GDC 2010, Google Reveal Android Phone Promotion

Game Developers Conference 2010 organizers have announced that they are working together with Google "to celebrate and inspire the mobile and independent game development communities" by offering free Nexus One and Verizon Droid by Motorola phones to select attendees.

GDC Debuts 2010 Indie Games Summit Line-Up

GDC 2010 organizers have revealed an initial set of Independent Games Summit talks for the March event, including notable lectures by Ron Carmel (World Of Goo) and Randy Smith (Spider).
The summit, now in its fourth year and taking place on March 9th-10th during Game Developers Conference 2010 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, features lectures, postmortems and roundtables from some of the most notable independent game creators -- including many former and current Independent Games Festival finalists and winners.
Overall, the 2010 Independent Games Summit "seeks to highlight the brightest and the best of indie development, with discussions ranging from game design philosophy, distribution, business, marketing, and much more."
Advisors for the Summit include Independent Games Festival chairman Simon Carless and independent developers such as Flashbang Studios founder Matthew Wegner (Off-Road-Velociraptor Safari), as well as colleague Steve Swink (Shadow Physics).
With a final set of lectures to be announced soon, a number of major talks have been revealed on the Summit homepage. Highlights include the following:
- Indies and Publishers: Fixing a System That Never Worked
In IGS 2010's kickoff talk, 2D Boy co-founder Ron Carmel (World Of Goo) will discuss "the problems with the current model (a tenant farming ecosystem built upon a weak security model), contrast how Valve and Microsoft deal with developers, and propose that creating more transparency in the game industry will give rise to a healthy model for developers and publishers/distributors to work together."
- Increasing Our Reach: Designing To Grab and Retain Players
During his keynote talk, Looking Glass Studios veteran and Steven Spielberg collaborator Randy Smith (Thief) will talkk about the design concepts behind 'immediacy with depth', as applied to his recent iPhone hit Spider: The Secret Of Bryce Manor. He notes: "The indie games movement should be the wellspring of daring and innovative ideas, but we need a sizable and devoted audience to help us realize that potential. How do we reach more players? Is there something we’re doing wrong?", and vows to look at design solutions.

2010 IGF Reveals Student Showcase Winners

The Independent Games Festival, the popular industry event highlighting and awarding the talents of independent game developers at Game Developers Conference 2010, has announced the winners of the 2010 IGF Student Showcase, which recognizes outstanding indie game development taking place on school and university campuses around the world.
This year's set of ten Student Showcase winners include titles such as Utrecht School of the Arts & USC's virtual paper-folding puzzle game Paper Cakes, DePaul University's first-person 'sound visualization' title Devil's Tuning Fork, and Chalmers University's ingenious card-shuffling platform game Continuity.
These ten games will go on to compete for the Best Student Game Prize, announced on stage at the Independent Games Festival Awards, held Thursday, March 11, 2010, in San Francisco at GDC 2010.
The Student Showcase-winning games -- all of which will also be playable at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC 2010 show floor -- were chosen from a remarkable field of entries by an opt-in subset of the more than 150 notable game industry figures judging the IGF Main Competition.
The full list of this year's winners is as follows:

GDC 2010 Adds Programming Talks On God Of War III, Starcraft II, More

The organizers of Game Developers Conference 2010 have revealed major Programming Track talks for the March 9th-13th event, including lectures on God Of War III, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Starcraft II, Uncharted 2 and more.
The announcements continue a set of GDC 2010 track-specific announcements, this one focusing on the Programming Track, which "focuses on these challenges and the opportunities presented by next and current generation development including: mature consoles, new handhelds, a highly competitive sales environment, and increased demand for very high production values in games."
The subset of the Game Developers Conference 2010 Advisory Board tasked with programming this track include major industry figures such as Bungie's Chris Butcher, industry veteran Mark Cerny, and former EA fellow Chris Hecker.
Some of the highlighted Programming lectures just announced for the San Francisco Moscone Center-based event include the following:
- Shadows In God of War III
This lecture, conducted by SCEA's Ben Diamand, "provides a detailed view of Sony Santa Monica's approach to shadows in its upcoming title, God of War III. It covers the general techniques employed, and a variety of specific details about what features were supported and what tradeoffs were made."
- Designing for Performance, Scalability & Reliability: StarCraft II's Approach
Blizzard's Dominic Filion will present a detailed lecture "on how Blizzard approached engine development on StarCraft II, centering on aspects of developments that are central to Blizzard's philosophy: scalability, performance and robustness. Lessons learned throughout StarCraft II's development will be demonstrated and a variety of techniques to handle these issues will be presented."

Uncharted 2, Flower, ACII Lead 10th Choice Award Nominations

Organizers have revealed the nominees for the tenth annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the leading peer-based video game industry awards, to be given out at Game Developers Conference 2010 in San Francisco this March. Nominations this year are led by Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, with seven nominations.
The acclaimed title is closely followed by five nominations for Thatgamecompany's evocative downloadable game Flower, and four nominations for Ubisoft Montreal's well-received Renaissance action game sequel Assassin's Creed II.
In addition to the aforementioned Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Assassin's Creed II, this year's Game Of The Year nominations are rounded out by BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins, From Software's Demon's Souls, and Rocksteady Studios' Batman: Arkham Asylum. Other multiple nominees include notably diverse titles such as PopCap's Plants Vs. Zombies and Infinity Ward's Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
The changes in today's game industry are well represented in the Game Developers Choice Awards this year by the inclusion of multiple iPhone titles (including Flight Control and Spider: The Secret Of Bryce Manor) as nominations in existing categories, as well as console downloadable titles such as Q Games' PixelJunk Shooter and RedLynx's Trials HD.
Organizers have also further diversified the awards by adding a Best New Social/Online Games category this year, with both Facebook and free-to-play online games competing for the new prize.

GDC Canada 2010 Announced, Opens Registration

Think Services' Game Developers Conference Canada will be returning for its second year this May, offering lectures and networking opportunities focused on the burgeoning Canadian development scene.
Registration is now open for the event at the official GDC Canada website. The event will be taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7 2010.

Valve’s Newell To Receive 2010 Game Developers Choice Pioneer Award

The 2010 Game Developers Choice Awards, the highest honors in video game development, has named Valve co-founder Gabe Newell as the winner of this year's Pioneer Award, with Newell to be honored in-person at GDC 2010 in San Francisco this March.
The Pioneer Award was originated by the Game Developers Choice Awards organizers at the 2008 Awards, is presented at Game Developers Conference each year, and was the first award to honor breakthrough figures in the game industry. It celebrates those individuals responsible for developing a vital technology or game design at a crucial juncture in video game history, paving the way for the many who followed them.
This year, the Choice Awards Advisory Committee, which includes notables such as Ben Cousins (EA DICE), Harvey Smith (Arkane), Raph Koster (Metaplace), John Vechey (PopCap), Ray Muzyka (BioWare), Clint Hocking (Ubisoft), and others voted to give the Pioneer Award to Valve's Newell.
He is being awarded for his work in co-creating PC key digital download service Steam, and helping to make possible some of the most important video games of the past two decades -- from the Half-Life series through Portal to Team Fortress and beyond.

GDC Bosslady Blog: The Countdown Begins!

[In her latest Bosslady Blog update, Game Developers Conference event director Meggan Scavio fills attendees in this year's new summits and some changes to the 2010 event.]
Now that my calendar reads 2010, I can officially start the “Countdown to GDC.” It goes a little something like this:
1. Find March 9th on my laminated wall calendar
2. Count the weeks back until I reach the current week.
3. Curse out loud
4. Start a list of all the things yet to do
5. Break into a light sweat.
One of the items on my to-do list is to talk a little bit about what we’ve been up to here at GDC headquarters - besides being excited about the Independent Games Festival Nominees while also being inflamed about Spider-Man 4. Inflamed!
When not already missing Sam Raimi even though Spider-Man 3 was awful, we’re surprisingly productive.
Some of you may have seen the announcement of the newly-formed iPhone Summit taking place March 9-10. Focusing on both the technical and business aspects of developing games for the platform, the iPhone Summit at GDC 2010 will run 1050m before hitting a wall and tumbling to a Canabalt postmortem.
To avoid tumbling to your death, there will also be a session on knowing what you’re signing by understanding the iPhone contract along with how to capture the female iPhone gamer (hint: hot vampires.) The iPhone Summit program is coming together quite nicely, and I suspect there will be more good stuff to announce in that department soon.

Final Fantasy XIII, Halo Audio Sessions Added To GDC 2010 Line-Up

The organizers of Game Developers Conference 2010 have added several new Audio Track lectures, including talks on prominent titles such as Final Fantasy XIII, Dante's Inferno and the Halo franchise.
Continuing the GDC 2010 track-specific announcements, following new Business Track details, the Audio Track "looks at the game development process from the standpoint of developing dynamic videogame sound and offers direction for developers who wish to understand complex sound composition strategies."
The notables at the Game Developers Conference 2010 Advisory Board tasked with programming the Audio Track include Media Molecule's Kenneth Young (LittleBigPlanet), veteran composer Chance Thomas (Lord Of The Rings Online, Avatar), Video Games Live co-creator Tommy Tallarico, and more.
Some of the new Audio Track lectures confirmed for the March 11th-13th Main Conference track devoted to game audio include:
- Final Fantasy XIII's Motion-Controlled Real-Time Automatic Sound Triggering System
This presentation from two Square Enix Japan notables working on Final Fantasy XIII, Yoshinori Tsuchida and Tomohiro Yajima, will explain how, in the big-budget RPG, "new techniques have been introduced for creating sound effects that automatically trigger in response to the angles and velocities of characters -- as well as collision detection algorithms assigned to every terrain in the game environment."
- Lost Planet 2: Bridging the Gap Between Developer and Contractor
Audio director Tomoya Kishi and supervising sound designer Peter Zinda will discuss the sound design work flow on Capcom's Lost Planet 2, which represented a major shift for the long time collaborators. The lecture will "concentrate on how Capcom involved sound designers in the audio implementation process, as well as technology used to enable long distance collaboration."

GDC 2010 Debuts Major Business-Focused Talks

The organizers of Game Developers Conference 2010 have revealed major Business Track talks for the March 9th-13th event, including EA DICE's Ben Cousins on "what Wal-Mart tells us about gaming", and the Tripwire and Tiger Style founders on game biz success.
The announcements come as part of the first of a series of GDC 2010 track-specific announcements, this one focusing on the Business & Management Track, which "looks at the game development process from the standpoint of running the business, and offers proven strategies for the developer who needs to understand complex business issues."
The subset of the Game Developers Conference 2010 Advisory Board tasked with programming this track include notables such as Epic Games president Mike Capps, InstantAction CEO and Westwood Studios co-founder Lou Castle, and Warner Bros. Seattle studio GM Laura Fryer.
Some of the highlighted Business Track lectures already announced for the San Francisco Moscone Center-based event include the following:
- Crushing The Overhead: Case Study of A Microstudio Start-Up
In this lecture, Thief designer Randy Smith explains his indie studio Tiger Style released Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor on the iPhone, topping the App Store charts amidst praise from players and press and netting over a quarter of a million dollars. He will discuss "team building, infrastructure, sales, compensation, process, schedule, project direction, product design, marketing, and more."

GDC 2010 Announces iPhone Games Summit Line-Up

GDC 2010 organizers have revealed the initial iPhone Games Summit line-up for the March 9th-10th event, including tech and biz talks from the creators of Canabalt, Touch Pets Dogs and more.
The notable new summit, taking place on the first two days of Game Developers Conference 2010 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco next March, will bring together top game developers from around the world to explore ideas, share best practices, and discuss the future of Apple's handheld platform.
The two-day program will highlight the best of iPhone development, with an entire day discussing the nuts and bolts of technical and design techniques. The second day will focus on the business and marketing strategies behind successful iPhone game companies.
Some of the heavyweight Summit advisors for the event from the world of iPhone games include Electronic Arts' mobile VP Travis Boatman, Snappy Touch founder Noel Llopis (Flower Garden), and Ngmoco VP Alan Yu.
With other major lectures to be announced soon, a number of significant talks have been revealed on the Summit homepage. These include:

Independent Games Festival 2010 Announces Main Competition Finalists

The Independent Games Festival has announced the Main Competition finalists for the twelfth annual presentation of its prestigious awards, celebrating the most innovative creations to come out of the independent game development community this year.
Nearly $50,000 in prizes in various categories, including the $20,000 Seamus McNally Grand Prize will be awarded on stage at the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 11, 2010 during the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The record-setting 306 Main Competition entries represent a 35% increase over last year's record 226 entries, many of them striking new titles from leading indie developers.
This year's finalists are led by multiple nominations for several notable games, including three nominations for innovative light-centric puzzle platformer Closure, and two nominations each -- including a Grand Prize nomination -- for Pocketwatch Games' stylish co-op heist game Monaco, Hello Games' polished stunt motorbike title Joe Danger, Ratloop Asia's cinematic avian action title Rocketbirds: Revolution!, Krystian Majewski's gestural photographic adventure game Trauma, and Team Meat's cartoon-gory 2D action title Super Meat Boy!.
To ensure the highest-quality judging for the IGF, more than 150 leading indie and mainstream game industry figures -- from 2D Boy's Ron Carmel through Spore's Soren Johnson to ThatGameCompany's Kellee Santiago and beyond -- were recruited to choose finalists via a carefully constructed empirical process.
The Festival is particularly keen to give constructive, written feedback to Main Competition entrants -- even if they did not place as a finalist. As a result, over 1500 written, anonymized judge comments will be passed along to entrants in the next few days, an important part of deriving value and takeaway from entering the IGF.
In addition, for the first year, the IGF's Nuovo Award, intended to "honor abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which advances the medium and the way we think about games", was judged by a separate, smaller juried panel of notable game and art world figures. These spanned previous IGF Nuovo winner Jason Rohrer (Passage), Area/Code's Frank Lantz, N+ co-creator Mare Sheppard, EA division head and art-game creator Rod Humble, and more.
The jury for the $2,500 Nuovo Award, which allows more esoteric 'art games' to compete on their own terms alongside longer-form indie titles, has released a statement about the chosen Nuovo finalists, including several 'honorable mentions', on the official IGF website.
The finalists for the 2010 Independent Games Festival are:

Reminder: Last Day For GDC 2010 Alumni Discount

Game Developers Conference 2010 organizers are reminding 2008 and 2009 GDC attendees that December 22nd is the last day to register with an alumni discount for the March 9th-13th, 2010 show in San Francisco.

 

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