These are full-blown essays, papers, and articles.
Slideshows and presentation materials from conferences.
Interviews and Panels
Reprints of non-game-specific interviews, and transcripts of panels and roundtables.
Excerpts from blog, newsgroup, and forum posts.
The "Laws of Online World Design" in various forms.
A timeline of developments in online worlds.
A Theory of Fun for Game Design
My book on why games matter and what fun is.
A book I started and never finished outlining the basics of online world design.
Links to resources on online world design.
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The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily endorsed by any former or current employer.
|Online World Design Patterns|
A Powerpoint presentation that goes over the standard design patterns for avatars, online game mechanics, persistence models, spawning, map structures, advancement models, PvP models, narrative in online worlds, and lastly, communications systems. Much of it (but not all) was presented at GDC 2001 jointly with Rich Vogel.
|Two Models for Narrative Worlds|
The transcript of a speech, and associated Powerpoint presentation, for a speech I gave as a panelist at the Annenberg Center's conference on Entertainment in the Interactive Age.
|What Does It Take to Make a Successful Persistent Online World|
The presentation on production for massive persistent worlds given jointly by Rich Vogel and myself at GDC 2001.
|How to Manage a Large-Scale Online Gaming Community|
The joint GDC 2002 presentation done with Rich Vogel. This is basically a Machiavellian guide to viral marketing, stealing someone else's community, politicking to keep the community calmed down and happy, and similar tactics. If you're a player of online games, please skip reading it. :)
|Storytelling in the Online Medium|
The joint GDC 2002 presentation done by myself and Rich Vogel. This is basically an expanded version of the "Storytelling Cube" found in the Design Patterns presentation above, but it includes case studies and techniques.
|Running Massively Multiplayer Games|
This Powerpoint presentation formed the backbone of the all-day tutorial run by myself, Gordon Walton, and Rich Vogel at the Game Developer's Conference in 2002.
|Small Worlds: Competitive and Cooperative Structures in Online Worlds|
This is the expanded, complete version of the talk on graph theory, social networks, game theory, and Pareto's Law that we gave as an advanced design talk at GDC 2003. If you were at this talk in person, here's the key differences: a bit more explanation of graph theory, some ancillary discussion of social network stuff, and a very long Conclusions section that sets out in written form all the "concrete advice" that the mathematics seem to offer for online world designers and managers. By the way, if you want to see it in its complete glory, you want Square721BT and Lynda Cursive as fonts installed on your system.
|A Theory of Fun|
This is the keynote speech I delivered at the Austin Games Conference in 2003. It eventually turned into a book with its own website. It's trying to be about cognition, media, and the place of games in society, as well as trumpeting a call to arms regarding games as socially significant, and yes, even being art. Mostly, though, it's about my doodling.
|Online Worlds: The Forms of Things Unknown|
Local IGDA chapters often host presentations by local guest speakers. I did one of these talks for the San Diego chapter on March 11th, 2004. These are the slides that accompanied the talk.
|Passion's Tender Embrace|
It's become a tradition at GDC to host a "Game Design Challenge." I participated in the inaugural one at GDC 2004, on the theme of "Love." This was the result...
|The Past and Future of Online Worlds|
This is the talk I gave at ChinaJoy in 2004. ChinaJoy is the equivalent of E3 in China.
|A Grammar of Gameplay|
This talk was given at GDC 2005, and was the follow-up to A Theory of Fun. It attempts to derive an atomic theory of game design, based on breaking down core common elements of games. This file is hosted over at the Theory of Fun website.
|Why Games Matter|
This was a keynote speech at Training Fall 2005, and is essentially the same material as A Theory of Fun, recast for training and educational purposes. This file is hosted over at the Theory of Fun website.
|Moore's Wall: Technology Advances and Online Game Design|
In mid-2005 I participated in a webcast conference organized by IBM, called "Games on Demand." This is a transcription of what I said, and a copy of the slides. The talk centers on the ways in which technology is curtailing our creativity rather than assisting it.
|The Destiny of Online Games|
This was my keynote delivered at the Korea Game Conference in 2005, which is basically like GDC in the US, a conference for developers.
|The Medium That Ate The World|
These are the PDF slides to the PARC Forum I have in January of 2006. There are also external links to MP3 audio of the talk and a streaming video hosted at PARC.
|The Age of the Dinosaurs|
This was my lecture at the 2006 Austin Game Conference. It's about the way in which the games business is changing from a business perspective, along with some speculations about what the future holds for those publishers and developers who adapt.
This talk was given as a keynote at Project Horseshoe. It is about what the core nature of games is, as mathematical structures, and whether that limits or enhances our ability to create art.
|Games for Change closing address|
This little talk was delivered as spoken word only, no slides, to wrap up the Games for Change conference held at the New School in NYC in June of 2006. It is here as an MP3 you can download.
|Where Game Meets the Web|
A lecture delivered at the 2007 Game Developers Conference about how the Web 2.0 techniques for interacting iwht users and building services are affecting the media landscape, and particularly, may up-end the ways in which we make games. The talk is also available as a ZIPped PPT (51 MB).
|Immersive Design (PDF)|
This talk given at Web 2.0 Expo in 2007 was described this way: "Nominally it was about how many of the lessons learned by game designers can be applied to Web site design but really it was a talk about human behavior." It loses a lot without the audio. Note that my laptop crashed in the middle, so the audio doesn't even match up to the slides. It was captured, however, and can be grabbed here.
|The Core of Fun|
This talk was given as a keynote at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in 2007. It is about the core elements of "deep structure" that go into making something fun -- particularly web apps and social media. The talk is also available as a PDF (1.9 MB). and as an MP3 you can download so you can follow along.
|Designing for Everywhere|
This was my design talk at the Austin Game Developers Conference in 2007. It is also available as a PDF (which seems to lose the background graphics a lot) and on an MHT webpage (only works in IE). The talk is about key design elements involved in making truly mass market interactive entertainment experiences.
|The New Gaming Landscape|
. This talk was delivered at CEDEC 2007 in Japan. It is similar to "Age of the Dinosaurs" and "Where Game Meets the Web" in terms of its content.
A version of a Theory of Fun talk given in Spanish in Ensenada at CICOMP '07 as a magistral conference.
|What Are We Missing|
A talk given at GDCPrime 2007 about transmedia, audience broadening, budget crunch, and whether or not consoles are doomed. Available at that link as a long webpage of images, or in IE-only format or as a 24MB Powerpoint.
|Putting the World in WWW|
This was the SIGGRAPH Sandbox and Web3d joint keynote in 2008. Here's a video of it with the audio attached, since slides alone do not get it across.
|Virtual Worlds Are (Not) Folk Music|
The above link is to a movie of this keynote presentation at Living Game Worlds IV. It's a complicated narrative involving opera, virtual worlds, train yards, an old folk song, and indie games. Enjoy! I have also embedded it below. Note, this file is hosted remotely.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
|Games Are Math: 10 Core Mechanics That Drive Compelling Gameplay|
This is a giant page of images of my slides for my 2009 GDC Austin talk on using NP-complete problems as the core mechanics for games. It's crunchy. :) You can also grab the slides here.
|Social Mechanics for Social Games (PDF)|
Many have accused social games of not really being social. But they are underpinned by many classic social mechanics that drive interaction and community-building. Some of these have been proven to work in other genres such as MMOs and are beginning to filter into the social games market; others are easily visible and quite familiar in real life, but have yet to be seen in the design of social games. In this talk we will draw from both proven game design and from anthropology and sociology and explore the social potential of social games. Delivered at GDC Online AND at GDC. The GDC Vault also has a free video here.
|10 Game Design Lessons from Games-as-Service|
This short talk was given at Casual Connect. Slides are available after the link, but there's also a video of it on YouTube:
|It's All Games Now|
This was the design track keynote at GDC Online 2011. It is about the ways in which gaming culture has evolved, and what the implications are for our daily lives. The GDCVault has a free video available here.
|Good Design, Bad Design, Great Design|
What makes a design good or bad? And more importantly, what makes it GREAT? And even more, does greatness even matter, when the goal is to make money? This was a talk given at GDC 2012 in the Social and Online Games Summit. The link above leads to a page with images of each slide plus the text of the talk... but you can also grab just the PDF of the slides or the PPTX file.
|A Theory of Fun: 10 Years Later|
This is the design track keynote for GDC Online 2012, the final GDC Online. It is basically a brief restrospective of Theory of Fun, followed by a discussion of the intellectual journey since. The GDC Vault has put up a video available for free here.
|How Games Think|
This talk was one of two keynotes at GDC China 2012, and continues the vein of thinking about how games affect our cognitive structures and therefore our culture. The link above goes to a page with images and notes, but you can also grab just the PDF here.