GDC Europe 2012 adds new BioWare DLC, Bigpoint, HTML5 talks

me3.jpgThe session lineup for August’s GDC Europe 2012 in Cologne continues to expand this week, with BioWare talking post-release DLC lessons from Mass Effect and Dragon Age, plus Bigpoint on free-to-play game design and YoYo Games on HTML5 programming.

These talks all fall within GDC Europe’s Main Conference, which takes place Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012 at the Congress-Centrum Ost Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

– In the show’s Business and Marketing track, BioWare’s director of online development, Fernando Melo (Dragon Age, Mass Effect franchises), will outline how the major studio has organized and crafted a long-term plan for each of its major new releases.

The session, titled “Leveling Up Your AAA game – BioWare’s Post Release Content Insights,” will examine downloadable content strategies, online game passes, microtransactions, and more, and Melo will argue why all of these additions can augment a game’s initial sales and make a big-budget title far more successful.

– Over in the Design track, Jan Richter, CTO of the major German-headquartered online game company Bigpoint, will look at the positive implications of free to play business models in “Free to Play Game Design Is F*#!1ng Awesome.”

During this session, Richter will leverage Bigpoint’s experience operating titles like Dark Orbit and Battlestar Galactica Online to discuss what it truly means to make a free to play game. Meanwhile, he will share some “free to play design secrets” and “the latest design evolutions” that every developer should know.

– Finally, YoYo Games CTO Russell Kay will explain how older development philosophies can benefit new technologies in a Programming track presentation dubbed, “Applying Retro Techniques to HTML5 Development.”

According to Kay, modern web technologies like HTML5 make it “difficult to give consistent performance across target platforms, particularly for mobile and lower powered devices.” He believes these problems are not unlike those developers in the “early days of games,” and he will provide a number of classic tips and techniques to improve HTML5 game performance.

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GDC Europe 2012 debuts talks from Dear Esther, Amnesia creators

dearesther.jpgWith the session lineup for GDC Europe 2012 quickly expanding, event organizers have debuted a second batch of talks, covering everything from unconventional gameplay mechanics to operating large-scale game sites.

This trio of new sessions includes speakers such as thechineseroom’s Dan Pinchbeck (Dear Esther), Frictional Games’ Thomas Grip (Amnesia: The Dark Descent), and IMVU’s Jon Watte, each of whom will present robust talks targeted at the pan-European game development community.

These sessions all fall within GDC Europe’s Main Conference, which takes place Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012 at the Congress-Centrum Ost Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany. The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

– As part of the Game Design track, thechineseroom creative director Dan Pinchbeck will reflect upon his studio’s atmospheric indie title Dear Esther, which “abandoned traditional gameplay altogether” in favor of creating a rich and complex interactive story.

Throughout this session, called ‘Ambiguity and Abstraction in Game Writing: Lessons from Dear Esther‘, Pinchbeck will detail the game’s “deliberately problematic” approach to in-game narrative, offering insight into how defying conventions can help a game really resonate with its players.

– Elsewhere, Amnesia: The Dark Descent creator Thomas Grip (who’s now working with Pinchbeck on an Amnesia sequel) will present a psychology-focused talk that examines how video games differ from film and writing in how they capture their audience.

Grip will explore the ins and outs of interactivity in game design in ‘The Self, Presence, and Storytelling’, noting that “when interaction is no longer about conquering a system, the underlying mechanics can be kept obscure and opaque to the player, leaving the imagination to do most of the work.”

– Finally, IMVU technical director Jon Watte will host a talk in the show’s Programming track detailing the essentials of operating an online game site. These sites often grow to include everything from real-time messaging, microtransactions, to user generated content, and Watte will use IMVU’s web service as a case study to outline the pros and cons of various approaches to operating a game site at scale.

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GDC Europe 2012 opens registration, debuts Cousins, Blue Byte talks

BC.jpgFollowing the recent lecture submission deadline for GDC Europe 2012, early registration for this August’s show in Cologne, Germany has officially opened, as event organizers have revealed the first talks in the show’s burgeoning lineup.

The debut sessions taking place at this August’s gamescom co-located GDC Europe, which include talks from some of the notable new Advisory Board members, with new talk announcements planned weekly, are as follows:

– As a follow-up to his breakout GDC 2012 lecture, Ngmoco exec and former Electronic Arts veteran Ben Cousins (pictured) revisits his session with new market data and a fresh perspective.

Part of the Business , Marketing & Management Track, ‘When The Consoles Die: Redux’ will examine what happens to dedicated platforms as the industry and consumer audience increasingly shift to social and free-to-play games, and multi-use devices like tablets or smartphones.

– Using examples from both the European hit The Settlers Online and the just announced Silent Hunter Online, Ubisoft Blue Byte’s Christopher Schmitz and Benedikt Grindel will use the Production Track to “impart key understandings on how to successfully develop and operate browser games through the free-to-play model.”

– Finally, writers Alexander Sliwinski and Ben Gilbert of major games site Joystiq will host a panel discussing “the past, present, and future of critical writing and reporting in the games industry.” Joined by an international press line-up, ‘How Gaming News Works: A Guided Tour’ will explain how news dissemination works, providing a nuanced understanding of how the games press functions as a whole – with concrete takeaway for game creators.

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GDC Europe 2012 reveals major additions to main conference, Summit advisory boards

DP.jpgWith GDC Europe quickly gaining steam, show organizers have added 14 leading European game developers to the event’s main conference and Summit advisory boards, where they will help program the lectures, panels and roundtable sessions taking place at this August’s conference in Cologne, Germany.

The newest members to join the main conference advisory board for GDC Europe 2012 include former Battlefield Heroes developer Ben Cousins (now general manager of ngmoco Sweden), Playdead CEO Dino Patti (Limbo, pictured), DICE creative director Lars Gustavsson, and Christopher Schmitz, head of production at Ubisoft Blue Byte (The Settlers and Battle Isle).

All of these new advisory board members come from notable and varied backgrounds in the European development community, and given their range of expertise, they will be able to ensure that GDC Europe 2012 offers even more insightful content targeted at developers all across the continent.

Other new additions to GDC Euope’s main conference advisory board include Crytek veteran and Yager Interactive design director Bernd Diemer, EA Phenomic VP Dirk Ringe, Kuju Entertainment COO Adrian Hawkins (Battalion Wars), Guerrilla Games technical director Michiel van der Leeuw (Killzone series), online game consultant Teut Weidemann, Secret Exit co-founder Jetro Lauha (Zen Bound series), and Sven Liebech, head of art at Bigpoint GmbH.

These developers will join continuing board members such as Remedy Entertainment’s Matias Myllyrinne (Alan Wake franchise), Avni Yerli of Crytek, and Harald Riegler of Sproing.

Helping to program the increasingly vibrant GDC Europe submarket Summits will be Thomas Grip, one of the key creatives at Amnesia studio Frictional Games, who will join the advisory board for the Independent Games Summit, alongside Knap Nok’s Lau Korsgaard (who previously worked on Die Gute Fabrik’s B.U.T.T.O.N.).

Elsewhere, Jami Laes, general manager and co-founder of social game giant Playfish, and Henric Suuronen, head of studio at Non-Stop Games (and formerly at wooga) will both join the board of the Social & Online Games Summit.

In addition, Ansu Lonnberg, chairman of the board at Secret Exit, and Semyon Voinov, co-founder of Cut the Rope creators ZeptoLab will join notables such as Fishlabs CEO and co-founder Michael Schade (Galaxy On Fire) on the advisory board of the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit.

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Reminder: GDC Europe 2012’s call for submissions ends Monday, April 23

gdcec4p.jpgGDC Europe 2012 organizers are reminding that the call for lecture and panel submissions for this August’s pre-eminent European game creation event ends on Monday, April 23rd.

This year, the event’s call for submissions for lectures includes main conference tracks in Business & Marketing, Game Design, Production, Programming, and Visual Arts.

This year’s event has a major focus on lectures with practical takeaways for today’s video game market for all disciplines, from business strategies through postmortems to in-depth analyses of games. An expanded European advisory board — to be revealed in the near future — will be overseeing the submissions.

Organizers are also accepting submissions for content for the three GDC Europe Summits: the Social Games Summit, Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit and Independent Games Summit, all of which were introduced in 2011 and will be held concurrently with the main conference.

The conference is now in its fourth year, and will take place Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012 at the Cologne Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany, just before the before the major European gamescom trade fair.

By once again pairing up with gamescom, GDC Europe can offer content to address the development community at a central location in the heart of Europe, and reach the critical mass of the European games sector.

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GDC Europe reminds on Summit submissions, reveals extended deadline

gdce poster.jpgOrganizers of the upcoming Games Developers Conference Europe have extended the submissions deadline by one week to April 23, and are currently seeking additional content for the Social Games and Smartphone & Tablet Games Summits.

When GDC Europe returns to Cologne, Germany on August 13-15, these Summits will once again showcase the insight held by the best and brightest developers in the social and mobile spaces. Show organizers hope to make these Summits better than ever, and are especially looking for 25 and 50 minute talks from European and global developers in these fields.

Last year’s Social & Smartphone/Tablet Summits at GDC Europe were particularly well received, and featured lectures, panels, and roundtables from some of the most influential social and mobile developers in the business.

Over in the Social Games Summit for example, Playfish studio director Jeferson Valadares (The Sims Social) gave an in-depth look at metric-driven design, outlining how to balance intuition and raw data.

Elsewhere, Digital Chocolate’s Rob Unsworth reflected on the development of his studio’s popular social game Zombie Lane — this lecture, like numerous others from the show, is available as a free streaming video on GDC Vault.

In addition, the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit featured notable talks from Fishlabs Entertainment’s Marc Hehmeyer on bringing Galaxy on Fire 2 to Android, and Exozet Games’ head of mobile development Matthias Hellmund on making mobile versions of popular board games like Settlers of Catan and Carcassone.

GDC Europe also featured numerous keynotes covering the social and mobile realm, as Wooga CEO Jens Begemann offered his thoughts on the appeal of social gaming [free GDC Vault video], Ultima creator Richard Garriott charted the industry’s social future, and Epic president Mike Capps revealed the origin of the Chair-developed mobile hit Infinity Blade.

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GDC Europe reminds on Indie Games Summit submissions for 2012 show

jousssssst.jpgOrganizers of the upcoming Games Developers Conference Europe are reminding prospective speakers that the submission deadline for presentations is Monday, April 16, and the show is currently seeking additional content for the growing Independent Games Summit.

This popular GDC Summit, a staple of the San Francisco event since 2007, first debuted at GDC Europe in 2011. When the show returns to Cologne, Germany on August 13-15, organizers expect the Summit to debut more notable content featuring the best and brightest of indie game development, and are especially looking for 25 minute and 50 minute talks from European and global indies.

Last year’s successful Independent Games Summit at GDC Europe covered a wide swath of games, developers, disciplines, and issues, and featured talks from some of the most influential names in the indie game community.

For instance, the Summit featured an inspiring presentation from Independent Games Festival chairman Brandon Boyer on the importance of supporting indies.

There were also design-focused talks from prominent indie developers like Frictional Games studio head Thomas Grip (Amnesia: The Dark Descent) – whose acclaimed talk is streamable for free on GDC Vault as well.

In addition, Douglas Wilson, the creative mind behind B.U.T.T.O.N. and Johann Sebastian Joust (pictured), discussed the implications of breaking conventional gameplay tropes [GDC Vault link], German indie devs outlined the possibilities of public funding, and Tale of Tales’ Michael Samyn (The Path) explained why indie devs might save the European games industry.

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GDC Europe opens lecture submissions for 2012 event

RG.jpgThe UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the industry-leading Game
Developers Conference, have announced the call for submissions for this
August’s GDC Europe conference in Cologne, Germany.

GDC Europe, taking place Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012
at the Cologne Congress-Centrum Ost, will again provide the essential
pan-European perspective of game development and business trends
currently happening throughout the continent.

The conference is now in its fourth year, and will once again occur in the same week as the European gamescom
trade fair. With this pairing, GDC Europe can offer content to address
the development community at a central location in the heart of Europe
and reach the critical mass of the European games sector.

This year, the event’s call for submissions for lectures includes
main conference tracks in Business & Marketing, Game Design,
Production, Programming, and Visual Arts. Organizers are looking for
leading practitioners to propose lectures and panels with major
practical takeaways for today’s video game market.

Organizers are also accepting submissions for content for the three
GDC Europe Summits: the Social Games Summit, Smartphone & Tablet
Games Summit and Independent Games Summit, all of which were introduced
in 2011 and will be held concurrently with the main conference.

“GDC Europe offers the pan-European game development community a
unique opportunity to come together and dialogue about the local and
global changes happening in the industry, from their perspective,” said
Meggan Scavio, general manager of all Game Developers Conference events.

“As the conference heads into its fourth year, we are pleased to be
able to return to Cologne and to continue providing a venue for
developers to gain priceless learning experience featuring leading
industry tools and techniques.”

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2011 Game Developers Conference Europe Hosts More Than 2,100 Attendees

gdce2.jpgThe 2011 GDC Europe concluded on Wednesday, August 17 with a successful showing and a final attendee count of more than 2,100 game professionals representing 57 countries.

A marquee keynote lineup of notable industry veterans, from wooga founder and CEO Jens Begemann, to co-creator of the legendary Ultima series and founder of social media games developer Portalarium Richard Garriott, to Epic Games president Dr. Michael Capps, among others, joined an additional 170 European and international speakers, a total of 46 exhibitors and 35 sponsors and more than 300 media representatives covering game development on PC, social networking sites, consoles and mobile platforms.

Event organizers also announced that GDC Europe will return to Cologne, Germany on August 13-15, 2012.

In its third year, GDC Europe continued the tradition of bringing high-quality content to the European game development community. The introduction of the Social Games, Independent Games, Smartphone and Tablet Games, and Community Management Summits demonstrated the increasing importance of these developing areas that are pertinent to European game development. The Social Games Summit also proved to be a forum that showcased the spirit alive across both European and Western independent developers including speakers Kellee Santiago from thatgamecompany, Frictional Games’ Thomas Grip, and Spaces of Play’s Marek Plichta.

Highlights of day one at GDC Europe included wooga CEO Jens Begemann giving a keynote discussing today’s social games and how they are not designed to turn all core gamers into FarmVille farmers. In his talk, Begemann surprised attendees with the live, real-time launch of Magic Land, a title that contains an exciting mix of social gaming elements with aspects from the dungeon-crawling genre. The first day of GDC Europe also featured a keynote talk by Enric Alvarez, game director and co-author of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and founder of its development studio Mercury Steam, who discussed how the small Spanish studio met the challenge in taking on a beloved franchise from a Japanese developer.

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GDC Europe 2011 Reminds On Registration Deadline, Details Events

gdce1.jpgWith just a day left to register online for next week’s GDC Europe event, organizers have chosen to highlight the various events and parties that will take place during and after the Cologne show.

These social events are hosted by some of the show’s sponsors, and serve as a great opportunity to relax after the conference and get to know other industry professionals and developers.

A GDC Europe pass is required to get in to each of these parties, so make sure to register online while there’s still time. Once online registration closes, passes will be available only via on-site registration, which opens Sunday, August 14 at 3:00PM.

The following are some of the biggest sponsored events open to GDC Europe attendees:

– On Monday, August 15 at 8:00PM, Crytek will host its very own Crytek GDC Night, offering a venue for show attendees to relax, chat, and network with game developers from around the world. The event will take place at Rheinterrassen, Rheinparkweg 1, 50679 Cologne and is open to all GDC Europe pass holders.

– On Tuesday, August 16 at 6:30PM, Glu Mobile will sponsor the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit Mixer, an event that ties in with the titular GDC Europe Summit. Here, pass holders can drink, mingle, and meet other industry professionals involved or interested in mobile and tablet-based games. The event will take place on the Expo Floor at the Congress-Centrum OST Koelnmesse.

– At 9:00PM that same evening, pass holders can head over to the Diamonds Club at Hohenzollernring 90, 50672 Cologne for the GDC Indie Party. Here, badge holders can dance, have drinks, and chat with fellow developers, students, and high-level professionals from throughout the industry. Attendees will also get a taste of Europe’s nightlife with a live act by Sound of Games.

For more information on any of these events, please visit the official GDC Europe events section.

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