Monday, October 28, 2013

Queering Game Development, slides

Hey. QGCon just ended and it was a blast. I'll post more thoughts later.

For now, here are the slides from my talk, "Queering Game Development", which I think was fairly well-received? Some of the slides may not seem very clear / might need some unpacking; I'll post a more comprehensive essay adaptation of the talk later too, or maybe make a video? (EDIT: recording of talk on the archived stream starts at around 2:37:00)

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Game Studies of Game Development

This is an excerpt from "Queering Game Development", a talk I'm giving at QGCon (October 26-27) at UC Berkeley. Registration is free and open to the public.

You could see "games", as a complex field of theory and practice, as roughly the sum of three sub-fields: Game Studies, Game Design, and Game Development.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Developing a Half-Life Mod: Science and Industry" at NYU Game Center, Oct 23

"Indie-game developers, Kevin Cancienne and Peter Ginsberg, will talk about their experiences developing Science and Industry, a Half-Life mod. Hear about the design process of this humorous and innovative team-based multiplayer game and the community that helped bring it together. Robert Yang, first-person shooter scholar and developer, will be leading a question and answer session after the lecture."
2 Metrotech Center, 8th Floor Lecture Hall
Wednesday October 23, 7pm
RSVP for the event; free and open to public.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Two talk descriptions at QGCon and Practice

Sorry that this blog's been suffering a bit as of late. I've been busy.

My teaching load is ramping up (which is good, having more day job is nice) and I've been devoting most of my free time toward working on games, transcribing Level With Me vol. 2 at Rock Paper Shotgun, and writing / researching for two talks I'm delivering -- one at QGCon, and the other at Practice.

Here are the two blurbs:

"Queering Game Development" @ QGCon, Oct 27 in Berkeley, California
Queer and feminist critiques of games often rely on high level conceptual approaches to games -- that is, analyzing games as cultural products or media objects. The hegemony's response is to go technical and go low-level, to argue that their game engine could not support playable women characters, or to argue production schedules allowed no time to support queer content, etc. Ignoring temporarily how those are bullsh*t reasons, what if we chased them into the matrix? Perhaps we could disclose the politics inherent in game engine architectures, rendering APIs, and technical know-how. If we learn about (and *practice*) actual game development, then we can articulate alternative accounts of game development at a low level, and achieve more comprehensive critiques of games.

"Well-Made: Back to Black Mesa" @ Practice, November 17 in New York City
The modern AAA single player first person shooter consists mainly of two things: shooting faces in implausibly realistic levels with a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle, or rocket launcher -- and obeying NPCs when they trap you inside a room so they can emit voice-over lines at you. Half-Life's legacy in the latter is well-mythologized in history, but what if we re-visit Half-Life as a masterpiece of technical design, enemy encounters, AI scripting, weapons tuning, and architecture? Spoiler: we'll find out it's a pretty well-crafted game.

(I imagine the "Well-Made" as a counterpart to the "Well-Played" or something.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Indiecade 2013 postpartum

So Indiecade 2013 came and went. I had a pretty great time and I still think it's a pretty good games event. I also think untempered compliments are the least useful form of feedback, so here are some notes, observations, and thoughts:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Indiecade 2013

Hey blog readers. I'll be hanging around Indiecade this year, and Nostrum will be on display at the Oculus booth there. Feel free to say hey to me. (It'll probably be awkward for everyone involved, and that's okay.)

On "How to Destroy Everything"

"How to Destroy Everything" is a fairly comprehensive argument for destroying everything.

That if games are art, or if games are culture, or if games are communities -- then we must recognize how art fractures, how culture is in tension with itself, and how communities constantly collapse and re-form into new ones. "Destroying everything" is about celebrating change and diversity and resilience, with the confidence that together we have the power to make something better in the future.

One of the more common instances of bullshit gamer presser-preview snake-oil-speak, alongside "day 1 purchase" and "immersive" and "cinematic," invokes the idea of "our young evolving medium." Whose medium is it? Why, it is We, the Gamers' Medium!!!! But does this Dorito-flavored ruin of Ozymandias -- does this "gamers" even realize what it whispers to itself, about evolving mediums?

At the core of evolution is sex, sex, and sex. Vulnerability! Energy! Trust! Passion! Grunting, feeling, throbbing, moaning... yes... yes... YESSSSSSSS!

I'm pretty sure the "Ludic Century" is already over.