One of these years I’ll actually go to GDC. It would be nice of course not to foot the bill myself, but that may be my only option. There seems to be a lot going on at this year’s show, including a keynote address by the guy I wrote my master’s thesis about, Ray Kurzweil.
But if I can’t go, at least I can read all the news that comes out of the show. This report in particular, about a game designer named Blow (not sure where he came up with that) and his ten new challenges for game design. I love reading articles about game design and the theory behind it. They get the academic side of my brain going (my inner academigeek?) and help me understand different ways of looking at games.
Faithful readers may remember that I tend to take a very analytical approach to game design, and Mr. Blow apparently bristles at that approach, calling it “sterile.” Thankfully, he provides some useful (if somewhat obvious) alternative paradigms for people thinking about game design.
Aside from thought-provoking and mind-bending keynote speeches, probably the biggest news to come out of GDC this year is Microsoft’s announcement that they are launching, later this year, Xbox LIVE community games, essentially a YouTube of gaming where anyone can create games (using Microsoft’s XNA development tools) and publish them for people to play. Bruce Everiss gives a dramatic account of the news in which he heralds “a flowering of innovation and creativity beyond anything the game industry has ever seen before. Probably beyond what any creative industry has seen before.” Whoa, there.
I doubt Microsoft’s announcement will have much impact on me in the short term, since I use a Mac-based game development platform. However, this does open the door for far more indie games, and I will be shocked if Sony and Nintendo don’t release a similar system for their consoles. It will certainly give me a lot more insight into my competition. Unity is already equipped for Wii development, so if that happens (and if Wii development kits become more easily available), I’ll be ready.