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GDC Online 2012 adds Zynga, Aion free to play, happiness talks

In the latest update for GDC Online 2012, show organizers have revealed a trio of new talks covering Zynga's Draw Something backend infrastructure, lessons on making Aion free to play, and tips for making your team happier and your games more fun.

These talks all fall within GDC Online's Main Conference, which offers come of the world's leading content on persistent and online games. The event will be held Tuesday, October 9 to Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

The full details on these newly-announced sessions are as follows:

- First, Zynga Chief Technology officers Allan Leinwand and Jason Pearlman will share their stories and advice on how game developers can handle the growth of games that become overnight sensations.

During their Programming track talk, "Bootstrapping the Infrastructure of Draw Something and Other Hit Games," the pair will reflect on Zynga's Omgpop-developed sensation along with a number of other titles to give attendees a blueprint for developing a scalable backend infrastructure that keeps things running smoothly even during times of crisis and exponential growth.

- Over in the Business & Marketing track, Gameforge 4D CEO Carsten van Husenwill discuss how to turn a subscription MMO into a free to play game in "7 Learnings from Making Aion Europe Free-to-Play."

Looking back on how the European version of the fantasy MMO Aion made the free to play transition, van Husenwill will offer some essential insight to other online game developers regarding how to create an effective monetization system, how to prepare for a number of inevitable technical hiccups, and how to re-establish an existing brand under a new business model.

- Finally, highly rated GDC speaker Scott Crabtree of Happy Brain Science will explain how developers can use neuroscience and psychology to effectively build happy teams that work well together and create more quality work.

His Production track talk, "Fun Makes Fun: The Brain Science of Happy Game Teams," will teach attendees about the science of great teamwork, helping them establish a stronger bond between co-workers, limit everyday stress, and ultimately make better games.

GDC Europe adds Game of Thrones art, Ernest Adams, Bigpoint talks

In the latest update for GDC Europe 2012, show organizers have revealed three new sessions, which cover the ways in which Game of Thrones can inspire concept artists, how developers can visualize and create new game mechanics, and how studios should react to the saturation of the free to play market.

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.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- As part of the Visual Arts track, concept artist Tobias Mannewitz (who's worked on games including Anno 1404, Gothic 4, and Killzone 3) will demonstrate what game artists can learn from television in "Concept Art Learnings From Game Of Thrones To... Games!"

In addition to working in the game industry, Mannewitz has also contributed concept art to Season 2 of the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones (pictured), and in this session, he will discuss how artists can learn from the show and use several filmmaking techniques to improve their pipelines and artistic output.

- Over in the Game Design track, veteran game designer and teacher Ernest Adams and gameplay engineer Joris Dormans (who holds a PhD in game design) will introduce a new and invaluable tool for creating gameplay mechanics in "Machinations: A New Way to Design Game Mechanics."

During this session, the pair will showcase how the free Machinations software will help developers visualize and diagram their ideas for new gameplay systems. Attendees will also get a chance to try the software for themselves, giving them hands-on experience in using the new game design tool.

- Finally, Bigpoint founder Heiko Hubertz will present the Business & Marketing track lecture, "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us - Trend Compendium for the F2P Online Games Industry," offering an in-depth look at the maturation and saturation of the free to play market.

Over the past few years, the free to play space has only grown more competitive -- companies are beginning to fight over larger and larger segments of the market, and users are beginning to expect more from the games that use the free to play model. In this session, Hubertz will outline these key trends, and will offer his advice on what developers need to do to survive as the market evolves.

GDC Europe adds GoldenEye N64 'classic postmortem', Ngmoco, Ubisoft Blue Byte talks

GDC Europe 2012's session lineup continues to grow this week, as show organizers have debuted new sessions including a 'classic postmortem' on seminal N64 title GoldenEye 007, as well as talks on working with a distributed team and how music can influence user experience design.

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.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- Over in the Game Design track, former Rare game director Martin Hollis (now of independent studio Zoonami) will debut the first ever GDC Europe 'classic postmortem', chronicling the development of seminal Nintendo 64 title Goldeneye 007.

Hollis led the creation of this hit movie tie-in game, and during this session he will detail how the game came to be, detailing its roots as a Virtua Cop-influenced on-rails project all the way to its eventual release in 1997. It'll be a rare chance to get an inside look at the much-loved 8-million unit selling title that paved the way for the future of console based first person shooters.

- Over in the Production track, Ngmoco senior development director Senta Jakobsen will host "Changing How Games Are Made - Building and Working in a Distributed Team."

Here, former Crytek director and DICE COO Jakobsen will explain the ins and outs of working with a team that's spread all over the world, discussing everything from hiring processes, tools, overall guidelines, and more. In addition, she'll share a number of common mistakes so other studios know what to avoid.

- Finally, Simon Davis of Ubisoft Blue Byte (Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online) will discuss how to refine overall user experience in the Game Design track lecture, "The Wonderful World of UX: How We Can Make Games That Resonate Better and Learn From Approaches to Music."

By using musical genres such as Jazz and Blues as an overall template, Davis will outline what user experience design is, and how developers can use it to create better games. In addition, he'll analyze a number of different approaches to applying user experience design, and the results they generate when applied to games.

GDC Online 2012 debuts first sessions for Game Narrative Summit

With GDC Online 2012 quickly taking shape, show organizers have revealed the initial lineup for the event's Game Narrative Summit, which features a talk on writing for casual players, a look at crafting in-game romances, and a discussion on mystery and occult game design.

Now in its seventh year, the Game Narrative Summit -- formerly the Game Writers Conference -- will once again showcase leading industry professionals on the many facets of interactive storytelling, with sessions ranging from roundtable discussions, workshops, case studies, and more.

GDC Online itself will take place Tuesday, October 9 to Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center at Austin, Texas.

The initial sessions and lectures featured in the two-day Game Narrative Summit include the following:

- If you're writing for a traditional console game, chances are your stories are aimed squarely at a young male audience, but as Big Fish Games' Lisa Brunette will explain, storytelling techniques have to change quite wildly if you move over into the social or casual realm.

In her talk, "Immersive Storytelling for a Misunderstood Audience," Brunette will discuss how Big Fish writes games for the over-35 female audience with games like Cooking Dash and Mystery Case Files (pictured). Along the way, she'll detail how social audiences differ from the traditional console crowd, noting what developers need to do to write stories for each demographic.

- Elsewhere, Schell Games designer Heidi McDonald will outline a new model for writing successful romances in single player RPGs, which draws influence from games, writing, psychology, and more.

The session, dubbed "Writing the Romance-able NPC: ICING the Content Cake," will showcase how this "ICING" model leverages scholarly works to make virtual romances more believable, interesting, and complex.

- Finally, video game academic and story analyst Jeff Howard will present "Occult Game Design: An Initiation into Secrets and Mysteries," which will examine titles such as The Binding of Isaac and The Legend of Grimrock, and explain how mystery plays a key role in hooking a player's attention.

According to Howard, "mystery enables puzzles that are pervasive and organic rather than localized and artificial," and during his talk he will provide some advice on crafting in-game mysteries that "heighten player engagement, enrich player communities, and keep satisfied players wanting more."

GDC Europe 2012 adds Google, Spec Ops, Daglow talks

GDC Europe 2012 is inching ever closer, and this week show organizers have unveiled three new talks in its growing lineup, featuring Google on the evolving economics of the industry, industry veteran Don Daglow on reaching North American audiences, and a look at Spec Ops: The Line's visual effects.

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.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- First, Google's Koh Kim will present the Business & Marketing track lecture, "The New Economics of Games," examining the industry paradigm shifts that brought us the indie renaissance, free-to-play games, virtual transactions, and more.

Kim, who works on games partnerships for Chrome and Google+ at the company, will pick apart all of these major trends in order to uncover the economic principles guiding the industry and what developers can do to take advantage of the latest business models. Attendees will not only walk away with a better understanding of the market at large, they'll also be better prepared to sustain their games in today's economic climate.

- In the Game Design track lecture, "5 Things About American Online Gamers that Surprise European Developers," seasoned developer Don Daglow will explain why European online game developers need to prepare for some unique challenges when creating a title for players across the Atlantic.

Daglow helped create the original Neverwinter Nights (the AOL graphic MMO), and has been working on online games for more than 25 years, and in this session he'll detail some of the counter-intuitive behavior patterns he's observed in North American game players. With this knowledge in mind, European studios will be more prepared than ever to make a game that can succeed overseas.

- Over in the Visual Arts track, Florian Zender of German studio Yager Entertainment will share some useful visual effects tips in "Bringing Home the Bacon - Developing the VFX of Spec Ops: The Line as Thin Slices."

Using examples from Yager's upcoming third-person shooter, Zender will detail the studio's "quick and highly iterative approach" to visual effects production, offering advice on how to "cope with a quickly growing team, buffer various schedule changes and keep morale high when finalizing the project."

GDC Europe debuts Infinity Blade, Sony pitching, lighting design talks

In the latest update for GDC Europe 2012, show organizers have unveiled a brand new keynote from Epic Games on Infinity Blade and mobile graphics, as well as new sessions on pitching your game and using effective lighting techniques.

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.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- In Epic's Programming track keynote, "Bringing AAA Graphics to Mobile Platforms," senior engine programmer Niklas Smedberg will discuss how the studio works with mobile devices to create the high quality visuals seen in games the developer's own Infinity Blade 2 and Infinity Blade: Dungeons.

Along the way, Smedberg will explain how a tile-based GPU architecture works, detailing "how to modify and adapt the implementation of various graphics effects so that they become viable for this kind of GPU." With this knowledge, attendees will talk away understanding how to maximize their graphical output on mobile platforms.

- Over in the Business & Marketing track, Pete Smith, the executive producer of Sony XDev Studio Europe, will offer tips on getting your game published in: "Pitching to Publishers: How to Impress and What to Avoid."

Smith, who has helped establish Sony franchises such as Motorstorm and LittleBigPlanet, will explain what publishers are looking for and what developers need to do to impress them. In addition, he'll provide practical hints on preparing a pitch to make sure it sends the right message.

- Finally, Robert Yang, a student at the New York-based Parsons School of Design, will host the Design track session "Lighting Design for Level Designers," where he will offer tips to help level designers understand how to effectively use and implement lighting techniques.

Yang himself is a level designer with lighting design training (he created the acclaimed 2011 FPS mod Radiator), and in this session he will "summarize a body of lighting theory and common patterns, contextualize it within the affordances of player behavior, and discuss case studies / lighting strategies."

GDC Vault video: Create new genres (and stop wasting your life in the clone factories)

[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website]

Indie developer and Spry Fox CCO Daniel Cook is tired of seeing games that lift ideas from other titles. He believes too many studios focus their efforts on deriving their content from the industry's existing successes, rather than inventing new types of gameplay.

In a popular lecture at GDC 2012, he spoke out to change all that, urging developers to stop designing and start inventing. A video of that lecture is now available (above) for free, courtesy of the GDC Vault.

"I think of myself as an inventor. I think an inventor is a very honorable career to have, and it's not something you normally see," Cook says. "Usually you hear, 'I'm a game designer,' which means, 'I research other people's titles, and then I add my own +10 percent on top of that to make a market leader.'"

"Instead, let's be inventors!"

Simply click on the Play button above to start the video.

GDC Online 2012 adds new Segerstrale, online PR, A/B testing talks

With online registration now open for GDC Online 2012, show organizers have begun unveiling new talks for the October event, this time revealing three new lectures covering EA's approach to multiplatform franchises, tips for taking PR into your own hands, and advice for conducting A/B tests within social games.

These talks all fall within GDC Online's main conference, which takes place Tuesday, October 9 to Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center at Austin, Texas.

The full details on these newly-announced sessions are as follows:

- As part of the Business & Marketing track, Playfish co-founder and EA EVP of digital Kristian Segerstrale (Pet Society, SimCity Social) will host "Bet on IP and Platform," which covers how to create successful brands that can succeed on nearly any platform.

Looking at EA's own strategy in particular, key social game pioneer Segerstrale (pictured) will discuss how to ensure a franchise such as The Sims can succeed across multiple devices, while sharing insight on how to turn "the industry's biggest titles into 365-day a year services."

- Over in the Production track, Valerie Massey, the director of community development at the community analytics company Clara, will outline some essential tools for taking care of your own low-cost media outreach for online games.

During this session, titled "Public Relations 101: Make Your Own Media Magic," the former CCP employee will ensure attendees walk away knowing how to "[put] together a basic media kit and contact list, how to kick off their PR efforts," and how to avoid common mistakes with the press.

- Finally, Jesse Hull of the social game company GSN Games (top 100 Facebook app Games By GSN) will host the Business & Marketing track lecture, "A Holistic Approach to A/B Testing," detailing how developers can make their online social games more efficient and more appealing to their players.

Building upon his critically acclaimed GDC 2012 session, Hull will explain how to most effectively implement A/B testing, helping developers avoid common pitfalls, establish effective procedures, and hopefully make better online games.

GDC Europe 2012 adds Hitman, Bigpoint, breakdancing talks

In the latest update for GDC Europe 2012, show organizers have debuted a trio of notable sessions, including a look at Hitman: Absolution's crowds, and an eccentric talk on how breakdancing can make you a better developer.

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.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- First, Kasper Fauerby of Danish studio IO Interactive will host a Programming Track session explaining how the studio implemented the upcoming Hitman: Absolution's impressive looking crowd system, which includes as many as 500 onscreen characters at once.

In the aptly named "Crowds in Hitman: Absolution," Fauerby will discuss the system's design and implementation, giving attendees some insight into the benefits and complexities involved in creating believable and dynamic virtual crowds.

- Next, it might seem like an odd comparison at first glance, but Codemasters' Robbert-Jan Brems will explain how breakdancing relates to game development in the Visual Arts track session, "How Breakdancing Taught Me to be a Technical Artist."

Though relatively new to being a professional technical artist, the unconventional talk from Brems will outline how his nine years as a breakdancer have influenced his approach to solving day-to-day problems on the job. (Pictured: Break Dance, Commodore 64)

- Finally, over in the Business and Marketing track, Philip Reisberger, the chief revenue officer of the major German-headquartered online game company Bigpoint, will discuss free to play pricing strategies in a lecture dubbed "Dynamic Pricing."

Here, Reisberger will discuss how free to play games have changed the fundamentals of the video game business, while explaining why "intelligent collection and reading of the mass of data accruing from assessment can be the key to real improvement in monetizing free to play games."

GDC Europe adds new sessions on player choice, crisis management, and more

As the regular updates for GDC Europe 2012 continue, event organizers have debuted a trio of new talks covering everything from limiting player choice, moving to free to play development, to PR crisis management.

These talks 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.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- Over in the Game Design track, Joerg Friedrich, lead level designer on 2K and Yager Development's Spec Ops: The Line (pictured), will examine how to build an emotional response by manipulating player choice in "Making the Player Feel Bad - Breaking Rules of Player Choice for Emotional Impact."

While most games use an established set of rules to provide satisfying player choices, Friedrich will argue "designers sometimes should break these rules to create emotional impact on the player and tell a serious narrative." To illustrate his point, he will offer a number of examples where this has worked, and where it hasn't.

- Also in the Game Design track, Travian Games senior game designer Jan van der Crabben will explore how to make the transition from blockbuster games to free to play development in "AAA goes F2P: Same Skills, Different Mindset."

Previously, van der Crabben worked on Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War, and during this talk he will outline how he eventually moved toward making free to play games like Travian's browser-based Imperion. Along the way, he'll offer advice for other developers looking to make a similar switch.

- No matter how hard you try, sometimes it's simply impossible to avoid a public relations disaster. Valerie Massey, the director of community development at the community analytics company Clara, will offer some advice on how to deal with these scenarios in the Business & Marketing track talk, "DEFCON: A Basic Guide to Public Relations Crisis Management."

Building upon talks she's given at previous GDC events, the former CCP PR director will focus on the inevitable crises that arise during game development, and will outline "the tips and tools you'll need to calmly weather the storm and get things back on track."

GDC Online 2012 opens registration, debuts Old Republic, League of Legends talks

GDC Online 2012 organizers have announced that online registration for this October's show has officially opened, and the event has also debuted the first batch of talks in its growing lineup.

Keeping in line with the show's 'persistent gaming' theme, these initial sessions cover major online games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and League of Legends, as well as the extremely important social games market.

This trio of talks marks the first of many regular updates leading up to this year's GDC Online. The etails on these presentations are as follows:

- As part of the Game Design track, BioWare Austin's Damion Schubert will provide an in-depth look at the studio's approach to online storytelling in a lecture titled "Behind the Curtain: Using MMO Game Systems to Tell BioWare Stories."

Throughout this presentation, Schubert will peel back the layers of major MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, detailing how BioWare adapted its approach to in-game storytelling to a large scale online game. Along the way, he will outline how The Old Republic's mechanics both helped and hindered the game's narrative.

- Over in the Production track, Riot Games senior producer Travis George will host "Stacking Talent: Growing the League of Legends Team," discussing how to avoid the pitfalls of rapid studio growth.

George spends much of his time ensuring the League of Legends team remains cohesive and focused, and in this talk he will share what he's learned to help other developers uphold established processes, communication channels, and most of all, a sense of studio culture.

- Finally, social game developers Steve Meretzky (VP of game design, Playdom) and Dave Rohrl (VP of game production, FunSockets), will host the GDC Online conference staple, "Social Games: The Year in Review."

As they've done in previous years, the pair will look back at the last year in the social game market, offering their unique insight and analysis on recent trends, successes, lessons learned, and more.

Whether you're new to social games or a seasoned expert, this session will provide an essential overview of the space to help ensure that you're aware of what's happening now, and what might be on the horizon.

Reminder: GDC China's call for submissions ends Monday, June 18

The UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference series, are reminding that the deadline to submit a presentation for this year's GDC China is Monday, June 18.

Now in its fifth year, GDC China 2012 will take place Saturday November 17 through Monday, November 19 at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China, and will once again bring together the world's leading developers to share knowledge and ideas surrounding the extremely popular Asian game industry.

Developers from all over the world are welcome to attend the upcoming event, which will address essential topics spanning outsourcing production, free-to-play business models, bringing games from the East to the West, and much more.

This year, the event's call for submissions includes main conference tracks covering Design, Business & Marketing, Production, and Visual Arts. Organizers are looking for leading Western and Asian practitioners to propose lectures and panels with major practical takeaways for today's video game market.

Organizers are also accepting lecture proposals for the two GDC China Summits: the Independent Games Summit and the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, both of which will focus on modern and pertinent sectors of modern game development.

GDC Europe 2012 adds new social game talks on Kabam, Draw Something, and more

In the latest update to GDC Europe's ever-expanding lineup, show organizers have debuted a trio of talks covering the free to play and social game markets, featuring speakers from Kabam, Couchbase, and more.

These sessions all fall within GDC Europe's Social & Online Games Summit, which will be held Wednesday, August 15th, and will offer a robust lineup of talks covering the most important trends facing developers on Facebook, mobile devices, the web, and beyond. This Summit is open to attendees with VIP, All Access, and Summit passes.

GDC Europe itself will take place Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012 at the Congress-Centrum Ost at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- In a session dubbed "Game Design is Business Design," Ethan Levy (formerly of BioWare Social) will discuss how the rise of the free to play market has transformed the role of the modern game designer.

Using examples from BioWare's own social titles, Levy will point out the ways in which the digital landscape has changed the industry, noting why "the successful designers of our digital present are not only masters of fun, but also masters of business models and monetization."

- In another talk on free to play design, Andrew Sheppard, president of Kabam (The Godfather: Five Families, Kingdoms of Camelot) will discuss how developers can appeal to core players on mobile and social platforms.

His talk, "Freedom to Play - Unlocking Unprecedented Creativity in F2P Games," will outline how studios can "balance the tension between creativity and finances," offering advice on how to evaluate metrics, how to deepen player engagement, and much more.

- Finally, James Phillips, the co-founder and SVP of products for the data-management company Couchbase, will host a social games talk titled, "How Draw Something absorbed 50 Million New Users, in 50 Days, with Zero Downtime."

Using the popular Omgpop title as an example, Phillips will explain how to build and launch a large-scale social game while maintaining a steady and healthy business. Along the way, he will help developers select a data management model that will help them support their games even as they (hopefully) experience rapid growth.

GDC Europe 2012 debuts new sessions on Sine Mora, browser game design

The industry-encompassing E3 Expo may over, but the new announcements for the upcoming GDC Europe keep on coming. This week, show organizers have unveiled a trio of new talks featuring a postmortem of the XBLA shoot 'em up Sine Mora, as well as talks covering Chinese free to play titles and the lifespans of casual browser games.

These talks fall within the Game Design track of GDC Europe's Main Conference, which takes place Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012 at the Congress-Centrum Ost Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- In an effort to offer insight on making games for niche genres, Prior Games CEO Theodore Reiker and business development director Balazs Horvath will look at Sine Mora, the recent downloadable shoot 'em up from Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture.

In this session, dubbed "Postmortem: Sine Mora - The Struggle to Reboot a Genre," Reiker (who designed, wrote, and directed the title) will pick apart the game to examine its strengths, its weaknesses, and why, in the end, the risky title just couldn't find an audience.

- Elsewhere, Jared Psigoda, the CEO of the Hong Kong based Reality Squared Games, will host "$100,000 Whales - An Introduction to Chinese Browser Game Design."

Here, he will outline the basics of free to play design in China, and how it has attracted enthusiastic players that spend exorbitant amounts of money on online games. By examining a number of Chinese development trends, Psigoda will share some insight on how to get the most from your free to play titles.

- Finally, Bigpoint executive producer Jan Michel Saaksmeier will host, "Bring Them in Casual; Hook them Core - Keys to Prolonging User Lifetime in Casual Games."

This session will examine the current state of casual browser game development, offering some key insights into how developers can extend the lifespan of their own casual titles. In addition, attendees will "discover the importance of integrating high-quality game content in an easy way that casual gamers will engage with."

New GDC Taipei Summit to cover key trends in Asian, Western development

For the first time ever, the organizers of the Game Developers Conference have partnered with the Taipei World Trade Center and the Taiwan Industry Promotion Alliance to host the GDC Taipei Summit, a brand new Summit event covering the biggest trends in Asian and Western game development.

This two-day Summit will take place Tuesday, June 26 and Wednesday, June 27 at the Taipei International Convention Center, and will follow in the tradition of other GDC events by bringing together key regional and international developers to discuss important issues that affect the entire games business.

The Summit covers everything from console titles, social games, mobile games, online services, and more, and includes speakers from throughout Asia as well as the Western world.

Here are some of the notable speakers for the GDC Taipei Summit:

- Hosting the Summit's keynote is Ngmoco Sweden's Ben Cousins (pictured), who will provide an in-depth industry overview in, "The Five Big Trends in the Global Games Industry." During this presentation, Cousins will point to the sweeping changes affecting modern game development, examining everything from new platforms, new business models, to new game genres.

With all the chaotic changes affecting today's game industry, it can be hard to keep track of what really matters, and Cousins' talk promises to "[cut] through the noise to give you the five most important trends that he believes will define the global games industry in the next 5-10 years."

- Elsewhere, Media Molecule community manager James Spafford will address the essential elements of design in today's connected online landscape. His talk, "Designing With Community In Mind: How Media Molecule Put 'Share' into 'Play, Create, Share,'" will examine how the studio's LittleBigPlanet games were influenced by the studio's need to design for an always-connected online community.

- Haining Wang, CEO of the social games company Happy Elements, will examine the lifecycles of social games in "How to Keep Social Games Fresh on Facebook?" Using examples from Happy Elements games like My Kingdom and My Fishbowl, Wang will explain how to maintain long-term success and operate a social game on a worldwide scale.

 

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