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IPL 1: Another Old White Man Tells Me How To Be

I just returned from the first ever Interactive Performance Conference, hosted by the Interactive Performance Lab at the University of Central Florida's Department of Digital Media.

Our topic for the conference was "Interactive Narrative". I'll come back to this topic repeatedly as the week progresses. For now...

I walked into the keynote speech, given by an entertainingly disconnected Chris Crawford. I'm willing to accept that this guy may know a lot more about making computer games than I do, but his talk consisted of a number of broad [and, I would argue, completely fallacious] assumptions and some revealing rhetoric about control.

My "take-aways" from his talk:
1. Human beings can be clearly separated by their affinities for processing certain types of information - in this case, Emotion/Pattern-recognition and Intellect/Logic-building.

2. Only Emotion/Pattern types can be "creative" and/or "artistic".

3. Only Intellect/Logic types can be programmers, or at least, technical.

4. If you want to make computer games, you should be at least a 5 [on a scale of 1 - 10] on each side. That means, if you consider yourself an "artist", learn to program. If you consider yourself a programmer, enjoy your large salary and health benefits, and see if you can try to suffer enough to understand "art".

5. Collaboration only goes so far... far enough to let those idiots use their highly specialized skills on the parts of your game that they can't fuck up.

Mr. Crawford also presented his current project - assigning 0s and 1s to verbs - Storytron.

Problems with this line of thinking:

1. Programming is art. Just like everything else, it can be done with passion and a sense of elegance.

2. People that consider themselves artists or "creatives" [even better] - as if that is something separate from being human - are just looking for a way to be different. Boundaries don't help when it comes to interaction, human to human, or any other kind.

3. Old white man wants ego-petting, self-indulgence and absolute control. [There's a shocker.]

4. When you are too high up the ladder to step down and see what the noobs are up to, you have resigned yourself to a slow, steady irrelevance. Have fun with that.

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