Director’s Cut: Brains

Hello everyone! A rare Thursday update from me, largely because we’re going to push the schedule live early next week (yes, it’s true), and we have a handful of interesting talks that need to go live beforehand. I know a lot of folks out there like these updates to have a theme, and so it strikes me that the common theme on these late arrivals is, well, brains.

First up, people have been talking for a while about using game engines to produce linear animation for film, TV, and commercial work. We’re very pleased to present a couple of teams using their brains to make this happen. Kim Libreri of the leading LA special effects house Digital Domain and Jerry O’Flaherty from engine and game developer Epic Games will present a session titled Challenges of Creating Linear Content in a Game Engine. They’ll explore the issues arising on Digital Domain’s output for shorts, cinematics, and feature films and feature examples. Also, the bright people at Blockade are working on TV shows using game engines, and will present a talk on one of them, The Sacred Road, addressing the next stage of selling it to the network and distribution. The talk titled The Future of Animation is Games is presented by Blockade writer/director Bill Kroyer and Voom Networks HD Vice President of Programming, Mark DeAngelis. If you follow transmedia, game engines, or feature animation, you’ll not want to miss this pair of talks.
The next talk has as much to do with guts as it does brains, since it’s about Puzzle Quest. Infinite Interactive’s CEO and Lead Designer Steve Fawkner will present a postmortem of the game, is his session Conquering Bane’s Citadel: The Collision of Casual and Hardcore Gaming in Puzzle Quest. Blending hard core RPG elements with casual mechanics was huge leap of faith, and Fawker will describe the design process, lessons learned, and lessons applied moving forward.
Taking a step back from the direct nuts and bolts of making games, the next session we have to talk about is one that is literally about the brain and the human computer interface (HCI). As you may know, Emotiv systems is working on a technology to control in-game objects using only the mind. Yes, I know it sounds like flying cars. However, getting to the product required a significant degree of understanding about the brain and research into how we think about objects in a virtual space that could be relevant to everyone looking to close the gap between gamer and virtual world. With that in mind, Allen Snyder, PhD, Director for the Centre of the Mind and Co-Founder of Emotiv Systems will present with Randy Breen, Chief Product Officer also from Emotiv, are doing a session titled Semantic Interactivity – Virtual Coherence Using Next Generation Human Computer Interface.
Finally, we are presenting a chance for developers to give game journalists a piece of their mind. Newsweek editor N’Gai Croal has put together an all-star panel of game journalists including Kotaku’s Brian Crecente, Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley, 1Up Yours’s Garnett Lee, Game Informer’s Andy McNamara, and MTV News’ Stephen Totilo to address the issues and conflicts in game journalism today in a session titled Up Against the Wall: Game Makers Take on the Press. This issue has largely been filtered by marketing, public relations, game publishing, and media publishing executives, but we felt it was appropriate to bring the media to our stage, so that actual developers can cut through the red tape and get the straight story.
At this point, there’s only a couple more sessions coming in, but we know you’re anxious to plan your GDC. We’re working feverishly to get the schedule live for you, and a couple more surprises too!
Jamil Moledina
Executive Director
Game Developers Conference