Category Archives: Events

Posts about events, I’ve attended/will attend/am attending.

My GDC 2009 Notes Online

AI Roundtable!

I’ve took all evening putting up my GDC 2009 notes, woo! Pictures, slide links as appropriate/available, and slight checks on the notes actual content – although there are obviously major gaps and my notes are still improving, not quite got to “nicely abridged” yet in my style.

If there are any omissions or problems, email me and I’ll correct them. Extra slides (and notes if you want to have them uploaded) are welcome, but I’m pretty impressed – the majority of the talks (and I went to a lot of roundtables and panels rather then talks) are online. Enjoy!

GDC2009 – Friday – My Student Mixer, AI SIG roundtable, Game Preservation and a Cold

Friday – the final day of GDC. In the morning passing over a Larrabee session I visited the career area briefly – loud, busy, and I just noted who was there more then anything.

Later in the morning was the AI SIG Roundtable. There was really not much a chance of discussion on the problems with going forwards with the AI Standards the SIG seems to be built around. I hope that the issues are resolved and information provided or worked on that AiGameDev or the AI Guild themselves wouldn’t do – such as academic relations, looking at listing tons of papers, and so forth. I’m going to keep an eye on it and lurk but I’ve got too many commitments elsewhere to help directly.

I had my own session – the student mixer – just before lunch. I took a few notes – but mainly it was discussing some of the cool things the students present were able to do, how they felt about their course and work (which they are all usually fine with – no doubt the people who come to GDC are that dedicated πŸ™‚ ) and about the IGDA efforts I did a little questioning about if they thought more communication, student groups or possibly in the future a student event would be a good idea – on all counts yes, and I hope to get this going by myself if no one else will help πŸ™‚ – one of the things people dislike is the students have to be integrated into the normal chapter meetings, online resources and groups – segregating it helps immensely, since it would allow people interested in the area to help, but the rest to work on their own things.

During the mixer I finally got to meet Julia Brasil – who is finishing her design/art course soon, and I meant to meet last year. In fact I managed to miss Corvus Elrod who I saw once but had to rush off somewhere else. In any case, we went to the Preservation SIG meeting, then roundtable – lots of notes I have to write up, and a general feeling of some progress, with a lot more to do in the future came out from some of the stories people brought up. In related news to this seeing Devin Monnens article in the print IGDA Journal was awesome.

In the evening there was the AI Dinner, where I got to discuss all sorts of things. Some nice discussion on things with a few fellows from Google, including possibly getting the search term “A*” or “A* search” specially listed as an exception – since it currently just lists all the terms starting with A πŸ™‚ – also discussed some bits and pieces of AI, design of an MMO, and the IGDA a little.

Lastly, throughout the day I got a worse and worse cold. Urg, the final few days of my trip will be pretty basic – I’m writing this on Sunday and, well, I’m not out riding a bike as I had hoped – at least this didn’t hit me early on in the week. *sniff sniff* *achoo*

GDC2009 – Thursday – Meet the Press, QoL and a AI Roundtable

A lot of various things done on Thursday – this year I was looking to see what the IGDA was doing in more depth, especially on the QoL side. Jason Della Rocca is leaving, so they explained in the AGM that there is a process underway to get a new executive director. There was also news on the Leadership event issue – no apology from the person directly involved but at least an apology from the board chair herself at the lax actions of the response and not having any coherent voice, although I think more needs to be done (as did several question askers). The board voting (it being a rather closed process), the board being silent (they’re getting a blog, so a good first step) and other items were also brought up (website revamps, money issues, chapter restructuring). My notes will be up next week.

I also went to the QoL committee roundtable – a lot of issues were raised as being problems to tackle and there is a reasonable action plan underway – as well as changing it to a Special Interest Group so more people can get involved. I’ll report more on this as I get involved.

The morning had the second AI Roundtable – less people (it clashed with another AI session!), but very informative on some subjects. I’ll get notes up next week πŸ™‚

Finally, an area that I keep an eye on is game press – so going to Meet The Game Press panel was interesting. There was some good information on how to promote games – such as how to contact the press – and some of the problems they have too. They didn’t go much into why there wasn’t much journalism done, but it was at least very informative on how the 3 different sites run.

The evening had me visit the speakers party, which was fun (although I missed Simon Carless who I intended to chat to, who was always busy speaking with someone πŸ™‚ ), although I felt a little out of place just doing the lowest of the low student mixer (which I think is important, but I doubt everyone would, hehe πŸ™‚ ).

GDC2009 – Wednesday – Anti-Censorship and more

IGDA Luncheon

On Wednesday I intentionally missed the Nintendo keynote, which from checking the news didn’t announce anything interesting. I went to 4 sessions in the day – only 4! It’s utterly bizarre…

In any case, the first one was the Anti-censorship Committee Roundtable, which looked to do a few interesting things this year – a cheat sheet for the ESRB, information for debunking myths and regional grassroots campaigners or people who rally against laws. Some interesting people there I met who do European items too, which wasn’t covered much in the roundtable itself.

The next session on adding LIFE to Saints Row 2 was a big lesson in not giving designers too many things to do. 15,000 or something nodes on the map – slowly added over development, constantly erroring, and whenever art got updated the nodes sometimes were then in terrain. It however did add a good amount of artificial life – another big thing was that the basic things, not the special fire breathing mimes but just the smokers or groups of talkers were the best additions to the world since they are so common.

Lunch was the IGDA VIP Luncheon – it was nice to see some great praise for Jason although there was, sadly (and I should have seen if something was going to be done) no presentation of anything to him, even just a card or something else. A missed opportunity.

After lunch was the censorship roundup – an interesting look at the state of American censorship. Some stuff on countries I’ve not had a chance to check up on either. After this was the first AI roundtable – a great look at a whole range of areas, from multi-core processing to behavioural design to the way to implement things.

We checked out the Expo briefly before the awards, where a lot of the IGF games sadly were turned off (obviously all at some pre-awards thing, annoyingly I guess!). The IGF awards gave me a few titles to check out, the main awards were pretty standard – not much, I think, that really pushed games this year as much as some of the previous years, but at least Tim Schafer was fun πŸ™‚

I actually wrote this writeup of the day there too, I perhaps half wished I had something better to do I guess! Notes for this day will appear when all the others go up too.

GDC 2009 – Monday and Tuesday AI Summit


The GDC AI summit was pretty good. A wide range of topics covered – although as someone noted almost all of it for bipedal creatures, usually humans specifically – so it didn’t have as much on strategic AI or for other areas like space/flying – things with 3 dimensional movement.

A good highlight was a great demo by Damian Isla that showed an AI searching for a player, getting confused when the AI didn’t see the player where it last thought it was, then exploring further afield as necessary. The small amount of behaviour gave some pretty nice stuff – a problem being that showing that behaviour to the player is very difficult, and the technical aspects of dividing up spaces to search can get pretty complex. The use of emotions like that though is immensely fun.

I must admit I am more into the behavioural and design side of AI then the technical implementations – I have my notes up from the days, but the notes for the technical sessions might not be as good. These will be up shortly – they’ll take a little time to edit, and I’ll add them here and make a post (this weekend perhaps) when I’ve sorted them.

As for slides – the locations of them will vary. GDC is locking down their public access to slides, and the AI Guild is going to be member access only to β€œpeople who have shipped one game” and are an AI programmer. Therefore I’ll probably have a look around for some slides I want to re-read from the author’s own sites.

GameCity Meeting – Connected Nottingham, National Videogame Archive and …Charades!

Groan. Seed analogy for a company who is in Biosience.

Last Thursday evening I was able to attend some Gamecity things – firstly, the Connected Nottingham set of talks, which were from companies involved in the initiative and stating what they’ve done and are doing. See my gallery for some shots of this, the most groan-worthy one was the seed analogy on the right. It does seem there are some good active projects, and some totally business buzzword ones too.

How Iain wanted everyone at GameCity to react

The most interesting one was Iain Simons putting forward his great plans for GameCity:

  • GameCity TV – Free, online, HD footage from the previous years and newly recorded footage.
  • OpenGameCity – An open platform for user generated content.
  • GameCitizens – A community site, feedback, forums and integration into existing sites like Facebook

He did also explain about the National Videogame Archive – they have an updated site, and the work done through Nottingham Trent University is going well.

Iain and James (with their Wii avatars) discussing the archive

After this we went along to The Peacock to hear about the NVA from Dr. James Newman and Iain. It was going to be a curry at the Mogal, but this was called off due to a wedding πŸ˜‰

The talk was enthusiastic, with a lot of great information on how the project was going and a lot on why it is going. The first thing they brought up was “Where’s Horace?” – the game Horace’s Ski Run was shown, and is a game that is unplayable today since no where sells it. Iain said he wanted to start the idea with James after reading James’ The Myth of the Ergodic Videogame. Iain wrote to James and got the idea rolling. They wrote the book 100 Videogames, where they found they could have put thousands of entries in – but the problem was, where do you find these old games to play?

Supersession was the main topic that came from that – the form of forced obsolescence (in software and hardware) and the nature of being dissatisfied with the current games, since magazines do so much previewing and everyone is putting out the idea that the next is always the best.

They set out the mission statement (below) but categorically stated that the archive is not to play the items, and it is different to a museum. The final main point was the archive had secured funding from the DCMS, and had visited the National Archives, so are setup to be a very permanent project.

The archives mission statement

The talk was also a discussion too – people did shout suggestions and bring up topics or points to agree or disagree with James or Iain (some merged into the notes above). Horace was also spotted a few times for prizes πŸ™‚ Interesting stuff! Some more pictures in my gallery too.

Next came, of all things, Game Charades. I made a video, which was is both of half-drunken quality and terrible sound (my camera keeps peaking and cutting out sound). You also can’t see much. For those brave of heart, or who want to hear how no one got Defender, go take a gander (it’s not on Youtube, it’s 12 minutes long so won’t go on. Thanks Google! πŸ™ ).

The final thing was GameCity itself – Iain wanted to discuss the name – currently it was planned to be “GameCity [squared]” since it was fully going to be based around the main square (somehow, since I’m not sure how talks would do with trams running past!). Suggestions ranged from not using anything more then GameCity (my preference) or maybe having just a subtitle left out of the main logo, to some ideas like Game4City, GameCity 4, GameCity 2009, and others (many I can’t remember, I hope they wrote them down).

The other thing to take away from the event was it was advertised only on Twitter and Facebook – everyone I chatted to commented that Iain needed to send out a proper news announcement more then 2 days in advance πŸ˜‰ but it was an interesting experiment.

I hope to see those GameCity sites go up soon πŸ™‚ and also maybe see more NVA news which I am sure to report on Preservation SIG blog.

My GDC 2009 Session! Everyone please come! :)

I’m helping the IGDA this year at GDC, where I got offered to help by hosting the Students Social Gathering, and I’m on the GDC site too, wow πŸ™‚ – and I look terrible, yes, oh well! Let’s hope I move on from “Graduate” too, in one way or another. I’m not exactly sure what the event will consist of yet, I might have to plan something, but it is a social gathering, so should be great (I missed last years – it clashed with something else sadly). I hope also that the social is open like 2008, where people who just had an Expo pass could get to the IGDA booth (I think), making it more accessible to students, which for this is perfect.

Also up is the Preservation SIG Roundtable (we’ll see, but I doubt there’ll be any history sessions, although there was one last year I missed), and all the other IGDA things. I’ll be hopefully attending Dave and Alex and Many Other’s organised AI Summit, too. I’ll see if there is anything else interesting, nearer too it I think.

OneLifeLeft Christmas Party and CD: Music To Play Games By

The stars!

Last Saturday hosted an awesome (but for me, cut short) Christmas extravaganza party being the OneLifeLeft Christmas episode recording (who knows if it’ll be worth airing however), and the launch of the OneLifeLeft CD: Music To Play Games By.

I took a few videos, the first of Craig “The Rage” doing another great poem:

Awesome signs!

And Derek Williams did a 3 song set of really unique rap, here’s the first:

Set 2 and Set 3 are also available, all in low quality as is the case with all my camera recordings πŸ™‚

The CD itself was great – Β£6 on the night, and only Β£7 at Amazon now. I got it signed by the cast (Ste, Simon and Ann) as well as the contributors there (Derek and Craig), and finally without knowing who he was, I got Simon who organised the effort to sign it too, awesome πŸ˜€ (Check his page for more details on the albums content). There are songs, if you like the general OneLifeLeft feel, for everyone. I especially enjoy The Lost Levels and The Doyouinverts, with excellent tracks on there, and also Optimus Rhyme’s Obey The Moderator song was surprisingly good. πŸ™‚

Well worth checking out in my opinion!

IGF 2009


The entries are now out, all 226 of them. I didn’t realise so many got past the initial entry phase! (I’ve no idea if it’s more or less then last year). There is a lot of competition, from some great games – I’ve only have the opportunity to play around 5-10 of them, and the others all look good too. I’ll do a post about the ones I’ve played later, once I’ve had time to mull it over, and I’ll also try and see what other games on the list are playable.

Now I just wish I had a clue on what might win so I could play them before GDC!