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GDC 2009 Announces Casual Games Summit Sessions

The organizers of the Casual Games Summit at the 2009 Game Developers Conference have revealed speakers and sessions for the two-day March summit, with notables from PopCap, EA/Pogo, Oberon Media, Playfirst and more discussing the state and future of casual games.
The GDC Casual Games Summit will take place on Monday and Tuesday, March 23rd and 24th, 2009 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco as part of Game Developers Conference.
This always popular Summit returns to GDC with a broad range of topics that reflect the increasingly diversified casual games industry. CGS' theme for this year is based on the dueling business strategies from the book 'Blue Ocean Strategy', by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
The makers of Bejeweled, Women’s Murder Club, Build-A-Lot, Fairy Godmother Tycoon, Diner Dash and more will evaluate opportunities and challenges of the Red Ocean (established markets, audiences, and players) and the Blue Ocean (newly recognized or created markets addressing new segments) approaches in casual games:

2009 IGF Mobile Reveals Competition Finalists

The Independent Games Festival Mobile (IGF Mobile), an event that celebrates innovation in games for handheld devices, including mobile phones, DS, PSP, iPhone and iPod touch, has named the finalists for the second annual competition.
The number of entries more than doubled – to over 100 – compared to last year’s inaugural competition, bolstered by a strong showing from the emergent iPhone and iPod touch platform – so much so that a special ‘Best iPhone Game’ category has been designated for the titles which best use the unique possibilities of the device.
Winners of the 2009 IGF Mobile competition, who will get a share of $30,000 in prize money, will be announced at a special ceremony during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Mobile conference on March 24, and additionally honored during the main Independent Games Festival Awards on March 25, 2009.
Some of the leading finalists for this year’s competition include stylish iPhone cube movement puzzler Edge (3 nominations), the technologically cunning Wardive on Nintendo DS, which uses local WiFi hotspots to generate enemies (3 nominations), and elegant iPhone ‘tower defense’-style title Fieldrunners (3 nominations).
Games also nominated multiple times include Secret Exit's touch-controlled iPhone rope wrapping game Zen Bound and iconic tilt-controlled iPhone puzzler Dizzy Bee, with a number of Flash Lite and Java cellphone games, including the innovative Cubic Republic, also finalists. Read on for the full list:

GDC Mobile Announces Keynote From Ngmoco CEO Young

The organizers of the Game Developers Conference 2009 announced that ngmoco founder and CEO -- and former Electronic Arts executive -- Neil Young will provide this year's GDC Mobile keynote.
In his speech, titled "Why the iPhone just changed everything," Young will discuss Apple's platform and its effects on the mobile games industry.
Young's session summary describes the iPhone as "the most exciting innovation of the last year," and likens its launch to the introduction of industry-defining consoles like the Atari 2600, the Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Game Boy.

Previewing GDC 2009: Inside The Design Track

[In the third of a series picking out the most notable Game Developers Conference 2009 lectures, sister site Gamasutra examines the Game Design Track, with newly added talks from the World of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King, Mass Effect 2, and Warhammer Online creators.]
Game Developers Conference 2009 (organized by Gamasutra parent company Think Services) is set to take place in San Francisco's Moscone Center from March 23 to 27, 2009.
With nearly 280 sessions now confirmed for GDC 2009, we'll be taking a track by track look at the conference's line-up over the next few weeks.
Third on the list is GDC's Game Design Track, which will help attendees "understand and exploit the possibilities of new technologies," and also explore the "challenges and ramifications of the interaction between new technologies and established techniques."
Notable highlights thus far announced for this track are as follows:

2009 IGF Student Showcase Winners Announced

The 2009 Independent Games Festival (IGF) has announced the ten winners in the Student Showcase for its 11th annual awards, with games from three continents spanning ecological, paint-splattering and fantasy exercise games to be shown at GDC this year.
Chosen from a new record of 145 Student Showcase entries (up over 15% on last year's 125 entries), these games will go on to compete for an overall Best Student Game prize, to be awarded at the IGF Awards Ceremony on the evening of March 25th, 2009.
Some of this year's Student Showcase winners include CMU's 'active play' exercise-centered game Winds Of Orbis, quirky Danish first-person dish cleaning game Dish Washington (pictured), and ecological management puzzle game City Rain from Brazilian students.
Also honored are titles including USC's abstract painting game The Unfinished Swan and reality-manipulating German side scrolling shooter Zeit Squared:

Previewing GDC 2009: Inside The Visual Arts Track

[In the second of a series picking out the most notable Game Developers Conference 2009 lectures, sister site Gamasutra examines the Visual Arts Track, which includes talks from the Gears Of War 2, God Of War and Braid creators on cinematics, animation, and art in their games.]
Game Developers Conference 2009 (organized by Gamasutra parent company Think Services) is set to take place in San Francisco's Moscone Center from March 23 to 27, 2009.
With nearly 280 sessions now confirmed for GDC 2009, we'll be taking a track by track look at the conference's line-up over the next few weeks.
Second on the list is GDC's Visual Arts Track, which "delves into the nitty-gritty of the artistic side of games, and [also] offers longer format classes to allow speakers the time to walk attendees step-by-step through the latest tools and techniques."
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:

Bosslady Blog: Welcome To 2009!

[In her latest Bosslady Blog update, Game Developers Conference event director Meggan Scavio discusses some of the newly-confirmed lectures, revealing the art and science of games like Killzone 2, Brutal Legend, and the newest Fable and Far Cry titles.]
Happy 2009, everyone! While the holidays tend to disrupt the workflow of a good portion of the world, the Game Developers Conference team never takes a break. It’s like a coal mine over here. In a good way! A good coal mine.
So what have we been working on? More sessions, of course, and here are some of the newly-confirmed highlights coming to our March 23rd-27th event:

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:

 

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