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7:52pm on Wednesday, 9th July, 2014:



I'm in Brighton at the moment, here for the Develop conference.

It's years since I was in Brighton. The cultural centre is as nice as ever, but away from there it gets seedier quicker than I remember. Also, although the hotel is close to the beach, access to the beach is closed off for some kind of scontruction work. I don't fancy walking all the way round it (it goes on for some distance), so won't be enjoying the pleasures of walking across shingle complaining that it isn't sand.

I don't usually go to Develop, but I did this time as I was speaking. The talk was 3pm today, so you've missed it if you wanted to come... It was a two-hander with Nicholas Lovell of Gamesbrief, in which we argued unrehearsed with each other on the subject of free-to-play. In my view, it doesn't have legs and will decline in effectiveness over the coming years; in his, it does have legs and will just get more popular. About two thirds of the audience were on Nicholas's side, so I had a tougher time of it, but it was a good discussion — I just wish we'd had longer. OK, so I also wish I'd made a better job explaining my desire to be able to buy my character hosiery in The Secret World (one in which I didn't appear to be some kind of hosiery fetishist), but it's too late to do anything about that now except blush. I'd certainly be up for another two-hander with Nickholas some time, anyway.

I missed some talks I wanted to go to because I was being interviewed. Of the talks I did attend, the one that was most interesting to me was by Richard Evans of Imperial College, talking about using AI in a game (which didn't actually appear to be a game, but still). It looks as if Good Old-Fashioned AI could be in for a comeback, which is good because that's the kind that was actual AI when I did my PhD.

The opening keynote wasn't as good as I was expecting. It was about the history of the Playstation. "That sounds interesting", I thought. I was wrong. Some of the anecdotes were quite fun, but I was in real danger of nodding off at times.

Peter Molyneux didn't show up for his talk, which has happened so often for talks of his I've been at that it came as no surprise. His replacement did a good presentation, though. However, I have to say that the idea of having the face of the god of Godus showing is a bad, bad idea. Someone doesn't understand how achievers work...

I've met more people here that I know than I was expecting. Generally, I don't do many talks in the UK as I'm not highly-regarded here. I'm far more famous among designers in the USA and continental Europe. However, I guess I know more people than I thought. I had some interesting conversations, and managed to congratulate David Braben on his OBE over lunch and lament that it wasn't a knighthood (which it surely would have been were he a movie director rather than a game designer).

I may skip off home after lunch tomorrow, but I saw a few people around that I know but couldn't get to chat to, so I'll maybe try hunt them down tomorrow morning then bunk off after lunch.

All in all, Develop is a lot better than I was expecting it to be. I'd like to come back another year.

Gawd, hosiery ... Groan...

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).