SWTOR, LoL Dominate GDC Online Awards

It was a great night for Star Wars: The Old Republic, as BioWare won four awards in the third annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards, including Best New Online Game and Best Online Visual Arts. The Austin, Texas based developer also picked up awards for Best Online Technology and best Online Game Design, earning them top place on the trophy table.

League of Legends also did well at the ceremony, with Riot Games picking up awards for Best Live Game and Best Community Relations, as well as the gamer-voted Audience Award. This marks the second time that LoL has been the fans’ favourite, following over 66,000 votes cast worldwide.

Originating in 2010, the Game Developers Choice Online Awards take place as part of GDC Online, the yearly conference for game developers in MMO, social and connected gaming. Two special awards this year included an Online Game Legend award for Raph Koster and Hall of Fame induction for World of Warcraft

GDC Online: The Evolution of Game Narrative

Next month sees the return of GDC Online, the Games Developers Conference focused on online, social and cloud gaming. One of the most popular parts of this annual gathering is the Game Narrative Summit — a series of lectures and workshops about how to share storytelling in all its forms, from flagship MMOs to small smartphone games.

Helping shape this year’s Summit are Tom Abernathy, Narrative Designer and Writer at Microsoft Studios, and Richard Dansky, Central Clancy Writer for Red Storm Entertainment. Abernathy has previously worked on Halo: Reach, Destroy All Humans and Crimson Alliance, while Dansky’s credits include Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon and Far Cry. Both were listed in Gamasutra’s Top 20 Game Writers, and together they form half of the Game Narrative Summit Advisory Committee. 

With the conference itself just a few weeks away, I was fortunate enough to get the chance to talk about game narrative with these legends of storytelling.  In an enlightening dialogue, we discussed the diverse nature of this year’s Summit, before moving on to the evolving nature of narrative in a changing industry. I also discovered the techniques used in building narrative for online games, and how new technology is being used to perform storytelling.

GDC Online Audience Award Voting Opens

This October sees the arrival of the third annual conference aimed at those in the MMO, social and online gaming industry. Hosted in the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, the Game Developers  Conference Online (GDC Online) will see some 3500 industry professionals share ideas and join summits that shape the future of our favorite gaming genre.

The three day event also includes the Game Developers Choice Online Awards, celebrating the best in online gaming. This is where you come in: voting has opened for the Audience Award, with players worldwide encouraged to support their favorite persistent online game! Previous winners have included KingsIsle's Wizard101 and Riot Games' League of Legends.

Voting is open through to September 14th, so get to the Audience Award page pronto! If you’re looking for inspiration on who to vote for, cast your eyes over the nominations in other categories for this year’s awards. The winners will be announced as part of an award ceremony on October 10th, and we’ll be sure to bring you all the results.

Gareth “Gazimoff” Harmer, Staff Writer

Photo: Jesse Knish/GDC Online

GDC Online Q&A Part 2: Gordon Walton, Matt Firor

Game Developers Conference Online  kicks off today at the Austin Convention Center, which makes it the perfect time to publish the second part of our interview with Gordon Walton, the vice president and co-studio general manager of Bioware Austin, and Matt Firor, the president of ZeniMax Online Studios. We sat down with these two members of the convention's advisory board to talk about the themes that will be featured throughout the week at GDC Online.

Be sure to read the first part of the interview, and then head back here to find out what these two industry veterans are most looking forward to at GDC Online this week. You're also welcome to watch live streaming coverage of GDC Online featuring ZAM's Mike B. aka Fony! It's the next best thing to actually attending the convention.

GDC Online Q&A Part 1: Gordon Walton, Matt Firor

Many of you may be familiar with Game Developers Conference Austin, a major game trade show that's been predominantly themed around online gaming during its 8-year run. This spring, GDC Austin was renamed GDC Online to reflect its focus on online game development. MMO fans rejoice!

Of course, online gaming has taken many different forms over the years. From triple-A MMOs like World of Warcraft to Zynga's social games on Facebook, the Internet keeps all players connected. GDC Online will cover this theme and more during its run from Oct. 5-8 at the Austin Convention Center, so we decided to sit down with two members of the convention's advisory board to talk about all the topics that will be discussed at the conference.

We got the chance to talk with Gordon Walton, the vice president and co-studio general manager of Bioware Austin, and Matt Firor, the president of ZeniMax Online Studios, about the past, present and future of online gaming. These two veterans of the industry had so much to say that we're splitting the interview into two pieces. Enjoy the first part today, and then come back to ZAM.com tomorrow for the second half to celebrate the first day of GDC Online! Also, be sure to check out live streaming coverage of the convention featuring ZAM's Mike B. aka Fony. (Update: The second half of the interview has been posted.)