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DescriptionSometimes large real-life conferences lend themselves to curious games in niche genres; roguelikes were found to be well-suited to the Assembly demoparty; some 12 years later, the GDC found itself cast as something belonging to a genre of a similar vintage, the text adventure. But like Mirrorsoft's Austerlitz, despite its text parser what purrs beneath the hood isn't an adventure game but a simulation. In this case, what is simulated is social networking and professional development among indie game developer hopefuls, toward the end of assembling a team with diverse skills sufficient to (someday) get a game together and out the door!
This isn't as easy as it may sound; in fact, in some games the randomized starting conditions may make it actually impossible to assemble a full complement of skilled game-makers. With every new game the prospects are assigned the names of Jim's beta-testers and randomly allotted interests (eg. 2D physics, micropayments, pixel art), skillsets (eg. artist, coder, promoter) and social compatibility with the player and each other. Then, in between attending workshops, the player eavesdrops on the NPC's conversations with each other, sussing out their respective interests and skills. The player can jump in to the conversation but risks social alienation if attempting to TALK ABOUT a subject before having first ASKed ABOUT it. Eventually (if conducted methodically -- the clock ticks on with every workshop, of which the conference has a finite amount) the player either becomes conversant with people's nerdy passions or figures out who they can't work with, and eventually makes the proposal, telling each would-be developer that what they are most interested in is precisely what their next project should be -- together! Hopefully by the end of the conference the player has gathered their dream team and gotten someone capable on-side to man every important role on a development team!
Certainly it's a more optimistic model than The Truth About Game Development but maybe it would feature as much sadistic violence if it also included an epilogue on the subject of negotiating with game publishers.
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- "Game Developers Conference 2009: A Social Interaction Simulator" -- Tag-lined title
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