Will Wright

Accelerating Change 2004

Sculpting Possibility Space
50 minutes, 23.2mb, recorded 2004-11-07
Games and simulations allow us to experience hypothetical situations in fun and intuitive ways. From the designers' perspective we need to architect these "possibility landscapes" which players will later explore. Will discusses some of the informal methods, concepts and tools that he uses to approach this design task.

Will Wright, Maxis' Chief Designer, co-founded Maxis with Jeff Braun in 1987. He released his first game SimCity: The City Simulator in 1989, an instant hit which has won 24 domestic and international awards. Sim City brought complex, realistic simulations to desktop PCs, a capability previously only available to military, scientists and academicians. Using an easy graphical interface, Sim City opened the world of simulations to consumers. SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000, SimCity 3000 Unlimited, and SimCity 4 Deluxe have continued the tradition. SimEarth, SimAnt, and other games have explored other facets of the natural world.

His social simulation game, The Sims, was released in February of 2000. With over 9 million copies worldwide, 7 expansion packs, and numerous "Game of The Year" accolades, The Sims has become the best-selling PC game of all time. The Sims Online and The Sims 2 (released September 2004, to critical acclaim) are the latest extensions of the Sims tradition in an increasingly open-ended, online world where you choose your role, attitude and destiny. He is now working on a "third generation" simulation project at Maxis.

Wright has become one of the most successful designers of interactive entertainment in the world. In 1999 he was included in Entertainment Weekly’s "It List" of "the 100 most creative people in entertainment" as well as Time Digital's "Digital 50", a listing of "the most important people shaping technology today." As one of his hobbies, each year Wright (along with his daughter) takes part in the annual Battlebot competition broadcast nationally on Comedy Central. Interestingly, it was Wright's interest in robots that eventually led him into computer programming.

This presentation was recorded at Accelerating Change 2004, November 5-7, 2004. Check here for the complete Accelerating Change archives.

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