A relatively boring day until Session #5, which made the whole trip worthwhile.
There was a St. Patrick's Day parade running the length of one of the streets I had to cross to get to the convention hall, so I ended up wasting a lot of time getting to a crosswalk past the end of the parade before being told by a bystander that I could of just walked across in the first place. Annoying.
Most of the day was spent in semi-boredom. I walked around playing a few of the demos that were on display, but there were considerably less people walking around than previous days. Some booths were already closed up or taken down.
It was the last day of the event after all.
Apparently, the person that collected the business cards I acquired from the IGDA party game threw them away, according to Joshua Caulfield. About 10 or 11 potential opportunities down the drain there. If you're reading this and you're one of the people I collected a business card from and wish to get in contact with me, email me at
Complementary Session #4
"Guild Wars: The Artists' Vision"
Speaker: Daniel Dociu (Chief Art Director, NCsoft West)
Lots of pretty artwork. There's not really much to say about this presentation that you won't see by watching the presentation yourself. Unfortunately, since my game design values tend to differ from those that prefer and make these fantastic concept artworks and 3D environments, although I listened carefully most of the meaning of the presentation went over my head.
After the session, I picked up "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud (a book that's been on my wishlist for a long time) at the GDC shop. The Expo floor closed down as I left to attend the final complementary session.
Complementary Session #5
"Single-Player, Multiplayer, MMOG: Design Psychologies for Different Social Contexts"
Speaker: Ernest Adams (Game Design Consultant, International Hobo)
Now this guy... was awesome. He's the founder of the IGDA and writer of the famous No Twinkie Database, so I had been looking forward to this session all week (actually, you can see me in the video linked to above, the guy in the tan fedora in the front row). I would encourage anyone who has even a remote interest in game design (or even games period) to listen to this presentation. I would especially encourage a listen if you want to know what ultimately is the real difference between singleplayer, multiplayer, MMO pay-to-play, and MMO free-to-play genres are at their core as it pertains to the role of the game designer. Heck, I'd even recommend this lecture if you are merely interested in the state of game interactions as they exist today.
Because of this presentation, I can almost concretely say that I will never (if my job security allows me) participate as a designer of anything in an MMO. When I was in high school, I thought that MMOs were the ultimate gaming experience (realize this was long before World of Warcraft or even Ragnarok Online really came to prominence). I thought that fictional environments such as ".hack" were the future of gaming as we know it. Put simply, I was a moron. People suck, both offline and online. More often than not, the people that don't suck offline do suck once they go online. I'm sure I'm not the first person to say that anonymity has long beaten familiarity in the "what breeds contempt" department. We learned when we were three years old that with accountability comes respect, and now that we're older we know its inverse is true as well. Until we as a civilization understand that bullshit is bullshit, that's the way it's going to be.
...actually, I might be willing to help make an MMO if it immutably requires teamwork and mutual respect.
After I left the convention hall, I spent some time wandering around the area between there and the hotel. I've uploaded photos to the album of the parade and sight-seeing (NOTE: the photo timestamps are an hour behind).