It’s a little bit sad, as this is the first time in 10 years we haven’t done it, but it’s all good!
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6 Responses to “Experimental Gameplay GDC session cancelled.”
too sad! I was really looking forward to some good feedback from the professionals… well, what can you do…
>our method has always been to show the maximum amount of goodness in the minimum time
In order to solve that equation, it would help to fix one of 2 variables Have a certain amount of time and maximize the goodness or have a certain amount of goodness and minimize the time. I think you can’t have both
My draw dropped when I read this. I can’t believe it’s cancelled! It was the event I was most looking forward to at GDC this year. I had to miss it last year (my first time at GDC) as the band I was performing with at the GANG Awards that night was rehearsing on the other side of the divider of the same room.
Are you going to be presenting the Nuovo Session’s which is taking the slot Jonathan?
I’d like to say something about a very old arcade game called Qix. The titular enemy moved unpredictably around the screen, while the player tried to constrain it by drawing lines in the manner of an Etch-a-sketch toy. This had the unusual effect of rewarding cautious progress: an initial dash to bisect the play area was unlikely to succeed.
This was during the prosperous period between the invention of the first computer-controlled enemy (Space Invaders) and the financial collapse of 1983. Arcade game manufacturers were keen to innovate, as were amateurs with home computers, but although there were plenty of home-made variants of games like Pacman (suitably renamed, to sidestep Namco’s trade mark), the flow of ideas almost never went the other way.
My explanation is that home computers were far less powerful than arcade game hardware. The Sinclair Spectrum, for example, sold exceptionally well in Britain, largely because of its low price. It had no dedicated hardware to handle graphics sprites or sound generation, which was more of a drawback than people realised. Arcade games at the time all ran at 60 frames per second, but very few games for home computers could even synchronise with the TV at 25 fps.
Indeed, 64k of memory was a king’s ransom; fitting a game into much less space was a definite virtue. If the words of wisdom in the victory message could be condensed into a sentence or two, so much the better. You’re profoundly appalled at the thought of someone ripping all the artistic content out of Braid, leaving just a clockwork pocket-watch that would fit in an iPhone (or indeed, a Spectrum), but it’s something that makes perfect sense to a stumbling monster built out of coloured sticks.
Nowadays, the drive for progress in video games has been subverted into a fetish for cinematic spectacle, which can be produced formulaically, but not generated automatically by computer. It is expensive to pay people to do a computer’s work: the industry is already stumbling under this heavy burden.
Rather than designing, say, a blind variant of Wolfenstein 3D, played solely with audio cues in surround sound, it would be more useful to develop a mark-up language to enable computers to synthesise speech with something resembling human emotion.
Qix had plenty of remakes, featuring an enemy drawn as a sprite, spitting projectiles at irregular intervals, and background pictures to be uncovered using the natural game mechanism, but ten megabytes of suggestive photos do nothing to change the game itself: they are just an offering to the gods of technological progress.