The Experimental Gameplay Workshop

@GDC - March 2004


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This year's EGW got off to a fast and furious start with the Game Jam demos. Once again, Checker was a hilarious master of ceremonies - managing to insult Doug several times within the first minute of his presentation. Here we see the wasps' nest pea-hoarding game from Ranjit and Michael, Jon's spider web game, and Charles' bizarre spaceship poop-propulsion battle game. His circus freak robots were also silly (especially with DC behind the wheel) - but hard to photograph.

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Boot Looter got a big laugh, when the "looter" (who was trying to avoid falling objects) failed at the hands of an unrelenting designer (Sean).

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Even with the big room we had folks standing. It is nice to see so many people interested in pushing the boundaries of gameplay experimentation - and willing to spend 3 hours on our session! Next year we're gonna try to have a big party afterwards, and you'll all be invited!

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Austin demos his level design for Checker's Hopper (version 0). Version 1 didn't ship due to some .. implementation issues. :) Brian's amazing yoga game (which we thought of while at the silly tired karma dinner) was a huge success. I think that it was my second favorite game, after Chaim's


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Chris' "PigPlow" featured possibly the most irritating sound of the whole jam - loud, squeeling and snorting pigs. Doug's balance game, on the other hand, had some ... balance issues.

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I should learn to take movies with my camera. Atman's vibrating "shrimp" dancing game was super cool and this photo just fails to do it justice. Actually most of these photos totally suck (sorry Thatcher & Chaim!) but I was running out of space on my memory stick. And tired. So tired that I forgot to take a picture of my own stuff being shown. D'oh!



The takeaway from this year's jam: using physics = control issues. That probably sounds kind of lame, but if you think about it long enough, it's kind of profound. It's really difficult to know where to tune a physics system, and often, you tune it right out of whack without really knowing what you did wrong. That can be frustrating - but its a good lesson to learn!


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After the Jam segment we had some short talks. Haptic Battle Pong guys showed us some haptic control stuff, I gave a little talk on time in games, Ken Perlin talked about programming for girls, and Peter and Andrew showed some of the Zoesis stuff. However, because I was on stage, I couldn't take photos. Here are the photos of Chiam's WarioWare talk, Daniel's Puzzle Pirates talk (nice HAT!) and of course, Takashashi-san's demo of the fabulous Katamari Damacy.


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According to Takahashi, he thought of making this game while standing on a very crowded commuter train in Tokyo. He also said that the whole reason he made the game, was so that he could make the final sequence - where the tiny alien dude rolls his mega ball all over the earth, absorbing all the countries into a giant mass of polygons. He was kind enough to give the EGW staff a copy of the game - and really, it is amazing. If you have a region-free PS2, order it!


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Thanks to all the great people who participated - you make the EGW possible! And with your help finally brought Chaim and Dan together - brothers, separated at birth, now reunited!

Be sure to check out all the games at the Indie Game Jam site, and the EGW homepage!