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GDC 2018 Talks: Michael Cranford, Josh Sawyer, Jeff Vogel

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GDC 2018 Talks: Michael Cranford, Josh Sawyer, Jeff Vogel

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Sat 31 March 2018, 23:56:50

Tags: Interplay; Jeff Vogel; Josh Sawyer; Michael Cranford; Obsidian Entertainment; Spiderweb Software; The Bard's Tale; The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight

There were several Codex-relevant talks given at GDC last week. Bard's Tale creator Michael Cranford gave a presentation about the development of the first two games in the series, Obsidian's Josh Sawyer spoke about designing choice & consequence as part of a group session that also included the likes of Soren Johnson and Raph Koster, and Jeff Vogel gave a talk about being Jeff Vogel. Unlike previous years, this year GDC have been pretty quick about making the videos of these talks public. Here are the links:

Classic Game Postmortem: 'The Bard's Tale I and II'

This session will explore the conception and development of Interplay's 'The Bard's Tale I & II', led by Michael Cranford. He will share the vision that led him to the game's conception, design, and development from his years as a dungeon master. The games are an expression of Cranford's personal love for the genre and desire to surpass the experience of tabletop gaming. The session will explore the vision behind the game and help illuminate a trajectory in gaming which has remained strong to the current day.

Rules of the Game: Five Further Techniques from Rather Clever Designers (starts at 42:30)

How do you make your games work? There's no sure-fire way to design great games, but over numerous successful projects the best designers develop techniques that help them craft compelling experiences. Returning for GDC 2018, the Rules of the Game session takes five renowned designers and asks them to go into detail about a rule they've used in their work. Each speaker has ten minutes to dive into their technique and provide detailed examples about how they have used the rule in past projects, honestly sharing the pluses and minuses including where their rule works well and where it may be less applicable. These are personal rules that you may not always agree with, but they're guaranteed to provide interesting fodder for your own game design thoughts and help you build your own design rulebook.

Failing to Fail: The Spiderweb Software Way

In 1994, Jeff Vogel founded Spiderweb Software, one of the oldest continuously operating indie game companies. This is the story of the company, the tricks it used to endure and make money for decades in this brutal business, the history of indie gaming from a bunch of random shareware weirdoes to an industry powerhouse, and a pile of helpful business advice from someone who has stayed around for a long time. Features funny anecdotes, crunchy sales information, and the delightful rantings of a cranky old coot.​

I watched the first two of these, and Michael Cranford's presentation is definitely a highlight, taking an unusual turn in its second half to discuss Christian philosophy and settle some old scores. A live summary is available on Twitter courtesy of the illustrious Andrew Plotkin. There's no written summary for the session Josh Sawyer participated in, but its slides are available here. For Jeff Vogel's talk, there's an article summarizing it at GamesIndustry.

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