On the Ground in Austin

From my 10th floor hotel room, it seems like I can see about a thousand miles. Austin is flatter and greener than I expected. Also more humid, which may explain the green.

Our AGDC presentation is at 1:30pm Tuesday. Owlchick and I spent the afternoon polishing the slides (yeah yeah, we were supposed to have the final version done a couple weeks ago) so I think it will go well.

I’m looking forward to lunch with Hartsman and hope to see other old friends from SOE. Should be a good time.

If the presentation tanks, at least there will be BBQ. Oh yes, there will be BBQ.

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Steve Danuser, also known as Moorgard, is a a writer, editor, and game designer.

11 thoughts on “On the Ground in Austin”

  1. I look forward to the day when 38 Studios staff can finally start talking substantively about your new MMO instead of attending yet another pointless and inconsequential “industry” panel. I just seems rather premature for a company that has not made their mark in the industry and even released a successful product that you can be sending a steady stream of company reps to these events.

  2. My presentation doesn’t have anything to do with 38 Studios. If you’re implying that people who work in the industry shouldn’t be able to do presentations at industry events on topics with which they have some expertise, well, that’s pretty stupid.

    This isn’t a 38 Studios panel. It’s me and a former SOE coworker talking about storytelling. This has been posted before so I didn’t feel I had to clarify the point yet again,but apparently I do.

  3. Don’t forget to stand on the bridge over the colorado river at sunset and watch the bats go out. Also, for the love of all things food, get some good tex mex. Also – check out who is playing at Antones. Awesome place to catch a band, some drinks, and hopefully chat with some Texas women – who are the hottest women in the US!

  4. Just read the write up from the link posted above….seems like pretty interesting stuff.

    I agree that by far the most memorable events in any MMO are almost always based on social interaction with other players. My favorite story lines are the kind that lend themselves easily and foster a play environment that sets up lots of potential social interaction between me and other players.

    A good example of this might be the old epic quests in EQ. They had lots of lore (which I actually read and enjoyed a great deal), but the most satisfying parts of those quests was the need to bring friends in to help you make real progress. I can’t remember why exactly Venril Sathir had a piece of the wizard Staff of the Four, but I can clearly remember sending tells, posting help requests, and rounding up friends to come help me get the kill…I can remember feeling how lucky I was that I had been fortunate enough to make so many in-game friends that they were willing to come out of their way for me. That was the real reward in the story…if they had made the item drop from a solo quest or long camp I would never have had that experience. Even the players who never read the lore (or even cared about it) had to go through that experience to get their epic.

    It isn’t just quests that require lots of people to complete (as the example above), but just the interaction between you and other players that the story gently pushes you towards. There is nothing worse then the feeling that you are paying to play a “single player” MMO. Stories and quests are a tool for bringing players together, and getting folks to interact.

    I also agree with your comment that MMO players know that they aren’t the only hero in the world, and that when writers create stories that try to create that effect they have an empty feel to them and even feel a bit insulting to me as a player. Its feels like playing “make believe” while I’m in the MMO, and quickly causing any sense of immersion to fly out the window for me.

  5. I apologize for the snarky tone of my comment. I just find it hard to get excited about new of another dev attending yet another panel and sipping Chardonnay at an event. But from what I have read in the coverage of your talk you’ve hit the nail on the head in many ways with regard to addressing many of the problematic areas of quests in MMOs and it’s almost exactly what I’ve been writing about on my website for years now. I hope to get a full transcript of your talk and properly evaluate it in an upcoming article.

  6. I agree with the whole quest dialog… the first time threw I want to stop and read them I really do and do try… but if I skip one … I tend to just skip the rest of a area in reading the quests… and I do try to do as many quests at a time… so I dont have to run back and forth so much even if it makes the area’s story arc fairly convoluted.

  7. I did not observe Mr. Moorgard partaking of any chardonnay and I sincerely hope he eventually found some good Tex-Mex Mex food. Sadly, on Monday when we walked up and down the streets, everything interesting was either closed on Mondays or didn’t have enough beef to feed the two of us.

  8. Would anyone know where I can view a complete transcript of Steve and Tracy’s talk? One of my beef’s with these GDC events is that most rank and file designers 1) don’t have the time to attend as they are designing/scripting games and 2) their companies can’t afford to send them. The result is that often we end up with a few news stories where we end up with an interpretation of what was said instead of the actual content.

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