Will Wright, the creator of SimCity, the Sims, and now Spore, speaks with pundit John Battelle about the creative process, user-generated content, and much more.
John Battelle is an entrepreneur, journalist, professor, and author. Currently founder and chairman of Federated Media Publishing, he is also a founder and executive producer of conferences in the media, technology, communications, and entertainment industries as well as "band manager" with BoingBoing.net.
Previously, Battelle was founder, chairman, and CEO of Standard Media International (SMI), publisher of The Industry Standard and TheStandard.com. Prior to founding The Standard, Battelle was a co-founding editor of Wired magazine and Wired Ventures.
He is the author of The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture (Portfolio, 2005).
Will Wright is an American video game designer and co-founder of the game development company Maxis, now part of Electronic Arts (EA). In April 2009, he left EA to run "Stupid Fun Club", an entertainment think tank in which Wright and EA are principal shareholders.
The first computer game Wright designed was Raid on Bungeling Bay in 1984, but it was SimCity that brought him to prominence. The game was released by Maxis, a company Wright formed with Jeff Braun, and he built upon the game's theme of computer simulation with numerous other titles including SimEarth and SimAnt.
Wright's greatest success to date comes from being the original designer for The Sims. The game spawned multiple sequels and expansions, and Wright has earned many awards for his work. His latest work, Spore, was released in September 2008 and features gameplay based upon the model of evolution and scientific advancement. The game sold 406,000 copies within three weeks of its release.
Computer-delivered electronic system that allows the user to control, combine, and manipulate different types of media, such as text, sound, video, computer graphics, and animation. The most common multimedia machine consists of a personal computer with a sound card, modem, digital speaker unit, and CD-ROM. Interactive multimedia systems under commercial development include cable television services with computer interfaces that enable viewers to interact with TV programs; high-speed interactive audiovisual communications systems, including video game consoles, that rely on digital data from fibre-optic lines or digitized wireless transmission; and virtual reality systems that create small-scale artificial sensory environments.
Use of computer modeling and simulation to enable a person to interact with an artificial three-dimensional visual or other sensory environment. A computer-generated environment simulates reality by means of interactive devices that send and receive information and are worn as goggles, headsets, gloves, or body suits. The illusion of being in the created environment (telepresence) is accomplished by motion sensors that pick up the user's movements and adjust his or her view accordingly, usually in real time. The basis of the technology emerged in the 1960s in simulators that taught how to fly planes, drive tanks, shoot artillery, and generally perform in combat. It came of commercial age in the 1980s and is now used in games, exhibits, and aerospace simulators. It has potential for use in many fields, including entertainment, medicine and biotechnology, engineering, design, and marketing.
The Wii controller has high bandwidth at the biggest bottleneck, the human/machine interface. For decades this area has been ruled by the button. Even advanced web design often looks like a collection of buttons that you can click.
Buttons are great. I still remember being a child when buttons started appearing everywhere, phones, stereos, tv's, and we were no longer so excited to press the one in the elevator.
But I have become a slave to buttons. My professional and social life can be expressed as a series of keystrokes and button clicks. The Wii controller and iPhone and Android improvements to UI are not minor revisions, and they do not come a moment too soon.