Wednesday, June 02, 2010

#IeL2010 Tuesday Afternoon Keynote

Deathmatch to Dailies: The Evolution of the Social Game
Presenter: John Romero

Marine Doom - Mod of Doom II, 1st use of game in military training and education purposes.
- Real missions and scenarios

Senet - 5500 years old. First social game.
- No idea what the rules are.
- Probably similar to cribbage. Buried in tombs (Nefertari)
- She was the core demographic

Momies the new demographic - the 43 year old mom is the main hardcore gamer (Farmville)
- On platform with lots of people on it.
(interesting - no one admits to playing Farmville....)

- FPS 15mil
- MMOs 12mil (WoW)
- 80 mil in farmville.

Farmville - much easier to play

Online game play is at altime peak

Social games - more than video games
- baseball is a social game. People who love baseball are just watching it.
+ Don't tell them that watching baseball is NOT a game
- eBay is a game. You are trying to WIN something.
- casino (all of vegas really)
- board games.

Games have always been social.

The arrival of the PC marked the beginning of games being solitary things.
- 30 year aberration

Even at beginning - people making games realized that games are social.
- Some saw computers as an infinite possibility and infinite challenge
- Wheeler Dealers 1978(Dan Bunton) - Apple II. 4 player multi player. Shipped hardware with the game.

1989 - only 20 multiplayer games on the market Ozark SW had 6
- However engaging a game with a machine may be made - it is void because you need to be with other people.

Other efforts - MUD goes live on university networks.
- Technology wasn't ready.

First Person Shooter - why it is important
- Wolfenstein 3D - based on 1981 game Castle Wolfenstein.
+ Computers just now able to deliver fast experience. Before - didn't have speed to make violence give you real feedback.

- Doom (1993) - 6 people
+ looked better
+ still violent
+ incorporated multiplayer over a lan or modem.
+ funny, loud. fast. Great feedback.

Develop the game from the players perspective
- What do I think as I play it.
- Added deathmatch because had promised multi-player. Really excited by this!

Learned about the depth of strategy and skill a player could have.
- Scoring, weapons, levels. Can explode them over time.

Quake - bring TRUE 3D engine
- Rotate view. Look around you. Doom - just looked straight
- Mouse as thing that allows you to turn AND look up and down. Keys to move forward.
- Internet play with Quake. Go to internet and connect with server.
+ Before - LAN parties. Bring your computers to a friend's house and connect them up.
- After quake - still bringing computers over to house.
- Quake went up to 16 people. Doom only 4.

Developers are ready, technology ready, players aren't totally ready....yet

Rise of the MMO
- 1997 Ultima Online.
+ So open-ended - players could exploit every little thing
+ Developers try to plug the holes as fast as possible
+ 100K players at peak. Paying $15 per month
- 1999 Everquest
+ Took Ultima Online's blueprint and refined
+ 3D (not just tile-based). Zones.
+ Has 400 zones.
+ 430K subscribers at peak. $15/mo
- 2004 World of Warcraft
+ Took best of 2 predecessors and combined them.
+ 12 million subscribers. $15/mo. Over $2 billion per year.
+ Lead Programmer - used to work on Quake.

Mass Casual
- Developers, technology and PLAYERS now ready
- Games pervasive in everything
- Facebook - platform that becomes everyone's homepage.
+ Check messages, look at wall, play games
- Parking Wars - one of 1st (2008)
- Social City (more complex - 2010)
- Over 400mil on facebook.

PC - biggest gaming platform that has existed.

Social gaming on facebook is different from MMOs.
- MMO - people have to be in the world at the same time
- Facebook game - asynchronous
- MMO - cannot choose who there. Facebook - can choose the environment.

Trying to figure out how to create gameplay around this asynchronous socialization.

The technology so easy to write for facebook.

We still don't know what the rules are yet or the impact.
- We can see the explosion, but don't know what happening.

Ironically - true socialization is still missing.
- You are playing with their avatar, not them

The crash?
- There was in 1983/84.
- Last month - Farmville lost 4 million players

Facebook is a crazy funnel. Also responds to numbers of people in.
- Changed the rules on how you can post things. Too many messages.
- Changing privacy. Changing what shows up on wall.
- Too much trash on the wall.

65 million returning players, 25M new players, 10M leaving

What is the future of games?
- Socialization
- Gameplay

Games will win if there is quality around gameplay and socialization.

Will asynchronous games phase out single-player or multi-player?
- The asynchronous games will stay there.
- Synchronous games require may more power and more complex programming
- We may see some synchronous games on facebook.
- Remember - facebook is about connecting with friends first.
- Probably won't change the security policy
- Things are changing really fast on facebook

Distribution models
- Back in the day - at least 3 chapters. 1st part for free. Allow to send to friends.
- Doom - when put out shareware version, suggested retail $9.99. Many want to just buy something at the store.
+ Told the distributors - can put on disk, put in store, charge $9.99. You keep the money. Get it out there.
+ Model never replicated.
+ Now that everyone downloads, probably won't happen again.
+ If people liked the game - THEN they got paid. Thankfully, lots of people liked it.

- MMO started as subscription model. People keep paying because you are connected to the character. Investment.
+ People forget about the membership
+ MMO companies make a ton of money on this.
+ MMOs now becoming micro-transaction. The things you are earning - you can now buy them. This pricing model is starting to win.
+ Microtransactions the future of gaming. Pay for little stuff if you want to.

- Casual games (cards, checkers, etc online) have become persistent casual.
+ All of the data and statistics being saved. Can keep track.
+ Achievement systems built on top of it.

- Days of games forgetting you are gone.

Is there a way we (educators) can capitalize on gaming.
- Any way you can make gaming part of education = engagement
- Use the game as a conduit (instead of staring at books)
- Interactivity. More fun.
- Allow to compete against each other for achievements.

Project: MMO made for kids. World that is artistically fantastic. Visual appeal. Lots of players and pet systems and taming.
- Incorporating stealth learning (math concepts)
- Math revealed through interaction design.
- Mathematicians, game designers and educators working together to create the experiences.
- Just nailed the design. How to make it intrinsic to the world - not just the numbers on the screen.
- Make the player WANT to solve the puzzle. The education is voluntary. Do enough - can look cooler.
- Players can help others!

Teaching needs to be more intrinsic. Problem - solving. Stealthy.

Take any part of what you are trying to teach - break it down into a game system.

All through game development history - room for a lone designer/programmer.
- iPhone and iPad or Droid.
- Before that GBA, DS.
- Even since advent of flash - you can make flash game. Tons of flash game portals where you can share.
+ Some even get big enough for other platforms.

Wolfenstein - 4 people
Commander King - 3 people
Doom - 6 people
Quake - 9 people

None of this is compared to Godfather - 250 people
His MMO - 75 people.

Trend with mobile games and socialization -
- People are trying to incorporate facebook and twitter into mobile game
- Auto-tweet score with link (cannonball)
- Bejeweled Blitz - on iPhone. Can post to Facebook page.
- MMOs trying to do this as well - if have iPhone, inspect characters, auctions, mail etc.

Other technologies games can move into
- Not a big fan of 3d stereoscopic movement and trend
- 3d TVs and monitors sold to test out market. Games trying to exploit this. Hates the goggle thing.
- New ways of input for more interesting experience.
+ Seats, crazy mouses, etc. You are lucky if the game supports the devices.
+ Mouse, Keyboard, Joystick supported. Other stuff doesn't work out nearly as well as the designers hope.
- Project Natal - you as a controller, wave your arms around. "People are just going to get tired."

Game developers divide world into Europe / N Am / Asia
- Middle East growing. Special needs
- Asia - insane amounts of players, with little money (China). S. Korea giant.
+ Games - you must develop FOR Asian market. "Localization and culturalization"
+ Blizzard found this out the hard way with WoW.
-- Panda (Chinese) holding samauai sword (Japanese). China banned the game
+ Asians play much faster than N. Americans.
+ Even WoW 2x as fast in the visual feedback.
- North America a smaller market than S. Korea
- European - small income. Germany biggest market over there. 40% of N. Am.

Simulation games not developed as much - not as much $$ in them.
- Paradigm etc.
- Came out on Nintendo 64 etc. MS Flight Simulator
- Not as much fun. Trying to simulate something realistic
- Moved away from simulation.
- Feedback wasn't exciting enough. Not moving fast enough.
- Player want vs. reality a larger gap than thought.
- Simulations - companies on contract. Probably won't see in big console.

Art and Indy game scene - trying to evoke emotions from players
- So many games - violent. Manage to numb because it is so common.
- How do you pull out DIFFERENT emotions? Cry, Love etc. Fear easiest to evoke.
- How do you deliver emotions differently?
- Looking for differentiation

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