Blizzard shares Hearthstone design tips at GDC 2014

acnewleaf1.jpgPasses for the Game Developers Conference 2014 are going fast, and today we’re announcing even more sessions for the Main Conference that you’ll want to check out.
Today’s highlights include a rundown of design tips based on Blizzard’s experience building Hearthstone, a guide to animating human characters doing superhuman things from the animation director of Saints Row IV and a talk from Sucker Punch Productions about how they optimized inFamous: Second Son to take advantage of the PlayStation 4 hardware.

Now in its 28th year, GDC is the world’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event, and will once again take place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California during March 17-21, 2014.
Making a game for everyone
Eric Dodds is a lead designer at Blizzard, and he’s coming to GDC 2014 to share ten ideas that positively influenced the design of Hearthstone. The game draws blatant inspiration from collectible card games, but the development team came up with a bevy of ways to make the game more appealing to a broad audience, and Dodds intends to share them with attendees in a talk entitled Hearthstone: Making a Game for Everyone. Whether you agree with Blizzard’s design decisions or not, the talk should at least help you better understand the design decisions that shaped Hearthstone.
Superpowering the Saints
Gathering reference material to craft a realistic human running animation seems hard enough — imagine how much more challenging it must be when your human is running at superhuman speeds through a populated city and occasionally bounding over small buildings. It’s precisely the sort of challenge Saints Row IV animation director Zach Lowery successfully solved last year, and in his GDC 2014 talk Superpowering the Saints in the Non-Superpowered World of Saints Row he plans to explain how the Volition animation team pulled it off. Attendees can expect to hear stories about how the team merged art direction with potentially conflicting gameplay features, plus get get a glimpse of the non-traditional reference material Volition animators used to build superheroes.
inFamous: Second Son engine postmortem
Sony brought inFamous: Second Son to E3 last year to showcase the graphical power of the PlayStation 4, and this year lead engine programmer Adrian Bentley comes to GDC to talk about how Sucker Punch optimized Second Son for PS4 hardware. In his talk, titled simply Engine Postmortem of inFamous: Second Son, Bentley intends to discuss technical details of the game’s rendering engine and share tips to optimize your game for the PS4’s GPU, so attendees with some aptitude and passion for game engine programming are likely to get the most out of this technical session.
More essential GDC details
Earlier GDC 2014 announcements include an Animal Crossing: New Leaf postmortem from Nintendo, a talk on how to better use Kickstarter as a platform for building and serving your community, and a call for submissions to the Experimental Gameplay Workshop. Developers on Ryse, Kerbal Space Program, and The Last Of Us will also be giving talks.
All of the announced talks are now available in the online GDC 2014 Session Scheduler, where you can begin to build your conference week and later export it to the up-to-the-minute GDC Mobile App, coming soon.
GDC 2014 itself will take place March 17-21, 2014 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. You can register for the event by visiting the info page on the official GDC 2014 website. Early Bird pricing, with discounts up to 30 percent, will remain in effect until January 31st. Some passes have limited amounts, and with the Independent Games Summit pass already sold out, interested parties should register now.
For more information on GDC 2014, visit the show’s official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.
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