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GDC News and Information Blog

[Welcome to the Game Developers Conference weblog, where you can find the latest news on all of GDC's upcoming events. Don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed to automatically get the latest news.]

November 25, 2014

Learn how to build a game that can playtest itself at GDC 2015

Developers, would you appreciate the chance to develop on an engine that allows every new build of your game to automatically play itself, from the first level through the final boss, at the push of a button? What if your players could record their best runs and share them via leaderboards using only a handful of kilobytes?

Vblanc Entertainment's Brian Provinciano believes it's possible if you build your next title on a deterministic game engine that can effectively play itself, and at GDC 2015 he'll show you how to pull it off.

In his talk, "Automated Testing and Instant Replays in Retro City Rampage," Provinciano will outline how to build a deterministic game engine with input recording and playback features, using examples from his own work on Retro City Rampage.

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F2P Summit returns to GDC with dev-focused talks from experts

The field of free-to-play game design is here to stay, and GDC officials will once again host a series of frank talks on the topic from leading experts as part of the F2P Summit -- one of eight that will take place Monday, March 2nd and Tuesday, March 3rd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco during the first two days of GDC 2015.

Contemporary developers grapple with the creative implications of a world in which gameplay and monetization are intimately intertwined. Seasoned F2P game design consultant Ethan Levy believes the key to ethical monetization lies in how you first approach your game's design, and he'll be running down some concrete methods for doing so in his GDC 2015 F2P Summit talk "New Approaches to F2P Game Design."

Check it out if you're curious to learn practical methods for designing free-to-play mechanics from the start of a project, a method for designing better first-time player experiences and a model for categorizing player types in order to make a monetization system that puts your players' needs first.

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November 24, 2014

Learn about Assassin's Creed Unity's dynamic crowds at GDC 2015

In her role as a senior game designer on Assassin's Creed Unity, AI and systems design ace Christine Blondeau wrestled with the problem of developing a system for marshaling crowds of hundreds of NPCs to create "crowd events" for the player to interact with -- fistfights to stop, pickpockets to catch, and the like.

She and the rest of the Unity team pulled it off, and in March Blondeau will be at GDC 2015 to explain how they did it. During her talk, "Postmortem: Developing Systemic Crowd Events on Assassin's Creed Unity", she'll present the team's initial vision for the system, the difficulties they faced, and the solutions used to trounce them.

Blondeau will also go beyond the crowd to explore how the Assassin's Creed Unity crowd events tech was integrated with the needs of both level and mission design, as well as lay out some potential avenues of improvement for future iterations.

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November 21, 2014

See how Insomniac put the style in Sunset Overdrive at GDC 2015

The stylized post-apocalyptic punk rock art direction of Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive is one of the game's biggest draws, and studio art director Jacinda Chew is coming to GDC 2015 in March to reveal how it came to be.

Chew's talk, Order from Chaos: The Art Direction of Sunset Overdrive", is meant to show how the visual design of Sunset Overdrive was developed to meet the needs of the game's technology, tone and gameplay, rather than pure aesthetics.

Check it out to see a breakdown of the problems Insomniac faced during pre-production (including big headaches like the "attitude" coming off as derivative or dissonant) and how the studio went about solving them.

Chew is aiming her talk at artists, designers and creative types looking for advice on developing a unique art direction that complements their game's design.

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November 19, 2014

Sharpen your game dev toolset with tips from Ubisoft at GDC 2015

Ubisoft's David Lightbown believes the tools we use to make games could use some improvement, and he's coming to GDC 2015 in March to show us how it's done.

Lightbown serves as the user experience director of the technology group at Ubisoft Montreal, and in his Programming track talk "Tools Development at Ubisoft: Building a Shared Vision to Improve the User Experience" he plans to run down a handful of his own user-centric tool design techniques.

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November 17, 2014

Development realities of 'games as a service' revealed at GDC

The notion of operating "games as a service" is gaining traction in the industry, but the nitty-gritty details of pulling it off from a mobile game maker's perspective can often seem frustratingly vague.

If you're attending the 2015 Game Developers Conference in March, you probably already know how to make a great game. But how do you develop and deliver weekly content to your players, and how do you then take the analytics data your players give you and use it effectively to iterate on your core design? What if you're a small studio, or an indie team working out of your apartments?

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November 14, 2014

See how top F2P spenders are shaping our industry at GDC 2015

Back in 2013, Kongregate cofounder Emily Greer delivered an insightful GDC talk about best practices for free-to-play game design.

Next March she returns to the conference to delve deeper into what makes F2P games tick: those big spenders we often call "whales."

In her upcoming GDC 2015 talk, "Don't Call Them Whales: F2P Spenders and Virtual Value," Greer (a self-professed stats geek) will examine this phenomenon by looking at demographics, play and buying patterns for top spenders on the Kongregate web platform and mobile games, how expectations of game spending and value are formed, and how attitudes toward spenders and spending shape the whole industry -- not just free-to-play games.

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November 12, 2014

See how Storm8 cooks up a successful mobile sim game at GDC 2015

Designing a satisfying simulation game is hard. Working within the constraints of contemporary mobile devices makes it even harder, but Storm8 game design chief Dan Scheidegger led his team of developers to do just that with the Restaurant Story franchise and now he's coming to GDC 2015 in March to explain how they pulled it off.

During his talk, "Perfecting the Recipe for Mobile Success: Restaurant Story 2 Postmortem," Scheidegger will walk you through the development and launch of Storm8's remarkably successful 3D mobile restaurateur sim.

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November 11, 2014

How did Ubisoft take Assassin's Creed co-op? Find out at GDC 2015

Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Unity launches this week, and Ubisoft AI programmer Charles Lefebvre believes one of the biggest challenges his team faced in shipping the game was figuring out how to make the series' traditional gameplay tenets work in a four-player cooperative multiplayer session.

Attend GDC 2015 next March to hear Lefebvre explain the solutions Ubisoft implemented to replicate that gameplay and the underlying AI. His talk, "Networking Gameplay and AI in Assassin's Creed Unity," will break down the design of systems like assassin spawning, gameplay mechanics and NPC AI behaviors.

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November 7, 2014

Learn how thatgamecompany recruits top talent at GDC 2015

It's far too easy to let practical studio management concerns like hiring great talent take a backseat to the practical day-to-day demands of game development.

Born of necessity, confined to HR personnel and often executed in a less than elegant fashion, your hiring strategy can actually reflect the character of your studio as much as your games do.

Thatgamecompany (Flower, Journey) studio manager Sunni Pavlovic has a truckload of experience optimizing hiring strategies to find and retain top game development talent to build efficient, comfortable teams, and she's coming to GDC 2015 next March to explain how she does it -- and how you can do it too.

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