What a day.
Complementary Session #2
"Engineering Scalable Social Games"
Speaker: Robert Zubek (Senior Software Engineer, Zynga)
I spent a chunk of the day walking around to the booths for different educational institutions that promised game development courses and degrees. I'm (planning on) graduating this winter, so I wanted to know why they think I should dive in again and go for their program.
This place surprised me actually. The person running the booth told me that she couldn't ethically tell me that I should go to DigiPen as I am now. She essentially said that if I did go I'd have to retake a bunch of core curriculum courses that are standard with any formal degree plan, and so I should wait a few years and maybe go to DigiPen once I was in the industry and their "part-time" Masters Degree program was up and running. Seeing that kind of integrity from a recruiter made me think that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea after-all.
Told me that I should come see the campus, that their professors were partially scholastic and partially game industry vets, and that since they're relatively nearby that I should come up and tour their Dallas campus some time. The guy I talked to seemed genuine enough, and said if I came up on when he was available he'd give me the tour himself.
By this time I was getting a little bit tired of chatting up University recruiters. They didn't seem that interested in talking to me either. Finally got to play Devil's Tuning Fork at a booth there though. When I initially downloaded it to my computer, their website didn't list any system requirements, so when it failed to play I thought maybe there's something wrong with the game. Always add minimum/recommended system requirements as soon as you put the game online (if you have the chance).
There are a number of photos are up in the album of the PlayStation Move in action.
I'm going to leave off my analysis of the device until I make my official statement on Full Motion .org.
Virtual 360 Ventures "Virtusphere"
Normally I'd be all over this, seeing as the player can actually walk around in 3D space as much as they want (and is thus closer to the holodeck than any other tech on the Expo floor), but I know a born-to-sink idea when I see it. There's no way it'd gain widespread commercial success in retail. They even admitted themselves that they were looking for people interested in producing a game show with it.
I'm not saying the technology is a complete flop, just that the odds of me ever being able to use it are slim to none. Even at the convention, there was a really long line to play it, and honestly (as much as I really really wanted to) I didn't have that kind of time to wait in line to mess around with it.
Besides, it's not like you could jump while inside the thing. You'd be limited to 2.5D environments (unless of course they do something disjointed to the experience like give you a "jump" button on the gun).
Complementary Session #3
(Game Design / Visual Arts)
Listed Speakers: Daniel Benmergui (Senior Programmer, Core Security Technologies), Anthony Burch (Destructoid), Jason Rohrer (Independent), John Sharp (Professor, Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta), Frank Lantz (Creative Director, Co-Founder, area/code), Wesley Erdelack (Writer, versusclucluland.com)
I remember this one clearly. While all the speakers were excellent, only four of the six originally slated showed up. However, the session evaluation survey that we were given at the door didn't reflect that. No announcement was made before the session started as to which names we should cross off the evaluation survey. Furthermore, the speakers that were there didn't speak in the order listed on the survey. Overall, the survey came off as poorly designed (either that or there was a lack of communication between the speakers and the people that wrote the survey).
IGDA Members-Only Party
Mostly a meet-and-greet. I collected a couple of business cards and talked to a bunch of different people.
They had this "event game" though, designed by some people from the IDGA that they wanted these people at the event to participate in. As good as their intentions were, I personally feel this game was badly designed.
See, this IGDA members party was in a bar. The game was people had to collect the business cards of those around them and use the first letter of the words on these business cards (one person per letter) to construct some pre-determined words ("Monster" and "Chica") that they'd swap out whenever someone submitted that word. The person who submitted the most completed words by the end of the party would win a prize. Let me be clear about this. The game was asking people that were at a meet-and-greet party -- under social pressure to get drunk -- to participate in a word-construction game.
Anyway, I was probably the only one that DIDN'T get drunk, because I was the only person to submit any completed words. The listed rules of the game said they'd mark the business cards used to build a submitted word (so I couldn't use the same card twice) and then give the cards back to me so I could keep the business cards as business cards. However, they must of not had something to mark them with or something because the guy checking cards for the event said he'd have to hang onto them and that I'd get them back at the end of the party.
I submitted business card sets for both words (for a total of 10 or 11 business cards of people I'd never met before), and although I won the prize, when I tried to get the cards back I couldn't find the card-collector anywhere. Joshua Caulfield, Executive Director of the IGDA (who ran the event but didn't collect the cards) told me to come by the IGDA booth tomorrow to get them back.
Here's a link to the album. Todays additions are mostly photos of the PlayStation Move and the Virtusphere.