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GDC 2012 debuts 'Poster Sessions' on game jams, smart builds, more

For today's update on the 2012 Game Developers Conference, show organizers have detailed this year's series of "Poster Sessions," which offer small-scale, intimate presentations from BioWare, Crystal Dynamics and others on new programming techniques, design strategies, production tips, and much more.

As the name implies, the GDC Poster Sessions are presented in front of a physical poster, and speakers will outline their thesis to a small group of attendees, often engaging in one-on-one discourse throughout the session.

These half-hour talks will be held three or four at a time in the second floor overlook of the West Hall of San Francisco's Moscone Center, where GDC is being held. They will repeat twice over the course of an hour, giving attendees a chance to check out multiple sessions, even if their time slots overlap.

All Poster Sessions will take place between during lunch hours on Wednesday to Friday, March 7th to 9th, as part of GDC's Main Conference. The following are some of the standout Poster Sessions for the upcoming show:

- BioWare software developer Dave Schaefer will offer some programming-focused tips to help streamline development and prevent unexpected errors. His talk, "No Broken Builds: Increasing Team Velocity with Preflight," will detail how BioWare revamped its pipeline for Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age 2 to implement automated preflight tests, allowing programmers to easily test their work and maintain momentum.

- Game jams can prove an excellent opportunity to flex your creative muscles and experiment with new ideas, and Tagged Inc. junior game designer Auston Montville argues they can be useful even to full-fledged game studios. In "Game Studios Can (and Should) Jam Too!," Montville will outline Tagged's internal game jams, noting how they can inspire employees and spark renewed creativity.

- Elsewhere, Seth Gibson, a senior technical artist at Crystal Dynamics, will host "You Got Art In My Test Suite!" Here, he will explain how to develop test suites for Python based tools interfaces, and how to incorporate unit test content into existing test suites using a series of useful Python features.

- Game designer Joshua DeBonis of Sortasoft will present an interesting design strategy to help spark new ideas with a talk dubbed "Game Design in Parallel." DeBonis will argue that by designing two games around a similar subject or idea, developers can more easily solve design problems by looking at two complementary concepts.

- Finally, Zoya Street, an MA student from the Royal College of Art, will examine how weapon design in the Final Fantasy series changed alongside trends in the Japanese economy. This eccentric session, "It's Dangerous to Go Alone! Take this Historical Study with You: In-game Objects in Japanese RPGs, 1988-2010," will pick apart Final Fantasy's history to determine how its in game weapons represent a fictional economic simulation.

In addition to the above talks, other Poster Sessions at GDC 2012 include a presentation on the importance of in game rhythm, a programming talk on the benefits of reciprocal collision avoidance, a look at how telemetry can improve optimization, some tips on using the Maya Python API, and a talk on how to best incorporate elements of both Maya and Python.

The full list of these special sessions can be found in GDC Schedule Builder app when sorting by the Poster Session format.

Also be sure to keep an eye on the official GDC news blog, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS. GDC 2012 will take place March 5 through March 9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.




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