Diamond Partner Q&A: Intel's Roger Chandler wants to help devs make great PC games

At GDC 2019, attendees will have the opportunity to interact with an array of sponsors who help fuel the games industry, including our Diamond Partners, whose support plays an integral role to the success of GDC.

To introduce you to our Diamond Partner Intel, and what they'll be showcasing at GDC 2019, we reached out to Roger Chandler, vice president at Intel's Architecture, Graphics, and Software group. He was kind enough to join us for a quick chat about how Intel is working to support game devs working in the PC games market! 

1. Could you please introduce yourself and your role at Intel to our GDC attendees? 

You bet. I’m Roger Chandler, a VP in our Intel Architecture, Graphics, and Software group. I have been a lifelong PC gamer and cut my teeth in software writing sprite-based games and D&D character-creation applications in BASIC when I was a kid. I joined Intel in the late 90s as a biz app programmer, but eventually moved into gaming and graphics projects.  I’ve spent the past 18 years working with the games industry in the Intel Labs, as part of Intel’s Pentium® product team, with our graphics products team, or in our global software organization. My first GDC was in 2000, when Bill Gates gave the keynote and announced the first Xbox, and I’ve attended pretty much every year since. 

Today I lead the Developer Relations team focused on the games, content creation, and multimedia software industries. Our mission is to ensure developers worldwide have all they need to create games, content-creation apps, and consumer software that end users love. We provide extensive technical, engineering, and business support to developers and ISVs, helping deliver great experiences on Intel-based platforms. We also promote games and applications that showcase what our hardware can do. I am a gamer, across many platforms, but love PC Gaming. Personally, I am seeing PC gaming enter a renaissance, with business booming, innovation ramping, and countless amazing experiences offered exclusively to PC users. And all of this is driven by the passion and ingenuity of developers.
 
2. Would you please explain what we can expect from Intel at GDC? 

We want to be a trusted partner for game developers who want to optimize their PC game’s performance and maximize their reach on one of the largest gaming platforms in the world, the PC.  To that end, this year we’ll be showcasing programs, technologies, tools, and great new games optimized for Intel architecture. We’ll lead sessions, tutorials, and demonstrations impacting game development on Intel technologies such as Intel® Core™ processors, Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers, and Intel® Optane™ memory, and cloud-driven opportunities. 

All developers are invited to swing by our booth for hands-on, in-depth demos and conversations of new technology influencing Intel products. We’ll show how to speed up game development and make games more real with the power of Intel Core CPUs. For devs interested in learning more about publishing a game, a limited number of one-on-one consultations with our publishing partner, Green Man Gaming are available. 
Devs can find us in our booth on the show floor, in the Indie Lounge, in our University Games Showcase, in the diversity mentorship café, and in mixers with partners such as Unity.  We will also be hosting ongoing, live pick-up eSports matches for attendees who want to blow off a little steam and frag their friends.

3. Intel provides significant documentation and support for developers through the Intel® Game Dev Program. Why does Intel provide universal access to its tools? 

A strong, open ecosystem is foundational to industry growth and to ensuring Intel can support the largest number of developers. We believe that the most exciting advances and opportunities for game developers are on the PC and on Intel® technology, and we invite everyone to join the Intel Game Dev Program for additional benefits that include tools, resources, and opportunities to bring the best game experience to the biggest worldwide audience. Regardless of your experience level or where you are in your development cycle, you will get access to powerful tools, libraries, and other resources to help you test and optimize your games for the very best experience on Intel architecture. Tools such as the Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzer are free, and our programs are open to everyone.

4. What can developers look forward to from Intel in the near future? 

Last year, we launched the Intel Game Dev Program, offering extensive benefits and new go-to-market opportunities that include: 

a.    Free tools and Intel testing certification programs
b.    Access to resources and people to help you finish and publish your game 
c.    Inspired communities where you can connect, showcase your work, and solve problems
d.    Promotional opportunities through PR campaigns and social magnification
e.    Monetization opportunities through myriad Intel channels 

Moving forward, we want to level-up all of this. As Intel rapidly evolves CPU, GPU, and platform technologies, devs will find it easier to unleash all of that compute power. PC gaming is a tremendous industry with billions of users and, for decades, Intel has been one of its greatest advocates. 

5. What technology shifts and trends are you tracking that could dramatically influence game development?  

There are a number of trends underway now that you can generally imagine what the end-state could be like. None of this is too provocative. Personally, I see a continuing democratization of game distribution, with more choices for discovering and purchasing games, and more developer-friendly terms for how to sell them. As well, games and platforms will better empower their users to seamlessly create and stream/publish their own content about their gameplay. We’ll see billions of mainstream PCs reach a dependable performance threshold that will exponentially increase the potential user base for anyone developing a high-performance, graphically intensive game. 
 
Eventually we’ll see tech like real-time ray tracing (which Intel has been working on for years) finally hit the mainstream. New platforms are coming, in new form factors, that can change the way gamers interact with games, from more intuitive voice interactions to dual and foldable screens on personal devices, along with more accessible VR and AR experiences. CPU and accelerator-driven client-side AI will improve the believability of in-game NPCs, and help coach players to become better eSports competitors. eSports is here and is a global force that brings in millions of new gamers – I see this evolving into hundreds of millions of minor-league, community-league, and college-league competitors, which will further change the face of gaming.

Looking far ahead, it can get really interesting. I’m curious about how the building blocks to the “metaverse” will come together. I think of the metaverse as a Ready Player One-like scenario, but better. How can anyone anywhere experience anything, whenever they want, in a highly realistic and interactive way? As an industry, we must solve tremendous problems on the platform, in the network, in the cloud, with the business models, with the engines, middleware, and tools, with the scalable content that users can contribute to, and with security. If that’s where we are headed, how do we form a common vision, and then work backward from there, openly collaborating as an industry? I’m confident it’s the collective work of the brilliant minds that converge at GDC each year that are going to make it a reality.
 
6. What kind of questions should developers come prepped with when they meet with you and your colleagues at GDC this year?
 
We would love to provide insights on a lot of questions, such as:
 
b. What Intel tools and services are available to help me develop on PC?
c. What specific technologies or capabilities can developers utilize in their current dev cycle?
d. Does Intel or Intel Game Dev provide hardware or cloud services for testing?
e. Are there opportunities to collaborate with Intel around development and/or marketing?
f. What social and marketing engagements are available for developers?
g. Which events provide training and opportunities to demo and promote upcoming titles?    
h. How can I sign up for the Intel Game Dev Program? 
i. Why is optimizing for the Intel CPU such a critical element of delivering great games? 
j. What are the market opportunities for me if I want to target mainstream PC users who have Intel integrated graphics-based systems?
k. Why should I prioritize the PC platform as a design target for my game? 
 
There are many more, but these should get the ball rolling. For anyone interested in learning more about what we do, where we will be at GDC, and where we are going, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter at @rogerdchandler, or follow our Intel Twitter handles at @IntelGraphics, @IntelGaming, and @Intel.

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