GDC Europe 2012 debuts Total War, MMO design, rendering sessions

With the buildup to this year's GDC Europe now in full swing, show organizers have debuted even more notable talks, including in-depth presentations on the Total War franchise, the essentials of MMO design, and a tech talk on forward rendering pipelines.

These talks all fall within GDC Europe's Main Conference, which takes place Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012 at the Congress-Centrum Ost Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany, co-located with major consumer/trade show gamescom.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- As part of the Game Design track, The Creative Assembly lead designer James Russell will discuss the creation of the successful Total War series in "Designing Grand Strategy: Making the Mechanics of Total War."

Russell will look at the many complex elements that make up this strategy game franchise, and will offer insight into the successes, failures, and lessons learned that come from making these complex PC titles. The talk promises to address topics such as "'realism' and simulation versus game rules, mystery versus clarity, gameplay depth versus micromanagement," and much more.

- In another Game Design talk, Funcom creative director Craig Morrison will host "Surviving the Jungle of MMO eco-systems." Funcom previously developed MMOs including Anarchy Online and Age of Conan, and is just launching its latest title The Secret World, and during this session Morrison will draw from the studio's experience to examine the essentials of MMO design.

As online games have evolved, MMOs have needed to become more dynamic and engaging to maintain their players, and "this session will explore the complex relationships that players have to virtual worlds and how designers need to understand the forces at play."

- Finally, AMD lead engineer Jay McKee and researcher Takahiro Harada will host the Programming-focused talk, "Forward rendering pipeline for modern GPUs." Here, the pair will present Forward+, "a forward rendering pipeline which allows for scenes with the same number of lights expected from a modern deferred renderer (on the order of thousands)."

According to the developers, "Forward+ retains all the benefits of traditional forward rendering while eliminating all the downsides found with deferred rendering." The session will detail how this new solution will benefit modern game development using examples from the company's own live demos.

These talks join numerous other previously-announced sessions, including indie talks on the stop-motion adventure game The Dream Machine and Super Crate Box developer Vlambeer, major game postmortems on Dead Island and Mafia II, and much more. For a full list of all GDC Europe sessions announced thus far, visit the "Announced Sessions" page on the event's website.

Those interested in attending these or any other sessions at GDC Europe can secure their pass for the Gamescom co-located August event now, as online registration is now open.

For more information on GDC Europe, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

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