Gabe Newell Keynote Talk

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G4LI Games for Learning Day at G4C 2011

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Gabe Newell Keynote Talk

  1. 1. Opportunities
  2. 2. Valve <ul><li>Gabe Newell, President of Valve, gaben@valvesoftware.com </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Worked at Microsoft from 1983-1996 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Valve </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Started in 1996 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent game developer for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, Portal, Day of Defeat </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Steam platform for the PC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Services for gamers and game developers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>30 million users, 1500 titles, 21 languages </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Existing and Emerging Opportunities <ul><li>Games are powerful tools for education, research, and social change </li></ul><ul><li>As a game developer, we see new opportunities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charitable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Portal 2 <ul><li>Game involves physics, spatial reasoning, and problem solving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Player doesn’t have any weapons </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cooperative sections require collaboration between two players to solve puzzles </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is a Game?
  6. 6. Portal 2 <ul><li>Since April 18th, we’ve sold 3 million units </li></ul><ul><li>Highest rated game in 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Physics — the basic behavior of this particular reality —can be beautiful. Read Newton or Einstein. Or you could play Portal 2, the achingly brilliant new game from the Valve Corporation that wrings more fun out of physics than all of the shoot-’em-ups in the world.” </li></ul><ul><li>New York Times </li></ul>
  7. 7. Meet Josh <ul><li>Josh’s father sent me this video </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As a parent he understood something special was happening </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Josh is 2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>He has never been taught how to read </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He has never been taught how to use a mouse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He has never been taught how to use Windows </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Games as Freshman Lit Requirement <ul><li>Professor Michael Abbott, Wabash College </li></ul><ul><li>FC 11, Enduring Questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ This is a course about what it means to be human, focused on some of the enduring questions our existence inevitably raises for us. The goals of this course reflect this focus.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gilgamesh , Aristotle, Goffman, Donne, Portal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ This tension between backstage machination and onstage performance is precisely what Portal  depicts so perfectly - and, no small detail, so interactively.” </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Games as Educational Tools <ul><li>Games are inherently about learning </li></ul><ul><li>Self-directed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose what and when to learn </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experiential not didactic (no formulas on whiteboards) </li></ul><ul><li>Provide immediate feedback, support self monitoring and provide a practice space </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoyable </li></ul>
  10. 11. Games as Frame <ul><li>More and more educators are realizing that video game development is a great way to motivate learning of a wide variety of topics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Math </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3D CAD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industrial Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… . </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. Games for Research <ul><li>Highest performance, real-time 3-D rendering of shared virtual worlds </li></ul><ul><li>Decoupled Sampling for Graphics Pipelines, by J. Ragan-Kelley, J. Lehtinen, J. Chen, F. Durand, MIT CSAIL and M. Doggett, Lund University </li></ul><ul><li>Spark: Modular, Composable Shaders for Graphics Hardware, by T. Fole, P. Hanraha, Stanford University </li></ul><ul><li>Sample Distribution Shadow Maps , A. Lauritzen, M. Salvi, A. Lefohn, Intel Corporation </li></ul><ul><li>Precomputed Wave Simulation for Real-Time Sound Propagation of Dynamic Sources in Complex Scenes, N. Raghuvanshi, R. Mehra, M. Lin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N. Govindaraju, J. Snyder, Microsoft Research </li></ul>
  12. 14. Uh-oh <ul><li>Time for zombies and cursing </li></ul>
  13. 16. Zombies for Good <ul><li>Why are they interesting? </li></ul><ul><li>Expressive synthetic actors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based off of Paul Eckman’s work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contingent </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent, measurable, and untiring </li></ul><ul><li>University of Washington is exploring the use of virtual actors for autism socialization and therapies </li></ul>
  14. 17. Games for Giving <ul><li>After the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Team Fortress 2, held a fund raiser </li></ul><ul><li>Using micro-transactions, players could purchase and wear items to show their support </li></ul><ul><li>All revenue went directly to the Red Cross fund for Japanese relief </li></ul><ul><li>It raised $500,000 in two weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Games harness network effects – the fact of your community support is visible to everyone </li></ul>
  15. 18. Games and NGOs - Khmer Genesis Project <ul><li>Structural and architectural design of a 9-story building for an organization in Cambodia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anna Groendyk, Josh Uitvlugt, Amanda Hayes, Calvin College </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Needed a tool for visualization and client walk-throughs </li></ul><ul><li>Game engine was highest performance and it was free </li></ul>
  16. 19. Games as a Pro-social Training Ground <ul><li>Social construct </li></ul><ul><li>Sanctioning anti-social behavior and rewarding pro-social behavior is much easier </li></ul><ul><li>Communication is free world-wide </li></ul><ul><li>Shared goals and achievement amplify the value of communication </li></ul><ul><li>Bring together fragmented communities </li></ul><ul><li>Explore notions of self </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities for to learn leadership skills (e.g. clans) </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage grass-roots self-organization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication is cheap, clear shared goals, delimited </li></ul></ul>
  17. 20. Economic Opportunity <ul><li>3rd World Farming http://www.3rdworldfarmer.com </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3rd World Farmer is a simulation that illustrates the plight of poor farmers in unstable and impoverished countries. Players take the role of a desperate farming family and attempt to survive as long as possible while contending with disasters, wars, poor medical care, and unfair prices. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Low value-add labor </li></ul><ul><li>Poor access to markets </li></ul><ul><li>High capital costs </li></ul><ul><li>I never made it past level 23 </li></ul>
  18. 21. Economic Opportunity <ul><li>Gold Farming </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Market in virtual goods and services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>World of Warcraft rogue sold for $9,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Low value-add labor </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient access to worldwide market </li></ul><ul><li>Low capital costs </li></ul><ul><li>I made about $20/hour </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Per capita GDP, WoW was ~$2,800 (ahead of Nigeria, Laos, Pakistan, Ghana, …) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 22. Economic Opportunity <ul><li>The line between author and audience is very blurry </li></ul><ul><li>Consumption leads to creation </li></ul>
  20. 23. Economic Opportunity <ul><li>Peer to peer content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Let people build and sell neat stuff to other people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Models, maps, animations, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lose control of your IP but empower your community </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A game is a worldwide market </li></ul><ul><li>High value-add labor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First four “item farmers” made $40,000 USD apiece in two weeks </li></ul></ul>
  21. 24. Policy – The Value of 30 Million Connections <ul><li>30 million users </li></ul><ul><li>Creates a framework for real-time measurement of the relative efficacy of our programs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What classes are most popular and result in the outcomes we are trying to achieve? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much change can a community absorb? What is the optimal relationship between frequency and scale of updates versus community engagement? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which messages work best for which audience? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are regional variations in outcome? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How likely are Norwegian customers with Nvidia graphics cards who buy Counter-Strike on a Tuesday likely to buy Team Fortress 2 on a Thursday? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For us, we can’t imagine creating policy without this </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone who uses the Steamworks API gets similar introspection into their users </li></ul>
  22. 25. Practice – The Value of Direct Measurement <ul><li>Biometrics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physiological signals of player emotional state </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Current experiments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Heart rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skin conductance levels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gaze tracking </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Future experiments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pupil dilation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EEGs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Body temperature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facial expressions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Greatly increases subjective experience of contingency </li></ul>
  23. 26. Summary <ul><li>I am as excited as I’ve ever been about the opportunities and the future of games as a force for positive social change </li></ul><ul><li>The game community – the technology, the design knowledge, the companies, and the gamers themselves – are tools </li></ul><ul><li>Like a hammer, these tools won’t do anything unless you pick them up and use them </li></ul>
  24. 27. Games for Change <ul><li>Game engines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Source, from Valve, www.valvesoftware.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unreal, from Epic, http://www.udk.com/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unity, from Unity, http://unity3d.com/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Steam, from Valve, www.steampowered.com </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community contribution model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.teamfortress.com/contribute/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Academic, NGO or research licensing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mike Dunkle, [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mike Durand, [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Biometric research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mike Ambinder, [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Graphics research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jason Mitchell, jasonm@valvesoftware.com </li></ul></ul>

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