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The 2016 Game Developers Conference Call for Submissions will be open from July 30th – August 27th, 2015. Please come back at that time for more information.

The Summits Call for Submissions will be open September 8th – October 2nd, 2015.

Questions? Read our FAQ or email Colleen Mickey for Main Conference questions, and Victoria Petersen for Summit 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 the 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 the 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 opposed to academia)—with this goal to substantially increase the quality of the presented lectures.

Thank you,

The GDC Advisory Board

Submission Guidelines

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

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
If you are interested in submitting for any of the GDC Summits, the call for submissions will launch after the GDC main call for submissions closes. Proposals submitted to the main conference of the 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 Victoria Petersen about the Summit call for submissions. Please click here for submission details and topics of interest.


Phase I: (July 30 - August 27, 2015)
Prepare & Submit Session Proposal
  • Speaker Contact Information
  • Session Title: Provide a session title in fewer than 16 words
  • Track, Format, and Audience Level
  • Session Description: You 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
  • 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 submission here.
  • See a sample programming submission here.
Phase II: (September 8 - October 2, 2015)
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 early November
*Note: You are not a confirmed speaker until your presentation is reviewed and approved by the advisory board.
Phase III: (December 2015)
Final Review & Confirmations
  • Advisory Board reviews Phase 2 presentations in mid-November
  • Phase 2 submitters are notified of their status in early 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 Colleen Mickey.

Track Descriptions and Topics

Below is the list of tracks for GDC 2016. 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, coders, in-housers, freelancers, academics, indies and AAAs who are willing and able to share their experiences and skills with their peers at this cornerstone of the game audio calendar. Examples of evergreen topics include:
  • Your finest analysis, postmortems, techniques, innovations and technology
  • Strategies for creating unique sounding games and music, and integrated audio experiences
  • Platform Challenges - opportunities afforded by new hardware, overcoming limitations, web/mobile
  • "Post-production" - real-time mixing, DSP, their aesthetics and impact on the player experience
  • Development - teams, tools, pipelines, audio QA, audio localisation
  • 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:
  • Real-time synthesis and procedural audio - music, sound and speech
  • "MIDI music" - the power of note data
  • Audio for virtual reality
  • Doing more with less
Business Business, Marketing & Management
The Business, Marketing, and Management track is soliciting submissions that cover the following topics:

- Business model and marketing innovation
- The intersection of game design and business
- Monetizing games in today's market

Examples which we'd particularly like to see submissions include:
  • Expanding to Near-Infinite Audiences
    How do you adapt your business to gaming on all devices and all audiences at any time?
  • Key Software Platforms of Today & Tomorrow
    Third-party analyses, including real data, of what game platforms you could/should publish on. Developing budgets for different platforms. Cross Platform vs. Platform Specific Advantages/Disadvantages Under Key Platforms
  • The Entrepreneur
    Tips / Strategies / Challenges / War Stories
  • Marketing
    Identifying Target Markets / Social Marketing / Guerrilla Marketing / Developer-Consumer Interaction / Community / Brand advertising for F2P (TV, print, etc) / User Acquisition / Discover for mobile, web and digital downloaded games
  • Company Values
  • Culture / Goals / Feedback / Managing Talent
  • Streaming - is a really different animal now, with streamers earning millions+, cutting rev share deals, etc, we want to hear about it
  • F2P
  • The reality of F2P is that the top-grossing slots on most app stores have been taken by the same handful of games for a few years now
  • And Many Other Topics
  • Crowdfunding, Virtual Goods, Community Management, Game Metrics, Practical Law Specifics, Funding, Smart/IPTV Gaming Opportunities/ESports business opps/PR, Developer Branding, International Markets  
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, like 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, like how to create an interactive space that elicits certain emotions from players, or anything in-between. The past year has 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. As usual, however, 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
The Production track is soliciting submissions that cover the following topics:
We want to share learning and experience covering the full landscape of the industry and so 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.

Production Case Studies
Here are some subjects we are interested in:
  • Making games for new consoles - PS4, Xbox One, Ouya, steamOS, VR, FireTV, etc.
  • Challenges of shipping on multiple platforms (console, mobile, web) simultaneously
  • Building a service (console to F2P)
  • Building & managing communities
  • Working with new peripherals
  • Working with emerging markets
  • Your transition from AAA to "x" (Mobile, Free-to-Play, Indie)
  • Understanding monetization or different business models
  • Producing new IP
  • Producing successful sequels
  • Producing narrative projects
  • Producing user created content projects
Studios & Teams
We want to have case studies from studios and teams of all shapes & sizes, covering:
  • Managing transition (genre, platform, project, size, cultural)
  • Habits of successful teams (Do you have a particularly successful methodology or strong culture?)
  • Building a new team: Start- up, new teams, mature team (building a new team)
  • Producing on a small budget/garage teams
  • Managing creative people
Production Roles
  • Working as/with external publisher production
  • Working as/with internal development production
  • Doing production when not a producer (very applicable for small/indie teams)
  • Transitioning into a producer role from another discipline
  • Training producers
  • Facilitator vs. controller
  • Career progression of producers - how you start from assistant producer to executive producer/studio head
The Producer's Toolbox
There are a bunch of things we do every day as production. We would like to hear case studies covering these subjects:
  • Day in the Life of Production
    • Games development best practices - project management methodologies, your role as producer
    • Identifying risk early and developing and implementing problem solving solutions
    • Strategies for dealing with tight deadlines
    • Managing play testing throughout development
    • Everything you need to know about QA
    • Localization: tricks, tips and gotchas
    • The importance of good workflow & pipelines
    • Managing licenses
    • Outsourcing best practices
    • Creating effective work spaces
  • Team motivation
  • Effective ways of providing visibility of project status to the team, or outside of the studio
  • Upward Management: how to present information clearly but without setting off alarm bells - communicating upward
  • Reporting (status reports) Panel or Posters
  • Communicating with the team (how and what to communicate)
  • Media & presentation training
Audio Programming
The Programming track is soliciting lectures focused on new techniques in programming, in particular:

  • New Game Platforms
    How have the new console platforms and emerging display devices changed game development? What unique new techniques and approaches have you developed to deal with new-generation and cross-generation games? How do you tackle the constraints of Virtual 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.
  • 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? 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 content amplification, physically based materials and lighting, real time global illumination, new approaches to deferred rendering, and advanced usage of compute shaders and GPGPU techniques. Both aspirational, next-gen only, and cross-gen scalable techniques are interesting.
  • 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
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 at GDC 2014. 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 cantalk 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!

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 25 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. Include all of the panelists you have confirmed in the proposal. A very limited number of panels will be accepted.
Roundtable 60 Minute 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 the GDC
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   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.