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


|    Programming

As new platforms emerge and existing platforms evolve, programmers face an ever increasing challenge to produce games that capture the attention of the public and the media. The Programming Track focuses on these challenges and the opportunities presented by next and current generation development including: mature consoles, new handhelds, a highly competitive sales environment, and increased demand for very high production values in games.

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Do You Copy? Dialog System and Tools in 'Firewatch'
William Armstrong (Unity Technologies)
Patrick Ewing (Campo Santo)
How to manage the complexity and data flows of conversations when...Osbourne...? The player can interrupt at any time. William and Patrick will discuss the logic, tools, and workflow behind the dialog system used on 'Firewatch'. From its beginnings as an interrupt heavy bark system, to the long, restarting, conversations they shipped, they will go over what worked and what didn't as they built the system and the game around each other. They will discuss what a data driven system needs to be able to handle as it grows in complexity and scale, and how to keep your tools running well without a team dedicated to them.
Creation of Planet-Scale Shared Augmented Realities: 'Pokmon GO' and 'Ingress'
Edward Wu (Niantic)
The ubiquity of mobile phones coupled with the availability of highly scalable NoSQL databases and containerized cloud computing infrastructure has enabled Niantic to create coherent augmented realities encompassing millions of users in a single, consistent experience overlaid on top of the real world in multiple titles, first on 'Ingress' and subsequently on 'Pokmon GO'. The latter has been downloaded over 500 million times and has inspired players to walk more than 4.6 billion kilometers. Niantic has conclusively demonstrated that augmented reality in practice is as much about the data and shared world state as it is about immersive hardware technology still on the horizon. This talk will discuss the challenges of implementing and operating a planet-scale service with demanding latency and consistency constraints, in the face of usage 50x planned capacity.
Stop Killing Our Servers!
Sela Davis (VREAL)
Jennie Lees (Riot Games)
It's launch day, and the servers are down. It's the server team's fault, right? Not always. Preventative design can make sure clients and servers play nicely together. Two engineers who have worked on scalable systems large and small will walk through how client decisions can have impact on the server side and provide key takeaways on how to reduce or prevent issues. War stories from shipped games and platforms will be liberally sprinkled throughout the talk.
Cozmo: Animation Pipeline for a Physical Robot
Molly Jameson (Anki)
Daria Jerjomina (Anki)
In order to make animations interesting and appealing, 3D animators often use principles such as squash-and-stretch or follow-through, pushing the model and the rig to do deformations that would be impossible in the real world. For Cozmo, Anki used real world physics so there was no "cheating", and they had to adjust their way of thinking about assets accordingly. This session presents an overview of the asset pipeline on Cozmo, a complex, physical, game-playing robot, with over 300 parts, powered by a mobile app. This session will also describe the complexities of using data from Maya to transfer animation onto something with physical constraints. Molly and Daria from Anki will discuss the tools built for fast animator iteration, scripts for testing, debugging, how it eventually translates to physical movement and other workflow improvements throughout the development cycle. They will review the process for streaming audio and animation data to the robot and when programmatic corrections were required.
Creating a Tools Pipeline for 'Horizon: Zero Dawn'
Dan Sumaili (Guerrilla Games)
Sander Van der Steen (Guerrilla Games)
Developing a new IP is a challenging process for a company's tools pipeline. Developing a new IP while changing to a new genre is even more challenging. At Guerrilla Games, they have done just that. With 'Horizon: Zero Dawn', they transitioned from linear tactical first person shooters to a vibrant open world RPG, while completely rebuilding their tools pipeline from scratch. In this session, Dan and Sander will explain how Guerrilla Games defined and implemented a framework that would provide a robust basis of functionality, on which they built an integrated game development environment. They will present a clear picture of how the framework's capabilities took shape over time, by detailing systems they developed and how those systems interact. Redesigning Guerrilla Games' tools pipeline while in production was a significant risk, which paid off and greatly benefited the final quality of their game.
Player Traversal Mechanics in the Vast World of 'Horizon: Zero Dawn'
Paul Van Grinsven (Guerrilla Games)
During this lecture, Paul will show what is needed to make Aloy traverse the vast world of 'Horizon: Zero Dawn' with its complex and organic environments. Various traversal mechanics will be covered from a gameplay programmer's perspective, focusing on the interaction between code and animations. The different systems and techniques involved in the implementation of these mechanics will be explained, and he will look at the underlying reasoning and design decisions.