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Riot shares tips on fostering online sportsmanship at GDC 2014

league_of_legends.jpgPasses for the Game Developers Conference 2014 are going fast, and today we're proud to announce a new batch of sessions that you'll want to check out.

Session highlights today include a guide to fostering sportsmanship in online games, a talk from a Valve artist about how the company created a large volume of art for CS:GO efficiently, and more.

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.

Fostering online sportsmanship

Riot Games' lead designer of social systems Jeffrey Lin makes his living studying and improving the social aspects of League of Legends, and he's coming to GDC this year to share what he's learned about fostering positivity and sportsmanship in multiplayer games. His talk, titled simply Enhancing Sportsmanship in Online Games, Lin plans to present the latest findings in group dynamics and social psychology to show how different compositions of players significantly affects the level of cooperation. By combining the latest research from online games with classic psychological theories, Lin hopes to help attendees better understand how to develop features that can improve the level of player sportsmanship in their online games.

Crafting the gear that keeps the CS:GO economy going

Here's a fun question: how did Valve manage to whip up all the art assets to fill out Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with just two artists? You can find out at GDC 2014 when Bronwen Grimes, a technical artist at Valve, takes the stage to give a talk about the process titled Building the Content that Drives the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Economy. Bronwen plans to explain how two artists used shader tricks to create lots of high-quality visuals quickly, then monitored the CS:GO community to figure out what assets were most popular and focused on making more to keep the game's economy, which is powered by micro-transactions, humming along. It should be a pretty broad talk, and anyone curious about learning new ways to quickly create lots of art assets should walk away with some actionable advice.

Rediscovering your creativity

Game design is fueled by passion, and sometimes those passions run dry. Artist Peter Chan is leading a session at GDC 2014 that aims to provide advice on overcoming creative blocks and finding your "authentic creativity" by exploring the challenges Chan has faced in his own artistic career, most notably while working at LucasArts as a concept artist on projects like Grim Fandango and, later, on films like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Rio. You can find the talk under the title Rediscovering Authentic Creativity, and those who choose to attend can expect to hear Chan's thoughts on the best way to overcome an artist's deepest, darkest fears and listen to their intuition to create great art. The talk is geared towards visual artists, but anyone who makes things for a living should get something of value from Chan's session.

More essential GDC details

Earlier GDC 2014 announcements include a bunch of great talks on the Advocacy track, among them a guide to incorporating LGBTQ themes in your work, a session highlighting the value of developing for disabled gamers, and a talk from Russ Pitts about how to depression-proof your studio. Developers on Robotron 2084, Kerbal Space Program, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf 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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