Game Developers Conference 2019 – new & fun content!

So, with Game Developers Conference 2019 rapidly approaching (it’s March 18th to 22nd, date fans!), I thought it would be good to highlight some of the interesting new conference content we’ve rolled out this year.

I’m not the person who runs the show (that’s Katie Stern, the GM, fact fans!) But I lurk in the management marshland, helping out & contributing elements to the conference, and the program in general.

In this particular blog, I wanted to highlight some of the content that I think is particularly interesting this year (some of which I was involved with a lot, and some only in passing!):

  • Game Discoverability Day: brand new, & like the description says: “One of the trickiest things about the video game industry in 2019 is simply – you’ve made your game, and it may be great, but is anybody going to notice?” Lots of smart folks (from Boyfriend Dungeon, Radiangames, Neo Cab & more) pitch in with practical case studies and strategies for PC, console and mobile game developers.
  • Machine Learning Tutorial: how are large-scale devs using machine learning/AI to improve their games? This new tutorial day shows a bunch of practical examples – finding ‘wallhacks’ in an FPS, going beyond motion matching in animation to ‘motion synthesis’. Definitely hardcore technical content, but definitely interesting.
  • Vision Track: we’ve been compiling these special featured talks that go ‘beyond’ the normal GDC technical talk for a couple of years now. This year, the 6 lectures span the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Niantic on AR gaming, the Harvard Desirability Lab (!), Disney Imagineering, Valve on brain-computer interfaces, experiential design lessons from HBO x SXSW’s Westworld installation.
  • Classic Game Postmortems: you know these are a perennial favorite, and we’re delighted with this year’s talks, featuring an original creator talking about the making of a seminal game. This time out: Atari arcade classic Paperboy, quirky puzzler Lemmings, seminal RTS Command & Conquer, Sega’s wonderful Panzer Dragoon series, and ‘swinging with Spider-Man’ – on the design of traversal mechanics from 2004’s Spider-Man 2!

Finally, if you check out the GDC 2019 news page you’ll see a whole bunch more recommendations for talks of all shapes and sizes – as well as for the community spaces with lots of playable games, the awards, and plenty of other fun stuff.

Hope to see you in San Francisco next month to watch ALL of the above!

My 2018 Thanksgiving ‘state of the Simon’.

It’s been a little while, and it’s roughly turkey time in the U.S., so I thought it might be good to give some thanks – while going over some of the many projects I’m currently working on, circa November 2018.

(Actually, I just updated the ‘You Might Know Me From’ page with two of them, which shows I’m making a difference, right? Or just flitting from one to the other, I guess! In all seriousness, I’m trying to concentrate on doing things that add value. So this rundown should be a good test. And it has arbitrary ratings!) Continue reading

Retro Wonders Game Bundle – a bunch more great eBooks!

[Here’s the latest eBook bundle I compiled for the Storybundle crew – and it’s a particular favorite of mine because of the amount of exclusives we commissioned, and the depth of some of the writing – so much good/rare/overlooked stuff here, dig in!]

The Retro Wonders Game Bundle – Curated by Simon Carless

The first Video Game StoryBundle of 2018 is a massive one, since we have three brand new game history/analysis ebooks you can’t get anywhere else, as well as some amazing overlooked & sought-after tomes based around retro video game goodness. Continue reading

New things from me – early 2018 edition!

Since it’s definitely 2018 already (for quite a long time!), and I haven’t actually managed to update this website since 2017, thought it might be good to ACTUALLY DO SO with some notes on what I’ve been up to:

Game Developers Conference 2018 totally happened, a couple of weeks ago! We had 28,000 attendees – an all-time high – and there’s lot of pictures of them on GDC’s Flickr account. (IGF ceremony above!)

We also made hundreds of videos & slide decks free on GDC Vault, if you want to check out top talks from the show. It was the first GDC without Meggan Scavio (aw), who now runs the AIAS, but the first with my former colleague Katie Stern (whee!) here as GM, and am excited to see how we build on the experience, with her at the helm. Continue reading

The Winter Wonderland Game Storybundle is here…

[The final Storybundle of the year is here, and this one is particularly choice, I think. Really have fun compiling these eBook bundles, and with both the charity and curator cut going to Prisoners Literature Project this time around, you’ll be doing some good by picking i up, too!]

We only do 3 of these Video Game StoryBundles per year because we care about quality. Why? Have you noticed these weekly bundles on one particular subject get same-y so quickly? We don’t do that and won’t do that. We vary things up – while still bringing you books from a few regular sources that we enjoy.

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Neat things that I’m currently working on!

Just so every darn post on this blog isn’t a Game Storybundle announce (there’s another one coming up in a few weeks, haha!), here’s a few things that I’m up to and excited about, recently:

– Yep, Game Developers Conference is booting up for another cycle, and it’s taking place from March 19-23, 2018. In addition to overseeing the folks who run the event, I’m helping out with the Indie Summit, Advocacy track, and the second year of the Board Game Design Day I help to organize with Soren Johnson. Plus there’s the return of GDC Retro Play, the IGF, and one or two (cool!) new things we’ll reveal in due course!

– The whole No More Robots thing (an indie publisher I’m helping back & advising) is still going great. Our first product we’re publishing, procedural mountain bike game Descenders, has a limited public Beta coming up on October 27th. Plus, we have two other games signed that we’re excited to talk about soon. The work, naturally, is 99% Mike Rose’s, but happy to be along for the ride.

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Summer Smash Game eBook Storybundle smashes into town!

[Well, the Game eBook Storybundle series, which I very much enjoy curating, returns – again benefiting the Video Game History Foundation as optional charity – & this one is special since it has a bunch of ‘first time in eBook’ or even ‘first time published anywhere’ books in it! Hope you enjoy…]

Picture, if you will, a secret bookshelf. Three times a year, behind a special oak panel, it’s refreshed with a ton of fascinating books about video games, as if by magic. Those books span gamuts, from fascinating anthologies to wonderful cultural histories, all the way to single-book drill downs on some of the best video games in history. But how – you may ask – would you get access to this wonderful magic bookshelf?

Well, it turns out that if you just log on to the Internet and go to the StoryBundle website, these so-called ‘Video Game StoryBundles’ run thrice in a calendar year, and the latest one, available at a ‘pay what you want’ prices and including exclusive tomes on Undertale & ROM hacking, & the first-ever eBook version of the acclaimed Indie By Design interview/profile book, is available… when? When? Right now, good Sir!

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Why (and how!) I’m backing No More Robots

By now, you may have noticed that Mike Rose – former IndieGames & Gamasutra editor, more recently at indie publisher Tinybuild where he worked with rather good games like Punch Club, Party Hard and Clustertruck – has announced a brand new independent video game publisher, No More Robots.

I’m delighted to say that I’m an initial investor in No More Robots, and also am advising Mike & team (which also includes supersmart UK lawyer/biz guy Jas Purewal as another advisor/investor) on strategy/A&R. Continue reading

‘Video Game Deep Cuts’ – weekly newsletter goodness!

Just because I never actually blogged about it here, wanted to alert y’all to Video Game Deep Cuts, the weekly newsletter I started up a few months ago.

As described in the overview, it’s “the best longread & standout articles about video games, every weekend”, and it started because, as I noted in the inaugural newsletter, “Inspired by REDEF in particular, & other recommendation newsletters like Level Up Report in general, I’ve found there’s a lot of value in compiling good/interesting content in one focused place.”

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Introducing The Rogue Souls Game Storybundle

[Totally delighted that we’re debuting the first Game eBook Storybundle of 2017 that I’ve once again curated! Some of the highlights of this one are an excellent Dark Souls book, an exclusive book on classic video game bugs, a tome on the launch of the NES, & lots more – with the Video Game History Foundation – of which I’m a board member – the designated bundle charity.] 

“Continuing its popular “pay what you want” ebook bundles, StoryBundle is very proud to present the Rogue Souls Game StoryBundle. This very special bundle includes 10 standout game-centric ebooks headed by Dark Souls tribute ‘You Died’ & Rogue genre history ‘Dungeon Hacks’ – with the newly launched Video Game History Foundation non-profit designated as the charity for this bundle.

The basic purchase tier ($5 or above) for the Rogue Souls Game StoryBundle includes ‘Beep – The Complete Interviews’ from Karen Collins & Chris Greening, conducted for the acclaimed game audio documentary of the same name and featuring a ton of amazing interviews with notable Western and Japanese game audio greats. Also included is ‘Boss Fight Books – Mega Man 3’ by Salvatore Pane, an affecting personal history that’s also a deep look into Capcom’s all-time NES classic Mega Man 3, one of the trickiest but most rewarding platformers ever to grace Nintendo platforms.

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