Original post by Ferretman
While I think an all day session would be too much in a roundtable format for the reasons Dave mentions, doing a half-day session could work with a break or two in between. Alexander Nareyek has done very well with 2-hour sessions to work through the IGDA AI SIG issues; perhaps we can do this too. I''ll talk to the guys about it.
The problem with that is it may eclipse other sessions during that time period. Some serious planning would have to be done to make sure that it didn''t. If you are not careful, you are going to lose a lot of high-level AI programmers to other programming roundtables and lectures. At that point, you efforts at maximizing the quantity end up shaving from the quality.
What other suggestions do you guys have? This is a great time, frankly, to consider changes to the way we are doing the roundtables.
You and I talked about putting the beginner session on the first day rather than the third. That way, people can take what they learn there and decided whether or not to attend the following sessions.
Also, it may be better to have a more scripted approach to that session - something that covers all the basics concepts (but not implementations) of FSMs, pathfinding, etc. Make it a definition of terms sort of thing and then let it spin from there. There is too much ''wandering'' going on in the beginners session.
Also, while I like the idea of breaking up into smaller, genre-based groups... that first day (under your current scheme) is kind of upsetting in that you don''t know who you are going to end up with. One discussion in room A may have been really boosted by someone in room B, etc. If at all possible, the roundtables should be blended.
We have already noted the fact that a lot of people don''t even WANT to share - or may not posess enough knowledge to even ask a question. Let''s assume that about 20% of the people in the rooms are the ones with lots of knowledge (the "answerers") and another 40% are those that are seeking more (the "questioners") and the remaining 40% are those that are just soaking (the "listeners"). With the crowds that we have had in each room (~30), that means that about 6 people are "answerers", 12 are "questioners", and 12 are "listeners". If we combine the 3 rooms, we now have 18, 36 and 36.
If you put that into a half-day session, you may loose some of the "listeners" to other sessions. That''s OK, they may be blown away by the higher level of discussion. (Let''s assume then that the "listeners" go to the beginners session during a different time.) That leaves us with about 20 "answerers" and ~40 "questioners". During a 3-4 hour session, there is a LOT of sharing that can go on!
The way I see it, the questioners would tend to start a thread and then the "answerers" would run with it for a while - occasionally being redirected by follow-up questions. The "answerers" would get a lot of knowledge sharing out of the process as they exchange their ideas and approaches and the "questioners" would almost see it like attending an open panel session - making it very educational for them as well.
A couple of years back we were talking heavily about doing a "Tales from the Roundtable" book on things that have cropped up over the years...perhaps it''s time to consider this again? Would anybody out there be interested in something like that?
This is something that will be far more feasible with longer sessions. You won''t get enough meat with the single hour stuff. Also, this will have to be based on the premise that you are recording the roundtables - which we have also discussed. A lot of the knowledge sharing that goes on in those rooms tends to evaporate once you leave. It is hard to take with you.
Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm - "Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"