GDC: Day 1

I spent the first day of the GDC in a tutorial given by members of the Sony Online and AE teams about "Running Massively Multiplayer Games".

The class was atteneded by about 70 people, most of whom were in the process of developing or releasing an MMO.

The class itself was great, but the people who attended, as is often the case at a good conference, made the experience even better. There were flurries of questions at every Q&A slide and many of them were very perceptive and showed the depth of the experience of the people in the audience as well as up on the stage.

There were a lot of notes to take during the presentations. Although the slides will be made available on the internet, the comments made during the talks and the discussions were where the real meat came out.

Much of the focus was on designing the tools in to the systems in order to prevent last-minute dashes to slap together essential pieces of the infrastructure. There was substantial groaning and discussion of past failures, and a number of great hints based on past successes.

One thing that became clear to me is that the industry is still evolving, but is starting to realize that many of its problems are akin to problems faced by other industries. To that end, there are more tools becoming avialable, and more developers and publishers are adopting those tools to help them on their way. Clearly a long way to go, but a good start.

There were some interesting comments that I'll be following up in other articles on this site, since I need to put my notes somewhere and this is as good a place as any. However, those will have to wait as I need to go spend some time on the treadmill.