You may notice that the researcher's list that used to be on the left column is now gone. The reason is simple: it was simply not as complete as it should have. I originally created it when I started blogging and before my blog turned into a videogame research resource -that explains why some people who were there were not exactly game researchers. So, I pulled it off while I craft a better way to deal with it.
I just arrived to San Antonio after a short flight from Atlanta. This year, SIGGRAPH is being held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, which is by the city’s gorgeous Riverwalk. After a quick registration and checking-in with a.c. chapman – who’s chairing the Art Gallery Paper section- I started browsing around to get a feel of the place. The best news so far is that the conference provides 802.11b networking, so it will be really easy to keep you guys updated about what is going on.
After browsing around the exhibit floor –mainly populated, as you would expect, by 3D software companies, I attended an interesting panel on interface was organized by Andruid Kerne. Michael Mateas –who by the way will be teaching at Georgia Tech next year- discussed about interface issues on his “office plant” piece (a plant sculpture that blooms according to the content characteristics of the emails that a user receives). Mateas is close to complete –along with Andrew Stern- “Façade”, an Aristotelian interactive drama project. I will give more details on this long-awaited work as soon as they showcase it later next week. Eric Zimmerman, from GameLab, was a last-minute addition to the panel. He focused on “Fluid”, his most recent game, where discovering the rules behind the simulation –and the interface- is part of the enjoyment itself. The panel was closed by Will Wright, who discussed The Sims’ interface as well as the web community that developed around the game. Based on this and previous talks, it is clear that Wright is fascinated by the players’ response to the game, particularly as they became object designers, collectors, storytellers and even toolmakers. As you readers probably know by now, this fascination will be the driving force before his next project, The Sims Online. In an interesting case of mise-en-abyme, he finished by showing a simulation that simulates the behavior of The Sims Online player/designers. Wright is probably the best example of a simulation auteur: somebody who is not interested in telling a story but rather in building an environment and setting the rules that will provide the players with tools for playing/creating/enjoying. Unlike the modernist auteur, Wright’s control over the game experience is limited to setting boundaries to potential actions rather than defining sequences of actions.
Game Research has an interesting article on some facts that are widely accepted about games but may not be true. I was particularly interested in their figures about the "games are bigger than movies" idea.