Great Dane Games

Great Dane Games

Great Dane Games - all things gamerelated

This weblog is the digital playground for Anders Højsted. I'm a philosopher, indie gamedeveloper, writer & all-round renaissance man.

Peter Molyneux @ NGJ

Nordic Game JamPosted by Anders Højsted Thu, March 11, 2010 12:34

It's been a gazillion years (almost) since I've updated this blog. Life's been hectic and I've been enjoying it.

First of, Nordic Game Jam 2010. I've been one of the organizers of it for the last couple of years. For those of you who don't know what a gamejam is, it's basically a bunch of people coming together for a weekend and making games. It's been happening at the IT-University in Copenhagen for the last 5 years and is arranged by the danish chapter of International Game Developer's Association (IGDA) of which I am a board member (the danish board, not the international one).

Nordic Game Jam is completely organized by dedicated & professional volunteers from the game industry and have organically grown to around 300 participants this year. In 2009, Susan Gold from IGDA Educations Special Interest Group pionered the proliferation of gamejams globally with the creation of Global Game Jam-network, which - essentially - helps people around the world with all the practicalities of making gamejams in the Nordic Game Jam-style. Global Game Jam is an amazing initiative and it is going to bigger then anyone can imagine; it's already massive.

Nordic Game Jam has always been a very hectic event to organize; we gather people, feed them for a weekend, supply them with gamedevelopment ressources and set up a full day of presentations as well. Last year we grew 100% and wasn't ready for it, so it was stressfull, but this year we were ready for it (going from 160 to 300 participants) and managed to make the event without anybody getting too stressed. The IT-University In Copenhagen is a great partner & venue for the event & I actually think we have the event-coordination nailed 110% now, so next year is going to be a walk in the park (North Central Park at night, that is).

My primary responsiblity this year was to take care of our keynote-speaker Peter Molyneux & his assistant Dimitri Mavrikakis, since I had invited them earlier.

After NGJ'09 the whole crew went to Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco. Peter Molyneux was doing a presentation and - being a huge fan - I went to it. I had decided to ask him if he wanted to do the NGJ'10 keynote. He was talking to people from the audience afterwards and I tried to gather the courage to ask him, but failed. So I left. Almost. I told the ushers at the door - GDC student helpers - about my ambition and failing courage and they just started pounding me. Do It! Go ask him! Now! Come on! So I did.

(Thanks for the push, it was exactly what I needed. If we ever meet again, beers is on me).

Peter was surrounded by a group af people; I went up and got his attention. I barely managed to stutter out the invitation and to my big surprise he said yes and handed me his business-card. "I'll bring a surprise for the event", he said. I just looked at his business card, muttered "Cool, thanks, I'll mail you" and walked away! I didn't even ask about the surprise; - I was that perplexed.

After returning from GDC I mailed him and he confirmed that he would keynote NGJ'10.

The surprise was that he brought Project Natal with him and presented it. It was very, very interesting. Microsoft is really trying to integrate a lot of different technologies in Natal and if they pull it of, they'll literally revolutionize they way we interact with computers - not just games, but in anything. The computer will not only be able understand your movement; it'll be able to understand your voice and respond verbally to your commands and it will also be able to interpret your mood based on it (imagine what this will do for disabled people or for gathering metrics on media-products).

There's a recording here of his keynote (w/o the Project Natal-presentation); we'll upload a video of it at the NGJ-website later (All the NGJ-organizers are in SF for GDC right now; I'm the only one in DK).

Peter (& Dimitri) was very pleasent guests and I was very impressed by Peter's enthusiams for games, even after 30 years in the games industry. So I got my motivation for working with games back, - more about this in a later post.

Big things are (hopefully) afoot and I'll use this blog to talk about them.

Best regards,

Anders

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