Category Archives: GDC Austin 2009
Thu, Sep 24, 2009 | 21:57 BST
GDC Austin 2009 has been declared a success with 2,650 attending, 130 lectures, panels, keynotes, and roundtable discussions, presented by 230 industry speakers with 80 participating exhibitors and sponsors.
The event’s organizers have also confirmed that it will be back for the eighth consecutive year in 2010.
“GDC Austin was a success both in terms of the turnout and the quality of the discussions led by our talented speakers and panelists,” says Izora de Lillard, GDC Austin event director. ” The advisory board and the entire GDC Austin team is especially proud of the expertise and quality of content we secured this year.
“We are already looking forward to the new trends and new content we will be exploring next year.”
Full thing through the break.
Mon, Sep 21, 2009 | 19:01 BST
Turbine’s in-development console MMO has cost $20 million thus far, the studios’ project development VP Craig Alexander has told GDC Austin.
The exec also hinted that the game will be free-to-play – an increasingly common model in the MMO market.
A release is expected in 2011.
No one outside the company knows what the game is, but a console version of LotRO has been heavily rumoured previously.
More on MCV.
Sat, Sep 19, 2009 | 22:57 BST
Loads of news this week in MMO land, kiddos.
Massively is giving away Beta keys to Star Trek Online, Aion dropped GameGuard and launched its first server, Pirates are everywhere, and Sony is giving you double station cash this weekend.
There is also news concerning Champions Online, EVE, Guild Wars 2, EverQuest, Warhammer, Runes of Magic, and loads of other stuff you can find here instead of searching everywhere.
It’s all past the break.
Sat, Sep 19, 2009 | 20:14 BST
Craig Alexander, Turbine’s VP of product development, spoke today at a panel during GDC Austin called “MMOs to Consoles”, saying that the fifth generation of MMOs will be on consoles and even called it a “superior” platform.
“It’s the 360 and the PS3 where we really finally have the hardware and the storage capacity to develop what we consider more traditional MMOs with lots of content,” he said. “The hardware in the Wii more closely resembles the previous generation than the current one. It’s just not there yet.”
To point out the development steps, he provided slides showing the process – and told attendees that from a developer’s standpoint, working on PS3 was harder than 360, so start with PS3 and go from there.
- The Blu-ray drive on the PS3 is actually slower in seek and access time than the DVD drive on the Xbox 360. Once the Blu-ray gets up to speed, it can handle large amount of data. Just not in seeking and accessing, which is a pain for streaming when you’re playing something like an MMO.
- The memory architecture is different. When you’re dealing with main memory, you work with “256ish MB” on the PS3 vs “512ish MB” on the 360.
- The tools aren’t as friendly on the PS3. That includes the performance monitor tools, the debugger tools … everything.
- Migrating a project from the Xbox 360 to the PS3 is much harder than moving from the PS3 to the 360.
Alexander feels that since it took MMOs ten years to mature on PC, MMOs will “revolutionize the console in the same way they helped grow the PC.”
Full thing through Joystiq.
Sat, Sep 19, 2009 | 15:42 BST
During his keynote at GDC Austin, BioWare technical director Bill Dalton chatted about how “interdependencies can lead to problems in development on games”, and used The Old Republic MMO as an example, reports Gamasutra.
These “interdependencies” can lead to issues where the team gets frantic trying to do too much at once, and you just have to relax and realize that “things that are important early on in the project may not be important later on.”
“For any game these days, we have very large teams,” he said. “For MMOs, in particular, we have a lot of stuff going on. Everything everybody does is challenging. Producing the art, source code… So what do we do? I think it helps to understand what the different customers you have, as a technical worker on the game, are.
“It’s great in the early days to run wild and free. You need to avoid getting panic-stricken over the fact that you’re not generating game content, however, at some point, you really do need to say ‘This is it, this is how the game’s going to get delivered and we can’t be messing around with that stuff anymore’.”
Dalton showed case studies from the development of the game to demonstrate his problem-solving methodology when managing large teams, and if you are interested in how things work from a development standpoint on an MMO, it’s a rather interesting read.
Hit the link.
Fri, Sep 18, 2009 | 20:57 BST
Turbine’s Craig Alexander confirmed during his keynote at GDC Austin that the firm is currently at work on a console MMO.
The VP of project development revealed that it has been in-house for a year and a half and the staff is working to release it on PS3 and Xbox 360.
There are also plans to develop one for Wii in the future.
So far, over 20 million dollars has been spent on the title, and while still mum on what exactly it entails, the targeted release date is early 2011.
During his speech, Alexander stated his opinion on console MMOs, and went so far as to claim PC versions of the genre will be surpassed by the console versions.
Thu, Sep 17, 2009 | 23:13 BST
During his keynote at GDC Austin, Warhammer Online executive producer Jeff Hickman spoke to attendees about three of the major mistakes Mythic made with the MMO.
These mistakes being challenging play, the lack of economy, and the fact that the game was so easy that social tools were made irrelevant.
“There’s a big difference between easy play and ease of use,” he said. “One of the lessons that we thought we learned from ourselves and other games, was that it’s important to have ease of use, and it’s also important to hit the right balance between easy gameplay, challenging gameplay, and too difficult. We thought we hit that, but Warhammer, in PVE, in the beginning, is too easy. It doesn’t make you thrilled to do it.
[As for] our economy… we just missed the mark. If you look at the reasoning behind the economy, you’ll see things like, ‘Hey, we’re not going to let gold farmers in our game.’ ‘We’re going to try to make sure we have controlled inflation.’ We had all the best reasons in our game, but what it caused us to do was build a game where economy is not important enough.
“Economy brings people together.”
There’s loads more from his talk over on Gamasutra.
Thu, Sep 17, 2009 | 22:23 BST
During J. Allen Brack and Frank Pearce’s keynote at GDC Austin, the Blizzard guys revealed its canceled suqad-based sci-fi title, Nomad.
Apparently, some ten years or so ago, Blizzard put loads of hours and tons of work into it, but then decided to scrap it and go straight into work on WoW.
Joystiq has what little information there is on the title along with some artwork.
You should go have a look.
Thu, Sep 17, 2009 | 20:07 BST
During a keynote delivered at GDC Austin, Blizzard’s J. Allen Brack and Frank Pearce dropped some numbers regarding what it takes on a daily basis to keep World of Warcraft running.
The game needs 20,000 computer systems, 13,250 server blades, 75,000 CPU cores, 1.3 petabytes of storage, and over 4600 staffers to keep it going.
“Operating an online game is about more than just game development,” said Pearce. “World of Warcraft has completely changed the organization”.
And then some – the game has 7,650 quests, 70,000 spells, 40,000 NPCs, 1.5 million assets, and 5.5 million lines of code.
Wed, Sep 16, 2009 | 22:15 BST
During the Q&A session following John Smedley’s keynote at GDC Austin, the SOE president informed attendees that Free Realms should land on PS3 sometime during the middle of 2010 and may also support the PS Eye.
“It’s next year sometime, toward the middle of the year,” he said. “For the PlayStation 3 version, it’s very likely that the Eye is going to be something we support.”
More through Joystiq.
Wed, Sep 16, 2009 | 21:29 BST
Free Realms has officially hit the five million users mark, according to SOE’s John Smedley.
Speaking during GDC Austin, Smedley revealed the number during his keynote.
The free-to-play MMO has been live since April 28, and back in July Smedley told Gamasutra that the game was close to the five million account mark then.
Looks like it finally made it.
More through Massively.
Wed, Aug 12, 2009 | 15:43 BST
Here’s a list of the recently announced speakers and what they will be discussing:
- Craig Alexander , VP, Product Development, Turbine: MMOs to Consoles – Challenges, Opportunities and Emerging Trends
- Brandon Barber, VP Marketing, Zynga: What Are The Stickiest Design Models and How Are They Monetized?
- Bill Dalton, Technical Director, BioWare Austin: Come and See the Elephant – Challenges Encountered Growing an MMO
- Raph Koster, President, Metaplace: Games are Math: 10 Core Mechanics That Drive Compelling Gameplay
- Jeffrey Kesselman, Chief Technology Officer, Rebel Monkey: The Monkey Wrench: Design and Architecture of an Online Environment
- Jesse Schell, Faculty, ETC Carnegie Mellon, CEO, Schell Games, Laralyn McWilliams, Creative Director, Sony Online Entertainment, Matthew Schwartz, Senior Designer, Cartoon Network: Reaching A New Demographic: Kids AND Their Parents
- Craig Sherman, CEO, Gaia Online: Next Phase of Casual Games: How to Make the Free-To-Play Model Work for You
- Richard Weil, Director of Community Relations, Cartoon Network, Rebecca Newton, Head of Safety, CrispThinking.com: Kids and Gaming-One Year Later. Still Keeping up with your ABCs?
The full press release is after the break.
Fri, Aug 07, 2009 | 17:16 BST
Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley will be delivering a keynote at GDC Austin.
The event starts September 15 in Texas and runs through the eighteenth.
More than likely Smedley will be talking up Free Realms and the millions of players it has accumulated since launching on April 28.
Other keynoters include Blizzard’s J. Allen Brack and France Pearce.
Wed, Jul 22, 2009 | 11:12 BST
Blizzard bigwigs Frank Pearce and J Allen Brack are to keynote GDC Austin on World of Warcraft this year, Blizzard said today.
The talk, entitled “The Universe of World of Warcraft,” will tackle the challenges faced in creating subs-based MMOs.
The event takes place at the Austin Convention Center in Texas from September 15-18.
PR after the break.