Game Developers Conference Paris 2008

What a great news to have not far from home a Game Developers Conference! I've always been frustated to not have been gone to the San Franscisco GDC and to see a conference of Will Wright, of the guys from Valve or other great developers. This time the GDC takes place in France, and even if it's not so big than the San Francisco GDC, it's already a good start.
I had to go there only one day because the game i'm working on is more important, but I could chosse the day. I choose the Monday, because of the Media Molecule Conference (Little Big Planet) and the conference of the Level Design Technical Director of Bioware. The other conferences of the day was far more less interesting, and too much high level.

Mark Healey & Alex Evans of Media Molecule came to talk about their joy of developing innovative games within a small team (between 30 and 50 people). There was nothing else to retain in this conference in terms of content, but the presentation was pretty fun. They had designed a special level of Little Big Planet to replace the interactive Powerpoint slides. As they talked, they moved the characters through the level and show texts, images and videos (inside the game) for illustrate their statements. That was cool!

The Bioshock conference was entitled "BioShock should have failed". It was based on the listing of all the mistakes they've made during the making of the game before realize it was mistakes and make adjustments. What I remembered the most is that Bioshock was the first AAA for their studio, and their first game console while they were rather PC specialists and that the magnitude of the project overtook them. But they had an understanding editor (Rockstar) and good creative guys, so they were able to get over it.
And the most important mistake they've made was to listen to journalists. Every time a journalist said that an element was good, they kept it, and every time a journalist didn't like something, they've thrown it away. But they've realized that the game was going bad by losing its balance and they've decided to not listen to them so stricly.

The next day, I was not able to go to the GDC but a colleague told me that the best conference was the one done by Rob Pardo, Lead Designer at Blizzard. He explained that for him, the terms hardcore gamer and casual gamer doesn't mean nothing, and to make their games accessible to all, they make efforts to explain how to play to all the player. By doing that, the level of the players is balanced whatever their past gaming experiences. And I'm totally agree with him. An hardcore game is a game without any explications because the targeted audience is the hardcore audience that already knows all the gameplay codes and feedback of your game. It's different from the difficulty concept. A difficult game can be casual, and an hardcore game can be easy (a part of the difficulty comes from the lake of explications, especially for the casual gamers). Perhaps I'll make an article about these terms and their meanings.

From left to right : At the Media Molecule conference, Jeremy Vickery from Pixar making a conference about lighting and the fist slide of the Christopher Kline (Bioshock's Technical Director) conference.

Leave a comment