Activision allowed two of their most credentialed employees to host a PAX ’15 panel on the role users play in game development. PhDs Justin Shacklette and Spencer Stirling spent nearly an hour explaining how the company is constantly, intelligently collecting data referred to as "Smart Data."
The relatively new (~4 years old) Game Science Division is a group of physicists and mathematicians who also happen to be talented programmers. Their goal is to collect and analyze data to find ways to make the games more fun. Using metrics to make products better is nothing new, and marketing teams are doing this in almost every business in the world; however, as far as Shacklette knew, only Activision and one other company (Riot) have been doing this to improve games instead of just sales.
THQ subsidiary Volition has gained global recognition for its development of the Saints Row titles, easily the most purely ridiculous games on the market. In a good way. In a discussion panel at The Escapist Expo this weekend, Volition Creative Director Steve Jaros gave insight to the studio's game design process, the distinction and initial competition between GTA and Saints Row, and the studio's bankruptcy and subsequent purchase.
Jaros' topics included: Volition's sources for inspiration, their shock when GTA's first foray into gang-related storylines was announced, writing lines for voice actors, hiring celebrities for in-game personalities, and beloved game design concepts that never shipped. Even if you're not a big Saints Row fan, it's worth watching the first 10 minutes if only to learn about the studio's philosophy and the industry's interactions.
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.