it's an interestinG tiMe for ConneCteD GaMes. Ti TlES RANGiNG FROM Ci T Y OF HEROES TO TEAM FORTRESS 2 ARE SUDDENl Y
EMBRACiNG THE FREE-TO-PlAY MODEl, "TRADiTiONAl" PUBliSHERS likE CAPCOM ARE FORECASTiNG DRAMATiC wORlDwiDE
GROw TH FOR ONliNE GAMES B Y 2015 OR SO, AND w E'v E COME TO FiND OU T THAT Z YNGA iS APPAREN Tl Y wOR TH ONE BilliON DOll ARS.
EvEN iF YOU'RE NOT CURRENTlY EMBRACiNG CONNECTED GAMES, THERE'S OBviOUSlY A lOT TO lEARN FROM THOSE wHO ARE.
The Game Developers Conference Online may be a smaller event
than GDC proper, but it is by no means "GDC Jr." This annual spin-off
conference is focused much more on online games, be they casual,
MMOs, virtual worlds, or games on social networks.
The event, which is held in "weird" Austin, attracts more than 3,000
attendees to its over 120 sessions, with tracks catered to professionals
specializing in business and marketing, game design, customer
experience, production, and programming.
Among the many panels scheduled, this year's show will see former
World of Warcraft designer Tom Caldwell discussing the causes of
poor game design, CCP's Valerie Massey sharing how she prepares
for and deals with audience crises, Zynga's Rober Zubek giving an
engineering postmortem on the immensely popular cityVille, and
PopCap's Giordano Bruno Contestabile helping to make the difficult iOS
vs. Android decision just a little bit easier.
the Game Developers Choice
online awards at GDC online.
And no, this isn't a "social only" club, either. Other speakers this year
include folks from Eidos Montreal (deus ex: Human reVolution), Bio Ware
Austin (tHe old republic), Volition (saints ro W), and more.
Due to demand, this year's show adds a new Customer Experience
Track, which finally provides a dedicated series of panels for what is
quickly becoming one of the most important sectors of the online games
business. Topics will include building and managing online communities,
policing user-generated content, anti-fraud tactics, and more.
As always, the show will host dedicated summits in addition to
the main conference. The Game Narrative Summit will focus on best
practices for interactive storytelling, the Virtual Items Summit will
explore design and monetization techniques for virtual goods, and the
Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit will discuss the future of gaming
on both established and emerging portable platforms.
To prepare you for the show, which takes place October 10–13,
we've highlighted a handful of staff picks from the sessions that have
been announced so far. As always, head over to GDCOnline.com for the
most up-to-date information on what's happening at the show.
Building the Story-driven Experience
of Deus ex: Human Revolution
Mary De Marle eiDos Montreal
Like the legendary original game in the series, deus ex: Human reVolution manages to tell a pointed, compelling story while
giving its players the creative freedom to shape their own destinies. In
this hour-long lecture at the Game Narrative Summit, lead writer and
narrative designer Mary De Marle will share her team’s approach to
story-based game development, revealing how they managed to keep a
tight grasp on the game’s various branching paths.
Designers are Human Too—
Causes of Poor Design Decisions
toM CaDwell riot GaMes
The road to bad games is paved in good intentions. In this design lecture, former World of Warcraft designer Tom Cadwell (now
at Riot Games) will explore the single most common flaw amongst
game designers: natural human tendencies. Cadwell will share some of
the methods he’s developed for identifying bad decisions before they
become costly, and how to combat what he calls “these all-too-common
forces of evil.”
DEFCON: A Basic Guide to Crisis
Valerie Massey CCP GaMes
It’s hard to imagine a better test case for online community crises than eVe online. The game is designed at its core to be about as
open to freedom and emergent gameplay as is feasible for a major MMO,
and as a result players are gambling with their real-world dollars. CCP’s
PR and community director Val Massey will share her experiences, and
offer tips and tools to stay calm and get things back to normal when
inevitable community crises happen.
robert Zubek ZynGa
In this talk aimed at social game programmers, Zynga’s principal software engineer Dr. Robert Zubek will discuss the server-side
engineering techniques that allowed his team to rapidly iterate and
grow cityVille into the most popular game on Facebook. The talk will
also cater to those who have little experience in the social space, and
will expose some of the challenges that await the green Facebook game
How Metrics Are Ruining Your Game;
Common Pitfalls and Uncommon Solutions
ian wanG ZynGa
Despite the title of this talk, Zynga product manager Ian Wang admits that good metrics can complement the game design