With just over 24 hours to go before early registration for Game Developers Conference 2017 ends tomorrow — Wednesday, January 18th at 11:59 PM Pacific, conference organizers are encouraging anyone interested in attending to register now at a discounted rate.
This year GDC will once again feature a fantastic, diverse lineup of lectures, panels, and tutorials during the show proper, and show organizers will continue to debut new sessions as the event draws ever closer.
To give you a sense of what a great event GDC can be, organizers want to quickly remind you about just a few of the many notable sessions taking place at this year’s show.
First, let’s talk about some of the great Classic Game Postmortems that have already been announced for GDC this year:
- Yutaka “Yoot” Saito, the talented game designer known for his idiosyncratic approach to game development, will be delivering a Classic Game Postmortem on his remarkable Dreamcast game Seaman.
- Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley, a pair of game industry luminaries who have together shaped the history of video and board game development through their work on everything from Railroad Tycoon to Age of Empires, will be presenting a Classic Game Postmortem on their groundbreaking game Sid Meier’s Civilization.
- Last but not least, Don Rawitsch, the lifelong educational software developer best known in the game industry for being a leading force in several educational software companies, including the influential Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation, will be delivering a Classic Game Postmortem of the groundbreaking game The Oregon Trail at GDC 2017!
Also, in a talk titled “Huddle up!: Making the [SPOILER] of ‘Inside‘” a team of four Playdead animators and programmers — Mikkel Bøgeskov Svendsen, Andreas Normand Grøntved, Søren Trautner Madsen, and Lasse Jon Fuglsang Pedersen — will explain how they built the surprise lurking at the end of their hit game Inside.
Attendees will see unexpected inspirational sources, learn about making softbody physics with impulse and intent forces battling for control, using procedural animation to reflect intent and establish realism, and melting pieces together with shading. Above all attendees will enjoy some advocacy for wild, unmanaged forms of collaboration, to create the unknown.
Speaking of collaboration: Matthew Gallant is a game designer at Naughty Dog, and in his Design track talk on “Authored vs. Systemic: Finding a Balance for Combat AI in ‘Uncharted 4‘” he’ll show you how to evaluate which aspects of combat AI should be authored by designers and which parts are better handled with systems-driven logic. This includes specific methods for assigning roles in combat situations, particularly when larger number of NPCs or complex level geometry are involved.
Plus, Travis Day — a senior game designer at Blizzard — will deliver a GDC 2017 Design track talk on “Rewards in Video Games” in which he’ll share some hard-learned lessons about how reward systems can guide or harm player experience.
See, over the past 12 years Day has worked on reward systems for both World of Warcraft and Diablo 3; at GDC he’ll be talking about the role of rewards in video games, what they do for players and the cost of using them.
Also, game developer Shawn Allen (currently working on Treachery in Beatdown City) will be giving a GDC 2017 talk on “Breaking Marginalized Character Narrative Molds to Write Better, Richer Characters” in which he’ll speak to his lived experience as a black game designer, writer, and cultural critic.
This is important because Allen will talk about why, in the video game space, there is a yearning to create more black and brown characters, and yet the results are usually mixed, with bad representations being the most common output. He’ll also speak about how he approached creating dozens of characters of various ethnic groups in a fictional New York, and how he too has stumbled on his way.
Meanwhile, Owlchemy’s Alex Schwartz and Devin Reimer (CEO and CTO, respectively) will be delivering a talk at GDC 2017 on “Spatial Storytelling Lessons from ‘Job Simulator‘ and ‘Rick and Morty VR‘“, and you won’t want to miss it if you have even a passing interest in VR or storytelling in games.
Devs know that telling stories and interacting with characters in VR is a deep challenge, one with little precedent and many ways to ruin the illusion for players. Characters need to be able to interrupt one another seamlessly, avoid staring and awkward expressions, and character interactions need to work properly for players of any height, to name just a few.
In this talk, Owlchemy Labs will share tips to avoid uncanny valley, increase empathy with character interactions, and cover gobs of actionable lessons learned through the development of VR titles Job Simulator and Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality. Don’t miss it!
Of course, when you register to attend GDC 2017 you’ll also be securing access to a wide variety of game development talks, roundtable discussions, postmortems and workshops. All passholders also have access to the GDC Expo Floor, located within the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, which serves as a showcase for cutting-edge technology from some of the industry’s biggest and most influential companies.
GDC 2017 itself will take place February 27th – March 3rd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
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