DICE 2009

The first talk at the 2009 DICE Summit is about to kick off. Its all about creating believable characters. The talk, moderated by Tom Wujec of Autodesk and Chris Kohler of Wired, should offer a lot of insight into what makes characters stand out. All of this is all presented by Autodesk, the makers of AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max, and Maya.

The panel includes:

  • Henry LaBounta, Chief Visual Officer for EA Games
  • Michael Boon, Lead Animator for Infinity Ward
  • Patrick Murphy, Lead Character Artist for SCEA
  • Carey Chico, Executive Art Director for Pandemic
  • Steve Preeg, Animation Supervisor for Digital Domain

I'm going to attempt to keep my wits together as I try to live blog a presentation from six people, but I must warn you. It may prove too difficult. Then I'll just start making jokes. Either way, sit back, relax, and enjoy the live bloggery.

2:15 PM - While we wait for this to kick off, I've just been reading up on Steve Preeg from Digital Domain. According to a piece of paper that was handed to me when I walked in, he is the "Academy Award-nominated Character Supervisor for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." I'll choose to believe this claim. He's also worked on Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Return of the King, King Kong, and I, Robot. As for my resume, I've seen all of those movies!

2:19 PM - The panel is a small session of point-counterpoint fun for people that didn't want to play golf today. Greg Short from the Electronic Entertainment Design of Research (EEDAR) will now share data about how gamers view characters.

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By the time you read this, Leahy and I will be on the way to Vegas for the annual DICE Summit. Yesterday, a lot of you posted some excellent questions for our first batch of interview subjects (keep 'em coming if you have more!). Now is your chance to ask additional gaming-industry luminaries what's on your mind. This time around, I'm taking questions for Chris Taylor, Pete Wanat, Jun Takeuchi, Bruce Shelley, Marc Rein, and Todd Howard.

Just in case you need a refresher on who these excellent people are, here are some brief descriptions. Remember, if your question is used, your username will be mentioned and you'll get mad props from other readers for asking such a poignant question. I'm counting on you to come up with some great stuff so that I can show these gaming giants how awesome TheFeed's readers are!

Chris Taylor
Who is he: CEO and creative director of Gas Powered Games
What he's done: Hardball II, Triple Play 96, Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander, Space Siege
Why he's awesome: From baseball games to real-time strategy, Chris has had a versatile and successful career making games. He's also one of the funniest people I've ever met on the development side. As Japanese publishers reach out to western developers to round out their portfolios, Taylor's Gas Powered Games is on the forefront of bridging the East and West with a successful partnership with Sega and a new opportunity with SquareEnix.

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As some of you already know, Leahy and I are off to Vegas to attend the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' annual DICE summit. DICE is one of the best shows in the business; it's not as big as the Game Developers Conference, but the sheer concentration of brilliant and creative minds is amazing. If you were to walk out of a DICE conference room, chances are, you'd bump into one of your favorite game creators every five steps you take. It's an awesome show and I'm honored that the AIAS even allows me admittance.

As much as I'd love for you guys to attend DICE with Leahy and I (and do some major damage in Las Vegas), it's logistically impossible. The next-best thing would be to take some of your questions and use them during TheFeed's DICE interviews. If your question is selected, you'll get your username announced in a video and mad props from TheFeed crowd. So please put some thought into your questions! Here's the first part of TheFeed's DICE interview subjects.

Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk
Who they are
: The co-founders of BioWare
What they've done: Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Mass Effect
Why They're Awesome: They're living proof that nice guys can finish first. Not only are the doctors immensely successful and responsible for some truly awesome games, they're also just two really cool people. As I'm accustomed to seeing them together, it kind of wigs me out when they're apart -- this is why I like to to think of the BioWare doctors as the Bert and Ernie of the gaming industry.

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