Vaulting The Bar: Two Mini-Updates

Unfortunately, due to the pressure of work, the official longer-form write-ups of ‘Vaulting The Bar’, my concept in highlighting important GDC Vault talks, went on hiatus after a grand total of, uh, one post.

However, I rolled my next two Games Developers Conference lecture video picks into an official Vault update which went live a few weeks ago. So you can still see the next two lectures I was going to talk about there, joining the Shadow Complex talk which I already highlighted in more depth.

The two underappreciated talks (both now available for free on Vault!) are:

– The GDC Europe 2011 talk, “Game Content Rating Systems Must Change,” is a fascinating trawl by French developer Quantic Dream’s COO Guillaume de Fondaumiere (Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain) through the maze of European video game age/content ratings.

Along the way, de Fondaumiere deftly contrasts relatively censorious video game ratings to those of film and other media. He argues that video game ratings are far more strict than they should be, and these restrictions are hurting the industry, in a great and underseen talk.

[UPDATE: A long-form interview with de Fondaumiere, conducted by my colleague Christian Nutt, just went up on Gamasutra talking further about this very subject – good timing!]

– The other underappreciated gem of a talk comes from Game Developers Conference 2009, and features Ubisoft Montreal’s Jonathan Morin, as he outlines the ways in which the critically acclaimed Far Cry 2 strove to support player expression in its game design.

The session, dubbed “Player’s Expression: The Level Design Structure Behind Far Cry 2 and Beyond?,” explores the game’s wide-open design and explains how lessons learned from this surprisingly influential, naturalistic Clint Hocking lead-designed project could apply to other games.

So there you go! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to dig through more archival goodness soon – and I know for a fact that Jason Scott is about to unleash a LOAD of great older videos onto Vault that he’s scanned from videotape. So watch out for that…

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