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GDC 2013 Day 3: Engines and awards

An interview with PS4 chief architect Mark Cerny, Konami's FOX engine for Metal Gear Solid 5, Epic's Unreal Engine 3 for browsers, and DICE's Frostbite 3 for Battlefield 4 mark day 3 of GDC 2013. The IGF and Choice Awards concluded the evening of the first day of the Main Conference.
GDC 2013 is running Monday, March 25th through Friday, March 29th at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Gamasutra is onsite to cover the event in its entirety, and the following are the third-day, can't-miss highlights:
- In an interview with Mark Cerny, the PlayStation 4's lead architect offered an inside look into the upcoming console and explained how he began the process of designing Sony's new system -- with developers' desires.
- Firefox developer Mozilla has revealed a partnership with Epic Games, which will bring the latter's Unreal Engine 3 to web browsers very soon.
- Although it was previously thought that the next installment in the Battlefield series would use DICE's Frostbite 2 engine, the company has revealed that the Frostbite 3 engine will debut later this year.

GDC 2013 Day 2: F2P problems and solutions

Kongregate COO Emily Greer described what keeps F2P players playing and paying, while QWOP developer Bennett Foddy identified F2P problems and potential solutions in the second day of the 2013 Game Developers Conference.
GDC 2013 is running Monday, March 25th through Friday, March 29th at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Gamasutra is onsite to cover the event in its entirety, and the following are more can't-miss highlights:
-Kongregate COO and co-founder Emily Greer has built her company on maintaining players for the long haul. In her Free-To-Play Summit session, she described the six pillars her company has identified for keeping players happy (and keeping the revenues flowing).
-QWOP and GIRP developer Bennett Foddy says the free-to-play business model has five big problems. However, being creative about solving them can result in a more meaningful application of free-to-play games.
-FTL: Faster Than Light developers Matthew Davis and Justin Ma didn't bother with a design document -- after all, they expected it to be a three-month side project. But when development got serious, they had to adjust, the two share in this postmortem.
-Ndemic Creations CEO James Vaughan outlines some of the business decisions that made mobile disease simulation game Plague, Inc one of the most successful and top-grossing mobile games of 2012.

GDC 2013 Day 1: Indies speak out

The 2013 Game Developers Conference is in full swing, and highlights from the first day include Double Fine's Kipnis on the game jam inspired by @petermolydeux, Terry Cavanagh calling for indies to curate their own games, and Giant Sparrow on The Unfnished's Swan's journey to PSN.
GDC 2013 is running Monday, March 25th through Friday, March 29th at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Gamasutra is onsite to cover the event in its entirety, and the following are some of the first-day highlights.
In How a parody Twitter account inspired a global game jam, Double Fine's Anna Kipnis gives a postmortem of "What Would Molydeux," last year's event that offered a unique spin on the concept of a game jam by basing prototypes on the tweets of Twitter parody account @petermolydeux.
Elsewhere, Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh argues that fellow indie game developers are the community's best curators in Indies question whether journalists should be our game curators .
In Lessons from The Unfinished Swan's unique development journey, Giant Sparrow creative director Ian Dallas shares what he learned in The Unfinished Swan's journey from USC student prototype to full-scale, 12-person PlayStation Network release.

GDC 2013: What you need to know onsite

Mere days before GDC 2013 begins, organizers offer an extensive overview of the event and remind of conference-navigating tools to maximize attendees' experiences, such as the schedule builder and mobile app, and the availability of onsite pass purchases.
GDC 2013 will run Monday, March 25th through Friday, March 29th at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.
The event is set to provide a wealth of knowledge, networking and inspiration for game development professionals worldwide, and is centered around more than 500 lectures, panels, tutorials, and roundtable discussions from more than 900 speakers.
Also key to the event are the Independent Games Festival (IGF) and Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCAs) ceremonies, and the most comprehensive Expo floor of its kind, open from Wednesday to Friday and featuring a Career Pavilion, Business Center, and more than 350 exhibitors in total.
The best way to maximize the week of events is to plan ahead for them with online schedule builder, which can be exported or added to the GDC mobile app. Attendees can also plan their expo routes with the detailed expo floor plan.

GDC 2013 organizers highlight titles to watch next week at GDC Play

GDC 2013 organizers are reminding attendees of the return of its onsite independent and emerging developer area GDC Play, featuring over 70 playable exhibits and the first hand-picked Best in Play showcase.
This will be the second GDC Play expo, after a successful 2012 debut, and will take place Tuesday, March 26 - Thursday, March 28 at San Francisco's Moscone Center during the 2013 Game Developers Conference.
In a new, expanded onsite location this year, GDC Play 2013 will be in the South Hall's Gateway Ballroom, in a prominent position directly opposite the main GDC Expo floor (which is open from Wednesday to Friday) - providing enhanced opportunities to target the more than 20,000 attendees at the show.
All Access pass holders and GDC Play exhibitors can easily arrange meetings with each other now using GDC's Business Matchmaking tool, too.
Earlier this month, organizers announced the eight Best in Play winners and eight strong runner-ups that will showcase next week. Winners will receive specially designated kiosks at GDC Play and two All Access Passes for the 2014 Game Developers Conference.

GDC 2013 highlights Tomb Raider, StarCraft II: HotS talks; discount pre-reg ends tonight

On the last day of discounted online registration, GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting talks on freemium app CSR Racing getting 30 million downloads, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm's cinematic process, and the 'reinvention' of Tomb Raider and Crystal Dynamics.
These talks are part of the Main Conference for Game Developers Conference 2013, which will take place next week, Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.
Today's highlights begin with Blizzard's Wyatt Cheng, who will explore his company's iterative design process in 'Through the Grinder: Refining Diablo III's Game Systems.' Cheng will focus particularly on what worked and what did not for the game's health recovery, controls, and skills systems.
'The Reinvention of Tomb Raider' called for a reinvention of Crystal Dynamics, studio head Darrell Gallagher and creative director Noah Hughes will share. Along with a studio "reboot," the two will discuss how the game required rebooted creative vision and production techniques to develop a Tomb Raider for a modern audience.
In another Blizzard session, lead writer Brian Kindregan will trace the story development of a difficult StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm cinematic in 'How Hard Could It Be? The Story of a Cinematic.' While showing multiple versions, Kindregan will track "the differing speed of cinematic production vs. game design, the feedback we received, the choices we made, and how they impacted the story."

GDC 2013 adds Sega history, board game exhibits, with 24 hours to pre-register

Just one day before discounted registration ends, GDC 2013 organizers are calling attention to several interactive events for the March conference, including playable board games from video game designers, plus multiple game history exhibits spanning The Neverhood through classic Sega games.
These events will be free to all GDC passholders for the week of the 2013 Game Developers Conference on March 25-29 and will be found in the common areas across the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. The full line-up of exhibits is as follows:
The MADE - Game History Exhibit
Firstly, occupying part of the West Hall's Street Level, the Oakland-based Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment will host and curate a playable, diverse game history exhibit in three parts: 'Games You Can Frame', 'The Sound of Games', and 'African-Americans in Game Development'.
The main exhibit, 'Games You Can Frame' focuses on beautiful visuals from video gaming's past, and includes titles spanning GDC Classic Postmortem honoree Myst, Cinemaware's It Came From The Desert!, LucasArts' Grim Fandango, Q's Rez, and Fumito Ueda's Shadow Of The Colossus, to name but a few.
'The Sound Of Games' is a mini-exhibit featuring games with amazing audio or soundtracks, including Streets Of Rage and Super Metroid, and the mini-exhibit on African-Americans in games will feature the Fairchild Channel F game console, Designasaur 2 and Battlecruiser 3000AD.

GDC 2013 showcases Destiny visibility rendering, Skulls of the Shogun sponsored talks

Just two days before discounted registration ends, GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting notable sponsored sessions for its March event, including automated visibility rendering in Bungie's Destiny, Skulls of the Shogun's development across Microsoft platforms, and a 'Japanese Games & Publishing in Japan' panel.
These sponsor-supported talks are part of the Main Conference for Game Developers Conference 2013, which will take place Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, and are open to all relevant passholders.
Some of the highlights from the multitude of vendor sessions at this year's show include:
- In 'Powering up Destiny's Level Creation and Rendering with Umbra 3 (Presented by Umbra Soft)', and Umbra's Otso Makinen will discuss his company's newest automated visibility solution. Bungie's Hao Chen will then share how this solution lead to "a new level of artistic freedom and rapid content iteration times," which is "vital in the creation of Bungie's next universe and its unparalleled gaming experience."
- In '5 things to know: Japanese Games & Publishing in Japan (Presented by JETRO)', attendees will learn how to succeed in the game markets in Japan and overseas, which types of Japanese games will be successful in western markets, how to partner with Japanese gaming companies, and how to source Japanese games or developers.
The growing lineup, in a panel moderated by veteran Jon Kimmich of consulting firm Software Illuminati, will include Alexander Aniel of Land Ho (multiplaform developer in Japan, localized Ubisoft's Just Dance and We Cheer series), Atsushi Ishii of Dango (Magimon, Land of Zombies developer), Masaki Sato of WINLIGHT (mobile game developer, Elemental Knights Online), and Tomonori Sugiyama of Vanguard (Trauma Center 2, Mononoke Fever multiplatform developer).

Guild Wars 2, SimCity design lectures highlighted at GDC 2013

GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting more top talks for its March conference, including design lectures on Guild Wars 2 and SimCity, Brenda Romero's F2P "morning after," and panels on indie incubators/accelerators and physical/digital game mixing.
These newly highlighted talks will be part of GDC 2013's Main Conference, which will take place Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.
First up, the panel 'Incubators/Accelerators: An Inside Look at Startup Funding and Entrepreneurship Programs' will show to developers what help exists to start their projects or companies and to program leaders how several models support indies and entrepreneurship.
Speakers in the panel will be Paul Bragiel (Founder, I/O Ventures), Jason Della Rocca and Keith Katz (Co-Founders, Execution Labs), Epona Schweer (Producer, Indie Bits), and Ken Seto (Co-Founder, Massive Damage).
In 'The Beauty and Challenge of Mixing Physical and Digital Games,' attendees will learn the design tradeoffs between board games and video games,the different audiences for each format, and the mechanics that work best for asynchronous play.
Speakers will include Tom Chick (Founder, Quarter to Three), Richard Garfield (Magic: The Gathering designer, now at Three Donkeys), Joel Goodman (CEO, Playdek), Eric Hautemont (CEO, Ticket To Ride publisher Days of Wonder), and Soren Johnson (Dragon Age Legends and Sid Meier's Civilization IV lead designer).

11th annual Experimental Gameplay Sessions reveals GDC 2013 line-up

With less than two weeks remaining before the Game Developers Conference 2013, show organizers are detailing its special workshop dubbed "Experimental Gameplay Sessions," which returns to GDC for its 11th year.
This jam-packed, two-hour session -- which takes place Friday, March 29 at 2:30pm in Room 2014 of the San Francisco Moscone Center's West Hall -- will showcase an eclectic mix of unusual game prototypes that defy convention and explore new ideas and genres.
With this year's EGS curated and organized by leading creators Robin Hunicke (Journey), Richard Lemarchand (Uncharted franchise) & Daniel Benmergui (Storyteller), it's an exciting opportunity for presenters and attendees alike to explore some brand new territory in game design.
In fact, a number of 'experimental' titles that debuted in previous years have gone on to become some of the most well regarded in the industry. Some of these standout games include flOw, Braid, Portal, World of Goo and Today I Die.
This year, the session aims to recapture that innovative spirit, with over 20 titles from some of the industry's most creative developers.

GDC 2013 Audio Track highlights Walking Dead, Dear Esther, Dead Space 3 talks

GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting notable Audio track lectures, including Rod Abernethy on the art form of game audio, Dear Esther's approach to mixing live and digital instruments, Dead Space 3's interactive mixing, The Walking Dead's episodic sound design and production, and Double Fine's 'Audio Production Survival Guide.'
These talks are part of the Audio Track for GDC 2013's Main Conference, which will take place Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.
This in-depth track is available for All-Access and Main Conference pass holders, as well as holders of the special lower-cost Audio Track Pass.
Looking at highlights from the Track, Sean Vora and J. White of Visceral Games / EA will outline their process for 'Interactive Mixing in Dead Space 3.' Attendees "will gain insight into ducking mixer hierarchy design, and methods that incorporate state-based mix functionality into location-based game systems."
thechineseroom's Jessica Curry will share how live musicians merged with digital instruments in 'The Music of Dear Esther: Creating Powerful Scores with Limited Resources.' She will also explain the compositional process for the IGF 2012 Excellence in Audio finalist (pictured), "including specific examples of the score's thematic content, emotional aims, and technical process."

GDC 2013 announces winners for Game Narrative poster sessions

GDC and the Game Narrative Summit are proud to announce the winners of the 2013 edition of the annual Student Narrative Analysis Competition, who all receive passes to this year's March conference in San Francisco, CA.
Every year, leading game design programs at universities across the country integrate the competition into their academic curricula. Each participating student conducts a detailed structured analysis of the narrative elements of a game title of their choice.
The resulting papers are submitted to the GDC Game Narrative Summit advisors for review, and the submitters with the most promising entries are then invited to present poster sessions of their work to their future professional peers at the Game Narrative Summit.
Past winners, available for viewing on GDC Vault, have explored both the biggest of AAA games and highly praised indies, games renowned for their storytelling and games that theoretically had no formal narrative at all.
But with ingenuity and a keen analytical eye, the competitors have consistently produced incisive, bold analysis that foreshadows the contributions they will someday make to the field of game narrative.
2013 featured an exceptionally strong group of entrants from schools across the country and around the world. For the first time, the competition had an international student among its winners, as well as representation from colleges and universities across the US.
We're proud to announce that this year's winners are:

Steam for Linux, Oculus Rift, Hawken, HTML5 sponsored sessions come to GDC 2013

GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting notable sponsored sessions for the March 25th-29th show, including Valve/Nvidia on moving Steam to Linux, Oculus Rift, Google on native HTML5 apps, and Microsoft on second screen gaming with SmartGlass.
These sponsor supported talks are part of the Main Conference for Game Developers Conference 2013, which will take place Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, and are open to all relevant passholders.
Some of the highlights from the multitude of vendor sessions at this year's show include:
- Nvidia is presenting a notable session in the form of 'Porting Source to Linux', with Valve's Rich Geldreich and Nvidia's John McDonald discussing "tool alternatives on Linux, OS issues and pitfalls, and porting from Direct3D to OpenGL."
- In addition, much-hyped Oculus Rift creator Oculus VR will present 'Virtual Reality: The Holy Grail of Gaming' with CEO Brendan Iribe and founder Palmer Luckey highlighting "VR's false starts, what's different this time, and why virtual reality is poised to revolutionize the way we play games."
- Nvidia's second high-profile session is 'Enhancing Hawken and PlanetSide 2 Through Turbulence and Destruction' with their own Dane Johnston and Aron Zoellner explaining how APEX Turbulence and Destruction can create more immersive game environments than was possible in previous-generation games.

DmC, Tomb Raider, Tearaway, ESRB talks headed to GDC 2013

GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting more notable talks for its March conference, including topics on Tearaway's tangibility, Tomb Raider and DmC reboots, the aftermath of the 'EA: The Human Story' open letter, and an international ratings system.
All of these lectures take place during the Main Conference to be held March 27-29 during the Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.
Lead Designer Rex Crowle from LittleBigPlanet creator Media Molecule will speak about the challenges of creating a digital papercraft adventure for PS Vita in 'Building the Touchy-Feely World of Tearaway.' The developer seeks to expand creative gameplay with a new tangible craft aesthetic and by encouraging a creativity-loop outside of the game.
Ninja Theory's visual art director Alessandro Taini will explore the re-imagining and rebooting of Capcom's famous franchise in 'The Art Direction of DmC Devil May Cry.' Taini will present work "from concept and inspiration, through to the 3D realization of the game's bright and bold art style."
Elsewhere, Crystal Dynamics' Jonathan Hamel will share how Tomb Raider was rebooted in 'One with Lara: The Croft of Systems Design.' Hamel will share the specific strategy used to assess the game dynamics, which ensured that it added up to "an emotionally moving gameplay experience."

AI postmortems of Assassin's Creed III, XCOM, AI rant planned for GDC 2013

GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting several notable Artificial Intelligence Summit lectures for its March conference, including AI postmortems of Assassin's Creed III, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Warframe (pictured), its annual AI dev rant, and 'The Simplest AI Trick in the Book.'
The AI Summit has been organized with the help of the AI Game Programmers Guild. The Summit promises to give attendees an inside look at key architectures and issues within successful games and provide insight into what AI can offer the next generation games.
(The AI Summit is just one of eight Summits to be held Monday-Tuesday, March 25-26 during the Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.)
Firstly, in a collection of three 'AI Postmortems,' developers will dive right into the most challenging AI issues they faced and how they overcame them.
Ubisoft's Richard Dumas and Aleissia Laidacker will discuss improving climbing and running mechanics in Assassin's Creed III, Firaxis' Alex Cheng will share approaches to movement and ability usage for the various aliens in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Digital Extremes' Daniel Brewer will cover creating tactical and behavioral AI in procedurally generated levels of Warframe.

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