Organizers of the 2011 Game Developers Conference have debuted initial lectures from the Game Design and Programming Track for the Main Conference, spanning a Starcraft II postmortem, Harmonix’s Dance Central dissected, Valve on forensic debugging, and much more.
As the overall session list for the event further expands, organizers are specially highlighting the initial Main Conference session announcements around these two areas.
The Game Design and Programming Tracks take place from Wednesday March 2nd to Friday March 4th, 2011 during the pre-eminent, San Francisco-based event, alongside other discipline-specific Tracks dedicated to art, audio, business and management, and production.
All of the above Track sessions are open to those with a Main Conference or All-Access Pass. Some of the top sessions debuting in the Game Design and Programming Tracks are as follows:
Game Design Track
Being revealed as a key Design Track talk for 2011’s 25th edition of Game Developers Conference is ‘Remaking a Classic: The Game Design of Starcraft II‘ by Blizzard Entertainment’s Dustin Browder.
Drawing from the experience of designing the standout RTS, Browder offers a rare glimpse into Blizzard’s core design philosophies, as well as insight into the special challenges of Starcraft II‘s complex game design and the benefits and costs of designing an e-sport.
Another notable lecture is ‘The Design Process and Philosophy of Dance Central‘, led by Matt Boch and Dean Tate of Harmonix. The duo talk about the nuances of designing for full-body motion gaming on the standout Kinect title, also considering unconventional ways to approach exploratory prototyping when starting from scratch.
Other major Game Design Track sessions confirmed thus far include a session that examines how to keep player and character interests aligned by Visceral Games’ Matthias Worch (Dead Space 2), a discussion about moral storytelling in gameplay from Richard Rouse III of Ubisoft Montreal, plus a charming talk on how personal game-craft can help your growth as a designer, presented by Stone Librande of EA/Maxis.
The Programming Track sure to be of interest is ‘I Shot You First: Networking the Gameplay of Halo: Reach‘, by Bungie’s David Aldridge, revealing the patterns and processes that have allowed them to repeatedly set new technical standards for online gameplay quality around the highly regarded Halo franchise.
Another notable talk led by Valve Corporation’s Elan Ruskin delves into game stability issues and the value of crash dump dissection. In ‘Forensic Debugging: How to Autopsy, Repair, and Reanimate a Release-built Game’, Ruskin goes through how the Half-Life and Portal 2 creator “captures and processes crash dumps from testers, servers, and customers to solve stability problems even after release.”
Other notable new Programming Track talks from already confirmed sessions include ‘Mega Meshes – Modeling, Rendering and Lighting a World Made of 100 Billion Polygons’, a lecture around Milo & Kate‘s tech given by Lionhead Studios’ Ben Sugden and Michal Iwanicki, a talk on the use of occlusion culling on the PS3 from Will Vale of Second Intention, and a presentation on AI navigation given by Insomniac Games’ Reddy Sambavaram.
At the forefront of game development, Game Developers Conference — part of the UBM TechWeb Game Network, as is this website — continues to deliver the most pertinent and informative updates in digital entertainment, with a host of GDC 2011 Summit and Main Conference content announcements to come over the next few weeks.
Game Developers Conference 2011 — the 25th iteration of the industry-leading show — will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from February 28th to March 4th, and registration is now open. For more information on all aspects of the show, visit the official GDC 2011 website.