One of the go-to anecdotes Simple Machine founders Kurt Bieg and Ramsey Nasser have about their iPhone golf-meets-Twitter game Twirdie involves a five-year-old picking up the game for the first time. According the the duo—classmates from the Parsons School of Design who found sudden success recently with the release of their rhythm game, Circadia—the first time the junior gamer in question picked up the game, he sat with it for over two hours, typing away terms into the game's interface, using trending words on Twitter to putt the ball back and forth across the green to get it into the hole.

For Nasser and Bieg, this story, which they told me during a brief GDC 2012 interview and recounted again during the Experimental Gameplay Session, neatly sums up the appeal of the game which challenges users to flex their social awareness, regardless of their age, background, or nationality. Twirdie and Circadia represent two very different yet equally egalitarian-minded games from the studio that seem as much about getting people to try something unexpected as they are about climbing the sales charts.
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Jason VandenBerghe, Creative Director at Ubisoft talks about the psychology of games in this panel at GDC 2012 about making decisions about game design to draw in players based on elements of their personality. VandenBerghe has been credited on Rayman: Origins as well as titles in the Call of Duty franchise.

Caution, it's about to get stats-techy.
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What happens when a bunch of designers from around the world get to show off some of their new, innovative, or just out there ideas at GDC 2012 on the same stage where Flow and Katamari Damacy made their debuts?

Hit the jump to find out.
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Two decades to the year after Edward Carnby first got in over his head in the original 3D survival horror, the game's designer, Frederick Raynal took the stage at GDC 2012 to discuss how he and the team at Infogrames created the PC classic that inspired Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and quite by accident, the Uwe Boll movie with Christian Slater.
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During a talk at GDC 2012 described as a "fireside chat" with the man behind Minecraft (there was, in fact, an HDTV with a Minecraft block flame behind him), Markus "Notch" Persson discussed the evolution of the PC phenomenon in a talk moderated by Chris Hecker. In particular, he outlined how many of the game's most interesting features were the result of feedback and unexpected interaction from the community.
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Did you know the coin-op classic Gauntlet only came about because one of the game's creators, Ed Logg, was being bugged by his son, a D&D fan, to make a game set in that universe? During a postmortem of the first four-player arcade game at this year's GDC, Logg, a designer on Gauntlet, talked about building the game that was once upon a time simply called "Dungeon," and designing a concept around a problem—in this case, the struggling arcade industry of the mid-80's.
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Before he was Head of Marketing for The Witcher and The Witcher 2 developer CD Projeckt Red, Michal Platkow-Gilewski was a fan of the the dark fantasy novels on which they were based back in his native Poland. So were many of the designers and programmers at his studio, he explained, saying many of them grew up reading Andrzej Sapkowski's dark fantasy novels about Geralt of Rivia, the titular "Witcher" or specially-bred monster hunter who was front and center for the CD Projekt's two award-winning games based on the books.

With The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings making its console debut exclusively on the 360 this spring in both regular and Enhanced editions, I spoke with Platkow-Gilewski at GDC about the release as well as getting the word out about your game, even if you're not a major studio.
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Timothy Cain, the producer, programmer, and one of the original Fallout speaks at GDC 2012 on what it took to make the PC classic from Interplay.
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During his GDC talk, "The Future of Japanese Games," the former Capcom producer maintained his pessimistic outlook for Japanese game development after famously saying last year that it was "game over" for the Japanese development industry.
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Fez, Dear Esther, and Antichamber were some of the big winners at GDC's Game Developer's Choice and Independent Game Festival awards, while Skyrim and Portal 2 grabbed some of the major honors among game developers.

Find the complete list of winners after the jump.
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