Apply science to game design in these GDC 2015 Design track talks
As the GDC 2015 lineup begins to come together, conference officials would like to highlight a few notable Design track talks you should know about.
This in-depth track is available for All-Access and Main Conference pass holders, and remains one of the most popular and enduring tracks of the show. Among the early announced Design talks are Epic's Celia Hodent on the intersection of neuroscience and game design, the vice president of RuneScape sharing data on how to make games that people want to return to and Riot's Dr. Lin on using science to shape player behavior in online games.
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GDC 2015 will host a Classic Game Postmortem of Star Control
As the year winds to a close, Game Developers Conference 2015 officials are excited to announce that two game industry luminaries are coming to the show next March to deliver what promises to be an insightful postmortem of a seminal game.
Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III, the game design duo who cofounded the venerable Toys For Bob studio 25 years ago, will be delivering a Classic Game Postmortem on their influential 1990 space adventure game Star Control at GDC 2015.
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Frostbite editor scripting for DA: Inquisition explained at GDC
The Frostbite engine is a multi-talented piece of tech, and it drives everything from Dragon Age: Inquisition to Need for Speed and Battlefield 4.
Electronic Arts' technical art director Matthew Doell is intimately familiar with Frostbite, and at GDC 2015 he'll explain how scripting in the Frostbite Editor works in a Programming talk titled "Frostbite: Implementing a Scripting Solution for Your Editor."
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SWTOR dev explains why free-to-play isn't evil at GDC F2P Summit
Damion Schubert, former lead designer on Star Wars: The Old Republic, will share lessons learned from the MMORPG's remarkably successful conversion from subscription-based to free-to-play in his GDC 2015 talk "Free-to-Play Is Not (Necessarily) Evil."
Schubert believes the success of games like League of Legends and Star Wars: The Old Republic show that free-to-play games are no longer just a distant possibility for AAA developers -- the future is now, and we need to adapt. There's big success to be had within the bounds of F2P design, but if done carelessly it can alienate your fans.
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Come to GDC 2015 for expert tips on leading high-performance dev teams
If you've ever worked at a big game company, you know that managing and supporting high-performance teams in this industry is a full-time job.
Ubisoft Montreal's Madelaine Beermann has years of leadership experience in just such a job, and in March she'll be giving an expert talk on "Leading High-Performance Teams" at GDC 2015.
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See the world of Far Cry 4 deconstructed at GDC 2015
Ubisoft's efforts to render the fictional setting of Kyrat for Far Cry 4 drove the development of new graphical features that tap the power of new hardware in interesting ways, and 3D programmer Stephen McAuley is coming to GDC 2015 in March to explain exactly how they work.
Check out McAuley's talk, Rendering the World of Far Cry 4", if you're a designer, artist or developer looking for some new technical tricks and a bit of insight into how the Ubisoft culture affects the way it makes games.
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QWOP creator shares physics engine tips at GDC Indie Games Summit
Modern indie-friendly frameworks like Unity use physics engines (like Box2D or PhysX) to simulate the game world. That makes it easy to prototype your game -- except that when you want hard collisions between heavy objects, everything tends to glitch out and/or explode.
You can't tune it to feel tight or realistic, and you wind up with a game that feels 'floaty'. You don't want to get a degree in advanced physics, you just want to know how to make your game feel solid without writing your own physics engine.
Independent developer Bennett Foddy (QWOP, Sportsfriends, GIRP) figured out how to stop making floaty games, and in his GDC 2015 talk "Designing with Physics: Bend the Physics Engine to Your Will" he'll show you how to do the same.
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Make time to play the 2015 Train Jam games at GDC 2015
Earlier this year a group of developers took advantage of a multi-day train ride from Chicago to attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco by participating in the first-ever Train Jam, a 52-hour game jam held aboard an Amtrak train with limited connectivity.
Next year the Train Jam organizers are going to do it all again, and GDC officials are proud to support their efforts by providing a dedicated space at the show where organizers will be displaying select games made during the jam.
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Discover the design wisdom of early American board games at GDC
Early American board games offer some interesting insights on how culture can shape design -- and vice versa.
In March, Brooklyn-based game designer and Untame (Mushroom 11) creative director Julia Keren-Detar is coming to GDC 2015 to delve into the origins of a few classic American board games and show how the culture of their times influenced the design we see today.
During her talk, "History-Shaping Design: Tales Told by Early American Board Games", Keren-Detar plans to cover the rise of board games in America, their designers, and how the games reflected and were informed by the culture of their times.
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Borderlands 2 writer shares advice at GDC 2015's Narrative Summit
Gearbox Software's Anthony Burch believes that, contrary to popular opinion, most people don't care about saving the world in games: they'd rather spend time with a well-written little girl who's learning to cope with grief. At GDC 2015, he'll lay out his case and offer some advice on how you can start writing better characters right away.
Burch served as a writer on the outlandish first-person shooter Borderlands 2 and its ensuing post-release DLC packs, and his experience suggests that people tend to respond more positively (and are more likely to give their attention and money) to character-centric DLC, rather than content that pushes the narrative of your game world forward with "epic" plots and sequences.
By analyzing rough sales figures and critical response to Borderlands 2's DLC, as well as exploring the process of those DLC's creation, Burch will try to convince you to lean on character and charm rather than plot and lore when you write for games in his upcoming GDC 2015 talk, Plot is Dumb, Character is Cool: Writing for DLC.
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