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Austin GDC Day 2

By Michael | September 16, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Well here we are, day 2 of Austin’s GDC, again that’s Game Developer’s Conference.  once again I began the morning bright and early with a wake-up call of 7:00am.  Today’s agenda is much less session intensive as the Exhibit Hall opens today as well as the few discussions I have lined up with developers for some of their upcoming games. 

This morning began with another writing track session, “The Death of Linearity, Or Who Shot The Three Act Structure”.  This lecture was given by Andrew Walsh, a freelance writer who is currently working as the Narrative Director for the next Prince of Persia game.  His main thesis was that writers and developers need to meld design and story together, noting that what may work with one game would be inappropriate for another.  With regard to the new PoP game, they have decided to go with OnDemand Delivery (ODD) for much of the depth of the story; Walsh defined OnDemand Storytelling as a narrative that allows the players to decide when to access the story and how much they access at a time and likened it to the tapes found within Bioshock.

Ubisoft’s desire was to develop an engaging story, with player choice that would have the characters feel alive, and be next gen, oh yeah and the game would be open world.  At this point in the talk Walsh walked the audience through many of the currently used or standard storytelling models for games, such as the classic beginning cut scene, game, event, end cutscene formula.

The way Ubisoft will be deploying the OnDemand model was explained to be through a dialog button, with multiple layers of dialog built in, from what is immediately happening in the world around the characters, to emotional and relationship status.  The medium of which the transference will be used will primarily be through the player’s companions.   Through this players can determine just how deep into the story they decide to delve.

*Time 11:30*

After the talk it was time to hit up the exhibition floor, I had developers to talk to.  First on the list was Interzone Futebol an upcoming Futebol/Soccer based MMO.  Futebol is scheduled to enter beta in Brazil soon.  Futebol looks to be a unique game to be sure, with a very light, almost casual, feel surrounding the world and gameplay.  The soccer matches will be done in real time and will be action based with ever position placed by a player computer.

*Time 12:00*

Fresh from a talk with Lee Hammock, Lead Game Designer for Icarus’ Studios Fallen Earth.  Fallen Earth, also and upcoming MMO, is set for release in early 2009.  It is a gritty post-apocalyptic game with open pvp zones (no loading screen, you just amble in to the area) where everyone is a potential enemy. Bucking the standard class and skill tree design of most of today’s MMOs Fallen Earth will be skill based, with characters earning ability points they use to increase their stats or skill.

Players will also choose mutation abilities to gain, these will be more of a traditional tree system.  These abilities will be “more x-files less x-men”, mutations described to me was one that may increase an NPCs disposition towards you temporarily, or one in which the player because a transmitter of plagues, they themselves are immune, but those around them can become infected.  All in all I was quite impressed with what they showed me.

Topics: Austin GDC