Sunday, February 17, 2008

GDC 08 Preview

Kicking off this week in San Francisco is the Game Developer's Conference, or GDC, a time for Game Developers to showcase their talents before their peer group; to discuss new opportunities and technologies in the land of Video Game entertainment. GDC has a different feel to other Industry events like E3, which are more marketing/retail driven rather than about the process of developing games for us all to enjoy. It's also about employment opportunities, with Studios looking to hire the next generation of artists, animators, designers or programmers to help build the Next Big Thing (tm).

As far as what the average gamer can get out of GDC coverage, it is usually about interesting new technologies, game engines and middle-ware solutions, or talks from Industry veterans about their recent development experiences rather than flashy booths and game demos. GDC is interesting for Gamers who want to learn more about the games that they experience, understanding the thought, design, artistic and technical aspects that must all converge to put together a successful title. More than ever before, Game development is a significant financial, logistical and technical challenge, and GDC raises the curtains on the issues being faced by those 'in the trenches'.

Unfortunately, the juiciest tidbits on new games are usually dealt out in business meetings that happen behind closed doors, with playable demos of new games being few and far between. The biggest press outlets however, usually manage to sneak a peek at some of the exciting new upcoming games, and you can rest assured that we'll alert you to them as they come online during the week.

Some of the presentations that stand out among this years GDC schedule are:
  • Rules of Engagement: Blizzard's Approach to Multiplayer Game Design by Rob Pardo, Blizzard Entertainment
  • How to Go from PC to Console Development without Shooting Yourself in the Foot by Elan Ruskin, Valve
  • An Evening with Will Wright & Friends, Electronic Arts
  • Stylization with a Purpose: The Illustrative World of Team Fortress 2 by Jason Mitchell, Valve
  • Storytelling in BioShock: Empowering Players to Care about Your Stupid Story by Ken Levine, 2KBoston/Irrational
  • A Portal Post-Mortem: Integrating Writing and Design by Kim Swift and Erik Wolpaw, Valve
  • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED: How LucasArts is Building a Game, a Development Team and a Technology Pipeline... At the Same Time by Haden Blackman, Matt Omernick, Cedric Collomb, Lucasarts Entertainment Co
Games that we can expect to hear more about at GDC are:
..and many more! As always, often the best things to come out of Industry events like GDC are the things we didn't expect to hear about. We look forward to bringing you all of those exciting tidbits, and anything else that comes out of GDC in the next few days!