CA Day 6, GDC Day 5

The final day was a bit of a blur, but these are the most memorable aspects of the day. Highlights from 24th March:

A New Vision for Interactive Stories

Presented by Ernest Adams. Got to stay for about half of the session because I was scheuduled to work, but what I was able to stay for was quite interesting. Adams talked about Façade and how players deliberately try to “break” the game by inputting dialogue that the game doesn’t understand. They complain that the AI is bad because the characters aren’t responding properly to the dialogue they type in. Adams gave the example of a player typing “Help! I’ve been shot!” as a greeting to another character in Façade. The characters in the game do not understand this exclamation because in the game, guns and violence do not exist. The game isn’t meant to offer a complete virtual world, and therefore it doesn’t understand what the player is saying. Rather than the game being flawed for not offering an experience that wasn’t intended in the first place, it is the player that is flawed for being a bad role-player.

The Game Studies Download: Top 10 Research Findings

With speakers Mia Consalvo, Jane McGonigal, and Ian Bogost. Didn’t actually get to see the session because I was stationed outside the door, coordinating entrance and seating of latecomers. Bummer. Going to download the PowerPoint slides, though.

The session was absolutely packed. The speakers were not prepared for the number of attendees, judging by the scant number of handouts (~50 copies?) they provided. The room’s capacity was for 400 people, and it was a challenge to seat everyone. I wish people were more sheep-like. Would have been easier to seat people after the session started if the early arrivers had all bunched in closer as I had instructed them to do, so that late arrivers could get to seats more easily. One guy absolutely refused to move from his chosen spot, making it more awkard for other attendees, who had to step around him to get seats. *sigh*

Conference Associate Post-Mortem Meeting

Suggestions were given on how the GDC could be better run and organised. Much swag was raffled off. I got to pick something from the book/audio/poster pile, and I chose The Game Producer’s Handbookby Dan Irish because I don’t know what a game producer does, and it seems to deliver a nice big picture view of the process of videogame production.

Hanging out at the CA Lounge

10 person multiplayer Tetris was a thing of beauty to behold. Random stuff.

Conference Associate Pizza Party

Pizza and fun. D&D talk. What was really cool was that none of them ever said, “Wow, it’s really rare to find a girl who plays D&D” or any variation of that comment. In fact, for the entire week, no one ever made any such comment to me regarding videogaming. I didn’t feel that anyone made assumptions that I lacked knowledge about videogames or industry news and events. It was so refreshing not to have to try to “prove” myself as an equal and as a gamer.

On the other hand, some slightly objectifying comments about women were tossed around at the dinner table. Don’t know if that meant that meant that I was “one of the guys” (no excuse), whether they were being insensitive/oblivious, whether they’d had too much alcohol to curb their comments (which isn’t a good excuse anyway) or whether they simply didn’t care (the worst) that they might offend the only woman sitting at the table (for most of the dinner that is). Hm…

Also, people tried to persuade me to move to San Jose.