GDC 2018 | March 19 — 23, 2018 | Moscone Convention Center | San Francisco, California




All of the GDC 2018 Call for Submissions have closed. The GDC Main Conference closed on Friday, August 18, while GDC Summits, [email protected] and Game Career Seminar closed on Friday, September 29.

Questions? Read our FAQ or email Victoria Petersen for Main Conference questions, Megan Bundy for Summit and [email protected] questions, and Ashley Corrigan for Full Day Tutorial questions.

Please Read

The GDC Advisory Board has made improving the quality of presented talks its number one goal. Historically, any problems with quality have been caused by the gap between an original talk abstract and the presented lecture; this is an issue we are working to fix. 

If you look at the show program from any given year, it is pretty awesome. Individuals may pick different sets of talks to attend, but the chosen talks are always representative of interesting and current work happening in game development each year; however, there lies a hidden problem that we've all experienced—a session has a great title and abstract, but the talk itself is a letdown. This gap is very hard to close, but we're taking it very seriously. 

We rely on grading history for speakers, but we are also increasingly requesting more comprehensive submissions to help narrow the gap as well because it allows us to get past the abstract and see the talk itself. This is a major pain for submitters because it means they have to prepare their content well ahead of GDC. 

However, many of the most respected technical and academic conferences require absolutely complete submissions by a hard inflexible, deadline very far ahead of the conference so the jury can know exactly what will be presented. We are not at that point with GDC, but it would guarantee the Advisory Board could pick only the best possible talks. 

We are trying to strike a balance between improving the submission process for the submitter—in an industry where publishing and sharing information is important but is not the main part of one's job (as

Thank you,

The GDC Advisory Board

Submission Guidelines

If you want to submit, please take note of the following:

Speaker or Panel Representation
At GDC, we aim to achieve diversity of voice, experience, and perspective. When considering who would be best to speak on behalf of your company/department or when submitting panelists for a panel, we strongly encourage taking this goal into consideration.

Vendor-Specific Proposals
The Game Developers Conference does not accept product or vendor-related submissions. If your talk is a thinly-veiled advertisement for a new product, technology or service your company is offering, please do not apply. If you would like to publicize a product, please contact our sales team for information on exhibiting and other vendor opportunities, including sponsored sessions.

All presentations must be submitted by the original authors
We currently only accept submissions by original authors of the presentations. PR firms, speaking relation firms, and all other parties who are not direct authors of submitted presentations are discouraged from submitting a proposal on behalf of their clients/speakers. We require direct contact with presenters to expedite questions during the submission review process.

GDC Summits + [email protected]
If you are interested in submitting for any of the GDC Summits or [email protected], the call for submissions will launch after the GDC main call for submissions closes. Proposals submitted to the main conference tracks of GDC will not be considered or reviewed by summit advisors. There is no penalty for submitting a proposal to both the main conference and summits. Each program has its own advisors and submissions will be graded separately. You may contact Megan Bundy about the Summit call for submissions.


Phase I:
Prepare & Submit Session Proposal
  • Speaker Contact Information
  • Session Title: Provide a session title in fewer than 10 words
  • Track, Format, and Audience Level
  • Description for Advisory BoardYou have 500 words to describe to the GDC Advisory Board what your talk will be about, and why it will be interesting to GDC attendees. This is not the abstract for your talk for the printed program, it is not meant for attendees to read, it is not a teaser, and it is not a place for cute wordplay. It is for you to describe concretely and succinctly what is compelling about your talk to the Advisory Board, a group of people who have probably read 250 of these descriptions by the time they get to yours. Do not tease with something like, "My lecture will reveal amazing findings about how people play puzzle platformers," instead say, "We have found 90% of people only play puzzle platformers while eating pepperoni pizza," or whatever your amazing finding actually is. If you need more than 500 words to describe your lecture in this way, you can upload supplemental materials (.doc, .pdf, .txt) to your submission.
  • Speaker Biography, Game Credits, Speaker History and Twitter username
  • Session Description: In 100-150-words, provide a concise description of your session as you would have it appear on the GDC website.
  • Attendee Takeaway: In 50-words or less, tell us what attendees will gain from this presentation. Be specific by giving concrete examples and remember that GDC attendees are experts in their field. Do not use bullet points.
  • Intended Audience: In 50-words or less, describe your target audience and who will benefit from your presentation. Is prerequisite knowledge necessary for understanding the content of the session? If so, what are the prerequisites? Do not use bullet points.
  • Supporting material: Submit supplemental information that supports your session proposal. Additional materials may include white papers, code, demos, videos, images, proof of concept, etc.
  • See a sample production & management submission here.
  • See a sample programming submission here.
Phase II:
Session Proposal Review, Selection & Notification
  • Advisory Board review submissions
  • Submitters are notified of their status: Declined or Phase 2 Conditionally Accepted
  • Phase 2 submitters will be required to prepare the complete presentation for review by the advisory board*
  • Phase 2 submissions are due mid October
*Note: You are not a confirmed speaker until your presentation is reviewed and approved by the advisory board.
Phase III:
Final Review & Confirmations
  • Advisory Board reviews Phase 2 presentations in mid-November
  • Phase 2 submitters are notified of their status in December: Declined or Accepted
  • Submitters who miss the deadline to submit their presentation plans for review will be automatically declined; exceptions will not be made
  • Submitters who sent in their presentation by the deadline but were not accepted to speak will receive a discount on a conference pass

Selection Criteria

The Advisory Board will review and rate submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Concept: This is the basic idea of your submission. Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Will it be beneficial for game developers to hear? There is plenty of room for innovative ideas and also the tried and true.
  • Depth: Is the basic idea well considered and thought out? To what extent will the audience gain insight? The more in-depth, the better.
  • Organization: Are your ideas conducive to present in front of an audience? Will the Advisory Board understand what you are trying to say? Organization helps.
  • Credentials: How do your credentials qualify you to speak on the topic you have proposed?
  • Takeaway: Is the attendee going to leave this session knowing something they didn't know when they walked in? Are they learning or being inspired? This is the most important aspect of every GDC session. The submissions will be rated on a one to five scale by each of the reviewers and the resulting scores are averaged. Those submissions in each category with the highest scores are considered first. In the case of topic overlap, a lesser scoring submission may be selected to keep variety in the program.

Speaker Expectations

Conference attendees are generally very intelligent. They are looking for material that is not obvious and expect excellence from our speakers. After your presentation, they will evaluate it based on delivery, knowledge of the topic and the visuals presented.

Preparation is one of the most important factors in delivering a successful talk at GDC. Please keep the following in mind when you propose to speak:

  • The proposed outline you submit now must match the talk you actually present at GDC
  • We suggest that you commit AT LEAST 25 hours to prepare for your session
  • We strongly encourage that you rehearse the delivery of your session for it to be effective; preferably in front of your peers (one tip is to video tape yourself speaking then review it. This is also a great way to practice pacing and timing)
  • Your presentation materials must be completed and submitted to us four weeks before the conference

Please note we are here to help you. If you have ANY questions you think we need to cover on this area of our website, please email Victoria Petersen.

Track Descriptions and Topics

Below is the list of tracks for GDC 2018. Click on a track for descriptions of the topics solicited by the Advisory Board.

Advocacy Advocacy
Given that the Game Developers Conference is such a large and broad forum, it is extremely important that we address new and existing issues within the realm of social advocacy. Topics to be covered should range from diversity to censorship to quality of life. With these sessions, we hope to offer an environment for discussion and ultimately a place to effect positive change for the development community.
Audio Audio

The Audio track is soliciting submissions that cover the following topics:

Innovative, creative, technical, inspirational, practical - we feature talks on every aspect of the art, science, and business of game audio. We want submissions from composers, sound designers, audio directors, and programmers, and all game developers with unique perspectives and experiences with game audio; in-housers, freelancers, academics; indies to AAA; mobile, tablet, PC, console, virtual/augmented reality, and other form factors. We look for those who are willing and able to effectively and efficiently share their experiences and skills with their peers at this cornerstone of the game audio calendar.

Examples of evergreen topics include:

  • Creating amazing, unique sound design and music for games and integrated audio experiences
  • Your finest analysis, project postmortems, tips & tricks, innovations, and technology
  • Platform Challenges - opportunities afforded by new hardware, new user interfaces, and creatively overcoming limitations/restrictions
  • "Post-production" - real-time mixing, DSP, their aesthetics and impact on the player experience
  • Development - teams, management, direction, tools, pipelines, audio QA, audio localization
  • Business - contracts, copyright, licensing, careers, freelancing
  • Voice - aesthetics, asset acquisition and integration, performance and direction

This year we'd also love to see submissions addressing these hot topics:

  • Career development, from getting started to expanding, adapting, and reinventing
  • Diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and skills
  • Cross-disciplinary audio: when sound assists or interacts with gameplay in novel ways
  • Real-time synthesis and procedural audio - music, sound, and speech
  • Novel audio system implementations and programming best practices
  • "MIDI music" - the power of note data and just-in-time scoring
  • Sound and music for immersive and interactive virtual/augmented reality experiences
Business Business & Marketing
The Business & Marketing track is soliciting submissions that cover the following topics:

Key Software Platforms of Today & Tomorrow

  • Platform analyses and cases studies including real data
  • Development and marketing budget planning for new platforms

Marketing & User Acquisition

  • Innovative marketing strategies including social, influencer, search & discovery optimization
  • Community management, customer service, and open development
  • User acquisition techniques, including real data
  • Impact of marketing, live ops and on-going development on the wider business


  • Crowdfunding, presales, ICO's, and traditional options like VC, project financing, and publisher financing

Company Values

  • Building culture, setting goals, developing talent


  • Working with streamers, and building games for streaming
  • Data on streamers impact on revenue, retention
  • How to monetize streaming of your game
  • VR and ARVR platform analyses with real data
  • AR / Mixed Reality platform opportunities


  • Building a game for esports, or developing your esports scene
  • Revenue opportunities in esports
Design Design
Design submissions in all areas are welcome, and we are particularly interested in high quality, deep and insightful game design talks presented at an advanced level for experienced professional game designers.

These can range from the production side of design (such as designing characters for diverse audiences or dealing with testing for a procedural content generation system), to the nuts and bolts design problems of character ability tuning, to the aesthetics side of design (such as how to create an interactive space that elicits certain emotions from players) - or anything in-between.

As usual, we have seen amazing new developments in hardware and platforms, an ongoing evolution of business models, and huge changes to our audiences and the way they engage with our games - talks that explore and explain the impact of these changes and how to better design games in consideration of them will be especially welcome. The key is to show that you have deep and non-intuitive insights into your topic, forged through hands-on experience working on relevant games.
Audio Production & Team Management
The Production & Team Management track is looking for experienced producers who have shipped games to share their best techniques or experiences which helps them produce better games or build better teams. We are financing/genre/platform/business model agnostic - we just want the world's best producers to share their knowledge.

We are looking for case studies from everyone! Huge, tiny, startup, established: AAA console developers, Indie developers, Mobile teams, Cross-platform teams, Service teams, etc. A few project case topics the Production & Team Management Track is looking for, but not limited to, are the following topics:

Production Case Studies or day in the life of...
  • Making games for new platforms
  • Producing VR
  • Challenges of shipping on multiple platforms simultaneously
  • Building and running a service or managing communities
  • Managing licenses
  • Any other best practices
Studios & Teams
  • Producing with multiple types of production process
  • Habits and culture of successful teams
  • Building a new team: Start- up, new teams, mature team
  • Communication methods for your team and from your team across the organization
  • Managing creative people through difficult transitions
Production Roles
  • Working as/with external publisher production
  • Doing production when not a producer (very applicable for small/indie teams)
  • Transitioning into a producer role from another discipline
  • Training and career progression of producers
  • Producing multiple projects
  • Working with a Product Management team
  • Working with or producing your QA group
Audio Programming
The Programming track is soliciting lectures focused on new techniques in programming, in particular:

  • New Game Platforms
    How have new platforms and display devices changed game development? How do you tackle the constraints of Virtual or Augmented Reality enabled games? Do you have tips and tricks to share?
  • Core Engine Techniques
    Case studies of difficult problems in core engine development. Possible topics include: advanced multithreading approaches, streaming and open world games, working with massive data sets, techniques for rapid iteration, and other challenging core engine problems.
  • Advances in World Simulation
    How have gains in computing power allowed for higher fidelity physical simulation? Are these techniques better suited for implementation on CPU or GPU? Possible topics include soft and rigid body physics, cloth, fluid simulation, destruction, and new approaches to animation.
  • AI Behavior Design
    How has AI and NPC behavior advanced over the last year? What new techniques are driving this advance? Has scripting reached its limits? How should the AI deal with rendering techniques that are quickly descending the slope of the uncanny valley?
  • High-fidelity Character Animation
    How has character motion improved to match increasing visual fidelity? Possible topics include advances in data representation (e.g. point clouds, motion graphs, compression), facial animation, interactive and synthesized animation, and runtime retargeting.
  • Online-centric Games
    We want to hear about new developments in persistent universes, pervasively online games, cloud server usage, player-driven economies, multi-authority networking models, and security.
  • Achieving the Most with Smaller Teams
    Most titles are now created with small teams of programmers tightly focused on the specific needs of their title. How do you create complex systems on short time scales and with limited resources? What techniques have you evolved for supporting release on multiple platforms with highly varying specifications? What specific programming problems of larger teams do you avoid? What are the main challenges for smaller programming teams?
  • Advances in Rendering
    Show us your cutting-edge techniques that demonstrate what new hardware is capable of! Possible topics include TAA strategies, content amplification, physically based materials and lighting, real time global illumination, new approaches to deferred and forward+ rendering, and advanced usage of compute shaders and GPGPU techniques. Postmortems are welcome, as are examinations of aspirational techniques difficult to achieve in current games.
  • Tools and Pipelines
    Content sizes are increasing dramatically with new platforms. How are you solving the difficult problems in content creation tools, content pipeline development, working with massive data sets, and providing rapid content creator iteration?
  • Gameplay Subsystems
    We'd love nitty-gritty detailed talks on various gameplay-oriented subsystems, things that are not rendering, networking, physics, and AI. Examples include object systems, inventory and encumbrance, dynamic reactions to damage, conversation systems, etc. A great example from GDC 2012 was Elan Ruskin's talk, AI-driven Dynamic Dialog through Fuzzy Pattern Matching. Empower Your Writers!.
  • Automated Testing in Games and Game Engines
    What automated tools have you used to catch bugs in your game or engine? Or any other automated processes that improve robustness and quality of complex games.
  • And anything new, fresh or experimental!
    If you are doing something in a different way that advances the state of the art, we would love to hear about it!
Audio Visual Arts
Success of the GDC Visual Arts track has grown over the past few years and we want you to help us build on that momentum. We want disruptive, inspirational and amazing artists, art directors, and art managers to speak this year.. We're looking for people who are willing to share their skills and techniques with us. We want to hear from directors and managers who can teach us how to build great art teams, and create outstanding visuals on tight budgets and schedules. And we're seeking out top notch technical artists to show us new insights in look development and tool creation.

  • Inspirational Art Direction Talks
    Continuing with our 'coffee table book' art direction sessions from last year we're looking for art directors who are willing to not only talk about the evolution of their game's style but to show us that evolution. Whether you're a AAA big budget developer or a small 2-person indie team, pull back the curtain and reveal the sketches, concepts, prototypes and in-development shots/videos that led you to the final look of your product.
    Visual artists are just that, visual. We want to see what you know, not just hear about it. We want artists to teach us new techniques, new tools and new styles. Can't talk and draw at the same time? No problem, we'll even let you have two presenters - one to talk and one to demonstrate. Show off your 3D modeling techniques, concept art drawing, and animation work to the best audience in the world - your peers.
  • Next Gen Art Techniques
    A console transition is looming, and it's time to start planning for all the new graphics goodies it will bring. What will we be able to do with lighting, with procedural art generation, with materials, or with new pipelines? Help set the agenda for the next generation of graphics by sharing your cutting-edge techniques and plans.
  • Art Management and Production Talks
    Did you develop an interesting strategy that saved you art development time and/or money? Did an in-house or 3rd party tool help alleviate your production pipeline woes? How do you manage to keep your artists from seeing the trees instead of the forest? We'd love to hear about your solutions to these problems and more!
  • Art Culture
    What core values are you looking for when you hire artists? How do you manage critiques within your organization? Managing creative people with disparate personalities can be daunting. How does your team manage that? Share your successes (and failures) in this with us so we can create better collaborative environments at our studios.
  • Animation
    What sets your game's animation apart from everyone else in the industry? What went right in your latest game's motion capture sessions? What went wrong? What have you learned from studying animation techniques used in other entertainment industries? Share your lessons with other animators as we want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding animation trials and tribulations.
  • 2D Art Production Pipeline Talks
    It is surprising how some aspects of 2D art production pipelines are a lot more work than 3D art production pipelines. We want to hear from someone who can talk about an interesting 2D art production pipeline.
  • Character Design Talks
    We'd like to see a character talk that speaks to the DESIGN of the characters, not just how to sculpt high-frequency detail in Zbrush or do pretty rendering in Photoshop so the character design can pass a publisher focus test.
  • Show us your tech, TAs
    You're the glue that holds art production together, TAs. What new ideas in tools and pipelines have you developed this past year? What new shader techniques are you investigating for next-gen? Is there look development work you've done that would enlighten us? Come show us and inspire us!

    Last year was the most popular ever for the GDC Visual Arts track, and we want you to help us build on that momentum. We want disruptive, inspirational and amazing artists, art directors, and art managers to speak this year. We're looking for people who are willing to share their skills and techniques with us. We want to hear from directors and managers who can teach us how to build great art teams, and create outstanding visuals on tight budgets and schedules. And we're seeking out top notch technical artists to show us new insights in look development and tool creation.

Presentation Formats

As you can see below, there are multiple time period choices. It's up to you to select the appropriate duration for your session.
Format Duration Description
Lectures 60 or 30 Minutes Lectures are issue-oriented, provide concrete examples, and contain both practical and theoretical information. We generally prefer only one speaker but we may accept two if you can demonstrate the second person is necessary. Postmortems and case studies are included in this category.
Panels 60 Minutes Panels take many different viewpoints on a topic or issue and combine them in one debate session with a moderator. Debate among panelists (with very different opinions) is welcome and audience participation time should be accounted for. We prefer 60 minute time for this format and no more than 5 people with diverse representation. Include all of the panelists you have confirmed in the proposal. A very limited number of panels will be accepted.
Roundtables 60 Minutes Roundtables are small peer discussion groups led by one or two moderators and limited to a maximum of 50 attendees. Moderators should facilitate conversation and keep the flow of discussion inspired and moving. They do not lecture or dictate. Constructive controversy and debate are very welcome in roundtables. Topics that are open-ended in nature and promote an exchange of ideas from people likely to have different viewpoints generally work best in this format. Roundtables run up to three times, once a day during GDC
Tutorials Full-Day Tutorials (simply) must teach attendees new skills. Think of this as (informal) classroom training. It can be interactive; you can have them work in teams; you can give them challenges; you can include competitions. The result of the time period MUST be that they'll feel they've learned something truly useful in the world of game development. It can be a skill, an ability, a method or even the mastery of a tool.
Posters 25 Minutes A poster session is similar to a traditional lecture; however, it is presented in front of the poster (a slide presentation is not needed) to a smaller group of attendees. This type of format gives presenters one-on-one interactions with attendees. Presenters will prepare a 25-Minute presentation that will be given twice during our lunch break.

NOTE: We do NOT supply any hardware (i.e., laptops) for the attendees. If you need the attendees to bring anything with them, this must be CLEARLY stated in your proposal.


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