[MUD-Dev] MUD-Dev conference and dinner report
J C Lawrence
claw at kanga.nu
Tue Mar 11 19:30:33 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003
The dinner on Friday night appeared to be a great success with a total
of 73 people attending. Good food, better beer, and excellent
discussion rounded out the night. As two people commented, "You know
its a shame, I know it was really good food, but I was talking and
listening so much I didn't really notice it..."
For those attempting to recall the rather wonderful liqueur we had
after dinner, it was Stroh Jaegertee. Minor research reveals that
Jagertees are Austrian "Hunter's Teas", and are made to be drink
heavily diluted with hot water. They also make a rather excellent
liqueur as we found out.
First off I'd like to formally thank the organisers who really did the
dirty work to make the conference happen: Brian Green, David Kennerly,
Eli Stevens, Jon Leonard, and Randy Farmer. Without their help it
would not have happened.
Great credit also goes to our distinguished speakers: Adam martin,
Elonka Dunin, Damion Schubert, Dave Rickey, Gordon Walton, John Arras,
Larry Dunlap, Lee Sheldon, Matt Mihaley, Nathan Yospe, and Scott
Jennings. Quality data, solid discussion, and much learning going on.
Thank you. You guys delivered in spades.
Total attendance at the conference was somewhere over 50 people with
the morning sessions being packed and the afternoon slowly emptying as
people caught flights home or just gave up under the onslaught of data
(as one person said to me, "It just didn't stop; people kept talking
and I couldn't keep up!").
Adam Martin opened the day with a presentation of extensible
architectures and design approaches for systems to help them survive
Matt Mihaley talked on Achaea's PK implementation and the stepts
they've taken to make it practical and effective.
Nathan Yospe presented the text input and output processing with
flexible grammars based on world and historical player context, and
"natural" prose description generation.
Dave Rickey reviewed and detailed how player feedback plugs into a
games QA process, and how the QA process must move forward and
change as a game develops and is maintained.
Gordon "Tyrant" Walton, Scott "Lum the Mad" Jennings, and Damion
"Heretic" Schubert had a spirited debate on the game design and
business model implications of single character per server, multiple
characters per server, or multiple characters per account
respectively, with Randy "WWF" Farmer as umpire.
Lee Sheldon led a brisk discussion on how to make truly multi-player
quests, using Dark Ages of Camelot and its various quest structures
as a base referent.
Brian Green detailed Meridian 59's PK implementation, its use of a
PK flag, the changes they've had to implement over the years and the
reasoning behind those changes.
Dr Cat presented a host of statistics and other media correlations
while looking into how MUDs can and will (necessarily) grow out of
their combat-oriented and communication-light (as compared to say
telephones) current forms.
John Arras demonstrated his GenMUD/BFDMud project and the manners in
which he simulates complex worlds and multiple complex populations
with ecological resource mechanics controlling population growth,
colonisation, NPC wars,etc.
Larry Dunlap reviewed the history of MUDs and RTS games, contrasting
the games themselves against their metagames with a view to how, for
example, turn based games and other formats fit into MOG's future.
Elonka Dunin gave a riveting double-length presentation on
steganography, terrorism, and multiplayer games (some of you may
have seen this at DragonCon). An amazing number of audience members
even noticed (and decoded) the secret message in Elonka's
David Kennerly spoke on how to iteratively create better game
designs through data mining with a series of real world examples to
drive his points home.
There was no shortage of solid, useful, thought provoking discussion.
If anything, I was told by about more than a dozen people both that
evening, and again at the BBQ, there was simply too much, too fast,
Our initial schedule was to start at 09:45, but hardware problems with
a laptop and the projector delayed the start for 25 minutes.
Predictably, given the packed program of 12 sessions for the day, it
ran long, finally winding up at approximately 19:30.
In the end, sixteen of us who were not quite totally fried from the
conference went out to eat at Peggy Sue's (burger joint) followed by
drinks and quiet talk in the lounge in the Fairmont.
All sessions and the Q&A were recorded. A CD is currently being
produced which will contain MP3s of all the sessions along with all
supporting handouts, slides, and other materials. If you didn't order
a CD at the conference and are interested in receiving one, please
email cd-order at kanga.nu. We'll be announcing prices for the CD
The BBQ was fairly lightly attended with a little over a dozen people.
The conference was discussed, hamburgers and hotdogs were eaten,
multiple board games were played, the hot tubbing competition was
called on account of us all being pasty white engineers who REALLY
didn't want to see any of us in a swimsuit, and the last remnants
struggled out to a local (very good) Ethiopian restaurant for dinner.
Now as I'm in a terrible position to comment well on the conference and
the presentations (I was far too distracted by speaker wrangling,
microphone passing, etc etc to catch as much of the show as I would have
liked), I'd love it if those who did attend would give their own reports
on the day's events.
J C Lawrence
---------(*) Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.
claw at kanga.nu He lived as a devil, eh?
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/ Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.
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