GDC Online 2010: Surviving Social Media: Advice from the SOE Playbook

Notes from yesterday’s talk by Linda Carlson, Senior Global Community Relations Manager at SOE. Read more >>

GDC Online 2010: Post-Mortem (Blizzard)

Notes from the talk by Greg Canessa, Project Director, and Matthew Versluys, Tech Director, Read more >>

GDC Online 2010: Slave to the Grind (Bioware)

Notes from the talk by Damian Schubert, Principle Lead Systems Designer, SW:TOR (@zenofdesign). Read more >>

GDC Online 2010: Bears and Snakes! The Wild Frontier of Social Game Design (Zynga)

My notes from the keynote by Brian Reynolds (Chief Game Designer on Frontierville). Read more >>

GDC Online 2010: The Yin and Yang of Live Community Management (Playdom)

My notes from yesterday’s talk by Marianne Borenstein, VP Platform Relations and User Experience at Playdom; w/Mike Blanchette, CM. Read more >>

SXSWi 2010: Program or Be Programmed (Douglas Rushkoff)

Program or Be Programmed

Program or Be Programmed,
originally uploaded by jpob.

A talk by Douglas Rushkoff on 12th March 2010

[This isn't a word-perfect record -- if I got anything jarringly wrong, please comment!]

Online, things get extreme very fast and change a lot in a short space of time. There’s an overwhelming sense that we’re trying to operate society on obsolete social code, on the basis of legacy systems we don’t even remember that aren’t appropriate for what we want to get done. If we don’t understand these old systems, we have no chance of recognising the new programs that are layered on top. Understanding of this places people into one of two camps: the programmers, and the programmed. Grokking programming bias is really important because it helps us manage ourselves in context – the most important thing is to recognise that programming bias exists in the first place.

SXSWi 2010

Eagle-eyed readers (if there are any left) will note that I only ever update this blog when I go to conferences. (Sometimes not even then.) At the moment, I’m in lovely, sunny, springlike Austin for South by Southwest Interactive, which so far seems to be the most massive and diverse sxswi event ever. Where previously it was impossible to choose between 15 interesting and concurrent sessions, now it’s even less possible to pick one of 25!

The schedule kicks into gear after lunch (a meal that I’m probably not going to be requiring after stuffing myself with bacon and wholegrain pancakes [in that order] at breakfast), and if my notes turn out to be coherent after a session I’ll pop them up. Tweeting now and then from @jen_bolton too. If you happen to see me around, come and say hi!

Time out

New board games

New board games,
originally uploaded by jpob.

Somebody’s nicked Heroquest, we rarely have enough of us in for a decent game of Werewolf and my Rock Band expertise doesn’t extend far beyond songs by the Police (oh, the joy in their eyes as they’re forced to play ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’ *again*!), so I bought some new stuff for game hour this week. I wasn’t around for the deboxings this morning though, since I’ve taken the day off to recuperate after juggling like a trained octopus all month.

Finished Mass Effect this morning, finally. Expected it to be good and it was, although the Paragon ending left me a bit cold and the romance stuff was eye-rollingly bad. At least [spoiler alert!] Kaidan didn’t pounce on Shepard at the end. Thinking about it… if ME’s supposed to be a trilogy, I wonder if we’ll be able to import our Shepards all the way through?

Not my typical Saturday

This weekend I braved the freshly BORISed transport system to attend GameCamp 08, an informal do up at 3Rooms to give people who do stuff with games and technology some face time together for pretty much whatever purpose we like (within the limits of acceptable decorum and the fire code).

GameCamp panorama

The session schedule was pretty packed and I couldn’t make it to everything I fancied due to things happening concurrently, but I managed to pick many awesome brains, eat 17 brownies and sun my translucent arms for the first time this year, so I wouldn’t dream of complaining.

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Game Hour: HeroQuest

Every Friday morning my whole team spends an hour playing games together. Anything we fancy: Magic, Munchkin (which we haven’t picked up in awhile, actually)… Werewolf‘s a popular one ‘cos we can play as a big group. The main point of Game Hour is having fun, but it’s also a great opportunity to learn one another’s playstyles, gain cooperative experience across game teams and even practice demoing skills – since with each new game there’s at least one of us who’s never played whatever-it-is before.

Last Friday, a couple of the guys were super-organized and brought in Mario Kart for the Wii. We’ve got a Wii in our games room, but unfortunately someone had borrowed its power cable for a couple of weeks (!) so we couldn’t actually play anything on it. Having only five players, which isn’t quite enough for Werewolf, we decided to fall back on an old classic: HeroQuest.

Although a suspicious number of our brothers had apparently played HeroQuest back in the day, none of us ever had so we spent the first half hour pawing at the game pieces and trying to figure out the rules. In defiance of typecasting, I picked the Dwarf character. (You can’t go too far wrong hacking at everything with an axe.) We each entered the the dungeon from a different place on the map, and sortof individually winged it through sections of the pre-made level one dungeon, fighting goblins, finding a bit of treasure and falling into traps.

The game was rushed and improvisational – not quite HeroQuest as intended, but a great experience. With five minutes left it descended into all-in PvP vs. the Elf, which I’m happy to say (since my Dwarf started it), the Elf lost. Next to a particularly spirited game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with my daughter, it was the most fun I had all week.