[GDC organizers have digitized and made available new, free talks on the GDC Vault, including a visionary keynote on Battlestar Galactica, a talk on breaking into the mass-market, and more.]
This latest “Tales from the Vault”, making classic GDC talks available online for the first time, featuring Jon Bentley’s programming tricks of the trade and the second GamExecutive video at the 2000 conference, along with a visionary Battlestar Galactica keynote from 2006.
The first lecture reminds everyone that much like the game industry, Hollywood is no stranger to sequels and reboots of famous franchises. Creator and producer of the newer Battlestar Galactica TV series Ronald Moore (pictured) offers his take on rebooting in the “Vision track” keynote for GDC 2006, entitled “Building a Better Battlestar.”
He discusses the process of developing and adapting the original series to the new series, injecting realism and drama into the sci-fi setting rather than veering toward the fantastic. Much like game developers, he wrestles with appealing to a new and larger audience unfamiliar with the original show while keeping long-time fans happy. [GDC Vault free video]
In the second GamExecutive conference video, the focus shifts from managing risk to appealing to the mass market. The session starts with Hasbro Interactive president Tom Dusenberry discussing his company’s efforts to provide something for everyone, using the success surrounding the new IP of Rollercoaster Tycoon and a revitalized Frogger as examples.
Just as the industry laments the flooding of the app market now, Dusenberry speaks of a “glut of product” over a decade ago, which oddly foreshadows the company’s selling in 2001. Dusenberry’s attempt to solve the issue involves reducing product releases by 30 percent to focus on marketing.
A panel follows that also addresses internet age and mass-market penetration. The speakers include Tom Reed of Interplay, Thom Ackerman Maslow of Mattel Interactive, Alison Locke of THQ, and Douglas Littlejohns of Red Storm Entertainment. [GDC Vault free video]
Last up this week is the “Tricks of the Programming Trade” lecture by Bell Labs’ Jon Bentley. In a rather invigorating discussion, Bentley asks the audience not to take notes and instead call out the steps and solutions to problems from randomizing experiments to calculating how much water flows from the Mississippi River.
Some of the tips he promotes for both real-world and program debugging include defining the right problem, determining how to check a possible solution, and encouraging multiple, quick calculations after design and before implementation. [GDC Vault free video]
These free videos join a host of other paid and free lectures
available on GDC Vault, which is undertaking a major effort to digitize
its back catalog of material for modern audiences for free. Paid
subscriptions to thousands of newer GDC lectures are also available, and
interested parties can apply for the individual subscription Beta via a
GDC Vault inquiry form.
Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and
development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can
receive access for their entire office or company. More information on
this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested
parties can send an email to Gillian Crowley. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.
Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for more free content in the
weeks ahead, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and
slides from upcoming events in 2012 such as GDC China. To stay abreast
of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news
feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.