Come and learn to bridge community divides in your cross-platform MMO games

The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next March is going to be jam-packed with interesting and informative sessions, including an expert panel discussion about the art of bringing communities together in cross-platform MMO games.

The GDC 2018 Community Management Summit session on “Bridging Community Divides in Cross-Platform MMOs” will feature veteran community managers of cross-platform MMOs discussing the universal unwritten rules of community engagement, nuances based on platform, and the pitfalls of not being on top of your community game (pun intended).

Together, Eric Cleaver (Senior Community & Social Media Manager, NetEase Games), EM Stock (Director, Customer & Community Relations, NetEase Games), Linda Carlson (Director of Community Relations, Trion Worlds, Inc.), Ted Stone (Senior Community Relations Manager, Daybreak Games Company) and John Bergman (CEO & Founder, Guild Software, Inc.) will share their best advice on how you can speak to your players in a language that translates across all platforms.

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These are your juries for the IGF 2018 Design, Audio, and Student awards!

As the year winds down around us, the 2018 Independent Games Festival is entering its jurying phase — the period in which discipline-specific experts play, evaluate and discuss the highlights of the nearly 600 games entered in the 2018 Festival Competition, which together continue to push the boundaries of video game development and design.

Of course, an excellent group of game development notables are evaluating IGF 2018’s most promising entries. After first-round IGF judging from hundreds of evaluators, these expert juries will ultimately determine the finalists and winners of the various IGF 2018 awards at the 2018 Game Developers Conference.

In recognition of their service, today we’d like to celebrate those who have volunteered their time and talent to take part in judging the Excellence in Design Award, the Excellence in Audio Award, and the Excellence in Narrative Award.

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GDC 2018 will host a Classic Game Postmortem of The Bard’s Tale!

Game Developers Conference 2018 officials are thrilled to announce that a game industry veteran is coming to the show to deliver a fascinating look back at one of the foundational pillars of the role-playing game genre.

Dr. Michael Cranford, a multi-talented game designer and programmer who has done significant work both within the game industry and without, will be at GDC 2018 in San Francisco next March to present a postmortem look at the making of The Bard’s Tale I & II!

Cranford co-created The Bard’s Tale, which debuted on the Apple II in 1985 and spawned a series of beloved games. Anticipation is building for inXile Entertainment’s The Bard’s Tale IV, the long-awaited next chapter, and in his GDC 2018 presentation he’ll revisit the first two games and explore why they’re still relevant to game makers today.

It’s poised to be a remarkable session, as Cranford aims to give a behind-the-scenes look at the development of these classic games, touching on topics like game difficulty, the influence of Dungeons & Dragons, why he wove elements of Christianity into the design (and why it struck him as amusing that no one questioned it during development), and the need for integration of strategic and action elements in game design.

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Come see top devs share their clever design techniques

Organizers of the 2018 Game Developers Conference are excited to host a diverse array of experienced game designers sharing their tips and tricks in the Design track talk “Rules of the Game: Five Further Techniques from Rather Clever Designers.”

This session promises to be great, because it features five accomplished game makers (moderated by fellow accomplished game maker Richard Rouse III) who will each spend ten minutes detailing a specific design technique or rule they use to craft compelling experiences.

Erin Hoffman-John (CEO/Designer, Sense of Wonder), Soren Johnson (CEO/Design Director, Mohawk Games), Raph Koster (Designer, Independent), Josh Sawyer (Director, Obsidian Entertainment), and Stone Librande (Lead Designer, Riot Games) will each dive into their technique and provide detailed examples about how they have used the rule in past projects, honestly sharing the pluses and minuses — including where their rule works well and where it may be less applicable.

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Learn animation principles, design tips, and more at the Visual Effects Bootcamp

The GDC 2018 Visual Effects Bootcamp runs all day on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018, with a slew of expert sessions that dive deep into the art and tech of visual effects design in contemporary games.

Experienced visual effects artists from across the industry — everywhere from Epic Games to Nvidia to ILMxLab — will share their best tips, tricks, anecdotes and inspiration during this day designed to help overcome those limitations and elevate visual effects to a new level.

This is important because visual effects tie together game experiences, breathe life into real time rendered worlds, and provide an all-important final layer of visual polish.

So for example, in his VFX Bootcamp presentation on “Zip! Thwack! Ping! Animation Principles of VFXSideFX senior technical artist Michael Lyndon will look at the 12 principles of animation as they apply to VFX.

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Come get a behind-the-scenes look at Detroit: Become Human‘s tech

As Quantic Dream prepares to release its neo-noir thriller Quantic Dream next year, some of the game’s dev team are laying plans to speak at the 2018 Game Developers Conference about how the game’s remarkable tech works.

Both Quantic Dream lead engine programmer Ronan Marchalot and graphics programmer Guillaume Caurant will be giving GDC 2018 Programming track talks, the former on the game’s rendering tech and the latter on its lighting engine.

In “Cluster Forward Rendering and Anti-Aliasing at Quantic DreamMarchalot will give an overview of Quantic’s rendering technology, how the engine is integrated in Maya and how artists produce materials.

He’ll cover the switch from deferred lighting to cluster forward lighting, what the benefits are and how his team addressed the issues they met. He’ll also take a look into how they implemented temporal anti-aliasing, and how they used it to improve some features such as SSR, SSAO, PCF shadows, skin subsurface scattering and volumetric lighting.

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Get expert advice on porting your game to consoles from someone who makes a living doing it

Seasoned engineer and PlayEveryware studio director Thomas O’Connor knows a lot about porting games, and in his GDC 2018 Independent Games Summit talk “Your Indie Game on Console: A Practical Guide to Porting” he’ll share what he’s learned so other devs can make better decisions about shipping games on consoles.

Drawing from the work O’Connor has done porting indie games to consoles for other studios, and as a developer support engineer at Nintendo, he’ll show you how you can prepare your own games to be ready for releasing on any console.

Using examples from recently released console versions of games like Hello Neighbor (pictured) he’ll cover numerous issues that developers run into throughout the process, from onboarding and development to submissions and release. If you think a console port might be in the cards for you, or if you want to refine your porting processes, this is a talk you’ll want to see!

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At GDC 2018, learn how and why you should set up an inclusive tech space

Should your studio or company set aside permanent spaces dedicated to game accessibility research, feedback, education, and design?

Microsoft has done just that with its Inclusive Technologies Lab, and at GDC 2018 in San Francisco next March, Microsoft’s Gaming & Community leads Tara Voelker (Program Manager, Mixer) and Brannon Zahand (Release Manager, 343 Industries) will discuss the value of such a dedicated inclusive technologies space.

In their Advocacy track talk on “Building an Inclusive Tech Lab: How and Why You Should Too“, the pair will show fellow game makers how Microsoft’s lab was launched, what went right (and not quite right) during the first 6 months of operation, and provide detailed tips and tricks for setting up your own accessibility-centric space.

It promises to be a great talk with forward-thinking ideas, real-world examples and practical takeaways, so don’t miss it!

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Get mobile game dev tips from the maker of Good Pizza, Great Pizza at GDC 2018

It can be tricky to balance the demands of making a great mobile game and making a mobile game that earns enough to let you keep making mobile games.

At GDC 2018, TapBlaze president Anthony Lai will be offering fellow game makers advice on how they can do both in his talk “Good Pizza, Great Pizza‘: Game Design, Iteration, and Business Lessons Learned.”

Drawing on Tapblaze’s experience taking its free-to-play mobile game Good PizzaGreat Pizza from 3,000 to 60,000 daily active users in the space of a year (without paid user acquisition), Lai will walk you through the process of making a good, sustainable game under significant resource constraints.

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See how economic downturns shaped games throughout history at GDC 2018

Preparations for the 2018 Game Developers Conference are well underway, and today organizers want to take a minute to let you know about a really promising talk that’s taking place during the big event in San Francisco next March.

Specifically, GDC organizers are happy to welcome back Untame creative director Julia Keren Detar, who has put together a great GDC 2018 presentation on “History Shaping Design: How Economic Downturns Shape Play.”

It’s a very timely talk, one meant to focus on how a changing economy can shape a design’s success and downfall — and how games (both tabletop/board games and video games) have shaped modern interaction with financial products. This historical perspective might help devs understand outside circumstances when designing games that can alter behavioral patterns.

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