There was a lot to see at the Penny Arcade Expo, but we covered the biggest panels and brought back recaps so you don't miss a thing.
Game Design 101 - Whether youíre starting out or have years of experience in the industry, every once in a while you have to return to the fundamentals. Game Design 101 will re-examine the basics of game design, exploring what it means to design in todayís industry. We will be looking at the relation between mechanics and narrative, enquiring into the difference between something that is challenging and something that is punishing, and exploring the different types of "fun."
PAX 2009 Keynote Ron Gilbert - Because PAX is about culture, our keynote speakers are always tough to pick. We donít have that laser-like focus for the show, so itís not like some guy with a powerpoint deck that rattles off charts and numbers for an hour is going to cut it. Weíve wanted to get Ron to do our keynote for a while, and even though his resume alone qualifies him in regard to how he has shaped our pastime, itís who he is today that tells us this keynote will be one to remember.
Weapons 101 - From shotguns and sniper rifles to the Agents of Doom and Rift Inducer, weapons are central to most action-games. Known for their unique weapon creations in the Resistance and Ratchet & Clank franchises, Insomniac Games will provide tips and strategies for creating memorable in-game weaponry as well as discuss the success behind the making of some of the seriesí more popular weapons, The Groovitron and Mr. Zurkon. In addition, Insomniac Games will share with the audience new weapons and gameplay created for the upcoming release of Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time.
Prepare to Drop - Join members of the Bungie team for an in-depth look at the soon to be released Halo 3: ODST and discussions around the game's development. Project leads will guide you through a demo showing off the game's key features and what makes playing as an ODST different from prior Halo games. Learn how the game went from conception to completion with a small team and a very short development cycle.
Borderlands! - Come ask questions and see never before seen pieces of the co-op Role Playing Shooter being released October 20th. Talk directly to the President and Creative Director of Gearbox Software.
Medium is the: Story Matters - This panel will discuss how storytelling can affect and improve upon game design and gameplay. The audience will come away understanding how important story is to gameplay and how technology and interactivity can be leverage to effectively, or ineffectively, tell a story in a way that propels the gameplay and game forward in an interesting way.
Star Wars: The Old Republic live demonstration - On Saturday at 3:30pm in the Main Theatre BioWare and LucasArts will present the first-ever live public demo of The Old Republic in the United States. Make sure to get in line early because there will be exclusives galore for attendees only.
Make a Scene with TelltaleóMonkey Island Madness! - Guybrush Threepwood is renowned for his sharp-as-nails witóand in this panel, YOU get to put the words straight into the Mighty Pirateís mouth! Team up with Telltaleís Tales of Monkey Island design team to write a swashbuckling scene, and we'll wire it up right before your eyes. Dominic Armato, the official voice of Guybrush, will be on hand to speak the lines! Plus get all your burning Monkey Island, Sam & Max, and game design questions answered by the experts during the Q&A session. Plenty of piratey fun will be had by all. Arrrrr!
Harmonix Rock Band Network Panel - Rock Band Network is a groundbreaking initiative to empower musicians to put their songs into Rock Band themselves. But hereís the thing Ė itís also pretty hard if you donít know what youíre doing. Come see members of the Harmonix RBN team give a demonstration of the process from charting songs to playing them. With Special Guest Ė Jonathan Coulton.
Game Localization: A Behind-the-Scenes Look - The localization team of Alexander O. Smith and Joseph Reeder, known for their work on Final Fantasy XII, present a behind-the-scenes look at the game localization process. How long does it take to localize a mega-RPG? How does ADR (writing for lip sync) work and not work? What makes a localization not suck? Actual scripts, video clips, and Q&A session to follow.
The Future of Gaming: You Don't Know What You're Going to Get - The success of the Wii, the iPhone, and the rise of social gaming are already turning the entire video game industry on its head. Are you ready? Following up on last year's standing-room-only talk on how developers really see their gamer audience, Andrew Mayer will explain to you why the next five years in gaming are going to bring massive changes to the industry, including what games we play, where we play them, and how we play. He'll also take a look at the big issues: Is this really the last console generation? Why are your favorite developers already making games for Facebook and the iPhone? And he'll show you how you'll end up paying more to play your favorite games once everything is free. In this fast and furious look at the near future, Andrew will cover where things are going, how we're going to get there, and what that's going to mean to you as a gamer, whether you like it or not.