I had the fortune of attending The Game Developers Conference 2018 in San Francisco this year.
Throughout the conference I took the following notes which I thought to share!
Day 1 – 3/19/2018
My first day at GDC involved visiting a number of sponsored talks as well as a great talk on the game Mortician’s Tale.
Google Dev Day
In this event Google was presenting a number of new features. One in particular was Google Instant. The concept is that developers would create partial builds that would act as a lite version of the experience used to give a demo of the experience. One interesting concept they proposed was that as speed increases, consumption increases.
Amazon – Gameon
This session was a demo for introducing Amazons Gameon feature. In the talk the speaker went through how to implement the Gameon system providing diagrams and code samples.
Gameon, as I understood it, is a service that allows deliveries leveraging the Amazon delivery service. The example the speaker spoke at length about was integrating real world prizes into a game system using Amazon’s delivery service e.g. a player wins a game and a real prize is delivered to them by Amazon.
Amazon – Future of E-Sports
In this panel hosted by Amazon the speakers gave their opinion on the future of E-Sports and made a number of interesting points including:
- What was driving the increase in size of esport was not something in mobile applications, but the increase in the number of devices, and increase in speed of infrastructure.
- The best e-sport is easy to pickup but hard to master.
- The perceived skill gap of mobile vs PC is good for the e-sports as its about accessibility having mobile in the e-sports scene.
- When you have a hit one challenge is to sustain the momentum. There are several ways to do so. Two ways are building a brand or building a community.
- Games that are good for broadcasting are surprising, unpredictable, and easy to watch.
- E-Sports has a structure like that of regular sports. Blizzard for example has franchises all over the world, and the owners of E-Sports teams are like the owners of traditional sports teams.
Mortician’s Tale – A Different View on How Games Treat Death
This talk was about the concept of death in a game called Mortician’s Tale. As described by the creator Morticians Tale is ‘a job simulator game’ about being a Mortician.
During the talk the speaker made a number of interesting points including:
- Death systems in games have endured. In Mortician’s tale they wanted to explore ways of displaying it.
- It was important that death in the game should relate to narrative and mechanics of game.
- One book that was influential to the development was ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ by Caitlin Doughty.
- The purple color in the game was used to hide the ugliness of death and reflects melancholy.
- The game removes the ability to fail during preparation of the body as the creators felt it would disrespect the bodies.
- The protagonist of the game was made silent as a silent protagonist can act as a vessel for players.
- A silent protagonist also underscores the importance of listening in the grieving process.
- Post release the feedback was positive and the creator believed there was some evidence of a transformative effect due to the design decisions made while making the game.
At the end of the conference the speaker made recommendations of a number of other games to look at that explore the topic of death:
Finally the speaker made four major recommendations for how to do death in games better:
- Make it meaningful.
- Do your research.
- Be understanding with your players.
- Asses your own feelings.