We're just three months out from the all-digital GDC 2021, making now a perfect time to take a look at what this year's event has to offer and start planning out which sessions and talks will define your show.
A rundown of many of this year's sessions is now live on the GDC 2021 Session Viewer, complete with times, dates, and summaries of each to help you best map out your schedule ahead of GDC 2021 on July 19-23.
This year's Game Developers Conference brings sessions covering impactful topics for developers of every discipline, from triple-A to indie, so, if you haven't already, be sure to register for GDC 2021 to tap into the wealth of knowledge being shared by the developers of games like Ghost of Tsushima, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Crusader Kings III, and more.
Already, the Session Viewer is packed with a wide array of practical and engaging talks for game industry professionals looking to advance their skills and career, with even more to come as we get closer to the show.
For example, Supergiant Games creative director Greg Kasavin audio director Darren Korb plan to deliver a talk at GDC 2021 about the studio's critically acclaimed roguelike Hades and how a small team of fewer than 20 developers released a fully-voiced game during a pandemic and on time.
Their talk "Breathing Live Into Greek Myth: The Dialogue of 'Hades'" will dig into how an efficient pipeline and collaborative process brought the over 22,000 lines of dialogue in Hades to life, touching on everything from casting the perfect voice talent to recording, processing, and implementing Hades' massive script. As an added bonus, Kasavin and Korb also plan to explore how Early Access enriched this process despite the popular misconception that Early Access isn't a great fit for story-rich games.
With much of the game industry grappling with remote work during 2020, Blizzard senior art manager Seth Spaulding's upcoming talk on managing a team remotely is sure to resonate with fellow game developers.
In "Remote Leadership: Challenges and Approaches", Spaulding shares his own very relatable experience of having to take a game development team remote with little warning and discusses how studio leads can preserve team cohesion and effective communication while addressing other challenges brought on by remote work. Following that, Spaulding will share tips and advice for leveraging the advantages of work-from-home going forward and peer into the future of a post-COVID-19 remote work landscape.
And be sure to check out a dive into Genshin Impact's AI in lead AI programmer Shuo Xu's talk "'Genshin Impact': Building a Scalable AI System" and learn how the team behind the groundbreaking free-to-play title overcame the AI programming challenges faced during development of an open-world game. Xu will explore everything from how they crafted a scalable AI system for Genshin Impact by setting up AI pipelines and remote pathfinding services, to tried-and-true techniques for improving general AI performance that developers can apply to their own games.
Another talk not to miss is "Honoring the Blade: Lethality and Combat Balance in 'Ghost of Tsushima'" in which Sucker Punch Productions lead combat designer Theodore Fishman explains how his team navigated combat balance while striving to preserve the specific player fantasy offered by Ghost of Tsushima's premise.
In addition to detailing a data-driven approach toward game balance and design, Fishman plans to share how the Sucker Punch team nailed the different types of combat in Ghost of Tsushima by going over the multitude of changes attempted during development to make sure standard combat had the same perfect feel of lethality already showcased in the game's assassinations and standoffs.
Plus, Execution Labs co-founder Jason Della Rocca will offer a must-watch talk for indie entrepreneurs and studio founders considering VC funding about what makes for a quality venture capital deal. In "Are You Venture Investible: Non-obvious Roadblocks and Red Flags When Pitching Game VCs", Della Rocca offers a VC-focused pitch template and walks through what developers need to know before VC funding, including what they invest in, what can make or break a deal, and whether it is a suitable source of funding for their situation.