With the annual Child’s Play drive just started (and I do encourage you to support their generous work) I wanted to mention a couple other gamers’ charities that merit your attention: The Spiel Foundation and the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. Continue reading Gamers’ Goodwill Generates Giving
I’ve decided that there’s been a glaring omission on this site. A couple of years ago I was invited to give a speech at the Game Connect Asia Pacific conference. “Cool,” I thought, “I’ve never been to Australia.” Then, having accepted the invitation, I found out later that I’d been scheduled at the keynote, this fact having somehow not been communicated to me. “Oh, shit,” I thought.
Just a quick note: with PAX Dev coming up, I’m going to be spending a lot of time prepping for the event, flying to and fro, and of course presenting. If the updates get sporadic here for the next week or two, it’s not for loss of interest on my part.
For that matter, I’m extending my stay for a few days, and it looks like I should be able to make at least part of the main show at PAX Prime.
Looks like I’ll be out at PAX Dev next week, helping to present the Mechanics/
I’m filling in at the last minute, so I’m not even briefed yet on exactly how we’re treating the material. But I know Marc has done these compressed workshops before at various times, and the event is always a hit with the attendees. For me, it’s a long way to go to teach for three hours, but it should be a lot of fun.
The festive advent of the Game Developers Conference is here. The conference basically starts a day early for me each year, with the pre-conference faculty meeting for the Game Design Workshop. Getting to California early is hardly an unwelcome thing after a winter in Boston.
How much time I’ll have to collect my thoughts about the conference remains to be seen. But, hey, if you happen to be here because I gave out my timstellmach.com contact information at the Workshop, then welcome!
One of the highlights of this year’s Game Developer’s Conference was Harvey Smith and Matthias Worch’s talk, “What Happened Here: Environmental Storytelling.” There’s not much point in my going into great detail about what they said, because they have posted extremely thorough slides and lecture notes. Suffice it to say, the talk is about the way that set-dressing choices provide a parallel narrative channel, which is powerful in the way that it invites acts of interpretation from the player, at his own pace.
First, as an aside, I seem to not be the only one interested in this topic, as Emily Short (I think it was) drew comparisons between this player experience and Interactive Fiction at the IF panel at PAX East. Many people don’t seem to even realize that games have storytelling methods available to the designer other than non-interactive cutscenes, so this is a topic I was very happy to see getting some attention.
The really thought-provoking part of the talk for me, though, was what the presenters called “Systemic Environmental Storytelling.” Continue reading Environmental Storytelling and Emergence
I have a couple of volunteer gigs coming up shortly. Next week, I’ll be reviewing paper prototypes with a group at the awesome Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. I’ll probably draw heavily on Stone Librande’s material on the topic from the Game Design Workshop at GDC.
Later in the month, I’ll be helping GAMBIT’s Sara Verrilli with a game design exercise she’s developing for the Boston Beyond IQ Conference on highly gifted children. I’ve been to this event several times before, and am glad to finally have the opportunity this year to pitch in.
The announcement just went out at work: the end of next week will be my last day at Vicarious Visions, after eight and a half years. I’m feeling excited, apprehensive, relieved, happy, sad, grateful, and adventuresome. I have some possible consulting clients I need to follow through with, some projects people have suggested, and very little pressing need of my own to do anything I don’t want to.
I’ll be keeping an eye open at PAX East this weekend, though. You never know when something interesting might turn up.