Back from Develop

01 August 2008

So that was Develop.

To put it in a nutshell – or at least, what I remember that can be bounded by a nutshell:

strong ideas, building bands, Kirks and Picards, theatre, cultural studies, mise en scène, horror through constraint, good individuals versus great teams, cultural studies, importing the wrong ideas about movies, rather good chocolate cakes, putting many names to faces, impromptu One Life Left appearance, listening to children, being a good teacher, nuArgs, still needing to play Chain Factor, developers’ main hatred of Flash being its lack of IDE (and static typing), all games are alternate realities, feelies, importance of good user-testing, importance of realistic user-testing, input-behaviour-control, cybernetics as model for AI, de-emphasising behaviour in favour of farming out to concepts, fish and chips in a Hove park, sea air, 2K Boston’s virgin-hiring practices, Kotaku-headline meme, lists of fantasy movies, The Final Countdown on four-player Band Brothers DX, raspberry coffee.

As for my talk, it seemed to go pretty well and people were positive. I’ll try to get it up within the week. I’ve also got some notes from a few sessions I’d like to write up, because my web and design readers might enjoy them. Doing that might make sense of some of those notes.

Thanks to everybody who made it so memorable: it was a pleasure to meet you all.

Some exciting news: I’m going to be talking at NLGD, the Dutch Festival of Games in Utrecht, in two weeks time.

I’m going to be talking about “What games can learn from social software”. There’s lots of interesting stuff going in social software and Web 2.0 as a whole that really isn’t permeating far enough into the games industry – yet – so this talk is designed as an overview of some of the more interesting (and not immediately obvious) aspects of social software, and how they might apply to games. I think it should be both fun and informative, and despite the usual pressures, I’m looking forward to writing it a lot.

The talk itself is spun out of my session at Gamecamp, which turned out to be incredibly successful – lots of great discussion and enthusiastic feedback.

And so I’m going to Utrecht. Looking forward to it, if only because it’s always exciting to attend a conference outside your core interests. I’ve spoken about games before, but never to the games industry, so that’ll be quite exciting: lots of new people to meet, lots of new perspectives to hear.

A PDF transcript of my Reboot talk is now live. It’s essentially a tidied-up version of the wadge of paper I spoke from, so excuse the conversational tone. Hope you enjoy it.

So, my talk – Telling Stories turned out alright in the end. If you saw it, I hope you liked it. If you’re interested in obtaining a written copy of it – which I have, because I wrote it longhand – then email me. I slightly deviated from the written version, and am not sure I want to put it online directly in its current state – it needs tidying – but I’ll happily send you a PDF.

Reboot8 is over, now. For me, it was awesome. I’ll write a little bit more about it later today or tomorrow. There’s lots to digest, and lots of people to thank. To everyone I met, it was a pleasure; to those I’ve met before, a pleasure to see you again. And thanks for vaguely shepherding me. I get a little lost at these things, you know.

So: more concrete thoughts, a bit of a wrap-up, and a stack of photographs later.

Breaking cover

30 May 2006

Been quiet here; it’s been busy at work (more on that next week) and it’s been busy outside work, working on my talk for Reboot.

Looking forward to Reboot hugely. The lineup looks fabulous – really mind-expanding, powerful stuff – and I’m really looking forward to meeting the many new faces I don’t know, as well as seeing old friends again.

I hope to put the PDF of the slides, big as it may be, online soon, along with a rough PDF script. Let me polish them off, first. Also, there’s now a pReboot podcast interview with me over at bloxpert which you can listen to. Not sure how it came across – a bit enthusiastic, a bit dorky – but hope it all makes sense.

Post-Denmark, things will really kick off around these parts. Hoping to be writing more, taking more pictures, and making sure it’s all very visible here. What Ben writes about building and sculpting the tangible, the physical is really striking a chord right now. Now, I just need to work out how to build these things.

So you may (or may not) be aware that I gave a 40-minute talk at Etech this year entitled “From Paddles to Pads: Is Controller Design Killing Creativity In Videogames?“. Well, I’m now doing a 15-minute recap of it in the UK (London, to be precise) at an event which (for one reason or another) is entitled Technology 2.0. If that sounds offputting, consider this: it’s basically ConCon 2006 (and that may still make no sense to you, so in short: people at US conferences recap them for those who couldn’t make it).

Anyhow, details of the event are linked above; it’s free, but it’s also RSVP only. Do come if it sounds interesting (or, more to the point, you want a quick yammer afterwards). I’ll be doing my best to ram an 8000-word, 67-slide extravaganza into 15 minutes, and give a rough overview of my argument (if not all the lovely evidence). There are fewer words in this version of the talk. There are, however, more slides than before, and a new joke about Larry Lessig.

Also, Yoz is talking about Ning, which should be fun (in a UK context) and there’s more goodness from the Ludlams. And it’s all chaired by Internet Celebrity, The Dave Green (from NTK). More to the point, there’s drink later. So maybe see you then. Do say hello if we’ve not met before.

(Yes, I know I still haven’t got around to posting my Etech recap and notes. I will get around to this shortly, but it’s still percolating, which is probably a good thing).