Global Game Industry News Blog

Monday, November 27, 2006

GDC Stuff

I realized, that I had not yet said anything to many that I'll be at GDC (which is the Game Developer's Conference). After my extreme disappointment from last year at not being able to go, this year is actually going to be a perfect opportunity for me to either fall flat on my face, or meet, speak and work with a new variety of developers, for I've actually got two talks! (EEK!)

One is in the Business and Management track, and the other in the IGDA (International Game Developer's Association). I'm actually plotting to get together with developers from India at GDC already. With the shut-down of E3, I'll be curious if GDC attracts a different kind of crowd than it has previously.

GDC is run by CMP and is very professional oriented, so I've tried to make these talks very relevant for the people who I've already learned so much from. I think these kinds of academic and industry collaborations are crucial, and in particular, I think it reasserts the value of different kinds of social science in a world that is increasingly unsure of its relevance. By and large this is reflected in the game industry's attention to psychology, but to few other social scientists. You can see this same kind of focus in the game studies programs that have been developed in the United States as well. If you're not making a game, what do you matter? This has not been the case in the Scandinavian countries, but that is because they are cool like that.

Game Developers Conference 2007 - Casey O'Donnell Speaker's Page
Mapping Your Corporate Geomorphology
Speaker: Casey O'Donnell (PhD. Candidate, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Date/Time: TBD
Track: Business and Management
Format: 60-minute Poster Session
Experience Level: All

Session Description
This session takes concepts from geology and geography and mobilizes them for managers to analyze their companies. This metaphor provides managers with a set of tools for understanding how teams are composed, how to effectively manage those teams, and how to encourage fruitful collaboration. Different mappings are used to illustrate the ways managers can examine how a company is arranged: physical, discipline, technology, organizational hierarchy, or project. The goal is for managers to be able to answer the question, "Why does our company look the way it does?" as well as "How can we effectively change our typography?"

Quality of Life in a Global Game Industry
Speaker: Casey O'Donnell (PhD. Candidate, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Date/Time: TBD
Track: IGDA
Format: 60-minute Lecture
Experience Level: All

Session Description
The rise of game development shops across the globe, and the increased use of offshore and inshore outsourcing could have developers feeling like they are losing leverage in making arguments for good quality of life practices. But, do globalization and the ability to outsource work really abdicate the need for quality of life both at home or abroad? This lecture examines the ways in which the hidden costs of poor quality of life, such as, staff churn, rework, schedule slippage, and lost sales negatively impact bottom lines. It looks at the benefits of good quality of life and correlates with some of the sales numbers of different studios. Mechanisms for approaching management are discussed, what are they interested in hearing? Is making the argument to management purely a numbers issue, or is management interested in other metrics? Each of these areas is also examined in the context of globalized game production, and provides developers with new levers for making quality of life arguments in this context. Developers will find this session useful to petition for an enhanced QoL environment.


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