Event: Pig-Faced Orcs at IA Summit 2011


I’ll be giving my newest talk, Pig-faced Orcs: Design lessons from old-school role-playing games at the 2011 IA Summit in Denver Colorado, on Sunday, April 3rd.

You know you want be at a 8:30 AM session to talk about Dungeons & Dragons!

Here’s the spiel:

Pig-Faced Orcs: Design Lessons from Old-School Role-playing Games

Can designers learn anything from old-school role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and Traveller? Sure!

Designers of all kinds are getting comfortable applying principles of game design to non-game applications. Many of those principles date back to the early days of role-playing games, from Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s first edition of D&D in 1974 to less well-known games like Runequest and Traveller. Game designers have been revisiting these early works and extracting wisdom from them, and I’d like to bring some of those lessons to the user experience community.

In this deliciously nerdy talk, I’ll present user-experience lessons from old-school gaming, including the role of showmanship in constructing an experience, how imperfections and missing pieces can increase engagement, and the difference between sandbox and railroad designs.

I’ll be handing out free 20-sided dice to all attendees.

Addendum: Yep, that’s a real character sheet from when I was about 13. That campaign didn’t have any thieves, but it did have “merchants” …

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