Gamasutra is at Austin GDC 2008 this week, and we've compiled the best of our industry-leading coverage of the major MMO, virtual world writing, and audio lectures presented thus far.
AGDC, which is organized by Gamasutra parent Think Services, is taking place in the Austin Convention Center from Monday 15th-Wednesday 17th September, and multiple Gamasutra reporters are on hand to document many of the lectures and panels taking place there.
Here are the highlights of Monday's sessions at AGDC 2008:
AGDC: Austin's Schum Talks Future Of Austin Game Biz
"Talking to Gamasutra as the Austin Game Developers Conference kicks off, Austin Chamber Of Commerce's Tony Schum says there are vibrant opportunities for industry growth in the area -- despite recent layoffs at Austin."
AGDC: Club Penguin's Merrifield On Why Genuine Counts
"Customer service, above all, will drive all online game creators to create better games and businesses, said Club Penguin
co-creator Lane Merrifield in a densely-attended Austin GDC keynote. Merrifield looked to his Disneyland origins -- and now his Disney-owned online game smash -- to explain why genuine respect and caring make a massive difference."
AGDC: The Psychology Of MMO Players: Community Managers, Psychologists Speak
"Anyone who has played an MMO or participated in any online forum or service knows that anonymity creates problems -- and large groupings of people invites those with psychological issues to act them out on the larger populace. A group of MMO community managers and psychologists from the University of Texas came together at GDC Austin to examine common scenarios -- and take a peek into why these problems persist, and maybe come up with new ways to solve them."
AGDC: Krawczyk, Cooper On Getting Game Dialog Right In God Of War 3
"In a talk at the Austin Game Developers Conference on Monday, God Of War 3
writer Marianne Krawczyk and voice actor DB Cooper discussed some notable changes needed to stop terrible game dialog or voice acting that might "haunt game writers for the rest of their lives."
AGDC: Multiverse's Moore On Why Social Worlds Need Games
"Multiverse's Bob Moore, a sociologist, says games have always been social -- even Pong
had a two-player mode. But most of the sociability that occurred happened around
the game. With MMOs, sociability has moved further into the virtual environment itself, where players interact avatar to avatar instead of face to face. So how can we design environments for sociability?"
AGDC: Graner Ray On Bringing In More Players With Better Tutorials
"Tutorial design may create one of the largest barriers to entry in an MMO, according to veteran creator Sheri Graner Ray, who spoke during Austin GDC about ways tutorials can welcome in more players by speaking to a broader variety of learning styles."
AGDC: BioWare's Schubert On Why The MMO Endgame Matters
"Damion Schubert, lead combat designer for BioWare Austin, argues that your endgame -- what happens when MMO players have finished all the lower level quests and “made it” in the game universe -- realizes the true potential of MMOs."
AGDC: BioWare Duo Dish On 'Cinematic Design' For Mass Effect
"In a fascinating lecture on the first day of Austin GDC, BioWare senior writer Mac Walters and senior cinematic designer Paul Marino talked about the concept of cinematic design for games such as Mass Effect
, sketching the move from 'The Dark Ages' through today's 'Golden Age.'"
AGDC: A Generative, Adaptive Music System for MMO Games
"Bay Area headquartered, John Romero-headed MMO developer Slipgate Ironworks has developed a robust system for its music, which audio director Kurt Larson considers the only viable way to move forward with MMO soundtracks -- which he presented with programmer Chris Mayer and composer Jim Hedges."
AGDC: MGS' Abernathy Talks Importance Of Game Characters
"In this presentation from Tom Abernathy (Destroy All Humans
), formerly of Pandemic and recently moved to Microsoft Game Studios, a call to arms for both more compelling characters and tighter integration of writing and design is heard -- with the benefits clearly enumerated."