I’m currently attending the Nordic Game conference in MalmÃ¶. A nice conference as usual. This is a summary of my first day conference experience.
The first keynote was with TT Games and about Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones. Their entrance scene was epic – Darth Vader, stormtroopers and dramatic lighting – never seen better. They talked about the company culture at TT Games; meeting free and surrounded by Lego they play their way to success. The main design philosophy behind their games seemed to be rich presentation above deep mechanics.
Next I was at a panel session on social MMO design. Legendary Richard Bartle was among the panelists, and brought along his deep historic insight and knowledge about what players do in a virtual world without games and content (they create it themselves). He also encouraged developers to not try to addict and imprison players – that way they will never return when they manage to take a break. The panelists seemed to agree that MMO-games should be a hero’s journey with your friends.
Then I went through a session showcasing impressive character art from the Furi Furi company, Heavenly Sword and a bunch of scrapped Rare-games – and some old and not that impressive art from Jet Set Radio.
Avalanche then revealed their pitch strategy and how they manage ideas internally. They had a small pitch group which worked to crystalize concepts that any employe could submit via a standard concept submission form. The best pitches was then taken to publishers – no demo was made before doing so, because they neither had the time nor the money to do so. Their strong internal technology was enough to convince publishers about their abilities.
Finally, the first day ended with an absolutely brilliant talk by Ste Curran. The essence was, that the best stories in games are the stories we tell about those stories. So he told some himself, and brought in people to tell other. I guess you would have to be there to understand how great and different it was. Maybe there is a video somewhere?