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Infamous: Second Son particle system explained at GDC 2014

secondson1.jpgPasses for the Game Developers Conference 2014 are going fast, and today we're announcing even more sessions for the Main Conference that you'll want to check out.

Today's highlights include a deep dive into the particle system that powers Infamous: Second Son given by Sucker Punch's Bill Rockenbeck, a talk from Irrational Games Lead Character Artist Gavin Goulden on the challenges of working out compelling character designs for Bioshock Infinite, and a guide to optimizing your game's shader architecture for next-gen hardware from Avalanche Studios' Emil Persson.

Now in its 28th year, GDC is the world's largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event, and will once again take place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California during March 17-21, 2014.

The Infamous: Second Son Particle System

A superhero is defined by his powers, and a superhero game's powers are defined by their visual flair. Sucker Punch Productions coder Bill Rockenbeck will discuss the challenges his team faced in trying to architect a particle system that ran efficiently on new PS4 hardware during his talk on The Infamous: Second Son Particle System Architecture. Rockenbeck will also provide examples of how you can combine simple particle effects to create interesting visuals and offer advice on how programmers can better utilize the power of compute shaders.

Change is Good

It's often hard for artists to accept feedback and make changes to their work, and nobody knows that better than Irrational Games' Gavin Goulden. While working on Bioshock Infinite Goulden learned a few things about how an art team should best be prepared to adapt and conquer, and he'll share his war stories along with tips on embracing constructive iteration in his talk Change is Good: The Importance of Iteration Within a Character Art Pipeline. Attendees can expect to get a frank look at the character designs that were scrapped during the development of Bioshock Infinite and its DLC pack Burial At Sea.

Low-level shader optimization

Lastly, who wants to dig deep into some straight talk on shaders? Avalanche Studios' Head of Research Emil Persson sure does, and in his talk on Low-level Shader Optimization for Next-Gen and DX11 he'll show you a few low-level shader optimization tricks that work with any GPU, along with more specific talk about how to optimize for contemporary Radeon hardware in both PCs and next-gen consoles. You can expect to walk away from this talk with a deeper understanding of how to write shaders for next-gen hardware.

More essential GDC details

Earlier GDC 2014 announcements included Drinkbox Studios' Chris Harvey doing a postmortem discussion of development on Guacamelee!, UC Santa Cruz's Brenda Romero talking about re-inspiring designers for greatness, and Google's Noah Falstein leading a postmortem on the rise and fall of classic studio Lucasfilm Games. Developers on Shenmue, Dragon Age, and Splinter Cell: Blacklist will also be giving talks.

All of the announced talks are now available in the online GDC 2014 Session Scheduler, where you can begin to build your conference week and later export it to the up-to-the-minute GDC Mobile App, coming soon.

GDC 2014 itself will take place March 17-21, 2014 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. You can register for the event by visiting the info page on the official GDC 2014 website. Early Bird pricing, with discounts up to 30 percent, will remain in effect until January 31st. Some passes have limited amounts, and with the Independent Games Summit pass already sold out, interested parties should register now.

For more information on GDC 2014, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

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