Today was the big lauch of the actual conference, and with it the opening of the GDC expo floor and the arrival of the big-name studios and high profile, high money guys. Actually, I kinda miss the Summits.
Conferences have gotten longer, more polished and with almost no time for Q&A in several of them… just like AAA games now that I think of it.
This morning I attended the conference’s big opening at the hands (or rather, voice) of master illusionist Peter Molyneux. The main goal of the talk was to show off some of the features in Fable 3 and how it will fundamentally change everything about what we think of Fable. Honestly all in all it was pretty tame stuff: hide as much of the UI as possible, translate most menus into 3D objects, make the “use” button work on people to grab them by the hand, tweaked morphing of the character. Then he treated us to a demo to support what he said, which was well implemented, but not groundbreakingly awesome as he probably wanted us to think. One thing that was geniunely interesting though is the way they prototyped the storytelling mechanics of the game: they hired actors and had them go through the entire script to see what worked and what didn’t.
I chased that with a very refreshing talk by Yoshio Sakamoto, from Nintendo. He was instrumental in the development of the Metroid series, as well as the WarioWare titles, and was here to talk about Metroid: Other M, his current project, and his general design philosophy. The main crux of the talk was: how is it possible that the same person can either create “serious touch” games (Metroid) as well as “comical touch” games (WarioWare). Basically to him it boils down to four principles he extracted from the movies of film director Dario Argento: Mood, Timing, Foreshadowing, Contrast.
Another thing we learned from hiw is that he was the director of Tomodaki Collection, a quirky DS game where you do little sketches using your friend’s Miis. Basically that game is awesome and I will try to get my hands on it as soon as I get back.
I followed that with an Uncharted 2 postmortem where I learnt that Naughty Dog is the MEWST OSOM STEWDYO EVAH. meh.
After lunch, I attended a conference by Blizzard’s Rob Pardo, about the Blizzard design process. He then listed a series of design principles they try to apply in each of their games. What is funny though is that the talk wasn’t really useful for anyone NOT working at Blizzard, since they are removed from the common, day-to-day annoyances of most developers, like RELEASE DATES or BUDGET. a way of saying “In heaven, everything is fine”.
The last talk of the day was about Movemenent Games and how to make them fun. What was funny about this is that many good examples came from Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 & 3, so I didn’t learn a thing, apart from “we’re awesome :D”.
Last day for me tomorrow!