Monday, November 19, 2012

INFR 3330 - Design at MIGS

So I went to MIGS this week. For those of you that don't know, MIGS is the Montreal International Game Summit, and it's a yearly game developers conference in Montreal where industry professionals give talks, business have booths, and so on.

It was my first time going to MIGS, and it was pretty awesome. Learned a bunch of cool things and had fun as well, which is great. This post is going to be focused on some of the design elements I experienced at MIGS, whereas this post will focus on more of the tech and engine stuff I learned.

There was a really awesome looking pool outside behind this thing.

So as a programmer, most of the talks I went to were under the tech label. Now, they had a lot of stuff in those talks about design as well, but this post will primarily talk about the other two talks I went to, since the other eight were discussed in the other blog post.

The first non-tech label talk I went to was from none other than UOIT's Dr. Nacke. Before I went to MIGS, I was looking up some of the talks, and was surprised to see him on the list of speakers. I thought that was pretty cool, so on the first day of MIGS during that time slot, I decided to go to his talk.

Like a super lecture.

His talk was on Biofeedback Gaming, which was essentially a talk on some of the biofeedback tools we currently have, and how they can be used to create a different game experience for the users, and how they can be used to improve on them as well.

It reminded me a lot of the Game Design lectures we had in class, since well, it's by the same guy. It was slightly different though since he talked more about the biofeedback side, which I don't believe we spent too much time on in class, if any.

And of course Antimatter would be shown during the presentation.

It was pretty interesting actually, because having biofeedback allows developers to get essentially a different dimension of data when testing and polishing their games. It goes beyond the traditional feedback methods, and allows developers to get a better feel of the sub-conscious emotions their players are experiencing, and thus being able to tweak their game to get the feel they want.

Another thing I found interesting about the talk was the use of biofeedback as an input device. As long as the devices themselves are not chunky and intrusive, I think there could be some pretty interesting applications in how that data can be used to drive the game. I think games that can react to the way the player is feeling would be pretty awesome if done right, and I would really like to see games that do that.

Here's a random picture of Mirza.

The second talk I went to that wasn't under the tech label was actually the last talk of the conference, The Art of Creating Efficient Tools. It was under the art label, but it was actually a really good talk on user interface and design. I've been very interested in designing and developing tools lately, so the talk was really interesting to me.

The presenter was from Ubisoft, and he went over some of the design aspects a person has to think about when creating these tools. He went over a bunch of rules and elements that was taught to us in our Game Design class, but also went over a bunch of new ones that really gave me some insight of how to make better interfaces.

I was pleasantly surprised when the talk started.

He went over design elements such as using different and interesting visual cues to not only make the interface easier to read, but to make sure it is more accessible to different users (say, colour blind). He also went over things like making the interfaces more intuitive and simpler, and just went over a bunch of thought provoking things as to how to design things better.

Overall I would say that that talk was one of my favorites from the entire conference. Top 3 for sure. One of the things that he said that really stuck out to me was that when designing a tool, don't design it based on what it should do. Rather, design it based on what it should achieve for the user.

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