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Gdc 2008!


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It's that time of year again, when developers from all around the world escape their darkened pits to meet with their peers in San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference. It's a little early this year, around the middle of February, but it looks to be another interesting one. Lots of interesting sessions & speakers, though the keynotes aren't as interesting (for me).


The keynotes so far:

"A Future Wide Open: Unleashing the Creative Community". This is the MS one being discussed elsewhere.

"The Next 20 Years of Gaming" by Ray Kurzweil. Discussing where he sees gaming going.



The session highlights so far:

"ROCK BAND: Procedural Animation That Rocks!"

"A PORTAL Post-Mortem: Integrating Writing and Design"

"Building a Better Battle: HALO 3 AI Objectives"

"Collaborative Writing and Vast Narratives: Principles, Processes, and Genteel Truculence"

"Creating a Character in DRAKE'S FORTUNE" (This is a must for me)

"Creating Spielberg's BOOM BLOX"

"CRYSIS in the Making"

"Design Reboot" (Jonathon Blow's presentation from GDC montreal that caused a lot of discussion)

"Designing and Implementing a Dynamic Camera System" (Camera system from God of War)

"Development - SUPER SMASH BROS. BRAWL" (This will be packed)

"Don't Mess with Great Gameplay! How WIPEOUT Innovated on PSP"

"Dynamic Cinematic Gameplay: Creating STRANGLEHOLD's "Tequila Bombs""

"Dynamic Closed Captioning for Your Game" (Not essential, but a friend is presenting it)

"E Pluribus Unum: Matchmaking in HALO 3"

"FABLE 2 –The Big Three Features Revealed" (Will be packed & I will avoid it).

"From DOOM to RAGE: Pushing Boundaries" (another one that will be packed)

"GOD OF WAR: Deconstructing an Epic" (How they ported the art style to the psp)

"Insomniac's SPU Programming Practices" (this will be packed, dense with info & over the head of me)

"New Dog, Old Tricks: Running Halo 3 Without a Hard Drive" (Thank you, MS, for us having to have this session at all)

"Planning the Wii Menu: From Pre-Launch to WiiWare" (another session that will be packed & well covered online I imagine)

"Pouring Gas on the Flames: Game Designers Rant" (This year's rant session)

"Procedural Music in SPORE" (last year's procedural animation in spore session was amazing)

"STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED: How LucasArts is Building a Game, a Development Team and a Technology Pipeline... At the Same Time" (this should be packed & well covered too)

"Storytelling in BIOSHOCK: Empowering Players to Care about Your Stupid Story" (Bioshock!)

"Surprises from the HELLGATE LONDON launch Sponsored by IBM" (Heh... I Bet they don't discuss the surprises players had...)

"My First MMO" (from my old boss, Dave Jones, talking about the very secretive APB).



There'll be the usual surprises, the usual under attended sessions that are fantastic, the usual "We're so great & here's why" sessions that tell me nothing, etc. All I need is one great session to make it worthwhile. Last year, it was the procedural animation talk by Chris Hecker, which was utterly inspiring. I'll be at the conference but I'm not sure for what sessions yet as the full schedule hasn't been printed and sadly, I'm far too busy to dodge out of work for a full three days.


Here's the conference website. 18th-22nd of February.

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Although I respect Ray Kurzweil, I've read his stuff and I think he may be off by quite a bit. There is very little evidence to support some of his later predictions, but much more evidence to the contrary (IE he is probably dead wrong in some respects). If people actually care I'll go back and re-read the book and we can start a thread about that.

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Well, I don't know about other disciplines, but as far as programming is concerned. GDC doesn't hold a candle to Siggraph. I've been to both and the quality difference really is quite clear.


I also didn't say that GDC didn't have value, only that the value of Siggraph was far superior.

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Well, I don't know about other disciplines, but as far as programming is concerned. GDC doesn't hold a candle to Siggraph. I've been to both and the quality difference really is quite clear.


Is a gameplay engineer or a server engineer on a MMO going to learn more at Siggraph or GDC? "Programmer" is a f'ing large discipline in itself :)


Different people in different parts of this industry are going to get different value out of these conferences. There's a hell of a lot of value to GDC outside of the sessions as I'm sure you're well aware. But that's by the by. Not worth arguing over.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Well, I'll be there after all on Wednesday & Friday, which means I miss a couple of Thursday sessions I was interested in, but I do get to the Uncharted "Making a character" one that has a lot of potential.


And Microsoft have announced they're going to do one of their "Bringing it Home" things on the Marketplace - video footage of the keynote, demos, games etc.

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Looks like Gears of War 2 is almost a definite to get announced too
I got the feeling that once Microsoft announced the Live at home stuff (expecially the guy from MS talking about this xbox this year) for GDC we would be getting some game announcements. The epic guys have been saying they use GDC to show off there engine, but what better way to show it with the new stuff they used in Gears 2.


Hopefully for people who work in the industry, it does not distract from the normal events

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GamaSutra's coverage has started here, with some reports going up of the Mobile/Casual Summits from yesterday...


Steve Meretzky Defines Casual Games


Q Games show off the next PixelJunk games for PSN - PixelJunk Eden and PixelJunk Dungeons.



Raph Koster says we're irrelevant...


The guys behind Flow & Everyday Shooter talk about their 'indie ethos' - there's some great slides of this (Here's the slides & more info...) showing how different a game can feel with abstract graphics but the exact same mechanics.

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