It doesn’t say so on the site yet, but I am on the program for next year’s GDC Mobile.1 Yesterday I got the email that my talk — titled Designing a Casual Social Gaming Experience for Generation C — has been accepted. To be honest I was quite surprised. I work in the blurry overlap of the interaction design and game design fields, have no actual game titles under my belt and proposed a weird subject to boot. Who in their right mind would invite me to speak? Of course I am also really excited about this. GDC is the professional event for the games industry so I’m honored to be part of it.2
My talk will be closely related to the things I’ve been working on for Playyoo. I’ll discuss how short-session mobile games and a web based meta-game can interconnect to create a social game experience that allows different levels of player engagement. I’ll look at the ways you can align your game design with the expectations of Generation C: customization & personalization, recombination and connectedness. I might post the extended abstract sometime in the future, for now I’m just wondering: Who else is going to GDC? What would you like to see me discuss?
Don’t be scared by the big Orc in the header of their site. [↩]
Now I just need to figure out whether traveling to the US twice in one month is a feasible undertaking. [↩]
“Dominant models in IA: space + story” was one of the notes I took while at this year’s Euro IA Summit. I’ll get into space some other time. Concerning story: Basically it strikes me that for a discipline involved with an interactive medium, so often designing is likened to storytelling. I’m not sure this is always the most productive way to approach design, I actually think it is very limiting. If you approach design not as embedding your story in the environment, but as creating an environment wherein users can create their own stories, then I’d say you’re on the right track. An example I tend to use is a game of poker: The design of the game poker was certainly not an act of storytelling, but a play session of poker is experienced as (and can be retold as) a story. Furthermore, the components of the game can be recombined to create different variations of the basic game, each creating different potentials for stories to arise. I’d like to see more designers approach interactive media (digital, physical or whatever) like this: Don’t tell a story to your user, enable them to create their own.1 Realize users will want to recombine your stuff with other stuff you might not know about (the notion of seamful design comes into play here). When you’ve done a proper job, you’ll find them retelling those stories to others, which I would say is the biggest compliment you can get.
1. Or to put this in Marc LeBlanc’s terms: Don’t embed narrative, let it emerge through play.