Rich Vogel is best known as the Co-Studio Director of BioWare Austin, who are working on an unannounced MMO, but he also wears a hat that is a bit less public: member of the Austin Game Developers Conference advisory board. Vogel took some time to answer our questions about the newly renamed conference we're attending this week. Previously known as AGC, the popular MMO-centric conference was purchased by CMP, the same people who run the Game Developers Conference (GDC) each year in California. We wanted to know what the change in management means to that conference.
Answers by Rich Vogel (Co-Studio Director, Bioware Austin / AGDC Advisory Board)
Questions by Dana Massey
WarCry: First, can you tell us a bit about AGDC, its goals and your involvement with the conference?
Rich Vogel: AGDC was formed to provide a gathering place and educational opportunities for developers specializing in massively multiplayer online games. We have a lot of people in Austin developing MMOs and we wanted to highlight that fact with this conference. I believe we have the largest MMO development community in North America. I have been involved with the conference since the very beginning. My job this year was to develop the design track and provide the keynote speakers for the conference.
WarCry: Under previous management, the show was known simply as the Austin Game Conference (AGC). What does the change mean to the average exhibitor, attendee and journalist?
Rich Vogel: CMP took over the conference this year and with its fast resources has provided a bigger better conference.
WarCry: The Austin conference has always been geared towards MMOs and more recently, MMOs and casual games. Explain the focus today?
Rich Vogel: Today we are providing more focus on online console gaming, and casual MMOs.
WarCry: As senior member of the Austin game development community, what do you believe this conference means for Austin?
Rich Vogel: It provides a great opportunity for game developers to see our great city of Austin. They may even want to open a studio here.
WarCry: Over the last few months as we've attended conferences and press events, there seems to have been a certain amount of trepidation among the gaming press that the change in leadership of AGDC (formerly AGC) will weaken the event. What do you say to those with doubts?
Rich Vogel: Absolutely not, CMP has actually provided the resources and expertise to take this conference to the next level.
WarCry: Are you worried about the increased competition since the demise of E3? In just the month prior to AGDC, there are major events like Leipzig, PAX, GenCon, ComicCon San Diego and a slew of regular press events. That's just too many events for most game companies and press to rationally attend.
Rich Vogel: I don't feel these conferences conflict with AGDC. Each of these conferences serves their own audiences. AGDC is a professional conference designed to serve game developers in the areas of online gaming, audio and writing.
WarCry: One reason many people loved AGC was that it seemed so relaxed and informal compared to other game conferences, including GDC, which are often very product driven. What steps have you taken to make sure it maintains that vibe as it grows?
Rich Vogel: We want to continue to make sure the conference has that same feeling. We are working on improving the content of the show while at the same time keeping it intimate.
WarCry: Your day job is of course as the Co-Studio Director of BioWare Austin. Briefly, can you give us an update on how development is coming along? And of course, what are you working on? :)
Rich Vogel: I only wish I could talk about what we are working on but we can't ;-).
Comments? Let's hear them.