Cast for two

Friday, February 22, 2008

GDC08 Day 5

Last day at the Game Developers Conference. Skip if you're not interested in games.
First talk today was "Planning the Wii Menu: From PreLaunch to Wii Ware" by Takashi Aoyana. Picture taking nor filming was allowed. This talk addressed mainly how the Wii Menu was designed. The design rationale is:

  • Fun for the entire family
  • Something new every day
Some new features for the Wii Menu version 3 are announced:
  • Creating channels from games on the disk
  • Sending messages at specific times
  • Activate an Internet Channel when following a link
  • The rhythm of the blue led is inspired on the sound of a Japane bird (agrisu or something)
  • new photo channel icon

More info in Wired : "Nintendo's Takashi Aoyama Talks WiiWare".
The next talk was about "Super Smash Bros Brawl" by Masahiro Sakurai (from Sora Ltd). This new Wii title will launch on March 9th, 2008.

This talk focused on the characters in the game: the selection, the graphics and the motion of the characters. For more see Wired article "Sakurai Talks About Smash Bros. Character Roster" or Video Interview: Smash Bros.' Masahiro Sakurai

After this Nintedo overload, I went to "Dinner Dash Hometown Hero, Gourmet Edition : Postmortem, Where casual games meet virtual worlds" by Brad Edelman (CTO/cofounder Playfirst) and Kenny Shea Dinkin (VP & Creative Director Playfirst).
Dinerdash is a popular casual game that was downloaded 200 miljoen times. The Hometown Hero version is about user generated content:

and about episodic content:

and they claim it works:
  • More then 50% from the Diner Dash Hometown Hero transactions come from sub-5$ items.
  • Playfirst users who have only bought sub-$5 items are growing significantly
  • 57% of Diner Dash Hometown Hero purchasers are first time buyers who never had purchased in the $20-obly business model
  • Diner Dash Hometowm Hero is the fastest selling game on
  • Episodic content is popular and drives strong sales - they've released 1 new restaurant/story per month since launch

And now for something completely different "Python for technical Artists" by Adam Pletcher. You can find the Python script and the slides on Volition website. I tought that this talk would explain how you can do artistic stuff with Python but it turned out it was about how to do repetitive stuff for artists.

Next talk was "Metaplace Postmortem: Reinventing MMOs"
by Raph Koster (President, Areae, Inc.) and Sean Riley (Lead Programmer, Metaplace).
I was quite interested in the concept of Metaplace but this talk focused more on the design of the technical architecture of Metaplace. Basically, they use web technology to democratise the development of MMO's. The idea is kind of cool but it remains to be seen if it will work out.

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