Game Programmers | Game Developers Conference | GDC


Learn the latest skills and techniques to develop games across platforms including consoles, mobile, PCs, virtual reality and more. The demand for high production value in games continues to increase with new tools, middleware, and technical skills required to solve difficult development problems.

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Programming Track Conference Highlights (W-F)

All Access, GDC Conference+Summits, or GDC Conference Pass required.

Beyond Emitters: Shader and Surface Driven GPU Particle FX Techniques
Christina Coffin (Independent)
Learn alternative approaches to emitting particles from game environment elements, characters and various other renderable objects utilizing shaders+compute+textures to drive and animate particle emission for GPU-based particle systems. Details on how particle emitting surfaces+shaders can transfer material attributes and other properties to various spawned particle types (transparent, emissive, mesh) will be discussed. This talk will cover technical implementation details, various optimizations, and workflow approaches.
Walking, Talking, and Projectiles: Storytelling Tools in 'Destiny 2'
Evan Moran (Bungie)
'Destiny 2' is a cooperative game with a heavy focus on storytelling. As it turns out, designing stories that are shared by a three-person fire team requires a novel approach. Evan Moran will go in-depth into a new visual scripting tool called the Scene Editor that builds stories by coordinating AI movement and behavior. This technique for non-cinematic stories keeps players in the heart of the action. This talk showcases several examples from the beginning of 'Destiny 2', and explores the ways this new visual language supports complex coordinated interactions while chronicling surprises and pitfalls the team encountered along the way.
'World of Warships': Technical Aspects of Rendering High-Quality Sea 'Till Horizon
Yury Kryachko (Wargaming St. Petersburg)
This talk will cover methods for solving common problems of creating high-quality real-time sea visualization in the face of strict performance limitations on mass-user configurations. Particular attention will be paid to the quality of the distant planes, as well as efficient mathematical and hardware-dependent optimizations. The lecture will describe the aspects of wave synthesis, the way to get rid of tiling patterns, the creation of water geometry and stabilization by per-pixel correction, the transition from a legacy lighting model to PBR and finally, describe the improvements in optical effects and anti-aliasing.
Hierarchical Dynamic Pathfinding for Large Voxel Worlds
Benoit Alain (Sauropod Studio)
This presentation explores the hierarchical pathfinding system developed for 'Castle Story', a voxel-based strategy game where intelligent agents coordinate to build castles and walls on dynamically deformable islands of up to a million voxels of walkable surface. After trying a number of approaches, from optimizing traditional A* as much as possible to implementing different hierarchical and heuristic schemes, the Sauropod Studio team developed a very efficient and straightforward approach that visits an average of 100 to 1000 times less nodes than its non-hierarchical counterparts. Their data structures are fast to initialize and maintain, and user-created maps come with no additional offline precomputations. This presentation will provide all the information developers would need to implement a system similar to Sauropod Studio's in their own game, from node creation to graph exploration, to the addition of more complex game behaviors such as moving agents, stackable ceilings, lockable doors, asymmetrical jumping and climbing, and breaking through enemy walls.
Cluster Forward Rendering and Anti-Aliasing at Quantic Dream
Ronan Marchalot (Quantic Dream)
'Detroit: Become Human' is a Playstation 4 exclusive title currently in development at Quantic Dream. In this talk, Lead Engine Programmer, Ronan Marchalot, will present the evolution of Quantic's engine from Playstation 3 to Playstation 4. He will give an overview of Quantic's rendering technology, how the engine is integrated in Maya and how artists produce materials. He'll cover the switch from deferred lighting to cluster forward lighting, what the benefits are and how his team addressed the issues they met. He'll also take a look into how they implemented temporal anti-aliasing, and how they used it to improve some features such as SSR, SSAO, PCF shadows, skin subsurface scattering and volumetric lighting.
The Asset Build System of 'FarCry5'
Remi Quenin (Ubisoft Montreal)
The massive open world of FarCry5 breaks all records when it comes to the amount of data it requires. Any system that has to deal with such a load needs to be carefully crafted. This talks will present the architecture of Ubisoft Montreals data pipeline, from edition to optimized runtime asset, with a main focus on the part performing the transformation: the asset build system. Ubisoft Montreals Engine Architect, Remi Quenin will dive into implementation details of its dependency graph which provides minimal incremental builds, its massively parallel graph evaluation process, and its additional performance features such as distribution, caching, process isolation, and environment isolation for third party software distribution and parallelization. Hell show how the system performs on the over-10-million-nodes dependency graph of FarCry5.

Related Summits & Tutorials (M-T)

All Access, GDC Conference+Summits, or GDC Summits Pass required.

AI Summit (M-T)
Take an inside look at key architectures and issues within successful commercial games in the AI Summit, Monday and Tuesday, March 19-20, 2018. Join top game AI programmers for panels and lectures, in addition to conversations, debates, and rants on how game AI can move forward. Organized as a collective effort by the AI Game Programmers Guild, the summit is targeted to intermediate to advanced programmers who want deeper insight, but anyone interested in what AI can offer next generation games will gain invaluable insights.
Math for Game Programmers (M)
As gamers and gaming platforms continue to evolve and diversify, so has the complexity and variety of problems facing the modern game programmer. Creating the latest code for graphics, gameplay, animation, physical simulation, and artificial intelligence requires thorough knowledge of the necessary mathematical underpinnings.

This tutorial continues the tradition of the "Math for Programmers" tutorial by bringing together some of the best presenters in gaming math to concentrate on the mathematics essential for creating unique and sophisticated graphics, plausible interactive physical simulations, and interesting and nuanced gameplay. The day will focus on the issues of game development important to programmers and includes programming context and guidance throughout. This year's topics include random generation and manipulation, ratings systems, neural networks, ballistic projectiles, N-way quaternion interpolation, fast convex hull construction, mesh cutting and deformation, and procedural texture coordinate generation.
Advanced Agile Game Development (M)
Agile practices are no longer considered experimental, but mainstream, yet many still struggle with them. In this workshop you will learn and share the successful practices and techniques that agile studios have created over the past decade of it's application.

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