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GDC Online Adds De Halleux, Armstrong To Advisory Board

As this October's GDC Online -- formerly called GDC Austin -- prepares for first content announcements, the Texas-based show has added Playfish and Electric Bat execs to BioWare, Nexon, SOE, and Zenimax notables on its Advisory Board.

The GDC Online Advisory Board, which is also helping oversee the newly revealed Game Developers Choice Online Awards, is intimately involved in selecting content for the October 5th-8th show at the Austin Convention Center.

Board members individually rate each GDC Online lecture submission. They also meet in person multiple times yearly to decide final lectures and keynotes from submissions and invitations -- making sure GDC Online remains the leading worldwide game industry event to concentrate specifically on social games, free-to-play titles, MMOs, and more.

At last week's GDC Online board meeting in Austin, existing board members were joined by new recruits in the form of Sebastien de Halleux, VP of EA Interactive and Playfish co-founder, and Cindy Armstrong, Webzen and SOE veteran and Electric Bat Interactive CEO.

Following Electronic Arts' $300 million acquisition of social game company Playfish in November 2009, De Halleux -- who helped head up the Pet Society creator -- now works on "monetization, business development, and relationships" with key partners across the division's three business units, Playfish, Pogo and EA Mobile.

Armstrong, who has been a high-profile executive in the online games space for many years -- previously as CEO of Webzen America and Vice President of Business Development at Sony Online Entertainment -- is currently president and CEO of Electric Bat Interactive, who are working on online 'layered reality gaming' including WebLords and Weblings.

GDC China Debuts Chengdu Forum, Confirms 2010 Dates

The 2010 GDC China Chengdu Forum's first event, held in late April, was a success, organizers say. The event, co-organized by Game Developers Conference organizers UBM together with the Chengdu Municipal Government, took place in Chengdu City's New Int'l Convention & Exposition Centre.

GDC Vault Adds Acclaimed Lectures From Amy Jo Kim, Bob Bates

Continuing their Game Developers Conference 2010 free video lecture series, organizers have debuted well-received lectures from Amy Jo Kim (on meta-game design) and Bob Bates (on 'living a creative life' in games.)

The two new lectures, both highly rated by GDC attendees, are part of a free update published at the GDC Vault website, and feature video technology that allows users to simultaneously view a presenter's slides alongside video and audio of their presentation.

The first talk to be made freely available in this set is 'Meta-Game Design: Reward Systems that Drive Engagement', originally presented at the Social & Online Games Summit by Shufflebrain co-founder and veteran social game/community designer Amy Jo Kim.

Kim, whose clients have included Electronic Arts, Sony, Disney, eBay, MTV, Square Enix and Harmonix, presents an in-depth look at 'metagame design', that is, "the practice of applying game-like reward and feedback systems to non-game applications for the purpose of driving loyalty and engagement".

In the 30 minute talk, the designer and consultant examines games like FarmVille and websites like Stack Overflow to see how clever incentivizing can make -- or break -- your product, whether it sits in the game space, web space, or somewhere in between.

GDC Online Awards To Honor Best Social Games, F2P, MMO Titles

Organizers of this October's GDC Online conference (formerly known as GDC Austin) have announced that they will host the first annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards, to recognize the rich history, technical excellence, and continued innovation in the arena of online games.

The new awards ceremony will honor the accomplishments of the sometimes overlooked creators and operators of persistent online video games - from large-scale MMOs through free-to-play titles to social network games. The awards span excellence in live services, technology, game updates, online game design, and more.

In addition, two special awards will honor outstanding individuals and games in the space, with the Online Game Legend Award being given to a person who's changed the world of online games forever, and one particular all-time classic online game being inducted into the GDC Online Awards' Hall Of Fame.

After award finalists are announced, the worldwide community of online game players will also have the opportunity to designate their favorite online game in the Audience Award category.

Nominations are now open, and game professionals with free Gamasutra.com user accounts can put forward their favorite online games for the awards. The GDC Online Awards are a sister event to the Game Developers Choice Awards which take place at GDC San Francisco every year.

The award categories and this year's Special Award winners will be determined by the GDC Online Advisory Board. This group includes notables like BioWare Austin's Gordon Walton, Metaplace's Raph Koster, Playfish's Sebastien De Halleux, and Nexon's Min Kim.

Winners for the Game Developers Choice Online Awards will be selected by a specially selected subset of the International Choice Awards Network (ICAN). This is the same group of over 500 handpicked leading industry creators that pick the Game Developers Choice Awards winners at GDC in San Francisco every year.

The full list of categories for the first annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards include:

Heavy Rain's Cage, APB, Split/Second Lectures Announced For GDC Europe

GDC Europe organizers have revealed major new speakers for its August 2010 event in Cologne, including a Heavy Rain postmortem from David Cage, plus detailed talks from the creators of Crysis 2, APB and Split/Second.

The latest announcements follow details of a keynote from Bigpoint and initial lectures from notables from Playdom, Sony, and Playfish. These begin to flesh out the schedule for the major three-day European game development event, taking place for the second year on August 16th-18th in Cologne, Germany.

The notable new speakers for the conference, which is created by the UBM Techweb Game Network, include the following major new talks from leading video game creators:

- In 'Heavy Rain: How Far Are You Prepared to Go to Develop an Original Project?', David Cage "will be driving the audience through a detailed postmortem on the hurdles Quantic Dream had to overcome to produce a game such as Heavy Rain", looking at making the "babylonian production while trying to keep creative control."

- InstantAction's Lou Castle is debuting a notable Business Track lecture called 'Baggies, DVDs and Bitstreams: How to Reinvent Yourself in a Dynamic Market', and the Westwood co-founder (Command & Conquer) will showcase thought-provoking opinions, "offering several specific methods of retaining and refocusing your personal outlook and, therefore, your professional career in games."

- 'The Art and Visual Styling of Crysis 2' is the title of a lecture by Crytek senior art director Frank Kitson, discussing the process of defining and shaping the visual styling the much-awaited action title. It will "offer practical techniques of defining color space and getting to the core of building a compelling visual image, as well as how to define key visual requirements and build a unique visual language that is consistent across an entire game."

GDC Europe Debuts Sony, Playdom, Crytek Talks, Transmedia Focus

GDC Europe organizers have announced major new speakers for the August event taking place in Cologne alongside Gamescom, with notables from Sony, Playdom, Crytek and Playfish speaking on social games, budget balancing, game metrics controversy and beyond.

Following the recent announcement of a keynote from browser game giant and Battlestar Galactica MMO creator Bigpoint, the new sessions reveal significant breadth to the leading European video game conference, which takes place on August 16th-18th in Cologne, Germany.

Some of the notable new speakers for the conference include the following:

- In 'Intuition vs. Metrics: The Big Debate', Playfish's Jeferson Valardes will explore the controversy about the social game space's metrics-driven approach to design and development. Valardes, at the Electronic Arts-owned leading social network game firm (Restaurant City, Pet Society), promises "take this controversial subject by the neck and leave no stone unturned" in discussing it.

- Crytek producer Bernd Diemer (Crysis) is presenting a thought-provoking design lecture from the leading German firm, 'Imaginary Places, Strange Maps, and How Pop Culture Resonates Past Media Borders', discussing how inspiration for games can be taken from the strange, compelling miasma of pop culture through our earliest experiences.

- In a key production track lecture from Seb Canniff of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, 'Budgets - The Bermudan Part of the Production Triangle', the SCEE manager will provide hands-on advice on how to build, track and stick to a video game project budget, looking at "what most often goes wrong, and providing tools and tips on how to avoid these pitfalls".

Reminder: GDC Online Lecture Submissions Due May 19th

GDC Online organizers are reminding that the call for submissions for the leading online game-focused conference -- taking place this October 5-8 in Austin, Texas -- are only open until this Wednesday at midnight EDT.

The event, formerly known as GDC Austin, continues to accept submissions through midnight EDT on May 19th to present lectures, roundtables, tutorials and panel sessions at the largest worldwide industry event to concentrate specifically on social games, free-to-play titles, MMOs, and more.

To address the unprecedented growth in the online and social game space over the last year, development and business-oriented submissions for GDC Online are being sought after, in content tracks including Business and Marketing, Design, Production, and Programming.

Notably new to this year's event is the "Live" track, which will discuss successful post-launch strategies to help increase profitability and retention. This topic covers metric-driven live development, design patterns for viral mechanics, and the balance between customer service and community relations.

GDC Online is keenly focused on development of connected games including social network titles, free-to-play web games, kid-friendly online titles, large-scale MMOs, and more, with a leading advisory board guiding the evaluation and choice of lectures.
In addition to the main conference content, GDC Online will present specialized Summit programs, with in-depth business and technical advice on major up-and-coming facets of the game industry, including 3D stereoscopic games and iPad development.

GDC Canada Announces 2010 Attendance, 2011 Plans

Organizers of the 2010 Game Developers Conference Canada, co-produced by UBM TechWeb Game Network and Reboot Communications, have announced that more than 775 game industry professionals gathered last week for two days of learning, networking and inspiration at the Vancouver Convention Center.
With attendance numbers comparable to last year's, GDC Canada 2010 provided opportunities for sharing knowledge, making new connections and celebrating the passion and dedication of fellow Canadian game-makers.
With more than 35 lectures, panels, and sessions covering best-practices that studios should implement to develop successful franchises for consoles, iPhone games and digitally distributed titles, the conference was successful in inspiring Canadian developers to share experiences for fostering ingenuity and quality games.
GDC Canada featured the Game Career Seminar, an expo area, business to business lounge and networking receptions where attendees met with representatives from Epic Games, Radical, Relic, Blue Castle, Hansoft and Sony Computer Entertainment, among others.

Independent Games Festival Names Boyer As Chairman

The UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the yearly Independent Games Festival and Independent Games Summit has announced that scene notable Brandon Boyer has been named Chairman of the IGF, as it continues to expand its role in evangelizing and rewarding the best indie games.
In his new role, Boyer will oversee submission and judging operations, provide community outreach and support, and help shape the structure and continued growth of the IGF -- the longest-running and largest event relating to independent games worldwide.
This follows the event's all-time record 607 game submissions in 2010 across the IGF Main Competition, Student Showcase and IGF Mobile competitions, including high-profile titles like Monaco, Limbo and Super Meat Boy.
The 2010 Independent Games Festival saw thousands of visitors to its Pavilion [picture gallery] and more than 3,000 attend the IGF Awards Show [picture gallery] in March 2010. The associated Independent Games Summit [picture gallery] had nearly 1,000 attendees for its 2010 keynote session on the Indie Fund.
Both events are part of the larger Game Developers Conference, which is returning to San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center Monday, February 28 to Friday, March 4, 2011.

GDC Vault Adds Ngmoco, Moshi Monsters Emerging Market Lectures

Continuing their Game Developers Conference 2010 free video lecture series, show organizers have debuted well-received lectures on social/free to play games by Ngmoco's Neil Young and Moshi Monsters' Michael Acton Smith.
The two new lectures, both highly rated by GDC attendees, are part of a free bi-weekly update published at the GDC Vault website, and feature video technology that allows users to simultaneously view a presenter's slides alongside video and audio of their presentation.
Firstly, organizers are presenting Neil Young's Business & Management Track keynote from GDC 2010, 'Things to Unlearn Moving From Traditional Development to the New Digital World'. Young, who is CEO & founder of iPhone/iPad centric publisher/developer ngmoco (TouchPets, We Rule, Rolando) "talks candidly about the challenges that traditional game developers face" in this new market.
Young, who was previously a long-time EA executive (Majestic) discusses "transitioning from long development cycles, packaged goods and the one time sale to the essential new models of games as a service, virtual goods, data driven design & minimum viable products" in this highly-rated GDC lecture.

2010 GDC Canada Adds Dragon Age, Entis, Other Notable Talks

As GDC Canada nears, organizers have added key lectures for the May 6th-7th Vancouver event, including a BioWare duo on Dragon Age and former EA exec and current VC Glenn Entis on funding for game developers.
These confirmations come on the heels of already-announced emerging market lectures from Zynga and Diner Dash creator Nick Fortugno, and other recently debuted talks from Obsidian, Blizzard, Telltale, and Blue Castle Games execs and creators.
The new set of lectures round out a major program of events at the Vancouver, Canada-based show which include lectures on console and emerging markets. Some of the top new talks include:
- 'Bringing Dragon Age to Life - Digital Actors in an Epic RPG' features BioWare's lead animator Clove Roy and lead character artist Shane Hawco who will "provide an in-depth look in how to tell a huge complex story through an interactive narrative, complete with hundreds of emotionally engaging digital actors" for the Canadian-developed hit title Dragon Age: Origins.
- In 'Funding for Game Developers - Do's and Don'ts', Vanedge Capital co-founder Glenn Entis, formerly CTO of Electronic Arts and now running a game-focused VC fund, will give "an overview of what it takes to fund a young company or game development studio."

GDC Online Calls For Submissions For 2010 Event

2010 GDC Online organizers have announced that the call for submissions is open for the leading online game-focused conference, which takes place this October 5-8 in Austin, Texas.

2010 GDC Canada Offers Free Passes For Laid-Off Developers

The organizers of next month's GDC Canada event in Vancouver are offering free Main Conference passes to Canadian game developers laid off in the last twelve months to help them return to the game industry.
Continuing a similar program conducted during GDC Canada 2009, and recognizing the toll the recession has taken on elements of the mainstream video game industry, a special page on the GDC Canada website details the offer's specifics.
To qualify, prospective attendees must have been laid off from a Canadian video game or creative/digital arts company within the past 12 months, not be currently full-time employed, and provide their Canadian Record of Employment document at GDC Canada onsite registration to validate your status.
They will also need to pre-register now for the May 6th-7th event at the Vancouver Convention Center by following the instructions on the GDC Canada page devoted to the subject. Only a limited amount of these passes are available.
The GDC Canada event itself has now confirmed much of its content, with a full schedule of announced lectures now available, and the Canadian Videogame Awards now confirmed for the night before the event.

 

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