Okay, well thanks to the slight shift in event scheduling for this year's Game Developers' Conference, I can't even make this work out to a perfect one-year hiatus. It's like 13 months or something. <shameface>
So to sum up, since last I had anything to say, I crunched hard on a game, went on an event binge promoting said game, racked up a nauseating number of air miles, hotel nights and roaming fees, pushed my girlfriend's patience and my body's tolerance, closed and shipped the game, finally got to play the game a few times at some point in there (some point being way too late to fix or even really refine about three-quarters of what I had been working on), went on vacation - at least a portion of it imposed by executive fiat - began reacquainting myself with what normal human beings sometimes refer to as "living" and got good and lazy.
But not so lazy, apparently, that I missed the GDC call for papers. Paper(s), plural, being the operative word here. See, at last year's GDC I had the distinct fortune to catch some of the inaugural 20-minute lectures, including Kent Hudson's awesome survey and analysis of lockpicking mechanics, and Scott Rogers' presentation on Boss Fights (a subject for which my disdain turned out to be easily matched by my ignorance; I owe Scott big-time for disabusing me of a lot of dumb biases). After all the stress involved with prepping "Do, Don't Show", I decided than and there that I would sumbit a 20-minute talk for 2009.
Perfect, I thought. This constrained format will force me to be ultra-disciplined in scoping my topic; and the time spent preparing the proposal will actually constitute a significant percentage of the actual research work.
But the good folks at CMP (which I guess is 'Think Services' now; I'm not sure exactly) had other ideas. In the new and improved proposal system, they vet the initial submissions and ask the short-listed speakers to provide additional details. While I was waiting to hear back on my expanded pitch, I received an email to the effect that the Advisory Board was hoping that I could do a full hour follow-up to "Do, Don't Show". Worried that maybe my 20-minute lecture might not make the cut (or worse, that the format had just been dumped altogether), I panicked. Of course I'd do a follow-up. I'd be happy to.
Sucker. I scrambled to put together the additional pitch and emailed it off thinking I'd just about covered my bases. But the bases were loaded, kid. Loaded.
Long story short, I did two talks.
Because I want the folks who asked right away to have access to the visuals for these, and because I know my own weakness, I'm posting both sets of slides as-is, without notes (or many notes, anyway) forthwith. Because I'm giving both these talks internally at the studio in the next few days, I'll strive to get them annotated in short order and replace the naked versions.
In the interim: