Come get a postmortem look at the design of Horizon Zero Dawn

You’ll have your pick of a boatload of interesting talks when you come to the Game Developers Conference in March, including a behind-the-scenes look at the design of Guerrilla Games’ hit game Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Guerrilla’s Eric Boltjes is coming to GDC 2018 to present “Horizon: Zero Dawn‘: A Game Design Postmortem,”  a Design track talk that will run you through through early prototypes and delving into design decisions and processes that shaped development of the 2017 game.

You’ll want to make time for this, because Boltjes plans to give you insight into the journey Horizon‘s game design went through while moving from an ambitious paper concept to a finished open-world action RPG, with all of the small and large design decisions and choices that had to be made along the way.

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Breath of the Wild & Horizon Zero Dawn lead GDC 2018 Choice Awards nominees!

Organizers have revealed the nominees for the 18th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the leading peer-based video game event celebrating the industry’s top games and developers.

Winners in all fourteen categories will be honored at the Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) ceremony, taking place on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 6:30pm at the San Francisco Moscone Center during the 2018 Game Developers Conference (GDC) and held in conjunction with the Independent Games Festival Awards (IGF).

GDCA will be presided by returning host and industry veteran, Robin Hunicke, a professor of game design at UC Santa Cruz and the co-founder of the independent San Francisco game studio, Funomena. The ceremonies are available to attend for all GDC 2018 pass-holders.

Leading the pack are Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn from Guerrilla Games with a total of six nominations each, including Game of the Year. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the massively reimagined open-world RPG, also received nominations for Best Audio, Design, Innovation, Technology, and Visual Art.  The compelling sci-fi adventure, Horizon Zero Dawn, was additionally nominated for Best Audio, Design, Narrative, Technology and Visual Art.

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The GDC Film Festival leads the list of great interactive spaces at GDC 2018!

The 2018 Game Developers Conference is just around the corner, and today organizers want to offer you a sneak peek at all the interactive spaces and events you’ll find when you attend the show in March.

Most notably, this year marks the debut of the GDC Film Festival! One of the first ever documentary & narrative film fests focused on the art and culture of video games, the 1st annual GDC Film Festival will take place at the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts’ Screening Room – directly adjacent to the Moscone Center – from Monday, March 19th to Wednesday, March 21st.

The Festival joins a roster of events and interactive spaces at GDC 2018 that encompasses a board game lounge stocked with expertly-curated games, a smorgasbord of one-of-a-kind controller games, and more!

As you sort out your plans for GDC 2018, leave yourself some time to scope out the remarkable array of lounges, exhibits, and other events that will be happening across GDC throughout the week. Highlights include:

  • alt.ctrl.GDC – The perennially popular alt.ctrl.GDC showcase of alternative controller games returns to GDC for the fifth year running, bringing with it a great lineup of games played with unique, offbeat controllers that attendees can check out for themselves on the show floor.
  • Day of the DevsThis popular indie video game showcase from Double Fine and long-time GDC collaborators, iam8bit, is coming back to GDC 2018! The games on display (to be announced at a later date) will include a wide range of intriguing, innovative & smart titles from some of the industry’s leading creators – and some surprises, too.
  • GDC Film Festival – Across three days, the GDC Film Festival will screen a wide range of documentaries & other filmed material based around the video game medium, some of which will be debuting for the first time. The Festival will include onstage Q&As with film-makers. The Festival will be open to all GDC 2018 pass holders on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • GDC Retro Play – GDC Retro Play returns for its second year at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco that specifically concentrates on showcasing retro consoles, computers, games and related memorabilia.
  • Indie MEGABOOTH – The Indie MEGABOOTH Showcase, an approachable GDC show floor exhibit of hand-picked indie games, returns for GDC 2018. As always, The MEGABOOTH exists to support indie developers and help pool their resources to enable them to showcase their work to the public and their peers.
  • Mild Rumpus – While you’re enjoying GDC, take a moment to relax and enjoy the Mild Rumpus, a space for you to check out beautifully soothing indie videogames in a comforting oasis of calm.
  • Shut Up & Sit Down – This tabletop game exhibit, curated by the razor-sharp minds behind board game enthusiast hub Shut Up & Sit Down, is back once agin to offer GDC attendees a comfortable space to relax, chat, and play some of the best card and board games around.
  • Train Jam – GDC officials are proud to continue to support the efforts of those taking part in the fifth annual Train Jam (which typically takes place on a train between Chicago and San Francisco the week prior to GDC) by providing a dedicated space at the show where organizers will be displaying select games made during the jam.

These events and more should offer attendees plenty of stuff to stop and check out between sessions. Also, stay tuned for more announcements about the show in the weeks ahead!

For more information about GDC 2018 visit the show’s official website, and subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

Supercell CEO, NYU Game Center director to speak at GDC 2018 Vision Track!

The 2018 Game Developers Conference, the world’s largest and longest-running event serving professionals dedicated to the art and science of making games, will welcome Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen and NYU Game Center Director Frank Lantz to speak as part of the conference’s reintroduced Vision Track, a series of mini-keynotes designed to provoke and inspire GDC attendees.

Paananen’s talk, titled The Cell Structure: How Supercell Turned the Traditional Org-Chart Upside Downwill focus on building a company culture that lets developers run teams independently by placing people at the heart of the company.

This rare talk from the leader behind games such as Clash of Clans, Hay Day, Boom Beach and Clash Royale – which collectively have more than 100 million daily players – explains how transferring vision to individual teams has paid dividends for the company.

Lantz’s talk, This is Your Brain on Games, allows the creator of cheeky ‘clicker game’ hit Universal Paperclips and long-time game designer, scholar and provocateur to discuss what it would look like for games to improve humanity’s overall ability to understand, explain and predict the world.

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Come check out these awesome VR talks at GDC 2018

This March the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco will once again feature a curated selection of great stuff for virtual reality developers under the aegis of VRDC @ GDC!

For example, Penrose Studios head of engineering Devon Penney will detail the cutting-edge water tech in the VR film Arden’s Wake (pictured) in his talk on “Water Simulation and Rendering in the VR Film, ‘Arden’s Wake’“, in which he’ll describe volume rendering solutions for murky underwater environments with spotlights shining through water.

He’ll also explain the tech which allows the film to have many interaction effects on the ocean surface, from characters splashing in the water to boats causing wakes across large distances.

According to Penney, Penrose Studios developed a shallow water solver that gave them compelling effects with fast simulation times, and his lecture will share the solver architecture, methods for modeling collision objects, and a foam solver that adds detail to the simulation.

And in “Room for Everyone: The ‘Rec Room‘ Approach to Community VR,” Cameron Brown and Jon Gill from Rec Room developer Against Gravity will share what they’ve learned about managing and empowering the creativity of a diverse and rapidly growing virtual community.

Starting with lessons learned about how to foster a positive environment for players from all walks of life, the session will delve into the various experiments, mistakes and successes they’ve had, and will talk about the ongoing explorations into empowering players to create and share their own content.

Plus, in their talk on “Designing Human Avatars for Virtual Reality” Google Daydream team members David Bond and Brian Pullen will discuss the lessons they learned designing avatars for YouTube VR, and beyond.

Make time to check this one out, because you’ll learn about emerging best practices in designing avatars for AR/VR contexts, and come away with an appreciation of what doesn’t work in VR (and why!)

Plus, we have lots more GDC 2018 announcements to make in the coming months. For more information about GDC 2018 visit the show’s official website, and subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

2018 Independent Games Festival announces Main Competition finalists!

The Independent Games Festival (IGF), which honors the most influential, innovative and acclaimed projects in independent game development, revealed the award finalists for its 20th annual awards ceremony.

The IGF Awards take place on March 21, 2018 during the Game Developers Conference, and will be hosted by Trent Kusters, co-founder of League of Geeks, the Melbourne-based development team behind Armello, a captivating digital role-playing strategy board game that has garnered much critical and fan acclaim.

Trent is currently a board member of Australia’s Freeplay Independent Games Festival, and was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for games in 2016.

After an initial review round by over 300 judges, the nearly 600 entries for the 2018 IGF Awards were distributed to a diverse set of expert jurors from across the industry for final consideration. The juries for each individual category then selected the IGF finalists after playing, discussing and meticulously evaluating them.

Among the selection of 34 different nominated games, a few titles received nominations in multiple categories, including Baba is You, a puzzle game created by creator Hempuli that allows players to alter the rules and game logic as a part of solving the puzzles. The game received a total of four nominations – for Excellence in Design, Best Student Game, the Nuovo Award for ‘thinking differently about games as a medium’, and for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Multiple titles are being recognized for their excellence with three nominations apiece. Night in the Woods, an adventure game from creator Infinite Fall that focuses on exploration, story and character development within a lush, vibrant world, received nominations for Excellence in Narrative, Excellence in Visual Arts and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy from developer Bennett Foddy, a sadistic climbing game that rewards players who reach the top of the mountain, was nominated for Excellence in Design, the Nuovo Award, and also received a nomination for the Grand Prize.

The winners of the IGF will be announced at the Independent Games Festival Awards which take place the evening of Wednesday, March 21st at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. The IGF Awards will immediately precede the Game Developers Choice Awards, which recognizes the best games of the year across all sections of video game development.

IGF Award winners will receive more than $50,000 of prizes in various categories, including the $30,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Both the IGF Awards and the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremonies are available to attend for all GDC 2018 pass-holders and will be livestreamed online once again.

The full list of finalists for each category of the 2018 Independent Games Festival, along with “honorable mentions,” is as follows:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)

Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)

West of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications)

Into the Breach (Subset Games)

Heat Signature (Suspicious Developments)

Baba is You (Hempuli)

Honorable Mentions: Tacoma (Fullbright); Rain World (VIDEOCULT); Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (Game Grumps); Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry); Cuphead (StudioMDHR); Everything Is Going to Be OK (Nathalie Lawhead)

Excellence in Visual Art

Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)

Cuphead (StudioMDHR)

Echo (ULTRA ULTRA)

Luna (Funomena)

The Gardens Between (The Voxel Agents)

Chuchel (Amanita Design)

Honorable Mentions: Jettomero: Hero of the Universe (Ghost Time Games); Dead Cells (Motion Twin); AER – Memories of Old (Forgotten Key); Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games); Rain World (VIDEOCULT); Shape of the World (Hollow Tree Games); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry)

Excellence in Audio

Tormentor X Punisher (e-studio)

Cuphead (StudioMDHR)

Vignettes (Skeleton Business)

Rain World (VIDEOCULT)

Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Honorable Mentions: Tumbleseed (Benedict Fritz, Greg Wohlwend, Joel Corelitz, David Laskey and Jenna Blazevich); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry); Tacoma (Fullbright); Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games); Million Onion Hotel (Onion Games); Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)

Excellence in Design

Into the Breach (Subset Games)

Shenzhen I/O (Zachtronics)

Wilmot’s Warehouse (Richard Hogg, Ricky Haggett, Eli Rainsberry)

Baba Is You (Hempuli)

Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)

Honorable Mentions: Heat Signature (Suspicious Developments); Dead Cells (Motion Twin); Factorio (Wube Software); Space Pirate Trainer (I-Illusions); Battle Chef Brigade (Trinket Studios)

Excellence in Narrative

Tacoma (Fullbright)

Attentat 1942 (Charles University and Czech Academy of Sciences)

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games)

Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)

Butterfly Soup (Brianna Lei)

Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games)

Honorable Mentions: A Mortician’s Tale (Laundry Bear Games); Lost Memories Dot Net (Star Maid Games); Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (Game Grumps); Bury me, my Love (The Pixel Hunt, Figs and ARTE France); Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm); West of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications); Rakuen (Laura Shigihara)

Nuovo Award

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)

Tarotica Voo Doo (TPM.CO SOFT WORKS)

10 Mississippi (Karina Popp)

A Mortician’s Tale (Laundry Bear Games)

Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm)

Everything Is Going to Be OK (Nathalie Lawhead)

Baba Is You (Hempuli)

Kids (Playables)

Honorable Mentions: Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games); IO Interloper (DANG!); The Norwood Suite (Cosmo D Studios); Cheap Golf (Pixeljam); Witchball (S.L.Clark); Million Onion Hotel (Onion Games)

Best Student Game

IO Interloper (DANG!)

Don’t Make Love (Maggese)

Penny Blue Finds a Clue (DigiPen Team Cactus Curse)

We Were Here (Total Mayhem Games)

Baba Is You (Hempuli)

Guardian of the Gears (DigiPen Team Studio 76)

Honorable Mentions: Crewsaders (Titan Squad); A.L.F.R.E.D. (Hugo Lefevre, Joseph Reichenbach, Romain Jaohar-Gaillard, Garance Royere Lebigre, Nicolas Tham, Marion Speiser, Delphine Migeot de Baran, Song Huang); MOLOCH (Seemingly Pointless); Kyklos Code (Cube Factory); Membrane (Perfect Hat / Seth S. Scott); That Blooming Feeling (The Tots Team); Tell Me What You See (Pesky Bees)

The alt.ctrl.GDC award is also returning to the IGF Awards for a second year, to honor the most creative and unique video game controller, with a prize of $3,000 given out to the winning game.

Finalists for this category will be announced from the 20 alt.ctrl.GDC 2018 picks during the week of the Game Developers Conference, and all of this year’s honorees will be shown at the alt.ctrl.GDC exhibit onsite, which showcases a diverse collection of indie-centric one-of-a-kind game peripherals, contraptions and novelties that enhance game experiences and challenge traditional forms of input.

The public will also be able to take part in awarding the winner of the IGF Audience Award from all the finalists for the IGF; online voting for the Audience Award begins in late January.

The IGF Pavilion, located on the Expo Floor of the Game Developers Conference will give attendees the chance to play the nominated titles and meet the game creators.

Along with the IGF Pavilion, developers can also take part in the Independent Games Summit (March 19th-20th), which highlights the best and brightest of indie development, featuring valuable discussions and networking opportunities. The Game Developers Conference takes place Monday, March 19 to Friday, March 23, 2018 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

Since its debut in 1999, the Independent Games Festival remains a platform that recognizes the efforts and artistic craft of some of the most beloved independent games in history, including revolutionary and memorable titles such as Quadrilateral Cowboy, Her Story, Papers, Please, Fez and Minecraft among many others.

For more information on the Independent Games Festival, please visit the official IGF website at www.igf.com. For those interested in registering for GDC 2018, which includes the Independent Games Summit, the IGF Pavilion and the IGF Awards Ceremony, please visit www.gdconf.com. For the latest updates on GDC, follow the official Twitter account @Official_GDC.

Come get an under-the-hood look at how Riot handles eSports

It’s a new year, and that means the 2018 Game Developers Conference is right around the corner! Today, organizers want to make sure you know about a great talk taking place at the March event from the folks at League of Legends dev Riot Games.

If there’s one thing Riot has had to get good at since League of Legends took off, it’s working at scale. Thus, you won’t want to miss Riot engineering lead Steve Martin’s GDC 2018 talk on “The Engineering Journey of Riot eSports“, because it digs into how Riot has spent the last 5+ years scaling the game to match the passion shown by their players, resulting in an ecosystem of global leagues, teams, and events with a worldwide fan-base.

It’s part of GDC 2018’s Business & Marketing track of talks, and will walk you through the evolution of Riot eSports from inception to present day from a product and engineering perspective.

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PSA: Unity Student Scholarship for GDC 2018 submissions close this Sunday

Just a quick reminder that the Game Developers Conference and Unity have launched the Unity Student Scholarship, which aims to give 50 students with outstanding Unity projects All Access passes to GDC 2018.

Don’t forget that the deadline to submit your project is this Sunday, December 31, 2017! There is no application cost and students can enter here

Of course, the Unity Student Scholarship was created to provide learning and networking opportunities for up and coming developers. Those selected for the scholarship will receive an all-access pass for GDC 2018, which also includes access to a pre-show kickoff, hosted by GDC on-site before the week begins.

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Come and level up your VFX coding skills

Looking to learn learn alternative approaches to emitting particles from game environment elements, characters and various other renderable objects utilizing shaders and compute and textures to drive and animate particle emission for GPU-based particle systems?

Then you need to come to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next March because it’s going to be packed with practical, informative sessions, including a talk by veteran game dev Christina Coffin on just this subject.

In her Programming track talk “Beyond Emitters: Shader and Surface Driven GPU Particle FX Techniques” Coffin will share details on how particle emitting surfaces and shaders can transfer material attributes and other properties to various spawned particle types. Critically, her talk will cover technical implementation details, various optimizations, and workflow approaches.

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Parents, make sure to register for GDC 2018 childcare!

Game Developers Conference organizers are proud to continue their partnership with leading childcare provider KiddieCorp and offer GDC 2018 attendees access to an on-site children’s program.

So if you’re planning to bring kids with you when you attend GDC 2018 in San Francisco next March, please note that the advance deadline to register for the program is February 20th, 2018 — less than two months away!

You want to register early, because registration is handled on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s also possible to register on-site, but there is no guarantee KiddieCorp will be able to accommodate on-site registrations and doing so is not recommended.

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