GDC Vault content from 2014 and earlier is now free to access, as of the release of 2016’s content. I’ve singled out a few talks that might interest my readers, but there’s lots more in there, including the full contents of multiple Narrative Summits.
Classic Game Postmortem on Zork, by Dave Lebling. Some of the history here will be familiar to followers of this blog, but the talk includes Lebling’s perspective on good and bad elements of the puzzle design, among other things. (2014)
Storytelling Rules and Tools, Evan Skolnick. This is slower-paced than most of the other items on this page because it’s the video of a multi-hour workshop rather than a 30 or 60-minute talk. The workshop introduces a lot of standard storytelling guidance about managing exposition, showing rather than telling, putting foreshadowing in place, and so on. (2014)
My Versu post-mortem on how we used Jane Austen and comedy of manners for the initial content on the Versu platform. (2013)
A World From Words, Jon Ingold on the potential for highly interactive stories in text. (GDC Europe 2013)
Beyond Eliza, a panel on social modeling AI that included content from me and Richard Evans as well as several other speakers in the space. This talk also looks at Prom Week and Storybricks as well as the work that would eventually become Versu. (2012)
Environmental Storytelling: Indices and the Art of Leaving Traces. Clara Fernandez-Vara on storytelling elements presented in hidden object games and other contexts. (2012)
AI and Interactive Storytelling, an overview of some methods of combining AI and interactive narrative, where I spoke about conversation modelling. (2010)
We Tell Stories. Adrian Hon of Six to Start talks about projects developed in collaboration with Penguin that were intended to explore interactivity in the context of publishing; this is one of the most book/literary-oriented GDC presentations I’ve encountered. (2008)
Multiplayer Interactive Fiction: On the Net Without a Safety Net, Eric Goldberg. This an old, buzzy audio recording from 1997, in which you can also hear audience shout-outs. Definitely a history piece rather than a current-design piece, but it’s interesting to hear people talking about what they think is going to happen as bandwidth access increases, as well as mentions of TinyMUD, multiply-authored works from Eastgate and Storyspace, and a multiplayer election game called President ’96 (which is analyzed, though in a somewhat hard-to-read format, here, and which apparently included actual walk-ons from real politicians including Mario Cuomo).
Goldberg’s talk is a bit of its time in other ways, with some ableist language and multiple references to how useful it is to display half-naked women as part of your content. Other bits may seem strikingly pertinent to 2016: “You need people with a large ego who can be easily seduced into providing content for your players. Like Donald Trump.”
Favorite quote: “Content is King? Content isn’t even the Dauphin.” (1997)