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6:25pm on Saturday, 10th October, 2009:

What I Missed


Regular QBlog readers will recall that I had to cancel my appearance at two conferences in Germany a couple of months ago, following my brother's decision to drop dead at an inopportune moment. As luck would have it, though, today three of the organisers of the first of these two conferences, FaVE, were in London, so I went along finally to meet the people with whom I'd been exchanging emails for a year (Sabine, Jan and Fritz).

We spent a very pleasant lunch discussing how neither of our countries is a great place to live if you study computer games in general or virtual worlds in particular, and going on to figuring out how FaVE 2 could build on the lessons of FaVE 1. Then we criticised our respective countries again, which is one of those topics for which the British and Germans have a great deal in common.

Anyway, I was given a bag of all the things I would have had if I'd been able to attend the conference. Included was a CD with the proceedings on it. Jan outlined some of the papers, and they were just the kind of cross-disciplinary thing I was hoping for. Some are even useful to the MMO industry, not that they sent anyone along of course. Example: adding cosmetic-effect weather to an MMO makes players feel less immersed, which is exactly the opposite to the designers' intention, but players get more done when it's raining than when it isn't. Example: male players need fewer landmarks than female players when negotiating virtual worlds, unless they're under time pressure in which case they need the same amount. Example: the average Terms of Service document is more than 5,000 words long, takes more than 20 minutes to read, and requires a post-secondary education to parse.

Damn, I wish I could have been there.

Oh well, I'm all out of siblings now, so hopefully I'll be able to make it to FaVE 2.

Referenced by Berlin Blues.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).