Given my current workload, blog content is likely to be less of a priority over the next six weeks as my editing chores for the new book intensify (Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames; a multi-author book on writing skills by the IGDA Game Writers' SIG), Fireball demands more and more attention, and other (sub rosa) projects fight for the scraps of my time. I don't know if I'll be writing less, or just using my blog time to work on Fireball yet - I guess we'll find out soon enough!
In the meantime, here are few quick recommendations for GDC...
"Emotion Boot Camp: Putting More Emotion into Play", Nicole Lazzaro & Katherine Isbister (Full Day Tutorial, Monday 20th March). It irks me that I am not able to make GDCs for the tutorials this year, as this one just sounds perfect. A pragmatic exploration of the emotions evoked by games, and how to encourage emotional responses in your players. I wish more of GDC was like this.
"IGDA Writer's Special Interest Group Presents: Write Club", Edward Kuehnel, Matthew Entin and guests (One Hour Tournament, Wednesday and Thursday) This is the craziest thing I've ever seen make it onto the GDC schedule and as such deserves support! Come along to a truly experimental tournament as we see writers compete to out-write each other for honour and prizes!
"Writers Group Gathering", Me (Group Gathering, Wednesday, 2:30pm — 3:30pm). I have to plug this, I suppose... but if you're in the field of game writing, you should be here. We are also planning on having a Game Writer's meal every day of GDC (more or less) so there are plenty of opportunities to foster community.
"Attracting Women to Game Development", Michelle Sorger, Sande Chen (One Hour Roundtable, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday). I went to one of these roundtables last year and it was well worth the time. I'm struggling to fit it into my schedule this year, but I'm hoping to attend at least one of the slots. Also consider any of the Joseph Saulter slots on diversity. Our industry has a shocking lack of ethnic diversity and gender balance...
"Future Character Design: Out of the Lab and Into Your Game", Katherine Isbister (One Hour Lecture, Friday 24th March). Okay, I'm plugging Katherine Isbister again. What can I say. There's a shortage of Japanese game design talks this year... This is a talk about recent developments in research with implications for game design; no idea what that will entail, but I'm certain it'll be interesting.
Also highly recommended is the IGF (Independent Games Festival) - consistently the finest collection of games at any conference you will attend! Every year it single-handedly restores my faith in interactive entertainment. Makes E3 seem like vacuous marketing drivel... (unsurprisingly).
"Untitled", Will Wright (60 minute lecture, Thursday). There are several reasons I don't recommend this session. The first is the appaling lack of effort made by GDC to make it seem like a good use of your time. The conference notes read (in their entirety): "Overview: Why are you still reading this? It's Will Wright." Well Raid on Bungeling Bay was okay, I suppose, but what has he done since! :) The main reason to avoid this, however, is that it will be massively oversubscribed, you won't get a seat, you might not even get in the door and even if you don't brave the crowds to attend it live they are likely to screen repeats of it throughout the rest of the conference. Unless, like last year, EA decide not to let the GDC organisers screen repeats of it. They're such friendly folks at EA, full of the spirit of loving and togetherness. :) I guess that's a third reason not to attend.