GDC-Day 5

Last Day at GDC.  On this last day, the toronto people (Chris, me, a U of T prof and his student) attended a few talks and also spent a bit of the lunch hour walking around the expo floor.  Even got Chris to try out a video game while we were doing that 🙂

Talks:

Starcraft 2 as an E-sport

I got my copy of Starcraft 2 the day it came out and still have not played it yet.  I think its because I never got into the original starcraft (actually I didn’t play that one either).  Anyhow, the interesting part about this talk was that the developer went through why they did what they did.  Starcraft 2 was designed with 3 sides, 45 units (competitors had shipped with 4 sides, 80 to 100 units).  Reason was that it was designed as e-sport.  I had not known what e-sport meant until this talk (I had sort of assumed it was more like sports games) but apparently it is when people watch other people who are really good play the game.  In Europe and Asia, E-sport competitions can fill large halls.

Important part of esport:

  • playable
  • watchable – because it is meant to be watched, people watching the game must be able to tell what is going on.
  • clarity – challenge for artist.  size of monsters reduced so that it was clear (couldn’t hide units behind big units).  don’t over do effects
  • simple – minimum number of unis.
    • Too many units confuse the viewer
    • Too many units – even pros are guessing
    • Too many units  – some units are the same

And here I thought starcraft 2 was a story with some rts in the middle 😛

raid on bungeling bay – Will wright

Now, when I first saw the title of this game I was like… raid on what?  I have never heard of this game at all.  However, it was Will Wright giving the talk so it was pretty much a must attend session.  Will Wright is probably more famous for making the Sim games (The Sims, Sim City etc.)   However before the Sim games he made Raid on bungling bay. Will Wright is a very good speaker, if you ever get a chance to attend his talks you should.  Its full of humour and asides and overall very well done presentations.

The game was made on a commodore 64 and for reference he had the programmer’s manual that came with the computer.  Much of the original work for that game was unfortunately lost in a house fire.  The really interesting part about this game was not necessarily the game itself but the tools that came out of making the game.  Mr. Wright had created 2 editors to help him build the game world.  Chedit for characters and Wedit for map editing.  What he found was that he was actually having a lot of fun with these tools.  The basis of Sim City came from Wedit.  While Raid on Bungling Bay was not a very well known or popular game, the game that came out of a tool for building it became immensely so.

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