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Feature: 'Post-GDC: Experimental Gameplay Workshop 2006'

Today's main Gamasutra feature deals with an extremely detailed write-up of last Wednesday's Experimental Gameplay Workshop at GDC, which played to a packed house. Beyond...
Today's main Gamasutra feature deals with an extremely detailed write-up of last Wednesday's Experimental Gameplay Workshop at GDC, which played to a packed house. Beyond standing-room only, the lecture hall was crowded enough to concern and irritate the local fire marshal as presenters unveiled the latest batch of experimental gameplay goodies. In this particular extract, designers from New York's gameLab are discussing approached to casual rhythm games: "Eventually, they showed a model involving four rough Saturday Night Fever-style dance floors, and an incoming sequence of colored dots that the player was to click on, to cause dancers to gravitate to the respective dance floors. Though this game was kind of clunky, tests showed that casual players at least could come to grips with it. He later revised the model so the player was to click directly on a series of incoming dancers who boogied in from the right side of the screen – removing an unnecessary level of abstraction, to both make the rules more clear and to make the player feel more connected to the underlying music. This model also allowed for combos and special bonuses, for advanced players. The result was a highly stylized yet also highly playable rhythm game. The point of the whole exercise was to illustrate that, though casual games are known as a no-man's land of clones and retreads, there is plenty of experimental space available – and many of the obvious rules are plain rubbish to anyone with a little ingenuity and persistence. What is in fact most exciting about the casual game space is the completely blank slate that developers need to shoot for, in terms of an audience – which requires developers to constantly question what they know about game design." You can now read the full Gamasutra report on the subject, including plenty more information on this extremely important workshop (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites). [In addition, further information on the full line-up, including some slides and presentations, is available at the Experimental Gameplay Workshop's homepage.]

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