Having survived day one of GDC Canada, filled with meeting great people and listening to excellent talks, the next day would even top my experience. First, of course, I went to see the keynote by Bioware founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk about their quest to fully engage a player emotionally in the interactive narratives they create. Again, it was a very friendly atmosphere, almost like you were hanging out at a friend’s place for watching game trailers and having barbecue. The presenters were excellent, however, contentwise I yearned for more than just a recap of Bartle’s player types and cool clips of their milestone games, but was left unserved. Then, there was also this trailer, which was different and disturbing:
Anyway, the keynote was brief enough to head back up to Future Play again and join the excellent workshop on Designing Effective Exercise Video Games organized by Nick Graham, together with Tad Stach and Regan Mandryk. I really enjoyed the presentation and also the topic does warrant a lot of research and got me really intrigued to look into this in more detail. Maybe even follow up on it with an article. After a brief lunch, it was then time for our ultimate panel on game metrics and biometrics (empirical game research fueled by numbers), which was accumulating the speakers you see in the picture at the start of this article. Mike, Regan, Tad and Alessandro are all experts in their areas and we had a lot of fun putting this together and discussing it with the audience (albeit maybe too brief for such a broad topic). I must say that this really was my highlight of the conferences. The slides to this are here:
Following this, I tried to get my adrenaline down again for one last talk that I had to give on my research paper at Future Play 2009 called From Playability to a Hierarchical Game Usability Model. This theory allows some of my other research to be placed in context. It was the shortest of the presentations I was giving, but nevertheless, you can find the slides here:
The other papers in this session about generative behavior patterns and measuring gaming preferences were also really interesting. So, I decided to stick with Future Play for the rest of the day, watching Alessandro‘s presentation on gameplay metrics, and an innovative approach to 3D tracking using two Wiimotes presented by David Scherfgen, who I met right after I got off the plane and hung out with during some spare time at the conference. He also is the author of the German game programming book “3D-Spieleprogrammierung mit DirectX 9 und C++” (3D game programming with DirectX 9 and C++), so you should really buy that book to support his studies! 🙂
The session closed with a health game talk by Tommy Brett of Algoma U, for which I miserably failed at playing his flash game (for demonstration). The day ended with too much rain, but lots of good feelings.
So, I close with acknowledging that Canada is an excellent environment for developing games and Vancouver is a great place to have a conference. I hope to be able to come back in the future.