Today, I had a chance to hear from Eric Bethke, Matt Mihaly, and Sulka Haro, all with fascinating things to say about providing market environments inside of games. I have to say, Habbo Hotel is one of the coolest things I've seen. Too bad I'm not in its target demographic. Not that I need another reason to spend more time at the computer...
I also had the opportunity to hear Ernest Adams. Woah. He had all kinds of craz-ee good things to say about story/game design, the summary of which is "it's all about the user experience/there's no one way to do it." One of his slides was a list of different non-interactive story-telling methodologies. It's all about your repertoire and how you use it.
I learned a lot this week. For one, a "main stream" developer like me could jump into the "gaming" industry and still fit in. No, I doubt I would play World of Warcraft for hours on end but you know what? I got skeelz. I was talking to someone at a fairly well-known gaming company who said that more and more games are needing developers who can do SQL. Yeah, that's right, apparently not enough of the game developers like to deal with databases so there's a niche to be filled. Can I do tools? It would appear so.
Can I do "out-of-game"? Uh, yeah, it's this thing called social software. It's been around in the Internet world for, uh, a while now.
This week has certainly been a challenge in communication. It's difficult to walk into a new culture and "speak their speak," even if it's in my mother tongue.
Another thing I learned is, there's still lots of potential in "casual games." I get the feeling that hard-core gamers who attend the convention don't like to be bothered with the other 90% of the world but, duh, that's where the growth potential is! How do I get into some of that action?
Today was a good way to wrap up the GDC. Overall, I had a very positive experience at the conference; learned a lot, met lots of new people, and checked out new technology. I don't know if I'll be back. If I'm in a job next year that sends me, perfect. If not, I doubt I'll take the week off and foot the bill myself.