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GDC Extras Archive

The GDC (Game Developers Conference), previously the Computer Game Developers Conference, is a series of events held worldwide to bring together developers, marketers, management, artists, and others involved in the creation of electronic entertainment. Besides the main events, GDC also maintains an archive of presentations and recordings at The GDC Vault.



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The intelligent use of terrain by game agents was a turning point in modern shooter and action games. Gone were the days where the enemies simply ran straight toward the player. However, the need for spatial awareness quickly went beyond static cover points. Designers wanted to incorporate more complex spatial behaviors such as searching, running away, maneuvering for better line of sight, or even group tactics. Environments also became richer and more dynamic, which made manual markup and...
Topic: GDC
This talk is a detailed walkthrough of the game engine modifications needed to make The Last of Us Remastered run at 60 fps on PlayStation 4. Topics covered will include the fiber-based job system Naughty Dog adopted for the game, the overall frame-centric engine design, the memory allocation patterns used in the title, and our strategies for dealing with locks.
Topic: GDC
Game physics engines are used to create games like Portal, Titanfall, Smash Hit, and Diablo 3. Games would be far less compelling without the realistic physics simulation that engages the player's intuition and stimulates their motion awareness. Physics has become a staple of the modern gaming tradition as we try to re-create and re-interpret the world around us. The Physics for Programmers tutorial brings together speakers from Blizzard, Respawn, Mediocre, and Valve. Topics include numerical...
Topic: GDC
Telltale's The Walking Dead should be, by most historical measures, a failure as an apocalyptic zombie video game. It has no dedicated combat button, the main character has no exceptional skills or abilities, and it explores issues of race and gender under a mechanical and thematic milieu of "choice." By focusing completely on characters and "designing with empathy," we were able to create a story-driven game experience that has become both a commercial and critical success....
Topic: GDC
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March 20-24, 2001
GDC Extras Archive
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March 22-26, 2004 San Jose, CA
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Technical art is evolving rapidly. In many studios TAs play key roles in developing efficient tools pipelines, and ensuring art content is visually striking and optimized for performance. TAs bridge content and engineering, helping make both more successful. However, many studios have still not fully embraced the TA role. Their TAs are smart and eager to make an impact, but are not sure how to best prove their value, and be given key roles in development. A group of experienced, respected...
Topic: GDC
 
Topic: GDC
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This presentation introduces Motion Matching, an innovative new approach for creating high quality, fluid and complex character movement. The team adopted a declarative animation philosophy, where instead of placing small animations in a big structure, they place small structured markup on top of long animations. This manual markup is necessary for logical information that can't be inferred automatically, like attack types and defense stances. For navigation, they don't have to manually...
Topic: GDC
WARNING: Content of this presentation features nudity and graphic computerized sexual scenes. Please do not come if you are offended by such images or are under the age of 18. Before Hot Coffee, before Playboy: The Mansion, even before the 1980's Leisure Suit Larry series, there was sex in video games... and lots of it. From flirting in MUDs to hardcore sexual simulators to the emerging field of teledildonics, sex in games is nearly as old as the medium itself. Sex isn't limited to the games...
Topic: GDC
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March 4-8 2003 San Jose, CA
This lecture focuses on the interactive simulation of water surfaces such as puddles, lakes, rivers or oceans. While simple particle systems are well suited for blood or splashing effects, the simulation of larger bodies of water requires more sophisticated techniques. Full 3d fluid simulations are too computationally expensive to be used in games today. However, simulating the water surface alone as a 2d heighfield reduces that cost significantly and can still capture most visual effects of 3d...
Topic: GDC
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What goes into making a cult hit? Taro Yoko, director of games like Nier and the Drakengard series, talks about the process he uses to create worlds and stories that get noticed and foster dedicated fans. Recounting his experiences on those games and others, Yoko-san will explain his personal development methods, such as backwards scriptwriting (where the ending defines the entire setting), and what he calls "photo thinking" -- thinking photographically to maintain a cohesive setting.
Topic: GDC
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Game physics engines are used to create games like Angry Birds, Half-Life, Tomb Raider, Red Faction, MotorStorm, Limbo, and Diablo 3. Games would be far less compelling without the realistic physics simulation that engages the player's intuition and stimulates their motion awareness. Physics has become a staple of the modern gaming tradition as we try to re-create and re-interpret the world around us. The Physics for Programmers tutorial brings together speakers from Blizzard, Dtecta, Havok,...
Topic: GDC
Virtual reality is significantly different from monitor-based games in many ways. Many choices that are merely stylistic for traditional games become incredibly important in VR, while others become irrelevant. At Oculus, we have collected together our own experiences working on VR titles, and those of other developers working on our platform; and it has taught us a lot of surprising things. Some of these lessons are obvious when looking at the shipped products, but there are many paths explored...
Topic: EU
 
Topic: GDC
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In this talk, art director Matt Nava will present the artwork he created during the development of the game Journey by thatgamecompany. The audience will learn about the creative processes, inspirations, challenges, and constraints that were encountered while designing the art direction for this critically acclaimed and award-winning PS3 title. Based on the book "The Art of Journey" which Nava recently wrote, the lecture will cover the design of the character, creatures, landscapes,...
Topic: GDC
Game physics engines are used to create games like Angry Birds, Half-Life, Tomb Raider, Red Faction, MotorStorm, Limbo, and Diablo 3. Games would be far less compelling without the realistic physics simulation that engages the player's intuition and stimulates their motion awareness. Physics has become a staple of the modern gaming tradition as we try to re-create and re-interpret the world around us. The Physics for Programmers tutorial brings together speakers from Blizzard, Dtecta, Havok,...
Topic: GDC
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Have you ever bumped into another developer and noticed they're using a code snippet or tool that you feel like you could've used a million times? In this collection of ten-minute technical talks, each speaker will take you through one of their tools, solutions, or hacks that could benefit the average indie developer on a very practical level.
Topic: GDC
Vulkan and DirectX12 share many common concepts, but differ vastly from the APIs most game developers are used to. As a result, developing for DX12 or Vulkan requires a new approach to graphics programming and in many cases a redesign of the Game Engine. This lecture will teach the basic concepts common to Vulkan and DX12 and help developers overcome the main problems that often appear when switching to one of the new APIs. It will explain how those new concepts will help games utilize the...
Topic: EU
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This lecture discusses the basics of team-based AI, drawing on the speakers' experience with games such as Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six and Shadow Watch. Speakers: Clark Gibson, John O'Brien
Topics: gdc, Artificial Intelligence, Clark Gibson, John O'Brien, 2001
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If Shigeru Miyamoto is the Steven Spielberg of videogames, Koji Kondo is the John Williams. As one of the industry's most highly regarded composers, Kondo has composed timeless pieces that help bring Nintendo's stories to life through music. Starting with Super Mario Bros. in 1985 to the recently released The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess , Kondo has continuously redefined the definition of a game soundtrack. During this in-depth session, Kondo illustrates how his method of composing...
Topic: GDC
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Games have reached the point where realistic portrayals of sex and adult relationships are possible, but what does this mean to us as developers? How much responsibility do we have in addressing issues of sexism and sexuality, and are we inadvertently making statements about what is acceptable, even when we don't mean to say anything at all? Our industry is struggling with a conflict between the desire to be taken seriously as an art form, and the desire to avoid addressing social issues...
Topic: GDC
On the surface, the move to touchscreen devices and their visually oriented interfaces would seem to be an anathema for the visually impaired. Surprisingly, the opposite is true; they have had a rapid and life-changing effect, with smartphone uptake amongst people with profound vision impairments outstripping the rest of the population. Modern smartphones have powerful and sophisticated technologies to specifically facilitate their use by those with vision impairments. These technologies, and...
Topic: GDC
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Making games is fun, but complicated. The complexities of games increases with each new generation of gaming, and customer expectations grow. Production roles have become even more critical, whether you ship to mobile, the web, the latest consoles, or the PC. Successful producers are much more than just schedule jockeys; they are team managers, communication facilitators, conflict mediators, risk mitigators, work enablers, and predictors of the future. The Producer Bootcamp will focus on some...
Topic: GDC
In 2012, 2K Games released the genre-bending, military shooter Spec Ops: The Line, and received critical acclaim for a provocative and mature narrative that spoke directly to the act of playing it. Join lead writer and narrative designer Walt Williams, as he discusses how crafting the game's story, themes, and choices around its most basic mechanic (shooting), led to a more immersive and emotionally impactful experience.
Topic: GDC
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The mobile gaming market continues to evolve. While some games enthrall the public's thumbs for just a few months, other favorites can top the charts for years. Whether or not a game can keep those fickle fingers, there is clear market potential for mobile games to maintain popularity well beyond launch - when done right. This session will take a deep dive into the games-as-a-service strategy that Storm8 employs to maintain its loyal fan base of more than 200 million players worldwide. Drawing...
Topic: GDC
Shadow map aliasing is a common artifact in games. Moment shadow maps can improve on this situation. Similar to exponential variance shadow maps, they can be filtered and antialiased directly. However, they offer reduced light leaking and greater robustness at comparable cost. Since they scale well to high output resolutions, they are particularly attractive for virtual reality and 4K rendering. The session will explain when to utilize moment shadow maps, how they work and how to implement...
Topic: EU
As we enter a new console generation, the complexity of many games have increased, and with that, the knowledge needed to create them. Creating the latest code for graphics, animation, physical simulation and even artificial intelligence requires thorough knowledge of the necessary mathematical underpinnings. This tutorial continues the tradition of the "Math for Programmers" tutorial by bringing together some of the best presenters in gaming math to concentrate on the core...
Topic: GDC
This talk will explore the motivations behind and the results of partaking in the long term "Game a Week" challenge, which was formalized by Rami Ismail and executed by Adriel Wallick for the previous 38 weeks (the project is still ongoing). This project was originally conceived as a way to gain experience while simultaneously battling a creativity block, and resulted in learning a multitude of lessons, both on the technical side of making games as well as in the emotional impact of...
Topic: EU
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GDC Video Editing Chowder CD-ROMS
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When we set out to make Alien: Isolation our goal was to make the Alien game we had always wanted to play. A game that took the player back to Ridley Scott's original haunted house in space. A game where just one Alien could be terrifying and provide a meaningful encounter to an underpowered and underprepared player. This talk will reveal how we went about delivering this new approach to one of the most recognized icons in cinema and the story of how we overcame our own fear and uncertainty to...
Topic: GDC
 
Topic: GDC
Last year's '5 Domains of Play' presentation demonstrated how the facets of motivation in Psychology's Big 5 (or OCEAN) correlate to player preferences for specific game elements. Science! This year, we are going to find a solid, universal, practical game development application of this model, or die in the attempt. Firstly, the 5 Domains model needs some work. Over the last year, we have simplified it to focus exclusively on the 8 facets that seem to be primary for gaming, found a place for...
Topic: GDC
ESL One Frankfurt put 12,500 Dota 2 fans into a World Cup Football Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany. The talk will discuss the challenges in building a product which has a unique selling point in a busy eSports market, and strategy to target both hardcore Dota 2 eSports fans and mainstream gaming fans. Attendees will learn about the challenges and strategies of putting together an independent (non-publisher supported) event of this size, and where events of this size are heading. How do you build...
Topic: GDC
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Monster Hunter is a smash hit in Japan, but the series hadn't garnered the same popularity overseas. This session will talk about how Capcom's Localization Directors tackle new challenges to deliver high quality titles for North America and Europe, using the localization of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate as an example.
Topic: GDC
Implicit functions for distance fields have many applications in games and rendering. Raytracing them is a fun way to gain intuition while creating some beautiful images.
Topic: GDC
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WARNING: Discussion at this roundtable may include descriptions of graphic sexual activity that may be offensive to some. Please do not come if you are offended by such discussion or are under the age of 18. Hardcore "AO" games are here to stay. Last year's crop of sexy games are on their way to sequels or expansions and a new group of games is ready to push the boundaries even further. Online games like DreamStripper and VirtuallyJenna let players explore their wildest fantasies and...
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Topic: GDC
Hideaki Itsuno pulls back the curtain for a candid look at the creation of Dragon's Dogma through untold development stories, humor and inspiring ideas. This session will focus primarily on the game's original vision and genesis, while also touching on aspects of marketing and post-release product support strategy.
Topic: GDC
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The lead writer of Borderlands 2 explains how the team attempted to convey humor, not just through dialog and art, but through game mechanics. The lecture will discuss how a quest with no gameplay can actually be funnier than a quest with it, how every mechanic holds the potential for humor, and how even jokes need debugging. There will also be more use of the word fart than you are probably comfortable with.
Topic: GDC
Building a game that people play for years is no simple task and has no magic formula. However, in this session, Clash of Clans developer, Jonas Collaros, takes an insider's look at the hit game's development history and asks: what lessons can Clash teach? The mobile, free-to-play marketplace is rife with challenges, even for veteran developers, but, Jonas explains, perhaps the greatest challenge is maintaining a focus on essentials. A project's essential needs change again and again,...
Topic: GDC
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Bringing the beautiful and lively world of Broken Age simultaneously to five different platforms ranging from older mobile devices to state of the art PCs with only a small team of programmers was a great challenge. This talk will describe the key decisions made to achieve the necessary scalability, and detail the authoring process for characters and environments, the data build pipeline, and run-time techniques such as rendering tricks for rapid iteration and debugging. Several practical...
Topic: EU
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GDC 2005 Jordan Photos
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2003 GDC Audio Proceedings Game Design (2003)
Massively Scalable Pipeline Deployment:"My computer doesn't have the version of Photoshop you require! Your scripts tell me that I'm missing something that I don't understand! I have to wrap an external studio into our pipeline!" If you have suffered from any of these problems then this session is for you. The talk will be exploring the use of infrastructure management tools such as WPKG, SaltStack, Puppet, and Ansible for the deployment of creative studio pipelines. These tools were...
Topic: GDC
How do you translate filmmaker John Woo's trademark style of slow-motion, doves and endless bullets into a Next-Gen action game? In this design post-mortem, hear how STRANGLEHOLD's design team created several cinematic, yet entirely dynamic gameplay modes based on their favorite moments from Woo's films. These "Tequila Bombs" could happen anywhere, at any-time, and had to retain their cinematic flair while never getting boring. Hear how the designers worked with John Woo to create...
Topic: GDC
This session is appropriate for developers new to touchscreen game design, as well as those looking to further leverage the nuances of the platform. This patterns-based approach will give attendees a specific set of parameters and technical methods for building touch-native iOS games. The talk will also cover: A breakdown of several common input patterns in iOS games Functional analysis & suitability (patterns) Examples and case studies (a look at popular games and their input models)...
Topic: GDC
With further advancement in the current console cycle, new tricks are being learned to squeeze the maximum performance out of the hardware. This talk will present how the compute power of the console and PC GPUs can be used to improve the triangle throughput beyond the limits of the fixed function hardware. The discussed method shows a way to perform efficient "just-in-time" optimization of geometry, and opens the way for per-primitive filtering kernels and procedural geometry...
Topic: GDC
With one of the biggest mobile IPs of all time under their belts, Rovio set out to advance their brand even further: Angry Birds Epic, a tactical role-playing game was born. How did they meet the challenge of transferring a brand known to everyone for its simple slingshot mechanic to a totally different genre, and how has it been received by the crowd? Chris and Miika will tell the story of how Angry Birds Epic came into existence, from the original concept pitched to Rovio by Chimera...
Topic: EU
The gameplay of Fortnite allows players to construct elaborate, large-scale buildings in an attempt to defend themselves against the inhabitants of a hostile world. In this talk, Epic Games gameplay programmer Billy Bramer outlines the challenges, successes, and failures of designing and implementing the core of Fortnite's building system. Billy will provide an in-depth look at the iterative process of Fortnite, highlighting specific examples and lessons learned along the way. In particular,...
Topic: GDC
The match 3 puzzle genre is almost as old as it gets. Scour the App Store and you'll find hundreds of different varieties out there. Very few of these succeed however, and even less manage to hit the number one spot on the U.S. Apple App Store top download chart. Wooga's Jelly Splash managed to do just that, and in this session Florian Steinhoff, the creator of Jelly Splash, will give a detailed account on how his team managed that and what he learned throughout the development process.
Topic: GDC
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This video presentation from the 1999 Game Developers Conference explores the architecture of id Software's latest first-person shooter, Quake 3 Arena. Brian Hook discusses basic research into curved surface rendering, issues dealt with in deploying an OpenGL based game, the architecture of the back-end shading pipeline, the lighting model, and LOD algorithms for models and curved surfaces.
Topics: Brian Hook, Quake 3
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2005 GDC - Theater Reel Tape 1 of 2 - G4.avi
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200 GDC Game Awards (Camera Reel 1)
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Game worlds expand in size and complexity, thus requiring developers to fill hundreds of square kilometers with content - some of the most tedious and time consuming tasks being terrain and vegetation editing. This talk will describe CD Projekt Red's approach to highly automatize the process. By moving away from the conventional terrain material layers and linear material blends, visual quality can be improved while greatly reducing the amount of work. Vegetation coverage can be procedurally...
Topic: GDC
Sexualized female characters are hotly debated in the industry, but their counterparts, sexualized male characters are rarely discussed, and even more rarely written! This talk examines desirable men in video games, how they contrast with current male character trends, and how they can create a more welcoming atmosphere for straight women, gay men and others. Attendees will learn how (and why) to move beyond "male gaze" when writing male characters while avoiding "equal...
Topic: GDC
World of Tanks is MMOG with peak registered simultaneously online players of 1,114,337. This is the detailed look into engineering decisions that made this possible from technical point of view: scalable cluster, building cluster-of-clusters, dealing with large amounts of data near real-time, building platform infrastructure around the game.
Topic: GDC
It is one of Teut Weidemann's tasks as an F2P specialist to analyze successful F2P games. In this case, the world's biggest online game will be analyzed: how it works, why it works, and why it is so successful. The talk will be spiced with stories, numbers and insights.
Topic: EU
2006 Game Developers Conference Audio Proceedings Business Management IGDA (2006)
The player behavior team at Riot uses science to understand toxic player behavior. During this session, Jeffrey "Dr. Lyte" Lin discusses what Riot's statisticians, scientists, and developers are doing with the latest research in behavioral, social, and cognitive psychology to solve one of the biggest problems in online gaming today. From the player-driven Tribunal to the Honor Initiative, Jeff Lin talks about how science can reform toxic players, and reinforce positive player behavior.
Topic: GDC
As with all Blizzard games, Diablo III went through many iterations before the final product was released. Wyatt will describe different game systems that were attempted, explored, and then ultimately removed. We'll go into detail about the pros and cons of each system, what worked and didn't work, and how the team used each failure to bring them closer to success. 1. Health Recovery: From Regenerative Damage Shields to potion dilution, where potions become less effective as you drink them,...
Topic: GDC
Online games need robust, easy to use network APIs. No one should still be struggling with how to get their data from one place to another. JAM is World of Warcraft's inter-server serialization and routing layer. This talk describes how JAM came to be, and how it is used today. Real world sample code from WoW and other Blizzard projects are used to illustrate key concepts, such as machine generated code for serialization, and dynamic protocol negotiation. Comparisons to similar open-source...
Topic: GDC
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This lecture covers several practical issues around using spherical harmonics for games. Particular issues addressed include: efficient ways to easily compute/rotate light sources in SH, efficient shader code for evaluating SH, how to extract simple light sources out of SH, what ringing is and what you can do about it, and how to compute the product of two SH functions and where you might want to use it.
Topic: GDC
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Part of the 2007 Independent Games Summit, held at the Game Developers Conference 2007 in San Francisco, March 2007: Our Journey From Narbacular Drop To Portal (Kim Swift, Valve) In this lecture, the team which made IGF Student Showcase winner Narbacular Drop talk about the making of the innovative title, tips for student developers, how the entire team got picked up by Valve to make Portal using the Source Engine, and exactly how they've transitioned from student indie creators to continued...
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Stealth gameplay poses unique challenges to the level builder, and a poorly-designed level will frustrate players as surely as a well-designed level will please them. The challenges are exacerbated when stealth is an auxiliary element rather than the core gameplay. We've all wanted to quit in disgust when we got to the one badly integrated stealth level in an otherwise well-designed game, right? Whether your game is all about stealth or just includes some stealth gameplay, this presentation...
Topic: GDC
While epic multiplayer gameplay has long been a defining characteristic of Blizzard Entertainment games, the company's approach to achieving that result has evolved greatly over time. With each new project, Blizzard developers have applied lessons learned from the company's previous games to continually update how they design and implement competitive and cooperative play features. In this presentation, Rob Pardo will discuss the goals the company strives for and the pitfalls it tries to avoid...
Topic: GDC
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In this animation presentation, we'll be discussing the scope of our latest game Destiny, the challenges our team faced, and the solutions we discovered. We'll break down what it means to animate an immersive character performance, with a focus on efficiency, and Bungie's high quality bar. We'll describe how we rig, create, and solve animation playback in Maya, and in our game engine. We'll demonstrate our process and our findings by giving you a behind the scenes look at our secret Bungie...
Topic: GDC
The critically acclaimed Rayman Legends owes much of its success to the flexibility and power of the UbiArt Framework, an engine originally developed for the game's predecessor, Rayman Origins. This session will describe the design team's approach to creating the distinctive worlds in Rayman Legends, and the strengths and weaknesses of this unique tool. The engine's role in improving prototyping and level design pre-production processes will be demonstrated through case studies, and multiple...
Topic: GDC
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Characters, factions, classes, and decks: we embrace asymmetry in competitive games, yet one overpowered option can wreak havoc on a community. Such metagame imbalances need not be evaluated solely through intuition. This talk introduces a principled approach to understanding the strength of asymmetric options, grown from the speaker's work balancing PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. The method uses game theory and matchup charts to describe the possible metagames that can form among expert...
Topic: GDC
The word "fanservice" has somewhat of an unsavory history in the context of games, associated with shallow writing, harmful sexism and titillation for "horny fanboys." Yet sexual desire is a natural, multi-faceted part of many people's lives, and just like any other artistic medium, games can and should be willing to not just explore, but inspire that emotion. In this talk, writers, designers and other game developers will be given a useful six-point toolset on how to evoke...
Topic: GDC
Since this console generation started, there has been access to huge virtual address spaces, which can be used to prevent many of the problems encountered with memory fragmentation in the last generation. This talk will provide an overview of the memory system built at London Studio, focusing on its flexibility, debugging features and most importantly how it significantly reduces fragmentation.
Topic: GDC
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Eye-tracking, skin response, heart rate monitoring, and brain wave reading. Biometrics generate impressive looking imagery, have a reputation for getting objective data on fluffy player emotions, and making you think SCIENCE! But what can developers realistically expect from biometrics? This talk aims to take developers beyond the hype.
Topic: EU
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The Imago Effect: Avatar Psychology Creating an in-game representation often holds a strange fascination for players; for some games, we spend more time crafting our avatars than we do playing. How should writers share character creation, one of the sacred pillars of fiction? On the surface, player-driven character creation seems simple. This session explores the notion that there's much more going on in the player's mind, taking a look into the ways we let our audience engage in...
Topic: GDC
One of the biggest hits of 2007, TEAM FORTRESS 2 features an illustrative rendering style which serves critical gameplay goals, such as the ability of characters to easily identify each other in a variety of lighting conditions. From historical artistic influences to the inner loops of real-time shaders, we will describe how the interplay of art direction and engineering allowed us to achieve the distinctive visual style of TEAM FORTRESS 2.
Topic: GDC