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2010 GDC China Adds Happy Farm, Bigpoint, League Of Legends Talks

This December's Game Developers Conference China is debuting further new Chinese and Western speakers for its December 5th-7th Shanghai event, including major talks from Happy Farm's creators, Riot Games (League Of Legends) and German browser game giant Bigpoint.

These announcements, with all talks simultaneously translated between English and Chinese languages, add to multiple high-profile speakers already confirmed for the event. GDC China is run by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, as is this website, and takes place at the Shanghai International Convention Center.

Some of the the newly announced speakers include the following:

- In 'League Of Legends Postmortem: One Year Later', Riot Games president Marc Merrill will look back at the last year of live operation on the popular multiplayer online battle-arena title, recently the winner of multiple awards at the Game Developers Choice Online Awards in Austin.

Merrill will discuss "lessons learned and some key factors for developing, launching and supporting a core game that is operated as a live service", including surprises and challenges the team faced, spanning strategies to optimize the live feedback loop, key roles and live team structure.

- Presenting 'Philosophies and Principles of Creating Social Games for Everyone' is Shaofei Gao, CEO and co-founder of Five Minutes Inc., the noted social game developer and maker of Happy Farm (pictured), which launched in 2008 in Asia -- predating Zynga's famous Western social network game hit FarmVille.

GDC Vault Adds Free FrontierVille, Bartle Videos, Nearly 90 Subscriber Talks

The GDC Vault service has debuted both free and subscriber-only videos from October's GDC Online event in Austin, Texas. Free-to-watch talks debuting include Brian Reynolds' keynote on lessons from Zynga's Frontierville, and Richard Bartle's acclaimed talk on the history of the Multi-User Dungeon (MUD).

Following the successful developer and business event that ran in Texas earlier this month, organizers of the Game Developers Conference series of events are making specially recorded versions of the talks available -- while also archiving all of the GDC Online content in video form for future use.

These new free talks debut alongside an update making available nearly 90 lecture videos from GDC Online for subscribers at the GDC Vault website. The site features video technology that allows users to simultaneously view a presenter's slides alongside video and audio of their presentation.

Alongside free slides from GDC Online presenters, the two new free GDC Online video lectures are:

- In 'Bears and Snakes! The Wild Frontier of Social Game Design', Zynga's chief game designer Brian Reynolds -- formerly at Firaxis and Big Huge Games and notable for his work on titles like Civilization II -- discussed the launch of Zynga's game FrontierVille and work around melding social and traditional game design that went into it.

Reynolds' introduction notes of the lecture: "We'll look at key
features such as missions, 'doobers', and varmints and explore how they
take traditional social game models and make them more entertaining.
Well also look at the ways we took traditional social game interactions
and made them more social" for the title, which currently has over 30
million monthly unique users.

- Also featured in video form is the acclaimed lecture 'MUD: Messrs Bartle and Trubshaw's Astonishing Contrivance'
from Multi-User Dungeon co-creator Richard Bartle, who was voted the
first Online Game Legend during the debut Game Developers Choice Online
Awards at the Austin show -- a show that is also available for viewing at GDC Vault.

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Record Main Competition Entrants

The organizers of the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival -- the longest-running and largest festival relating to independent games worldwide -- are proud to announce another year of record entry numbers for IGF 2011's Main Competition, following its submission deadline this week.

In total, this year's Main Competition, which will see finalists showcased and winners announced at GDC 2011 in San Francisco next March, took in just under 400 game entries -- many of them new titles from leading indie developers -- across all platforms.

This includes 150 entries for mobile hardware like the iPhone, iPad, DS, PSP and Android devices, with all mobile entries now eligible for all IGF 2011 prizes, including a unique Best Mobile Game award.

In-depth information and entrant-provided screenshots and videos on each of the IGF Main Competition entries are now available on IGF.com, a feature unique to the contest.

This total entry tally for the event comprises almost 30 percent more games than last year's record 306 Main Competition entries. This is itself a 35 percent rise over the previous year -- emphasizing the continued popularity and importance of both independent games and the IGF itself.

GDC China Adds Angry Birds, Monaco Creators To Summits

This December's Game Developers Conference China is debuting a host of new Chinese and Western speakers for its December 5th-7th Shanghai event, with all talks simultaneously translated between English and Chinese languages, and multiple new Summit speakers now confirmed.

These announcements, which include Angry Birds creators Rovio, Monaco's Andy Schatz, and Chinese indie Coconut Island Studio, are part of a GDC China Summits line-up which includes the Independent Games Summit, being held alongside the second annual IGF China, plus a Mobile Games Summit and a Social Games Summit.

Some of the the initial highlights for the Summits, which run alongside or preceding the major Online Game Development/Business & Global Game Development tracks, include:

- Independent Games Festival grand prize winner Andy Schatz will be presenting the cheekily named 'How to Win the IGF in 15 Weeks or Less' at the Independent Games Summit. He notes: "Monaco was entered into the IGF after 6 weeks of work by only one person. It became a finalist in the Grand Prize and Excellence in Design after 11 weeks of work. And it won both after 15 weeks."

In the simultaneously translated talk, the Pocketwatch Games one-man
team "will show how design-by-brownian-motion can not only lead to a
better finished product, but a faster schedule as well. Monaco's fanciest tech tricks and failed experiments will be revealed."

- The Mobile Game Summit talks include 'Angry Birds
- An Entertainment Franchise in the Making' by Peter Vesterbacka of
Finnish developer Rovio. He will examine the business and development
steps that led to massive success for the iPhone, iPad, and now Android hit, which has over 6.5 million App Store downloads as of August.

- In addition, Chinese-specific lectures in the Independent Games Summit include 'Surviving in the iPhone App Store - a Chinese Indie Story' by Wesley Bao, co-founder of Coconut Island Studio (iDragPaper,
which has 7 million downloads), as well as a research-oriented lecture
by Dongfeng Wang of 4399, examining indie opportunities in web
browser-based games, including "the common bottlenecks of developing web
games, what kind of gamers would like to spend money online while
playing."

Canadian Games Conference Announced For May 2011, Including 'Best Of GDC' Track

Event organizer Reboot Communications is announcing a new wholly-owned event, the Canadian Games Conference, debuting in Vancouver in May 2011 alongside the second annual Canadian Videogame Awards.

This newly branded event will offer cutting-edge keynotes, lecture and roundtable content from local, national, and international game creators, focusing on core topics like game design and programming alongside emerging smartphone and social game areas. It will also include a bustling expo floor.

In addition, the 2011 Canadian Games Conference is also the first-ever event to feature a special 'Best Of GDC' content track, including some of the best speakers and topics from the worldwide Game Developers Conferences.

This unique agreement for the 'Best Of GDC' content at the Canadian Games Conference evolves a partnership built around the former Game Developers Conference Canada event, which the Canadian Games Conference replaces and expands on. Reboot also ran the popular Vancouver International Game Summit from 2006 to 2008.

The official dates for the Canadian Games Conference will be May
19-20th, 2011 at the Vancouver Conference Centre. Once again, the show
will be preceded on May 18th by the 2nd Annual Canadian Videogame
Awards, also produced by Reboot Communications in conjunction with
Greedy Productions and DigiBC.

GDC 2011 Opens Registration, Extends Summit Submission Deadline

Organizers have announced that registration and an improved hotel booking system have opened for next February's Game Developers Conference 2011 in San Francisco, also reminding attendees of impending deadlines for GDC Summit lecture submissions and IGF game entries.

GDC showrunners have confirmed that passes are now purchasable for GDC 2011, which returns to the Moscone Convention Center from February 28th to March 4th for five days of summits, tutorials, lectures, panels and roundtable discussions presented by leading industry experts.

The first deadline for purchasing passes for this historic 25th GDC show is December 10th, for Alumni registration, and GDC 2010 attendees should be receiving an email with special registration codes in the next few days.

However, early registration passes -- with up to 35% off final pass prices -- can be bought by prospective attendees at any time.

In addition, GDC organizers have worked with lodging experts Passkey International to set up a special GDC-specific hotel finder, making booking your GDC 2011 hotel much easier. A dedicated site compiles space in all the hotel blocks for the show, making search and finding one or multiple rooms a single-step process.

2010 GDC Online Debuts Choice Awards Video Footage

GDC Online organizers have debuted a fully streaming version of the Game Developers Choice Online Awards on the GDC Vault website, including an Ultima Online tribute and full awards footage.

The presentation of the inaugural event last Thursday, was hosted by Mindspark Interactive Network's Mike Goslin at GDC Online in Austin, Texas. Following the live show, a free, chapter-ready version of the 50-minute long award ceremony, including acceptance speeches, game showcases and special awards was posted to the GDC Vault website.

Leading the night with wins in five categories was Riot's standout "multiplayer online battle arena" title League of Legends, which earned awards for Best Online Technology, Visual Arts, Game Design, and New Online Game.

Other Choice Online Award recipients include CCP, which received the Best Live Game award for EVE Online, World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment receiving the award for Best Community Relations, Social City by Playdom for Best Social Network Game, and more.

Particularly worth watching is the section on Origin and Electronic Arts' seminal MMO title, Ultima Online, recognized as the first Hall of Fame game by the GDC Online Awards.

The award for the honor was accepted on stage by key members of Ultima Online's original development team: Rich Vogel, launch producer, Starr Long, associate producer & director, and Raph Koster, lead designer, and many of the game's other producers (pictured above) were also introduced onstage by EA's Eugene Evans.

Riot's League of Legends Leads Game Developers Choice Online Award Winners

Riot Games' acclaimed online strategy title, League of Legends, received five awards at the first annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards, presented at a ceremony this evening at GDC Online in Austin, Texas.

The inaugural event, which was hosted by Mindspark Interactive Network's Mike Goslin, is a 'for developers, by developers' awards show.

It brought together developers of persistent online games -- including social network games, free-to-play titles and large-scale MMOs - to celebrate the rich history, technical excellence and continued innovation in the arena of online games.

Leading the night with wins in five categories was Riot's standout 'multiplayer online battle arena' title League of Legends, which earned awards for Best Online Technology, Visual Arts, Game Design and New Online Game.

The title also took home the coveted Audience Award, which honors the favorite game of the worldwide game community, after over 120,000 total votes were cast - nearly 70,000 of them verified, with an honorable mention going to KingsIsle Entertainment's Wizard101, which was a runner-up with tens of thousands of votes.

Other Choice Online Award recipients include CCP, who received the Best Live Game award - honoring exceptional new content and player-facing interactivity through expansion packs, patches, or other updates - for its futuristic and engaging sci-fi MMO, EVE Online.

In addition, World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment received the award for Best Community Relations, honoring the highest quality community feedback and experience, including customer support, forum moderation and leadership, weblog and information updates, and real-life events.

Other award winners include the hugely popular Social City by Playdom, which boasts almost 5.5 million active monthly users, and which won the award for Best Social Network Game. In addition, the audio visually lush and immersive Aion by NCsoft earned the award for Best Audio for an Online Game.

The Choice Online Awards acknowledged more than just games, honoring Richard Bartle as the recipient of the first ever Online Game Legend Award, in recognition of his indelible impact on the craft of online game development. Dr. Bartle will also present a lecture at GDC Online on Friday at 9:30 a.m. titled, "MUD: Messrs Bartle and Trubshaw's Astonishing Contrivance" covering the development history of the original MUD, which he co-developed.

Finally, seminal MMO title, Ultima Online, was recognized as the first Hall of Fame game, the award for the honor was accepted on stage by key members of Ultima Online's original development team: Rich Vogel, Launch Producer, Starr Long, Associate Producer & Director, and Raph Koster, Lead Designer, as well as a video message from 'Lord British' himself, Richard Garriott. The honor reflects the huge influence that the title has had as the longest continually running massively multiplayer online game in history.

The recipients of the First Annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards are:

GDC Online 2010: Announcements, Coverage: Pt.2

Game Developers Conference sister website Gamasutra.com is in Austin, Texas all this week covering GDC Online, with a host of lectures on online games, iPhone/iPad and related product announcements already written up for the lead video game art and business website - and here's all the stories posted so far.

The Austin, Texas based conference -- formerly known as GDC Austin -- is sharply focused on the development of online games, and there are now more than 120 panels, lectures and tutorials taking place during the October 5th-8th event, with almost 90 companies on the show floor.

The second set of highlights of content at GDC Online thus far, written up by Gamasutra editors from session coverage and official releases, include:

Session Coverage

- Playfish's De Halleux On Why The Next Blockbuster Will Be Online
"Playfish's Sebastien de Halleux discusses the ongoing evolution in the way games are monetized, the "massive" opportunity for developers -- and his view that the next billion-dollar game will be microtransactions-driven."

- BioWare's Walton - Studio Culture Is An 'Immune System'
"Gordon Walton, co-studio director at Star Wars: The Old Republic developer BioWare Austin, called culture an "immune system" that "recognizes you as something that belongs, or a foreign object that needs to be expelled."

- Brian Reynolds' Wild West In Social Design
"Zynga's Brian Reynolds talks his FrontierVille, ways he's discovered to make social gaming more fun and more truly social, and key lessons from AAA design for successful innovation in the space."

- Koster Shares Lessons Learned In Social Game Design
"Raph Koster, VP of creative design at Disney-owned social game developer Playdom, said that "console games are niche" and argued that the social gaming space is not going away, despite some who say otherwise."

- Ian Bogost's Troubling Experiences With Cow Clicker
"Ian Bogost talks to GDC Online audiences about his Facebook title Cow Clicker -- how an environment of fear birthed a satire, the surprises he received when the game took off, and how it's ultimately a 'tragic' story to him."

- Fallout: New Vegas' Gonzalez Talks Inspiration, Writing Process
"Obsidian's John Gonzalez talks at GDC Online's Game Narrative Summit on being the creative lead on Fallout: New Vegas, the game's inspiration, and key steps his team took during the writing process."

GDC Online 2010: Announcements, Coverage: Pt.1

Game Developer Conference's sister website Gamasutra.com is in Austin, Texas all this week covering GDC Online, with a host of lectures on online games, iPhone/iPad and related product announcements already written up for the lead video game art and business website - and here's all the stories posted so far.

The Austin, Texas based conference -- formerly known as GDC Austin -- is sharply focused on the development of online games, and there are now more than 120 panels, lectures and tutorials taking place during the October 5th-8th event, with almost 90 companies on the show floor.

The highlights of content at GDC Online thus far, written up by Gamasutra editors from session coverage and official releases, include:

Session Coverage

- Bungie's Staten On Building Worlds, Not Words
"At GDC Online, Bungie's Joe Staten said that to create meaningful stories within a massive universe like Halo's, it's important to build worlds first -- and not to be "that guy" fixated on large and uncompromising narrative."

- LoroRoco's Kuomo Talks Making Of PSHome Loco Island
"Talking at GDC Online on Wednesday, Sony Japan Studios creative director Tsutomu Kuono (LocoRoco) discussed his history in the biz and the making of Loco Island for the PlayStation Home online world service."

- Improving Game Stories With Concise Writing, More Writer Input
"In a GDC Online talk today, comics and games writer Antony Johnston argued that our medium would benefit from more concise stories and more input from writers throughout the development process."

GDC Online Reminds On Pass Deadline, Adds Parties, Summit Talks, Civ V Lecture

GDC Online organizers are reminding that this Friday is the final pre-show discount deadline for next week's Austin show, revealing a new Playboy/Bigpoint party and lectures from Civilization V creators along the way.

The Austin, Texas based conference -- formerly known as GDC Austin -- is sharply focused on the development of online games, including free-to-play titles, social network games, and traditional MMOs, with a veteran online game industry advisory board evaluating and selecting the lectures.

There are now more than 120 panels, lectures and tutorials currently scheduled for the October 5th-8th event. Highlights include the confirmation of a keynote from Zynga chief game designer Brian Reynolds (FrontierVille), and track keynotes from Blizzard's Greg Canessa (on Battle.net), Playdom's Raph Koster (on social mechanics), and Bigpoint's Heiko Hubertz (on the rise of Europe in online gaming).

Organizers are reminding that final registration discounts for the show, which kicks off next Tuesday, will run out this Friday, October 1st, with discounts of up to $200 still available for prospective attendees who register now, as opposed to doing so onsite.

At this late stage, several new announcements have debuted. Famed media brand Playboy, which recently announced a foray into digital gaming with partner Bigpoint, is co-hosting an official GDC party open to all GDC passholders at The Phoenix on Thursday, October 7th.

GDC 2011 Announces Summit Line-Up, Calls For Submissions

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced additional Summits for GDC 2011, including a new GDC Smartphone Summit and the return of the Social & Online Games Summit. The organizers have also opened up a call for Summit lecture submissions until October 14th.

The GDC Summits take place Monday, February 28th and Tuesday, March 1st, 2011, the first two days of the historic 25th annual Game Developers Conference. They offer deep-dive content on a variety of notable game industry topics, ahead of the main conference which runs Wednesday, March 2nd through Friday, March 4th.

This year, the conference is introducing the GDC Smartphone Summit, which brings top developers from around the world to share knowledge and concrete takeaways on the smartphone and related platforms.

These include breakout game platforms like Apple's iPhone, the iPad, Android OS phones and tablets, Blackberry and a variety of other notable handheld devices.

The summits also include the vibrant Social & Online Games Summit, with a packed agenda devoted to social network games, free-to-play web titles, and microtransaction-powered online games.

2011's GDC will also see the return of the signature Independent Games Summit, highlighting the top indie game creators and lessons. the Summit will run as part of the Independent Games Festival at the show.

GDC 25: Behind The Scenes Of GDC Lecture Submissions

[As Game Developers Conference approaches its 25th anniversary next February, a series of posts will give insight into the process and history behind the show. This time, organizers take a look at the Main Conference submission process, as first-round acceptances are sent out.]

Although there's still plenty going on around other GDC shows -- with GDC Online taking place in a couple of weeks and GDC China still on the agenda for December, organizers are well into the process of picking talks for GDC 2011.

The 25th annual Game Developers Conference -- celebrating a quarter-century of existence giving inspiration and practical take-away by developers for developers, is being held in San Francisco's Moscone Center next February 28 through March 4, 2011.

Last year, then-board member Simon Carless discussed the background of how talks get picked for GDC, explaining at the time:

"One initial point that is worth making strongly. I know that in some conferences (both outside the game industry and in), the Advisory Board can take a much smaller role in actually directly picking the content.

But one of the reasons that Game Developers Conference is so well respected, I believe, is that all of the talks are either empirically chosen from submissions, or carefully and specifically invited by the official GDC Advisory Board. The GDC organizers don't pick your talk -- key members of your own peer group pick your talk.

So rather than being hands-off 'advisors', multiple Advisory Board members grade every single submitted talk. They also discuss submitted and invited talk specifics via email, phone, and during the course of multiple in-person meetings. Finally, they coach and mold conditionally accepted GDC talks into a better end product."

We're doing the same this year, and after submissions that ended in August, GDC 2011 lecture selection has again been extremely competitive -- with more than 800 submitters vying for the opportunity to present at the next Game Developers Conference.

2010 GDC China Reveals BioWare, Volition, Slant Six Talks

This December's Game Developers Conference China is debuting its first Western speakers, including notables from BioWare, Volition, and Slant Six discussing key art and programming topics.

These initial announcements are part of the 'Global Game Development' track, one of the two main tracks at this December's Shanghai-based show, for which organizers recently opened registration.

The track, which is dedicated to excellence in worldwide game production, is featuring top Western talent discussing the practical art and business of making cutting-edge titles, and some of the the initial highlights include:

- BioWare development director Adriana Lopez (Mass Effect 2) will present 'The Art of Estimating Programming Tasks', explaining: "Have you ever been asked to provide an estimate for a task only to be horribly wrong, since it took you 2 to 10 times more than you expected?"

She adds: "We all have been there and the consequences are visible: projects missing dates, teams blocked by dependencies, and overtime, lots of overtime. The good news is that the battle is not over. With a couple of tools and a little bit of practice, each one of us can improve the quality of the estimates given for a project."

- In another notable lecture, Volition's senior technical artist and GDC San Francisco board member Jeff Hanna (Red Faction franchise) will present 'How to Train your Technical Artist',
covering "a discussion of the skills that modern technical artists
should possess" for cutting edge games. Topics will include programming
skills, art knowledge, look development, problem solving, communication
skills, and system design.

- Finally, 'Maximize your Production Effort - Efficient Content Authoring Tools and Pipeline for Inter-studio Asset Development' sees Slant Six studio tech director Paul Martin (SOCOM
series) explain that: "With a trend towards outsourced development of
game assets, there are additional considerations that are important for
achieving optimal workflow between studios that are co-developing or
sharing assets." The lecture will give insight into "how to create new
content authoring tools and data transformation pipelines that promote
efficient work flow for both internal and remote production teams."

 

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