GDC 2013 Day 2

Sorry for not posting this sooner. I was tired from walking from the party to the hotel room.

To start off, I spent a whole day attending the Game Design Workshop Day 2. Since I signed up for it in advance, I get to go in ahead of others in line. For our first exercise, we formed teams so each can do a paper simulation of an existing digital game. I proposed Super Smash Bros. because I thought it would be easier to do in paper (or cards).

In order to build a paper version of a digital game, you have to identify your game’s play aesthetics first. Aesthetics are emotional responses that the player makes when playing the game. Next, you choose one aesthetic element you intend to capture in your paper version. You should write it down (on a card) and place it in the middle of your table so your team will be constantly reminded that while making the game. For my team’s key aesthetic, it was frenzy.

While you are making the paper simulation, you shouldn’t worry about the details of the original game. Also, don’t try to duplicate the whole digital game. Just try to invoke a key emotional response from your players in your paper version. In the end, my team has managed to make the game very frenzy or chaotic. However, we made it less Super Smash Brothers. Somebody in my team said it was more like Tekken.

At this point, I have realized that making paper prototypes makes it easier to design your game. It also helps you understand existing games even more. It is also very quick and cheap. I will try doing this so often when I get back home.

After finishing the prototype, I went to attend an elective called Three Musketeers. I chose it because it seemed simpler and easier of all the other electives. I never play the game before so I paired with another person and played it for a while.

After that, we formed a team with another pair to modify the orignal game into a 3-player and 4-player game. For a 3-player game, we replaced one of the cardinal’s men in the corner with a new piece called captain of the cardinal’s men. This piece was obviously controlled by the third player. Unlike cardinal’s men, it can move to another space by switching places with its adjacent cardinal’s man orthogonally and diagonally. If I remember the new rule correctly, the captain wins the game by killing two of the three musketeers. In the 4-player version, the rules from the 3-player remain the same. However, we replaced the remaining cardinal’s man in the corner with d’Artagnon. The player that controls this piece wins the game by lining with the three musketeers orthogonally or diagonally or killing the captain of cardinal’s man. These modifications I believe made our game more fun.

While I learned a lot from this workshop, I also exchanged business cards with people I met there. It seems I made a good start in networking.

Our speakers at the workshop said they will post the materials on their website after GDC. I will post those links when they are available.

I better get ready for day 3! I’m still deciding whether I should attend Hideo Kojima’s panel or Overview of PS4 for Developers panel.

GDC 2013 Day 1

For people who don’t quite know me yet, I am a freelance HTML5 developer currently working at H4B Catapult, which is a New Jersey-based non-game company, who is interested in working in the game industry as a programmer.

To start of my first day at GDC 2013, I retrieved my all-access pass at the registration booth. It is my second time coming to GDC. My first time was in 2011. I didn’t attend last year because I didn’t have enough money. I’ve been saving my money from freelancing for this.

The first summit I attended was How to Make an Original F2P Game. I might have missed the first advice on that. I’ll have to look it up on GDC Vault. However, I managed to write down the rest on my notes on my iPad. Here are what I have wrote down so far:

2. Use (and make) tools that create gameplay quickly
3. Listen to what your customers do (not only what they say)
4. Build games w/ broad design space (and broad monetization potential as result)
5. Keep the team small
6. Big changes post release
7. Bring in art late (focus on making the game fun first, then make the art look good in the production stage)

Overall, these points will help you and your team develop a successful free-to-play (or non-F2P) game. These will help me well. The team I helped form recently ended up disastrous due to multiple reasons (very tiny team working on a big project with no clear deadline and recruited wrong people). It is very difficult for me to find the right people in Philadelphia area who is willing to work with me on a team project. Unless I get hired outside of Philly, I will try forming a team again when I get back.

I thought about writing more about all the other summits and tutorials I attended today, but I don’t feel like wasting a lot of time and space repeating some of the things I already stated on my Twitter tweets. You can follow my tweets through @DimensionalEye if you haven’t already.

I originally wanted to network with people attending this year’s GDC, but more people planned to attend the last three days. I’m kind of bit disappointed that I haven’t done that yet. I may have to try be more bold. I’m hoping that the more people I network with, the higher my chances of getting into the game industry.

Tomorrow, I plan to attend Game Design Workshop Day 2 since I have registered for it. When I tried to attend day 1’s workshop, I couldn’t get in because it was packed. I’ll have to wake up early and be there early as possible so I can be one of the first people in line.

I hope tomorrow will be better.