Live update from Imagina 2004

Alright, I finally have some net access. I can’t send emails, and my browser goes to the Imagina homepage every five minutes or so, but hey.

Monaco is great. I haven’t been in France for over two years, and not to the Cote d’Azur since I was a teenager. It’s great to be somewhere where the temperature is 15 degrees and I can smell the sea. Monaco reminds me of a bizarre mixture of Las Vegas (the artificiality), Vienna (pompous architecture, and the feeling of dated elegance), and the Cote d’Azur. It’s wonderful. And very, very expensive.

I’ve met some great people and had some stimulating discussions – it’s like a calmer version of the GDC in that respect. Noah Falstein is here. I met Geoff Foulds from Alias (I would like to take this opportunity to urge you to go out to the store and buy some Maya licenses. This has nothing to do with him buying dinner for six people, including myself. Honest.) I met Jesper Juul, Martin de Ronde and Jordan Mechner. And I had dinner with the charming Sophie Revillard, former game designer at Cryo and Delphine and now one of the organizers of the conference here. This morning I had breakfast with John Laird and Doug Church, and I think our panel discussion on the future of AI will go great. I expect that when Doug’s jetlag will have kicked in, he’ll be at about my energy level.

One of my most interesting meetings was with David Lanier, a former colleague from Kalisto Entertainment, who now has a small game tool development company. He showed me a tool he had developed for Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow Online, which basically allows you to do data-mining of user-testing data in 3DS MAX, i.e. see exactly where players in various test sessions went, where they looked, what they did, etc. and analyse it statistically. I’m a big fan of quantified analysis of test data and an empirical approach to game and level design, and I thought this was a great idea executed well.

Comments 5

  1. Aubrey wrote:

    Yeah baby! DROP those names! ;)

    I jest because I am jealous. I would like to pick the brains of more than a few of the people you mention, which is probably why they cross the street when they see me coming.

    Posted 03 Feb 2004 at 19:29
  2. Markus Friedl wrote:

    Jurie, sounds like you’re having a good time there in France! :)
    Greetings to everybody!

    That tool from David Lanier sounds indeed interesting… I was wondering if for Splinter Cell they only used that for actual level design (where its use is most obvious I guess)… or whether they went as far as integrating it into interface design, for instance?

    Huh… the more I think about it, the better this sounds… FPS multiplayer beta-maps where you could basically get useful and important statistical data live and in real-time… (thinking about that new Vanilla map that comes with the new BF1942 1.6 patch… the ability to sort out the balancing issues comes to mind ;) )… well… larger-scale beta- and focus-tests in general (open or closed)… I mean.. does this tool gather data and work in real-time?
    Sounds nice…

    Posted 04 Feb 2004 at 9:14
  3. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    I am an incorrigable name dropper, but only because I am always happy when people talk to me and are nice :) More episodes, names, pictures, etc. soon…

    Posted 04 Feb 2004 at 11:54
  4. Noah Falstein wrote:

    Yeah, but I got to hang out with Jurie Horneman! He’s really smart and speaks a bunch of languages and stuff. He even knows English gooder than I do.

    Posted 09 Mar 2004 at 5:52
  5. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Your check’s on the way Noah.

    Posted 09 Mar 2004 at 8:27