GDC Online continues to take shape this week, as show organizers have debuted a new batch of talks including a look at the psychology of numbers, and how one SOE director took community management tips from goat herders, of all things.
These talks all fall within GDC Online's Main Conference, which offers come of the world's leading content on persistent and online games. The event will be held Tuesday, October 9 to Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.
The full details on these newly-announced sessions are as follows:
- Over in the Design track, Intrinsic Algorithm president Dave Mark will host, "Psychology vs Structure: The Power of Numbers in Game Design," offering an analysis of how numbers dictate nearly all realms of game creation.
Numbers influence everything from scores, abilities, damage ranges, and even prices, and Mark will argue that they play a key role in crafting what a player perceives, believes, and even feels. Using a number of unusual (and often amusing) examples, he will demonstrate the messages these numbers send and how game developers can use the psychology of numbers to make better games.
- Elsewhere, Sony Online Entertainment's director of community relations, Linda Carlson, will share her insight on how to build and nurture a strong community using examples from a very unexpected field: Goat herding.
Carlson actually has hands-on experience working with goat herders, and in her Customer Experience track session, "Everything I Needed To Know About Community Management, I Learned From Goat Herders," she will explain how the skills she picked up apply directly to online games like EverQuest and Star Wars Galaxies. It's an odd comparison, to be sure, but it promises to really shed some light on how to manage a community, regardless of whether you're working with animals or making video games.
- Finally, BioWare Mythic's Carrie Gouskos will host "Warhammer Online: Taking a AAA MMO Free-to-Play the Other Way." During this session, Gouskos will explain how the big-budget online game Warhammer Online transformed from a subscription MMO to something much more suited to the free-to-play model. [Update: This talk has been canceled and will not be at GDC Online.]
These talks join other previously announced sessions for GDC Online, including a look at Draw Something's backend infrastructure, an examination of EA's multiplatform strategy, and numerous talks in the popular Game Narrative Summit. For more information on any of the sessions announced thus far, check out the main conference track pages on the show's official website.
Keep an eye out for even more exciting keynotes and sessions, as GDC Online organizers have plenty more in store before the event opens its doors this October. Those interested in attending GDC Online can secure their pass now, as online registration is now open.