my experience I've had meetings with a lot of people I've known online for years, and I found their personal presence unbearable. Not because they're any less intelligent or insightful or just plain funny than I took them for, but because in person they're ugly, rude, and frequently just plain socially retarded.

Ouch, man, ouch

No, that's actually a pretty fair point. The inverse applies, too; there's some people who you're totally cool with in person, but online they consistently come across as a blithering idiot.

Actually, I recall hearing Sharkey suggest that a surprising number of people seemed to fall into one or the other category.

I also recall having a pretty good idea which one I was.
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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #77 on: February 24, 2008, 06:33:47 PM »

Well, I think everybody knows which category they're in.
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Thad

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #78 on: February 24, 2008, 06:52:22 PM »

...This is going much better than the last time we had this conversation.
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Bongo Bill

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Re: I am going to GDC
« Reply #79 on: February 24, 2008, 08:42:09 PM »

It would be great if my reputation were expanded as a result of this self-important fuckery being publicized.
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