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.

Powering Up ILMxLAB's Location-Based VR Experiences
Lutz Latta (ILMxLAB)
Stephen Hill (Lucasfilm)
Ron Radeztsky (Lucasfilm)
ILMxLAB developed a number of location-based VR experiences in 2017, among them the Oscar-winning Carne y Arena, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay, and Transformers: The Last Knight VR Experience. With ILM's over 40 year history, clients and users alike have come to expect the very best in terms of animation and visuals, but now running at 90 frames per second in VR.

Location-based experiences provide the freedom of designing a high-powered hardware platform specifically for a project. In service of higher immersion, forward-looking software techniques can be used, that will be available in the home experience space in the years to come.

We will present how we designed and built custom high-end multi-GPU systems for some of the locations. We will go deep into the challenges of supporting movie-fidelity animation for characters and environmental simulations, as well as a new approach for rendering volumetric lighting effects, all of which contributed significantly to the goal of immersive, cinematic visuals in real time.
Deep Learning: Beyond the Hype
Magnus Nordin (Electronic Arts)
No-one will have missed the rapid rise of deep learning over the past years. Neural nets have enabled significant breakthroughs in everything from computer vision, voice generation, voice recognition, translation, to self-driving cars. Neural nets will also be a powerful enabler for future game development. This presentation will give an overview of the potential of neural nets in game development, as well as provide an in depth look at how you can use neural nets combined with reinforcement learning for new types of game AI. From now on, neural nets will be a powerful new tool in the software engineering toolbox.
Robocalypse Now: Using Deep Learning to Combat Cheating in 'Counter-Strike: Global Offensive'
John McDonald (Valve)
In this session, John will discuss how Valve has utilized Deep Learning to combat cheating in 'Counter-Strike: Global Offensive'. He will give total system details, from the high level server architecture to the low level features fed into the AI. Deep Learning has proven to be very effective at identifying cheating behavior without any client-side instrumentation, making it robust against malicious attack by cheaters and cheat vendors. By retraining regularly, the network continues to evolve, picking up new cheating behaviors within hours of their appearance. As a result of this approach, certain types of cheats have been reduced by a factor of one hundred.
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.

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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