A Burrito-Like Wrap-Up of GDC

I didn’t go to GDC with a particular goal. I rarely go to conferences and conventions with an objective, unless I’m showing something. That said, I have always managed to get something good out of the experience. This being my third year of attending GDC, I had a rough idea of what I would encounter throughout the week: cool people making cool things, interesting talks, and some rad parties. However, I generally try to make it a point to do something new each year as well. This year’s big new thing was going on the Train Jam.

I have done quite a few game jams in the past (Global Game Jam, Ludum Dare, etc.), but Train Jam was a wholly new experience for me. Spending 52 hours on a train created a challenging environment for making a game, as the swaying of the cars and the lack of internet worked against all attempts at productivity, but simultaneously pushed everyone to think creatively and work around these obstacles. Amanda Hudgins and I worked with two people we had never met before, Andrada Tudor and Jeremiah Watts, to make Techno Dad: Hot Tub Party, a game about fitting a bunch of dads into a hot tub that is too small to keep them warm in an arctic climate, which would be on display with the 61 other games at the Train Jam booth at GDC.

jeff
Read more

Narrative, the Illusion of Choice and a Talk from Jim Brown

Frequently in narrative design we discuss the “illusion of choice.” There are only so many branches a writer can write, only so many words. Each additional branch adds a new series of text, a new series of choices. This is why so often, decisions are merely short forks in a single linear path. If this is done well, however, the reader may not even realize that their choices were not their own — that these decisions were pre-written for them.

80 Days, a narrative game from Inkle, has as much text as the Lord of the Rings series plus the Silmarillion. Each new choice adds more text to an already dense piece of work, so it’s little surprise that the long history of narrative games is about giving readers an illusion of choice rather than actual decisions. At a GDC talk this past week, Jim Brown of Epic Games discussed this concept as it related to level design.

Read more

Amanda Gets Selected as #INeedDiverseGames GDC Scholarship Recipient

This year, all the members of Super Soul will be attending GDC (yay!) and I’ll be attending as well, as a GDC Scholarship attendee through the fantastic organization #INeedDiverseGames. It’s difficult to talk about yourself, so instead I’ll talk about the organization.

amanda

related note, it’s very difficult to find a good picture of yourself, especially when you’re taking the pictures most of the time.

#INeedDiverseGames is a pretty fantastic organization which is dedicated to increasing diversity, not just in the forms of characters but in the back rooms. They want a more diverse group of people to make games and they’re supporting programs to do that. This scholarship was designed for people who are from marginalized communities (members of the LGBTQIA spectrum, women, minorities, etc) and people who working with those marginalized communities to help increase diversity in the workplace and in games themselves. If you haven’t checked out #INeedDiverseGames, definitely give them a look on their website.

i need diverse games

So how does this apply to me? 

There’s some of the obvious ways, in that I’m a woman. Additionally, one of the pushes that Super Soul has been making in the last year has been towards creating educational initiatives that are targeting women and minority communities in Kentucky. Game development is becoming more democratic and we’re working on some pretty great projects to help bring those programs to life. I’m really excited to have this opportunity to go to GDC, as I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to get a ticket otherwise, and I’m excited to do so with as great a program as #INeedDiverseGames.

Additionally, while I’ve managed to arrange my travel to and from GDC already (as Super Soul is attending the Train Jam this year) several people who’ve received the same scholarship are going to have a more difficult time getting there and paying for food in San Francisco (which ain’t cheap.) Thankfully #INeedDiverseGames is putting together a crowd-funding campaign to try and give a small stipend to their scholarship recipients. Every little bit counts, so if you’re able, be sure to contribute: Link here.

GDC or Bust : Part 6 – Postmortem

Below is the sixth and final in a series of posts documenting the final development of Deluxe Turbo Racing 360 for GDC. Due to a crazy schedule we did not roll out posts during GDC, but over the next few weeks we will post up blogs from the trip.

Part 6: Postmortem

With five posts already written and a month since GDC,  I reckon it is time to finally get to GDC itself with a good ol’ fashioned post mortem.

 

Instead of focusing on Deluxe Turbo Racing 360–our game at Alt.Ctrl.GDC–I will focus on GDC as an event and an opportunity. Read more

GDC or Bust : Part 5

Below is the fifth in a series of posts documenting the final development of Deluxe Turbo Racing 360 for GDC. Due to a crazy schedule we did not roll out posts during GDC, but over the next few weeks we will post up blogs from the trip.

Part 5: Move over duct tape, glue sticks in the house

This week on Super Soul at GDC…

 

drama in the hotel room!!!

 

drcaligary

Read more

GDC or Bust : Part 4

Below is the forth in a series of posts documenting the final development of Deluxe Turbo Racing 360 for GDC. Due to a crazy schedule we did not roll out posts during GDC, but over the next few weeks we will post up blogs from the trip.

Part 4: Blog at 30,000 feet

Somewhere over the Midwest, 30,000 feet in the air. Looks like it will be GDC, not bust 😉

 

Read more

GDC or Bust : Part 3

Below is the third in a series of posts documenting the final development of Deluxe Turbo Racing 360 for GDC. I hope to continue the posts up through GDC and after.

Part 3: Fabricating the Play Surface

Over the weekend we worked to finish the playing surface for DTR 360. Our design called for a 40″ x 40″ play surface, very flat, with foam core on top to reduce noise.
Read more

GDC or Bust : Part 2

Below is the second in a series of posts documenting the final development of Deluxe Turbo Racing 360 for GDC. I hope to continue the posts up through GDC and after.

Part 2: Painting Controllers

This will be a pretty quick post because this happened.

 

 

CarSnowTwo

 

Read more

GDC or Bust : Part 1

Below is the first in a series of posts documenting the final development of Deluxe Turbo Racing 360 for GDC. I hope to continue the posts up through GDC and after.

Part 1: Building Controllers

One of the major design decisions for DTR360 has been to really focus on the quality and design of the physical components. A high quality fabrication for our controller boxes not only enhances the experience, but also allows us to explore some new territory and perhaps stumble upon some interesting ideas.

 

prototype_Controller

Read more