UBM TechWeb Game Network's 2012 Game Developers Conference, the world's largest and longest-running event serving professionals dedicated to the art and science of making games, hosted a record-breaking 22,500 game industry professionals last week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, a 17 percent increase in attendance over the previous year's event.
Following the success of the show, organizers have announced that GDC 2013 will return to the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco from Monday, March 25 to Friday, March 29, 2013, - with a call for lecture submissions to open this summer.
GDC kicked off with two days of tutorials and summits focusing on specific emerging platforms and topics, including Smartphone and Tablet Games, Social and Online Games, Independent Games and more. The proliferation of free-to-play business models, new funding options and the explosive growth of mobile device games were frequent themes.
Summits highlights included Kickstarter's Cindy Au's timely talk on crowd source funding (Independent Games Summit), PopCap Games' Giordano Bruno Contestabile's presentation discussing lessons learned in moving Bejeweled Blitz to a free-to-play model (Social & Online Games Summit), and prominent game designers exploring the emotional impact of game design elements (Games for Change @ GDC Summit).
The main conference kicked off on Wednesday with GDC's first-ever "Flash Forward," a session that saw nearly 100 main conference speakers each take the stage for a forty-five second brief overview of their sessions in front of thousands of attendees. The popular Game Design Challenge saw three designers' ideas for creating a 60-second game on this year's theme "upgrading humanity." Richard Lemarchand of Naughty Dog won the Challenge with a game that attempted to first invoke and then eliminate shame.
On Thursday, an all-star cast of video game designers shared which games inspired and informed their work in a nostalgic and casual talk titled Forgotten Tales Remembered: The Games that Inspired Leading Innovators. Stupid Fun Club's Will Wright, spoke about how Pinball Construction Set inspired him before he went on to create the renowned PC game The Sims.
Firaxis' Sid Meier discussed the brilliance of Seven Cities of Gold, Cliff Bleszinski spoke passionately about his love for Nintendo and more specifically about how The Legend of Zelda encouraged him to be a designer, and Loot Drop's John Romero closed the session highlighting the classic arcade game, Pac-Man, and how the game could be coined as the muse in the creation process in Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.
The popular Classic Games Postmortem series returned this year, featuring a look at some of the industry's most inspirational games. The series included the original editions of seminal games Alone in the Dark with designer Frederick Raynal, Fallout with producer, lead programmer and designer Tim Cain, Gauntlet with creator Ed Logg and Harvest Moon with producer and co-designer Yasuhiro Wada.
Alongside the packed GDC Expo floor featuring more than 300 exhibitors and sponsors, the Independent Games Festival (IGF) Pavilion, and busy Career Pavilion and Business Center areas, this year's conference featured the inaugural GDC Play showcase, inspired by the success of the (IGF) Pavilion at GDC. GDC Play provided a forum for emerging developers of social & online, smartphone & tablet, and independent games to showcase their games to key distributors, publishers, press and investors visiting the conference.
GDC 2012 hosted the 14th Annual IGF and the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCAs) on the evening of March 7th. Montreal-based developer Polytron Corporation earned the Seamus McNally Award for Best Independent Game at the IGF and the $30,000 grand prize with its unique 'perspective-shifting' platformer, Fez.
At the Game Developers Choice Awards, Bethesda Game Studios' epic fantasy adventure game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim took home Game of the Year. The evening's multiple-award winners were Valve Corporation's cunning, wittily-written puzzle adventure Portal 2, which received three awards, and critically-acclaimed action-RPG Bastion from indie developer Supergiant Games, a studio made up of only seven talented people, took home two Choice Awards.
The event's GDC Vault website will offer re-access to select GDC 2012 material in approximately two weeks time, including access to speaker slides and synchronized video and presentations for select sponsor lectures and sponsor-supported videos, as well as a broad range of conference videos. GDC All-Access Pass holders and individual Vault subscribers will get access to hundreds of video sessions from this and previous GDC shows.
"The GDC reflects the full spectrum of the game development community," said Meggan Scavio, general manager of the Game Developers Conference. "The continued growth of the conference is a great indicator of a healthy and exciting industry. We are very proud to provide the forum for game makers to connect, dialogue, showcase, and learn in sessions, summits, expos and pavilions every year."
More information on Game Developers Conference 2013, as well as the
other GDC events throughout 2012- including GDC Online, GDC Europe and
GDC China - will be available at the show's official website.