2009 GDC Austin Announces First Subscription MMO-Centric Sessions

After debuting initial free-to-play online game lectures from Sony Online (Free Realms), Gaia Online and Rebel Monkey (CampFu), September’s GDC Austin 2009 event has revealed subscription MMO-specific talks spanning Star Wars: The Old Republic, DC Universe Online, EVE Online, and more.
The first set of lectures announced for GDC Austin span the gamut of ‘connected games’, from traditional high-profile subscription MMOs through free-to-play online games, social network games, and even online components to console games.
The event, to be held September 15th-18th, 2009 at the Austin Convention Center in Texas, now includes six online-centric ‘tracks’ for the Main Conference, which takes place Wednesday 16th to Friday 18th.
These tracks, which span design, business & marketing, social networking & community, services, programming and production, have a number of lectures focused on the core, AAA subscription-MMO space. Initial highlights from these include:
– BioWare Austin’s ‘Come and See the Elephant – Challenges Encountered Growing an MMO’ will talk about strategies “pertaining to process and technology” that the much-vaunted firm’s technical director Bill Dalton utilized in helping to make the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic.
– In ‘Why We Need Heroes And Villains In Games’, some of the key creators of the upcoming DC Universe Online MMO, including SOE Austin’s Chris Cao and Jens Andersen, alongside noted comic book artist and game contributor Jim Lee and DC Comics writer Marv Wolfman, discuss “why… tension between good and evil is so critical — not only for telling a good story, but for making a video game.”
– CCP Games’ Petur Johannes Oskarsson is presenting a lecture called EVE Online’s Player Elected Council Case Study’, explaining that the space trading and combat MMO “uses a democratically elected council of 9 community members to get a feel for what the whole wants, where they want EVE to go in the future and how we, players and developers, can get there together.” The study will analyze the Council’s failures and successes for the past, present and future.
– In ‘MMOs to Consoles – Challenges, Opportunities and Emerging Trends’, Turbine VP Craig Alexander will talk about the Lord Of The Rings Online creator’s view on the console market for major MMOs, with market analysis, commenting that “given the processing power and connectivity of console game systems, the opportunity to transition massively multiplayer online games to the console platform is enormous.”
Further announcements and details on lectures for this September’s GDC Austin, as well as multiple keynote addresses, will be debuting over the next few weeks.
In addition, GDC Austin will also include its long-running Game Audio and Game Writer Summits, alongside an iteration of the breakout successful Independent Games Summit and the newly introduced iPhone Game Summit, all debuting on September 15-16, 2009 at the same venue.
Full listings of announced lectures, registration information, and other specifics are now available at the official GDC Austin website.

2009 GDC Austin Announces Initial Free-To-Play Centric Sessions

Announcing its initial set of lectures, the online game-focused GDC Austin 2009 event has revealed free-to-play centric lectures from Sony Online (Free Realms), Gaia Online and Rebel Monkey (CampFu) for the September conference.
The first set of lectures announced for GDC Austin span the gamut of ‘connected games’, from traditional high-profile subscription MMOs through free-to-play online games, social network games, and even online components to console games.
The event, to be held September 15th-18th, 2009 at the Austin Convention Center in Texas, now includes six online-centric ‘tracks’ for the Main Conference, which takes place Wednesday 16th to Friday 18th.
These tracks, which span design, business & marketing, social networking & community, services, programming and production, have some lectures specially focused on free-to-play, microtransaction-powered games. Initial highlights from these include:
– Craig Sherman, CEO of popular micro-transaction powered site/game Gaia Online, will be discussing this model, in which “consumers play web-based, platform agnostic games for free, while developers attain revenue through microtransactions”, with examples from his own company.
– Sony Online’s Rosie Rappaport and Sebastian Strzalkowski are discussing the importance of a unified art style for the hit SOE free-to-play title Free Realms, which has already racked up 3 million registered users, noting the importance of a “distinct [art] style that players will associate with the title even when viewed outside the game world.”
– Former Disney and current Hangout Industries exec Mike Goslin will take examples from products that he’s worked on such as Pixie Hollow, Pirates Of The Caribbean and Toontown Online to detail and describe “10 techniques for engaging teens, drawn from the state of the art of social gaming.”
– Rebel Monkey CTO Jeffrey Kesselman will be discussing how the CampFu free-to-play game developer “combined open source technologies to build an industrial strength platform for unified multi-player casual game-play and social web experiences”, in a talk called ‘The Monkey Wrench: Design and Architecture of an Online Environment’.
Further announcements and details on ‘core’ subscription MMO-centric lectures for this September’s GDC Austin, as well as multiple keynote addresses, will be debuting over the next few weeks.
In addition, GDC Austin will also include its long-running Game Audio and Game Writer Summits, alongside an iteration of the breakout successful Independent Games Summit and the newly introduced iPhone Game Summit, all debuting on September 15-16, 2009 at the same venue.
Full listings of announced lectures, registration information, and other specifics are now available at the official GDC Austin website

2009 GDC Austin Reveals iPhone Summit Plans

Organizers of this September’s GDC Austin have announced its new iPhone Summit, following a similar revelation regarding the Indie Games Summit.
Initial information about the September 15th-16th iPhone Games Summit is available on the GDC Austin website, with organizers noting that the first day will discuss “the business, marketing, and key design tenets behind successful iPhone game development”, before the second day “provides overviews and deep dives into technical aspects of developing on iPhone.”
The Advisory Board for the Summit, which will be announcing its first speakers in the next few weeks, include local Austin-area iPhone developer Brian Greenstone, founder and president of Enigmo creator Pangea Software, as well as Snappy Touch’s Noel Llopis, a Game Developer magazine columnist and creator of notable iPhone app Flower Garden.

GDC Austin Adds Indie Summit, Calls For Submissions

Organizers of this September’s GDC Austin have announced a call for submissions for the first-ever Independent Games Summit there, also revealing the Advisory Board and topics to be discussed at the two-day Summit.
Initial information about the September 15th-16th Summit is available on the GDC Austin website, with organizers noting that the Indie Games Summit will include “discussions surrounding business models and methods, promotion and marketing, deep game design techniques and inspirational case studies.”
The Advisory Board for the Summit, which will be announcing its first speakers in the next few weeks, include local Austin-area independent developers Adam Saltsman (Paper Moon, Cave Story WiiWare contributor) and Brandon Boyer (editor of indie-friendly BoingBoing-affiliated game site Offworld.com).
In addition, the three main Advisory Board members of GDC San Francisco’s yearly Independent Games Summit, Flashbang Studios’ Matthew Wegner and Steve Swink (Minotaur China Shop) and IGF Chairman Simon Carless, are also helping to oversee the event.
The San Francisco version of the IGS — held alongside the Independent Games Festival — has hosted some of the most notable names in indie gaming over the previous years, from World Of Goo‘s Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler through Flower‘s Jenova Chen, Braid‘s Jonathan Blow, and many more.
As the GDC Austin Indie Games Summit call for submissions page explains, organizers are looking for the following topics, spanning both smaller one and two-person indies and somewhat larger independent console and PC game developers:
– Indie Business: “How to make money, manage teams, and run a company without going insane.”
– Promotion & Marketing: “How to get noticed when the “Marketing Department” = you.”
– Design and Philosophy: “Deep dive into design techniques, for example: constraints, rapid prototyping, tools.”
– Case Studies and Postmortems: “Inspirational talks that demonstrate what worked, what didn’t, what surprised you and made you wiser.”
The submission deadline for presentation abstracts for the 2009 Indie Games Summit at Austin GDC is June 3rd at midnight PST, and more information is available on the official GDC Austin IGS website.

GDC Austin Expands Advisory Board, Adds Indie/iPhone Game Summits

GDC Austin organizers have announced an expanded Advisory Board for the ‘connected gaming’-centric September event, adding Nexon, SOE and EA/Mythic notables to the filled-out board.
The event, to be held September 15th-18th, 2009 at the Austin Convention Center in Texas, has added advisory board members including Nexon’s Min Kim (MapleStory), EA/Mythic’s Eugene Evans (Warhammer Online), Sony Online Entertainment’s John Blakely (DC Universe Online), and Hangout Industries and former Disney exec Mike Goslin (Pirates Of The Caribbean Online), as well as Schell Games’ Sheri Graner Ray.
They join existing board members such as BioWare Austin’s Rich Vogel and Gordon Walton (Star Wars: The Old Republic), Metaplace’s Raph Koster and Zenimax Online Studios’ Matt Firor.
“The online gaming space continues to change and expand. GDC Austin addresses the latest trends and challenges in connected gaming,” commented event director Izora de Lillard in relation to the appointments and the main portion of GDC Austin, which will take place Wed-Fri, September 16th-18th.
In addition, GDC Austin will feature both existing and new 2-day Summits. Firstly, the Game Audio and Game Writer Summits will continue their long-running association with Austin.
It’s also been revealed for the first time that two new Summits – an iteration of the breakout successful Independent Games Summit and the newly introduced iPhone Game Summit, will also debut on September 15-16, 2009.
Online registration for GDC Austin opens in early June, and for more information on GDC Austin and the advisory board, interested parties can visit the official GDC Austin website.

GDC Austin 2009 Calls For Session Submissions

The organizers of Game Developers Conference Austin have started accepting submissions for the upcoming four-day trade show, to be held this September.
Proposals to present lectures, roundtables and full-day tutorials will be accepted for review by the GDC Austin advisory boards through Friday, May 8th.
Presented by Think Services, organizers of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, GDC Austin is a four-day event taking place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas from September 15 to 18, 2009.
GDC Austin focuses on connected games including online games, virtual worlds, and social networking. Submissions should address the most pressing development challenges for connected games related to business and marketing, design, social networking and community, services, production, and programming.
GDC Austin has also opened the call for submissions for the Game Audio Summit and for the Game Writers Summit. The Game Audio Summit is designed to elevate game audio development education, strengthen the community, and foster professional growth of the individual. The Game Writers Summit is dedicated to the art and craft of game writing, game narrative and interactive storytelling.
Said event director Izora de Lillard in a statement, “Now in its seventh year, GDC Austin will continue to serve the global online development communities through education and networking. Having developed an international reputation over these seven years for being the focal point of key learnings in the online games space, we are thrilled to return to Austin in September with expanded content focused on innovative designs and business models within connected games.”
More information about the submissions guidelines, conference topics, and advisory board can be found at the show’s official site.