Global Game Jam 2014 Keynote


Hi there, Global Game jammers of 2014! My name is Richard Lemarchand, and I was lucky enough to work on Naughty Dog for 8 amazing years. Where I was either the lead or the co-lead game designer on all 3 games in the Uncharted series. Now, I’m an Associate Professor in the Interactive Media & Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Where I teach in the USC Games Program, and design games as part of USC’s Game Innovation Lab It’s an honor to be talking to you today, and the first thing that I want to tell you is that “you are awesome”. You are awesome for taking time out of your life to participate in the Global Game Jam. And, whether you’ve never made a game before, or you’re an experienced developer the creativity that you unleash this weekend is going to build and strengthen our great international community of game creators. As well as thanking you for taking part in this year’s jam, I also wanna throw you a challenge. Every year, loads of really fantastic games come out of the Global Game Jam. But, quite a few of them are variations on old games, or familiar genres. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you accept my challenge, you’ll be agreeing to take a risk this weekend by trying to create what we call an experimental game a game that does something entirely new, an style that we’ve never seen before, or with a core mechanic that is completely unique You see, I believe that experimental game design is at the heart of what makes games great. I have first-hand experience of this. I’ve spoken publicly about how “Tale of Tales” game, “The Graveyard”, was a big influence on the peaceful village sequence in Uncharted 2 All the great game designers that I know keep a close eye on the experimental game scene, on places like the Indiecade, the IGF and the GDC Experimental Gameplay Workshop because the ideas that bubble up there are constantly refreshing and reinvigorating the mainstream of modern game design. So, I’ve got some tips for you, if you want to accept my challenge. First, as soon as you hear this year’s Global Game Jam theme, get your team together, and have a brainstorm. I’m giving you the simple, powerful rules of brainstorming here. If you read them and follow them then, before you know it, you’ll have a long list of innovative game ideas to choose from. Then, take an hour or so to build and playtest some prototypes. These are extremely small, simple games that let you explore and discuss your design ideas in a hands-on way. Even if your game is going to be digital, start by making just a simple board game, or card game or action game with whatever art supplies you happen to have on hand. The playtests you run will be lumpy and clunky, for sure, but it doesn’t matter. Building prototypes like this will help you find your way to a handful of surprising, workable, wonderful ideas that you can then assemble into a design for your game. And my final tip for you today, is that you shouldn’t be afraid to fail this weekend. Even if you don’t like the way your experimental game turns out. I guarantee you that by creating it, you will learn something about making games. and then, the next time you make a game, you’ll be much more likely to make something truly brilliant. As the American inventor and systems theorist, Buckminster Fuller, said “There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes”. After all, what better place to be living at the very edge of human experience, doing things with games that no one has ever dared try before than at the Global Game Jam? Thanks for listening. I know you’re gonna have a amazing time this weekend. We’re gonna be jamming along with you, with Mega, the USC Game Club, and with the Los Angeles Chapter of the IGDA. We can’t wait to see what you make this weekend. Jam on! As designers and creators, we have a natural tendency to emulate and mimic others. Always surrounded by impressive technology, games and trends, how can we not be? But instead of always looking to others, know that our own lives can be an endless reservoir of inspiration for the things we make. Each one of us have experienced life differently — we have accumulated our own unique set of personal experiences that no one else has. Whether they are good or bad experiences — maybe it was glorious, hilarious, tragic or even traumatic… all together they define you. It’s important as a designer and as a creator to first own it, and then share it. And, you don’t have to be so literal. There’s a lot of personal games out there that do tell a person’s unique story, and some do so, beautifully. But that’s not what I am talking about. Your life can live in your work in a way that doesn’t always need explanation. Maybe it’s seemingly insignificant or so subtle that it barely floats to the surface. When I talk about my games, I talk about the contexts in which my game exists and the reasons why I made the game in relation to the contexts, but I rarely talk about the deeper, personal influences in my games. And the thing is, people don’t have to know. I know where it comes from. So I am asking you to always share a part of yourself when you make games. Share a part of your unique personal experience. And you don’t have to even tell me how or why. I promise, this will only make you stronger as a designer, your creativity will always be boundless, and the best thing is what happens afterwards. The results may surprise you in a magical kind of way. Hi everybody! This is Jenova Chen, President & Creative Director from thatgamecompany We’ve made these 3 games in the past for the PlayStation 3, called fl0w, Flower and Journey Today, I was invited to be here to give a keynote about the Global Game Jam I’m really excited to talk to you because, to me, Game Jam is a Win Win activity Even before Game Jam as a term existed, I was doing that without knowing so When I was not in the Game Industry, just a student in college, in Grad School, I was meeting people in clubs Well, the specialized clubs, like the game making club. And finding people who like, who shared the same passion as you, and together, we would stay for weekends, sometimes a whole summer vacation to make games together, just for fun. And this is a really great place for you to find like-minded persons, but also people who actually have skills, because the passion they have about something makes them to put a lot of time into what they do. And then you can form a team that can actually make a game beyond your own capacity. Once you’ve made these games, whether in a day, or two, or a whole summer vacation, that turns into a really valuable asset in your portfolio. You’ll help yourself to get an internship, or it may help you to get a job in the industry. And, sometimes, when your game jam idea becomes really good, and it develops into a full indie game, you get to submit it to festivals, and there will be a lot more opportunities to get your game and get your team exposed. Whether it’s looking for jobs, or maybe even getting funding to start your own studio. And even after you’ve worked for the industry for several years, – Busy Working in the Industry
And even after you’ve worked for the industry for several years, – Busy Working in the Industry game jams are still something very valuable to me.
– Busy Working in the Industry game jams are still something very valuable to me. Sometimes, after you’ve worked on a very difficult project for two, or even three years, – Change the Pace
Sometimes, after you’ve worked on a very difficult project for two, or even three years, – Change the Pace you start feeling slow, you start to feel, you know, maybe, you can’t really make a good game anymore
– Change the Pace you start feeling slow, you start to feel, you know, maybe, you can’t really make a good game anymore And by breaking that, just to work on a game jam for one day, it really helps you to change the pace and regain the confidence about what you’re doing. Sometimes you even get to try ideas you would never have the time to do. And it really helps you to brainstorm, and to think outside the box. And trust me, sometimes these prototypes actually turn into real products and being sold. You know with games that’s taking two to three years long to work, like Flower, a lot of times working on these games feels like doing a game jam, because we had to do all kinds of prototypes for different gameplays in such short amount of time. This is a game jam we did for Journey. To the left is called “The Rope”, and to the right is called “The Dragon” prototype. they are very crucial to help us to understand how these collaborative games will work, and there were usually done in a day or two. So, Global Game Jam, it’s kind of exciting There’s hundreds and thousands of people jamming together, it’s gotta be very cool. The one thing I’m thinking about is when so many people are jamming and in the end there’s hundreds of games How are you gonna get the people’s attention on your game? How do you stand out against everybody else? My two cents is just don’t take the theme too literally If you look at other themes given out in the past 5 years, let’s say “extinction”, if you really take it for what it means in the dictionary, I bet you there’s like 5 other guys making a very similar game as you do. So, when you think about making some idea that really becomes unique, you need to create something that is really surprising, you know, something people didn’t expect, or you create something that could bring delight to the people who play it, so they’ve really felt something, and meanwhile, remember, no matter how you alter the idea or the theme, stay relevant. So these are the 3 prime qualities when you look at a great game, or even at a great film You know, you always need to have some kind of spectacle, something that people that never have seen in the past, and it needs to be accessible, people need to pick it up and experience it right away. And the most important thing to me it’s that it needs to come with emotional impact, whether it’s delight or surprise, it needs to make people to feel something. So when you look at this Game Jam, and whatever that theme is, think about what the theme might make you feel, and see if you can make a game that makes you feel that way. And good luck! And have fun jamming!

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