IntroductionThe New York IGDA chapter has put on various events in the past few years, most notably the bi-annual Demo Nights that GDNet has also covered. This year however, at the direction of Chris Choi from World Wide Biggies, the chapter held a new type of event, called Pecha Kucha Night. Yea I know - what the hell is a Pecha Kucha? Of course Wikipedia has the answer:
The idea behind Pecha Kucha is to keep presentations concise, the interest level up and to have many presenters sharing their ideas within the course of one night. Therefore the 20x20 Pecha Kucha format was created: each presenter is allowed a slideshow of 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds. This results in a total presentation time of 6 minutes 40 seconds on a stage before the next presenter is up.I know we've all sat through our fair share of long, droning presentations at the mercy of the person behind the podium, so this was something I immediately liked when I learned about it. Obviously it's popular with many other folk as well, and you can find more information and even local events at Pecha-Kucha.org.
So how did the event turn out? Well for one it was another jam-packed event, although the room was not exactly set up properly for the kind of seating that was required - but that was no fault of the organizers. The majority of the presentations worked out very well, it really ultimately fell to the presenter to give a compelling talk within the time limits imposed upon them. A few weren't properly prepared and didn't quite stay in-sync with their slides, or just didn't have the material suited to this type of presentation. One was a bit confusing to even listen to, and another tried to evoke audience participation using the 20-second time limit to create a sort of game show atmosphere. It was a nice attempt but the problem was that it was identifying pictures of old consoles and/or when they were released. In this case, no one wants to blurt out an absurdly wrong answer in a room filled with fellow gaming geeks. So unless people knew 100% what the answers were, they kept their mouths shut (including myself).
But still - was it fun? Yes. While it does prove that there's really nothing you can do to save a bad presenter from themselves by doing things like limiting the amount of time they have to talk, it also challenges presenters to be creative and witty in giving their lecture. It's very much akin to those 48 hour game development jams, where you are forced by neccessity to whittle down your game idea to the very core if its mechanics in order to complete anything on time.
Pecha Kucha night is planned to return sometime in '09, and we'll be there to bring you the second coming.
The event was taped, like Demo Night, and all the footage is available online at NY IGDA's YouTube page. However all that footage is also embedded right below. Additionally, you can download all the slide decks from the event right here. [Ed note: coming soon!]
The Ninja Writer: Using Agile Methodologies to Achieve REAL ULTIMATE POWER!
Presenter: Coray Seifert (Kaos Studios | THQ Inc.)
Synopsis: An examination of the awesomeness of both A) Ninjas and B) The Agile Methodology. Specifically, how these two concepts of excellence can be applied to the always challenging prospect of writing for games. There will be lots of pictures of ninjas.
Simple 3D Content Creation Tools: How Much Freedom is Enough?
Presenter: Andrew Nealen (Rutgers University)
Synopsis: Andrew Nealen presents his research on modern 3D content creation. He will compare consumer aimed 3D tools like the creature creator found in Spore to industry-standard tools like 3DSMax and Maya. Can new technology help close the gap between the two?
Everything I know about games I learned from Bebop
Presenter: Joshua DeBonis (Sortasoft)
Synopsis: Joshua DeBonis relates his experience as a jazz saxophonist to game design, by discussing several specific lessons learned through playing music.
All I Really Needed to Know ... about customer contracts
Presenter: Steve A. Augustino (Kelley Drye & Warren LLP)
Synopsis: Steve's presentation covers everything you wanted to know about how to draft your EULA or Terms of Service -- but didn't think you could afford to ask. This includes the five most important principles that should be considered in your customer contract.
The Evolution of The Maiden, Monk, and Ogre
Presenter: Shane Culp (MTV Networks)
Synopsis: This talk chronicles the evolution of a casual title, from the discovery of a prototype on the company server to spearheading a new story and theme through development and completion. This game follows my entire 6 year career at Blockdot, a Dallas based casual and advergame development shop, through starts and stops, juggling client work, and the growth of the company from 6 to 50 employees.
Music from Metroid
Presenter: Stephen Harwood Jr.
Synopsis: A fun look at Hirokazu Tanaka's music from the original Metroid, featuring compositional analysis and some attempts to translate this material into an orchestral setting.
A brief history of Reality on the Norm
Presenter: David Gilbert (Wadjet Eye Games)
Synopsis: "Reality on the Norm" is an open-source world for point-and-click adventure games. It started the concept of "user created content" before it became a buzzword, and gives newbie adventure game developers an evolving universe to create a game in. A wacky town full of wacky stories and characters, Dave will give you an overview of the world and the impact it had.