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AGDC 2008 – Day 1

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Well day one at ACDC was a full one.

There are several track of lectures at AGDC one of which is writing, and since I like to write, I decided to attend a few of those.

The big talk throughout all the writing lectures was the move to interactive stories. Many lectures fantasized about the holodeck from star trek. They kept saying that the first mini version of this such technology would be out by 2010 and build into a new industry of interactive games.

Chris Crawford on of the founding members of AGDC game a lecture on “Moving Games to Interactive Stories” where he said that in most games players have a set number of phrases or behaviors that the AI characters can translate and react to. But the future of storytelling will be that any thing you are capable of doing the AI characters will understand and be able to react to, thus changing the outcome of the story.

Crawford has developed a software which is free to download called Stroytron where designers create a the basics of a story, : Plot, Characters, Setting, Conflict. Then the software generates a text base game were the player gets to choose what his character is gong to do and the out come of the AI react to it. The game is limited to a 1000 actions, far more than typical games that only have about 100 actions that AI’s can react to. However it’s graphical limitations make it feel more like reading a choose your own adventure book.

Jess Lebow writer for Guild Wars gave an interesting workshop on More Interactivity. More than a lecture it was a brainstorming session where he asked the audience through provoking questions about current MMORG and how can change the world in those games so that a players actions can be more persistent. For example if a character kills a big boss, that boss is now dead for good. Or if a character destroys a bridge the bridge is now gone for good. These persistent events would then cause the game to generate new quests based off of what other players in the world have done or did not do.

There was also a sponsored lecture from AutoDesk that talked about the new features of Maya. If you have wanted to learn about Maya, don’t waste your time. Apparently the main new feature is a soft selection tool that allows you to select a vertices and surrounding vertices with a falloff. This feature has been around in Max forever, so it just gives me another reason to care less about Maya.

Finally Lane Merrifeld, Vice President of Walt Dsiney Internet Group gave a very informative Keynote lecture Putting the player first. His who lecture discussed how game designers need to be advocate for the players. To put the players first and how it’s almost like having a really good customer service program. You need to listen to your players and develop games that will be the kind they want to play not what you think they want to play.

Well that’s it for now. I’ll write more later.

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