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2009 Independent Games Festival Announces Finalists

The 2009 Independent Games Festival (IGF) has revealed the finalists for this year's ninth installment of the pre-eminent indie game competition, with finalists showcased at the 2009 Game Developers Conference. From a record field of 226 entries, 30% over last year’s totals, a number of notable games scored multiple nominations this year.
These include orbital osmosis sim Osmos (3 nominations), abstract PSN action-er PixelJunk Eden (3 nominations), time-reversing guitar-compatible antishooter Retro/Grade (2 nominations), and atmospheric ball-ambulator Night Game (2 nominations).
Other examples of the finalists, which are viewable on the official IGF website, include charming exploration-game Blueberry Garden and music-based block puzzler Musaic Box, both double nominees, and several of the finalists for the new Innovation award, including Ratloop’s Mightier, Jason Rohrer’s Between and Tale Of Tales’ The Graveyard.
Finalists were decided by a panel made up of over 40 industry-leading game creators and journalists, including the makers of previous IGF honorees World Of Goo, Braid, Aquaria and N+; industry veterans from studios including Maxis, Big Huge Games, and SuperVillain Studios; and noted writers from Wired, Newsweek, and MTV.

GDC 2009 Reveals Localization Summit Specifics

The organizers of the inaugural Localization Summit at the 2009 Game Developers Conference have announced initial speakers and sessions for the innovative two-day localization summit, including a keynote from Electronic Arts VP Jaime Gine and notables from BioWare, Sega, Babel, and more.
The GDC Localization Summit will take place on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco as part of Game Developers Conference 2009. Englobe’s Tom Edwards and Roehampton University’s Miguel A. Bernal-Merino are the Summit's principal advisors.
The recently confirmed keynote for the Summit will be 'Localization: The Pathway to Truly Global Game Development' from Jaime Gine, VP of International Development Services at Electronic Arts.
Gine runs EA's worldwide localization efforts, including the company's Multilingual European Development Centre and the Singapore Integration Studio, translating the publisher's titles into more than 23 languages.

Previewing GDC 2009: Inside The Audio Track

[In the first of a series picking out the most notable Game Developers Conference 2009 lectures and reprinted here, sister website Gamasutra examines the Audio Track, which includes talks from the sonic creators behind LittleBigPlanet, Fable II, and the Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy series.]
Game Developers Conference 2009 (organized by Gamasutra parent company Think Services) is due to take place in San Francisco's Moscone Center from March 23 to 27, 2009.
With over 230 sessions already confirmed for GDC 2009, we'll be taking a track by track look at the conference's line-up over the next few weeks.
First up is GDC's audio track, which "looks at the game development process from the standpoint of developing dynamic video game sound, and offers direction for developers who wish to understand complex sound composition strategies."
Notable highlights thus far announced for this track, which takes place on the main Wednesday to Friday of GDC (March 25-27), are as follows:
- Media Molecule's Kenneth Young will present 'User Generated Content - LittleBigPlanet's Audio Approach', highlighting the unique challenges of the PS3's signature holiday 2008 title, and focusing on "the thinking and methodology that lie behind its use of sound and music in the challenging landscape that is user-generated interactive entertainment."

GDC's 2009 Experimental Gameplay Sessions Calls For Submissions

The organizers of the Experimental Gameplay Sessions lecture at the 2009 Game Developers Conference are calling for submissions for their yearly showcase of innovative games.
This regular extended GDC lecture, which has taken place since 2002, is organized by Braid designer Jonathan Blow and friends.
It's notable for being an early showcase for a multitude of alternative games and game concepts, including a pre-launch Katamari Damacy and Portal.

GDC 2009 Announces Molyneux, Harmonix Sessions, Summit Keynotes

Game Developers Conference organizer Think Services announced several speakers and sessions for next year's GDC event, to be held in San Francisco's Moscone Center from March 23 to 27, 2009.
As part of the Game Design track, Lionhead Studios CEO Peter Molyneux will present 'Lionhead Experiments Revealed', a lecture on a range of experimental ideas and technologies at his company, and how they might might be incorporated into new Lionhead projects.
Other highlighted design sessions include "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: Design Lessons Learned from Rock Band" with Harmonix senior designer Dan Teasdale, and "Player's Expression: The Level Design Structure Behind Far Cry 2 and Beyond?" with Ubisoft's Jonathan Morin.
Other notable speakers in the Production track include Maxis producer Caryl Shaw on 'Spore: Fulfilling the Massively-Single Player Promise - How'd We Do?', Bungie producer Allen Murray presenting "a brutally honest look at the evolution of production at Bungie from Halo-s 1 to 3".

Game Developers Choice Awards Opens Full Nominations

[The organizers have just opened nominations for the 2008 Choice Awards, so if you're a developer and would like to vote on the best games of the year, with winners showcased at the big GDC ceremony in March - now's the time.]
The 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards has now opened nominations for the best games of 2008, with awards given out at GDC 2009 and Gamasutra members able to help decide nominees.
Next year’s 9th Annual Award Ceremony, will be hosted on March 25th, 2009 in the Esplanade Room in the South Hall of San Francisco’s Moscone Center, as part of Game Developers Conference 2009.
The Choice Awards, the most prestigious honors in video game development, are now available for you to nominate, after logging on with your main Gamasutra.com user ID. (You can register for free if you do not currently have one.)
The Game Developers Choice Awards recognizes excellence in the art of game creation in any genre or platform. Last year's event saw Valve's Portal the recipient of three major honors, including Game of the Year, with three awards also going to 2K Boston/2K Australia's BioShock.
The 2009 award categories currently open for nominations until January 5th, 2009, are:

9th Game Developers Choice Awards Opens Special Nominations

The 9th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards has launched a call for nominations for its three Special Awards, including Lifetime Achievement, Pioneer, and Ambassador Awards, with nominating power for Gamasutra members.
Voted on entirely by game professionals, next year’s 9th Annual Award Ceremony will be hosted on March 25th, 2009 in the Esplanade Room in the South Hall of San Francisco’s Moscone Center, as part of Game Developers Conference 2009.
As the first part of this year's voting process, three special Choice Awards - the Ambassador Award, the Pioneer Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award - are available for nominations after logging on with your main Gamasutra.com user ID. (You can register for free if you do not currently have one.)
These special awards honor individuals whose achievements have made an impact on games and the game community as a whole, and not necessarily only over the past year:

Bosslady Blog: China, Europe, Canada, GDC Lecture Debuts

[In her latest Bosslady Blog update, Game Developers Conference event director Meggan Scavio discusses the announcements of GDC China and GDC Europe, and reveals the first lectures from GDC, including Braid's David Hellman, MGS' David Wu and FF Tactics composer Hitoshi Sakimoto.]
There is so much going on around here these days, I don’t even know where to start. I know…reverse chronology!
Let me take you on a journey to the future. Picture it: October 11, 2009, Shanghai. Do you see it? Are you there? You’ll know because you’re at GDC China. That’s right -- we launched GDC China back in 2007, ran into, let’s call them 'hurdles' in 2008, and are forging our way back in 2009. Keep your ears and eyes open for more information. The first GDC China exceeded all expectations -- and without sounding too cheerleadery, I predict the second one will be even better.
OK, now stay in the future, just in the not-as-distant one. Picture it: August 17, 2009, Cologne. That’s right, GDC Europe. Now this gets a little complicated, see if you can stay with me. GCDC, run by Frank Sliwka, was the developer event that was co-located with Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. Frank is now going to run GDC Europe, which is being presented in conjunction with gamescom in Cologne and is supported by BIU, the largest European publisher trade body. GDC Europe will be a truly pan-European developer conference and will follow the model of the GDC in San Francisco.
Last but by no means least is GDC Canada. Vancouver. May 2009. Be there!
New Sessions Announced!
Now we arrive at GDC in San Francisco. March, 2009. Today, we announced our first round of conference sessions, and there are some real gems:

2009 GDC China Event Officially Announced

Think Services Game Group, producers of the Game Developers Conferences, Game Developer Magazine, and Gamasutra.com, has announced it will present the second Game Developers Conference China (GDC China) in Shanghai from October 11th-13th, 2009.
Supported by an advisory board that includes representatives from Shanda, Epic Games China, 9you and DJL International and endorsed by key government agencies associated with the industry, GDC China will once again bring the GDC’s authoritative content and global reach to the region.
GDC China aims to advance the state of China’s game industry by featuring top-quality content and incorporating the GDC’s global development community perspective. The 2007 inaugural event was produced “by developers, for developers,” offering unique learning, sharing and networking opportunities for the Chinese market.

GDC 2009 Reveals Inaugural AI Summit Details

The organizers of the inaugural AI Summit at the 2009 Game Developers Conference have announced initial speakers and sessions for the landmark two-day artificial intelligence summit, including notables from EA Maxis, Ubisoft Montreal, Rockstar Leeds, Nintendo and more.
The event, which is taking place on March 23rd and 24th, 2009 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco as part of Game Developers Conference, promises to give attendees an inside look at key AI architectures and issues within successful commercial games.
Key speakers already announced for the Summit include EA Maxis' Soren Johnson, AI programmer/designer for Spore and AI professionals from EA Montreal and Ubisoft Montreal, as part of a panel "exploring ways to manage the gap between designers and AI programmers to help establish better practices for this important (and inevitable) collaboration."

GDC Europe To Take Place At 2009 GamesCom

Think Services has announced its flagship European event, Game Developers Conference (GDC) Europe for August 17th-19th 2009, alongside new German consumer games event GamesCom, with former GCDC head Frank Sliwka joining Think Services to run the event.
Think Services also runs game industry events including next March's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and September's Austin GDC, as well as the recently announced GDC Canada, while also operating Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine.
Frank Sliwka, who formerly worked at GC organizer Leipziger Messe, where he was conference director for the GC Developers Conference (GCDC) and national/international advisor, will join the Think Services Game Group as Vice President of European Business Development and Event Director, GDC Europe.

GDC Mobile Announces 2009 Focus, iPhone Lectures

Organizers for March 2009's GDC Mobile summit have revealed a focus on emerging platforms such as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android, as well as initial speakers from EA and Indiagames, for the mobile-specific game event taking place on the first two days of GDC 2009.
The GDC Mobile conference (created by Think Services) gathers creators, publishers, technology providers, handset manufacturers, and distributors to discuss the future of the medium.
This year's program will cover six tracks encompassing the entirity of mobile gaming: New Platforms, Game Design, Programming, Deals & Distribution, Production, and Original Innovation.

2009 Independent Games Summit Announces First Speakers

The organizers of the 2009 Independent Games Summit have announced initial speakers for the March 2009 GDC-included conference, including notables from 2D Boy (World Of Goo), Stardock (Sins Of A Solar Empire), and more.
Initial confirmed speakers for the event, which is taking place on March 23rd and 24th, 2009 as part of the 2009 Game Developers Conference, include 2D Boy co-founder Ron Carmel, talking on 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Going Indie But Were Afraid to Ask'. As is explained in the lecture description:
"When Ron Carmel and his business partner Kyle Gabler formed 2D Boy and started making the IGF award-winning World Of Goo, they knew a bit about game design and programming, but hardly anything about the business aspect of making a game... Having published on Wii/WiiWare and PC both physically and digitally in multiple territories, Carmel explains how they managed it, with plenty of real-world numbers plugged in."

Bosslady Blog: Content is King

[Ever wondered how talks get selected for GDC? Game Developers Conference event director Meggan Scavio reveals this year's GDC advisory board and submission process.]
Every summer, the GDC advisory board gathers to discuss the direction of the next event. The board is made up of 17 of the most dedicated, brilliant people in the industry. And I’m not just saying that because they might read this.
You may have heard of some of them, for example Blizzard’s Rob Pardo, Electronic Arts' Lou Castle, veteran creator Mark Cerny, Bungie's Chris Butcher, MGS's Laura Fryer, and Maxis’ Chris Hecker. See, it’s true. Smarties.
Anyhow, during this meeting they talk about everything from networking opportunities (“wouldn’t it be cool to have a roundtable follow a thought-provoking lecture so the attendees can discuss what they just heard?”) to session formats (“what if we gave speakers 3 minutes each to present their cool idea or technology”).

2009 IGF Announces Record Entries For Main, Student Competitions

The organizers of the 2009 Independent Games Festival have announced a record turnout for this year's IGF competition, with a total of 226 entries in the Main Competition (an increase of 30% on last year's 173 entries), and a total of 145 Student Showcase entries (up over 15% on last year's 125 entries).
Information on the 226 separate IGF Main Competition entries, including screenshots, descriptions, and links to official game websites, are now available to view on the official IGF website.
Examples of the entries span already announced indie titles, including Jason Rohrer's Between, alternate reality RPG Barkley Shut Up and Jam Gaiden, visually lush point and click adventure Machinarium, and art-game I Wish I Were The Moon, through previously little-discussed titles such as Pieces Interactive's "first walk'em up" Walkie Tonky, new Nifflas-designed title Night Game, and Lexaloffle's "ecological action game" Conflux.

 

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