Saturday, November 12, 2005

MGIS: Clint Hocking's "Next: The Game Designers Generation"

[A week ago I attended the Montreal Game Summit. I'm only getting around now to posting some notes from the sessions, and will do the posts, one-per]

Clint Hocking’s “Next… The Game Designer’s Generation”. Was this a presentation, or was this performance art? Without a doubt my favorite session of the conference. Clint gave a first rate scripted performance set to slides, very much in the “beyond bullet points” style (BTW, while I don’t have a recording of this presentation, a similarly styled presentation about another subject altogether is Dick Hardt’s Identity 2.0 Presentation which you can see here. A must view for all PPT-fu wannabes). In his presentation, Clint talked about Hollywood vs games, military history from the Hippolytes through to current day, game design and player freedom, evolution of the industry, ludology & game academics, weather phenomena, the Apollo program, JFK, and… well it really went over quite a bit, but all of it was used to make some good points:
o Games have grown up and become a viable medium in which artists can express themselves and consumers can choose to spend their money and time. Because of this, we very much compete with movies.
o The industry’s response has been to become more like movies.
o The movie industry is better at being movies than we are. They are also bigger. They will crush us like a grape.
o We can learn from military history and many examples of how smaller forces won through being more nimble and using new technology & tactics to gain the advantage.
o Interactivity and player agency are our advantage. We must use them to be nimble. This means giving player CHOICE.
o Games are evolving in some cases to give players LESS choice (guide them through a story), not more.
o The imperative for designers to SURRENDER AUTHORSHIP AND CONTROL! The more you put it in the hands of players, the more we let consumers do what Hollywood never can never let them do.
o Artists and Programmers have gotten us to where we are today. It is the game designers turn to take the lead role in the next battle in the war against Hollywood over the next decade.
o There was some good ludology background on different “strata” on the spectrum between authored experience and player agency, and Clint put many games up against this litmus strip to illustrate examples.


Mark said...

Thanks for the Identity 2.0 link! Very cool stuff.

william said...

Technically, Dick Hardt's Identity 2.0 presentation was created and delivered with Keynote, not Powerpoint ;-p

KimPallister said...

I think the point was that his presentation was delivered by HIM more than it was by Keynote or PPT.

william said...

really? are you sure?


Actually, I didn't like that presentation much - it had the feel of a lightly rehersed TV commercial (and boy do I dislike TV commercials!) I can see the appeal of his style to some audiences, but I prefer a speaker using fewer, better visuals, and having the audience focus on the speaker more so than the slide deck.