Organizers of Game Developers Conference 2011 have revealed an all-star line-up of game developers, from John Romero (Doom) through Will Wright (Raid On Bungeling Bay) to Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man) and beyond, presenting ‘postmortems’ on the making of some of the most famous video games of all time.
The special one-off hour long lectures, part of celebrations for the 25th iteration of GDC, will all take place during the Main Conference of this year’s show, held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from March 2nd to 4th.
Some of the other highlights of the sessions include Jordan Mechner on the making of the original Prince Of Persia and Mark Cerny on the classic Marble Madness.
In addition, Ron Gilbert is discussing the making of Maniac Mansion, David Braben is talking seminal space exploration title Elite, and Eric Chahi analyzes Out Of This World/Another World.
Finally, David Crane discusses the making of Pitfall!, Jason Kapalka looks at his work on PopCap’s Bejeweled, and Peter Molyneux presents a lecture on the making of original ‘god game’ Populous.
As detailed on a special ‘classic postmortems’ webpage on the Game Developers Conference website, the following eleven special lectures are now confirmed for GDC 2011:
– Prince Of Persia (Jordan Mechner)
“Decades before it was a Hollywood film with tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of workers supporting its production, Prince of Persia was mostly the project of a single man. Jordan Mechner rotoscoped the game’s fluid and realistic character animations, designed its difficult puzzles, crafted its thrilling sword-fighting combat, and penned its captivating story. He will present a postmortem discussion on the landmark cinematic platformer.”
– Pac-Man (Toru Iwatani)
“More than just the man who created and designed Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani revolutionized an arcade industry filled with space shooters and Pong clones, introducing a new kind of game that was both immediately accessible and highly addictive. In this session, Iwatani will share how he created one of the world’s most successful and beloved arcade games around a circle with a wedge sliced off.”
– Elite (David Braben)
“When it launched over 25 years ago, Elite amazed science fiction fans with its interstellar missions presented with wireframe 3D graphics, eight galaxies to explore, and thousands of procedurally generated planets. Co-creator David Braben, a stalwart in the video game industry and founder/chairman of Frontier Developments, will discuss the genesis of the space-trading sim that went on to inspire titles like EVE Online, Freelancer, Wing Commander: Privateer, and many other sci-fi games.”
– Another World/Out Of This World (Eric Chahi)
“Released across more than a dozen platforms since its 1991 debut, Out of This World (a.k.a. Another World) has long been a favorite among critics and sophisticated gamers alike for its cinematic cutscenes and atmospheric presentation. Out Of This World‘s creator Eric Chahi will reveal his process developing the innovative game and building its memorable scenes.”
– Marble Madness (Mark Cerny)
“Mark Cerny is a legend in the games industry, working as a consultant, producer, and programmer on hits like Resistance, Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter, Spyro the Dragon, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Before building that near-incomparable resume, though, he designed Atari’s Marble Madness, the addictive and maddening arcade game that ate scads of quarters as players craved another spin of its trackball. Along with the game’s catchy soundtrack and Escher-esque graphics, Cerny will share insights on how he designed the classic title.”
– Doom (John Romero)
“Few games can match the ubiquity and legacy of Doom, the seminal first-person shooter that ushered in thousands of mods, clones, and successors. Programmer, game designer, level designer and Doom II final boss John Romero will deliver a postmortem on the game showing never-before-seen material, memorializing its immersive but nerve-wracking 3D environments, networked multiplayer deathmatches, Satanic imagery and themes, Barney WADs, exploding barrels, and BFG 9000.”
– Pitfall! (David Crane)
“Pitfall! isn’t just one of the most successful and cherished releases of the Atari 2600; it’s also the game many immediately think of whenever the decades-old console comes up in a conversation. Industry legend David Crane, co-founder of Activision and Absolute Entertainment (A Boy and His Blob), will reminisce about Pitfall!‘s vine-swinging hero Harry and the breakthrough game he famously designed with just a blank sheet of paper and 10 minutes of brainstorming. “
– Bejeweled (Jason Kapalka)
“As one of the top most popular puzzle games of all time, Bejeweled and its spin-offs and sequels are everywhere. The man behind the addictive match-three game, PopCap co-founder and chief creative officer Jason Kapalka , will deliver a postmortem talk about designing the franchise that’s seen more than 150 million downloads and sold over 25 million copies.”
– Populous (Peter Molyneux)
“One of the first god games ever released, Bullfrog’s Populous beguiled players with its premise of playing as an all-powerful divine being capable of shaping the earth. Populous‘ always entertaining designer Peter Molyneux, who went on to found Lionhead Studios, where he helped create the game’s spiritual descendant Black & White and popular RPG series Fable, will talk about his work on the ground-breaking (and -raising and -lowering) isometric sim.”
– Raid On Bungeling Bay (Will Wright)
“Before he became a household name with gamers, Will Wright created Raid on Bungeling Bay, a helicopter action/strategy title for the Commodore 64, NES, and and MSX. The unassuming game would serve as the inspiration for Wright’s much, much, much more popular Sim City series, as it was during his tinkering with Raid on Bungeling Bay‘s editor that the designer discovered building complex cities was more fun and had more potential than destroying them.”
– Maniac Mansion (Ron Gilbert)
“Cherished by adventure game fans and reviled by hamsters everywhere, Maniac Mansion was the first adventure game LucasArts developed on its SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) platform – the beloved scripting engine used for subsequent classics like Sam & Max and the Monkey Island series. Ron Gilbert will talk about his work on Maniac Mansion, touching on the game’s multiple endings, point-and-click interface and its oddball cast of characters.”
All of the ‘classic postmortem’ lectures, likely to be extremely popular, will be held in the largest possible lecture halls at GDC 2011 — attendance will be on a first come, first served basis. In addition, the postmortems will all be video recorded for free post-show availability on the conference’s GDC Vault online service.
Game Developers Conference 2011 takes place from February 28th to March 4th, 2011 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Early, reduced-price registration is only available until Monday, January 24th at 11.59pm PT, and more information is available on the official GDC website.