Friday, November 15, 2013
3:30 - 5:30pm

Open Play at MAGNET
We will be be hosting a few hours of gameplay and socializing in the Brooklyn headquarters of the NYU Game Center. We have a big collection of tabletop games and videogames, but we invite you to bring your own games and prototypes to share! This event is a chance for you to tour our space and meet the rest of the PRACTICE attendees.
MAGNET is located at 2 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn 8th floor. Just a short subway ride from the main PRACTICE venue.

6 - 7pm Registration
7 - 8pm

B-boy Jams: The History and Organization of Breakdance Competitions
Susanna Liu
Since its emergence in the 1970s, breakdancing (bboying) has evolved from a being a dance of the streets to being staged in arenas filled with thousands of people. Bboy competitions, or bboy jams, are now prevalent in countries around the world, especially in Europe and Asia. From maintaining a fair judging system to keeping order and schedule, much thought and effort is put into organizing a successful bboy jam. This talk will introduce the the various elements of a bboy jam, and discuss what many organizers have done to optimize the experience for dancers and spectators alike.
*A live dance battle featuring NYC bboys will take place after the talk.

8 - 10pm Opening Reception at NYU
Saturday, November 16, 2013
9 - 9:30am Breakfast/Registration
9:30 - 10:30am

Choices Have Consequence: Creating the Immersive Simulation
Warren Spector
Most designers focus - to the detriment of their games and their players - on choice, rather than on consequence. How much player choice is too much? And why does choice even matter? This talk will look at the crucial game design tool of choices and consequence, as a way of understanding how we create meaningful moments for players in games.

10:30 - 11am Coffee
11am - 12:30pm

The Art of Strategy
Brad Muir, Soren Johnson, Keith Burgun
Strategy games occupy a special place in the hierarchy of game design as the clearest expression of the ideal of "interesting decisions". In this panel, three designers working in the strategy realm discuss their approaches, discuss the specific challenges of designing strategy games and talk about the creative possibilities and future directions of the genre.

12:30 - 2pm Lunch
2 - 3:00pm

Designing a Legacy Game
Rob Daviau
Risk Legacy was published in 2011 as a new way to play a board game -- one that remembers some events from game to game, that has secret components, that encourages writing on the materials, and ripping some up. SeaFall, due out in 2014, is another legacy game. Learn how to nearly go insane trying to design and test these, how randomness is your enemy but surprises are your friend, and why this isn't, and never will be, a "marketing gimmick".

3:00 - 3:30pm Coffee
3:30 - 5pm

Designing Narrative Choice
Emily Short, Sean Vanaman, Jake Rodkin
If games are a series of interesting choices, one of the biggest challenges is to create choices that also generate a narrative, which combines game design and writing in equal parts. This session will feature game designers who have created some of the most compelling narrative choices in games recently. The participants will dissect specific moments from The Walking Dead and one of the episodes available for the platform Versu, to describe their respective approaches to designing narrative choice.

5pm - 5:30pm Coffee
5:30 - 6:30pm Open Problems
A structured "open mic" session in which conference attendees present works in progress and share design problems for discussion and feedback.
6:30 - 8:30pm Dinner Break
8:30pm Party
Sunday, November 17, 2013
9:30 - 10am Breakfast
10 - 11am

Michael Brough
This talk will be a discussion of the roguelike genre, from the perspective of the games I've made that live inside or near it. I'll tell you why I'm interested in this genre and why I think it's a fruitful one. I'll explore some specific elements common in the genre, explain why they are used, and show how they can be improved. Finally, I'll discuss some of the details of the design process for my most recent roguelike game, 868-hack, that are less relevant to the genre as a whole.

11 - 11:30am Coffee
11:30 - 12:30pm

Creating a Nordic Style LARP
Cecilia Dolk & Martin Ericsson
This talk provides an in-depth case study of the creation of a successful, high-profile live-action role playing game. Designing a LARP can be a daunting task. In addition to establishing the protocols of role-playing, LARP designers often have to incorporate elements from movies and theater, to name a couple. The focus will be on how to incorporate references and inspiration from other sources to create Nordic-style LARPs, based on the speakers' experience running Monitor Celestra, a LARP based on Battlestar Galactica.

12:30 - 2pm Lunch

Understanding Players Panel
Morgan Kennedy, Davin Pavlas, Naomi Clark
A discussion of when and how to engage players in the design process, ranging from metrics to formal user research to informal playtesting.

3:30 - 4pm Coffee
4 - 5pm

Well-Made: Back to Black Mesa
Robert Yang
The modern AAA single player first person shooter consists mainly of two things: shooting faces in implausibly realistic levels with a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle, or rocket launcher -- and obeying NPCs when they trap you inside a room so they can emit voiceover lines at you. Half-Life's legacy in the latter is well-mythologized in history, but what if we re-visit Half-Life as a masterpiece of technical design, enemy encounters, AI scripting, weapons tuning, and architecture? Spoiler: we'll find out it's a pretty well-crafted game.

5 - 6pm Closing Statement: Quintin Smith