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GDC 2008: The Conference Director's Picks
GDC 2008: The Conference Director's Picks
February 18, 2008 | By Staff

February 18, 2008 | By Staff
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More: Console/PC, GDC



Trying to figure out which Game Developers Conference session to attend? In advance of Gamasutra's canonical conference coverage, take a page out of GDC executive director Jamil Moledina's book and try these talks -- all of which are guaranteed to be fascinating, and cover a wide variety of topics and disciplines.

Jamil's picks - which are his own personal favorites - are just a few of the top talks available at the show (run by the CMP Game Group, as is Gamasutra), and he has limited these particular picks to lectures from the main Wednesday-Friday conference.

However, the Monday-Tuesday tutorial sessions and especially the GDC Summits, including the Casual, Independent, Outsourcing, Serious, IGDA Education, and Worlds In Motion Summits are also well worth checking out - and will be covered in detail by Gamasutra's more than ten show correspondents.

For full session descriptions, and for details on the entire GDC schedule, please visit the official GDC website and the GDC Schedule Builder.

The Keynotes

A Future Wide Open: Unleashing the Creative Community
Keynote Speaker: John Schappert (Corporate Vice President LIVE, Software and Services for the Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 10:30AM - 11:30AM
Location (room): Moscone Center, South Hall, Esplanade Ballroom

The Next 20 Years of Gaming
Keynote Speaker: Ray Kurzweil, Inventor & Futurist
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 10:30AM - 11:30AM
Location (room): Moscone Center, South Hall, Esplanade Ballroom

GDC Favorites:

Experimental Gameplay Sessions
Speaker: Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Location (room): Room 2018/2020, West Hall

The Game Design Challenge: The Inter-Species Game
Speaker: Eric Zimmerman (Chief Design Officer, Gamelab), Alexey Pajitnov (Game Designer, Lifemode Interactive), Brenda Brathwaite (Game Designer, Savannah College of Art & Design), Steve Meretzky (Senior Designer, Blue Fang)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall

From the Audio Track

The Crysis of Audio
Speaker: Tomas Neumann (Senior Audio Programmer, Crytek), Inon Zur (Composer), Christian Schilling (Senior Sound Designer, Crytek)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 9:00am - 10:00am
Location (room): Room 2024, West Hall

Procedural Music in Spore
Speaker: Kent Jolly (Audio Director, Electronic Arts), Aaron McLeran (composer, n/a)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location (room): Room 2024, West Hall

From the Business and Management Track

Pioneering in Episodic Games and Digital Distribution
Speaker: Kevin Bruner (CTO, Telltale)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am
Location (room): Room 2004, West Hall

From the Game Design Track

Storytelling in BioShock: Empowering Players to Care about Your Stupid Story
Speaker: Kenneth Levine (President/Creative Director, 2KBoston/Irrational)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 9:00am - 10:00am
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

Rules of Engagement: Blizzard's Approach to Multiplayer Game Design
Speaker: Rob Pardo (VP, Game Design, Blizzard Entertainment)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

E Pluribus Unum: Matchmaking in Halo 3
Speaker: Chris Butcher (Engineering Lead, Bungie Studios)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Location (room): Room 132/133, North Hall

Standing the Test of Time: A Q&A with Sid Meier
Speaker: Sid Meier (Director of Creative Development, Firaxis Games), Noah Falstein
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

How Heroes are Made: A Collaborative Approach to Serialized Content in a Transmedia World
Speaker: Jesse Alexander (Co-Executive Producer/Writer, “Heroes”/NBC)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location (room): Room 2001/2003, West Hall

Wii Fit: Creating a Brand New Interface for the Home Console
Speaker: Takao Sawano (Deputy GM in Entertainment Analysis & Development, Nintendo)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

Prototype: Open World, Open Mind, Next Generation Thinking
Speaker: Eric Holmes (Lead Game Designer, Radical Entertainment), Tim Bennison (Sr. Producer, Radical Entertainment)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall

Creating Spielberg's Boom Blox
Speaker: Louis Castle (VP of Creative Development at EALA, Electronic Arts)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

Your Music Is the Game: Designing Phase, the Other Project at Harmonix
Speaker: Chris Foster (Senior Designer, Harmonix Music Systems)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Location (room): Room 2009, West Hall

Creativity in the Form of Improvement
Speaker: Yoshiki Okamoto (President, Game Republic)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Location (room): Room 132/133, North Hall

Development - Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Speaker: Masahiro Sakurai (Designer and Director, Sora Ltd.)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

Diner Dash: Hometown Hero Postmortem: Where Casual Games Meet Virtual Worlds
Speaker: Brad Edelman (Chief Technology Officer, PlayFirst, Inc.), Kenny Shea Dinkin (Vice President and Creative Director, PlayFirst)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location (room): Room 131, North Hall

Dynamic Cinematic Gameplay: Creating Stranglehold's "Tequila Bombs"
Speaker: Neill Glancy (Lead Designer, Midway Games)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location (room): Room 2004, West Hall

Metaplace Postmortem: Reinventing MMOs
Speaker: Raph Koster (President, Areae, Inc.), Sean Riley (Lead Programmer, Metaplace)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

From the Programming Track

A Believable Character Postmortem: Motion Capture on the Virtual Set of Beowulf
Speaker: Parag Havaldar (Software Architect, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location (room): Room 3020, West Hall

Lighting and Material of Halo 3
Speaker: Hao Chen (Engineering Lead, Bungie Studios)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location (room): Room 2004, West Hall

Crysis Next-Gen Effects
Speaker: Tiago Sousa (Effects/Graphics Programmer, Crytek)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am
Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall

The Technology of Final Fantasy
Speaker: Taku Murata (General Manager, Technical Research Division, Square Enix Co.,Ltd)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

Lightmap Compression in Halo 3
Speaker: Yaohua Hu (Engineer, Bungie Studios)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 2:30pm - 2:50pm
Location (room): Room 3004, West Hall

From the Production Track

Challenges of Creating Linear Content in a Game Engine
Speaker: Kim Libreri (DIGITAL DOMAIN, INC.), Jerry O'Flaherty (Director, Warner Brothers Studio)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 9:00am - 10:00am
Location (room): Room 2018, West Hall

The BioWare Live Team: Building Community through Technology
Speaker: Derek French (Associate Technical Producer, BioWare Corp.)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am
Location (room): Room 2002, West Hall

From the Vision Track

How to Create an Industry: The Making of the Brown Box and Pong
Speaker: Allan Alcorn (CTO, IMMI), Ralph H. Baer
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall

From the Visual Arts Track

Uncharted Animation: An In-depth Look at the Character Animation Workflow and Pipeline
Speaker: Judd Simantov (Lead Character Technical Director, Naughty Dog Inc), Jeremy Lai-Yates (Lead Gameplay Animator, Naughty Dog Inc.)
Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location (room): Room 132/133, North Hall

The Halo 3 Cinematic Process
Speaker: CJ Cowan (Bungie)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location (room): Room 2001/2003, West Hall

From the Game Career Seminar

From Grunt to God to Startup - Career Lessons From the Edge of Game
Speaker: David Jaffe (Co-President/Game Designer, Eat Sleep Play)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am
Location (room): Room 3005, West Hall

Jamil’s Special Recommendations

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: How LucasArts is Building a Game, a Development Team and a Technology Pipeline... At the Same Time
Speaker: Haden Blackman (Project Lead, Lucasarts Entertainment Co)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 9:00am - 10:00am
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

The Emergent Gamer
Speaker: Rod Humble (Head of The Sims Studio, Electronic Arts)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall

The Future of Animation is Games
Speaker: Bill Kroyer (Writer/Director, Sacred Road, Blockade Entertainment), Mark DeAngelis (Vice President of Programming & Development, Voom Networks HD)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Location (room): Room 3004, West Hall

My First MMO
Speaker: Dave Jones (Realtime Worlds)
Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 5:30pm — 6:30pm
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

The 1st Annual Startup Showcase - Startup Launchpad Presented by GDC and CRV
Speaker: George Zachary (Partner, Charles River Ventures), Susan Wu (Principal, Charles River Ventures), Owen Mahoney (Electronic Arts), Jamil Moledina (Executive Director, GDC, CMP Game Group)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location (room): Room 132, North Hall

Fable 2 -- The Big Three Features Revealed
Speaker: Peter Molyneux (Head of Studio, Lionhead Studios)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Location (room): Room 135, North Hall

Conquering Bane's Citadel: The Collision of Casual and Hardcore Gaming in Puzzle Quest
Speaker: Steve Fawkner (CEO and Lead Designer, Infinite Interactive)
Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location (room): Room 2018/2020, West Hall


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