Saturday, April 04, 2009

For A Serious Game-Like GDC

GDC as a Multiplayer Serious Game platform


According to the press coverage, and my personal onsite testimonial, Think Services’ 2009 Game Developers Conference® (GDC) hosted more than 17,000 game industry professionals last week at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center.

Source: GameDev.net
“The world’s largest industry-only event dedicated to the advancement of interactive entertainment attracted the full spectrum of game industry professionals from known luminaries to aspiring and established game developers, to publishers and deal makers to members of the working press,”

“With more than 500 lectures, panels, summits, tutorials and roundtable discussions covering all aspects of the games business, plus a robust Expo and Career Pavilion, the Game Career Seminar, the 11th Annual Independent Games Festival (IGF), the 9th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, Game Connection America, and more, the five day conference provided innumerable opportunities for sharing knowledge, discussing opportunities, making new connections and celebrating the passion and dedication of fellow game-makers.”

“GDC09 also offered intensive tutorials, GDC Mobile, and a full lineup of summits focusing on emerging trends in the game industry. They included the AI Summit, the Casual Games Summit, the Game Outsourcing Summit, the IGDA Education Summit, the Independent Games Summit, the Localization Summit, the Serious Games Summit, and the Worlds in Motion Summit, all of which took place on the Monday and Tuesday of the week, March 23-24.”

In addition, All Access conference pass holders can continue learning post conference with access to over hundreds of viewable sessions from GDC09 and past Game Developer Conferences® via myGDC Vault. 

Serious Games “Walk the Talk”

As GDC returns to the Moscone Center March 9-13, 2010, I’ve realized the opportunity of transforming its “show format” into a playful one: a collective interactive experience, which is the essence of Serious Games proposition.


Current Format


Future Format


I’m Serious.net was one of the first Serious Games Summit attendees to create the discomfort with the status-quo:

“This leaves me with vague unease about where Serious Games are going…- or, better, where the conference is going.” (
GDC: Not a Banner Year for Serious Games Summit).

As most of game developers in the segment preach Serious Games large scale adoption for experiential learning, why not leverage on GDC enormous visibility and start to “Walk The Talk”.

Unlimited Possibilities - Up to Our Imagination

What if we started GDC sessions as we start a Wii Game, with players (as opposed to audience) electing the “channel” and challenge level?

Exergaming: “Humans as Wiimotes” technology



What if we turn any mobile phone into a game controller for interactive game demos?

Phone Call Controlled, Realtime, Multiplayer Gaming on Big Screens


What else?

Engagement: Real-time feedback and individual control mean attendees are much more entertained.


Tracking: Each installation is tagged with meta-data, including location, and demographic information about visitors.

Mobile channel: Accepts SMS/MMS from callers to display text messages and images on screen.

Customization: Dynamic data, audio, images, video, and animation can be used. Game graphics and rules can be fully customized to match any existing session.

Multi-user: Supports hundreds or even thousands of players, with the real limit being the screen size and game design itself. For action games where each caller needs their own avatar, 20 to 40 users per screen is a good balance. For games where each user doesn't need to be seen on screen the number of players is up to your imagination.

Multi-location: Instances can be distributed over different locations. Imagine a game where the teams are in Moscone’s West, North and South Hall.

Portable: To deploy you only need a suitable screen, a standard PC (Mac, Windows, or Linux), and an internet connection (1.5 mbps of bandwidth).

What about real time Q&A and assessments for each session?

Learning Metrics via mobile devices, which privately delivers real time assessment results in a collaborative learning environment