The Dispatch: The Last GDC in Austin, Part 1
[Continued] Page 2
How the GDC is nothing like going to college
In college, the professors don't tell you all to meet them at a bar after class. That kind of thing usually ends in an uncomfortable ethics hearing or paternity test. However, this is what happened after almost every narrative design lecture at the GDC. Everyone was encouraged, emphatically, to show up at Austin's premiere beer-atorium, The Gingerman, for drinks and chats with the best writers in the industry.
Writers? Drinking? I know what you must be thinking, and to put your mind at ease, yes, every night was an alcohol soaked romp that only some of us can remember. I'm pretty sure I locked myself into a League of Legends grudge match with Eidos's Leanne Taylor-Giles, and I may or may not have staked my power of attorney. Also, why does my arm hurt?
Why does the GDC exist?
Its not complete altruism, but its also not utter capitalism. While all artists want to grow the world of art, these artists also make an embarrassing amount of money for studios and publishers alike. Events like these don't foster competition, they are the swell that raises all of their respective ships. Explaining the how and why of gaming fosters a change in the standard of gaming. Gamers won't always demand better. While each Madden title, arguably, gets incrementally better, they would still sellout if the next installment were half the quality of the former. Alternately, many gamers can be incredibly demanding. If something doesn't meet expectations (Black and White 2, Spore, Diablo 3) the backlash will be intense. By sharing their wisdom, the development community develops itself. Man, that's complex. This is some deep stuff you're getting here; I hope you're appreciating it.
It's not all self-aggrandizement either. Developers do not shy away from their mistakes, and are often the first to point them out; usually in an auditorium, with a projector, in-front of an audience of their peers. Few in entertainment could be so bold. You wont see Michael Bay doing that.
TOMORROW! Dispatch 2: Narrative Design, Developers, Kickstarter, and My Boundary-Crossing Man-Crush on Obsidian Entertainment's Chris Avellone!