Creating a Unique Visual Direction: The Successes and Failures of Creating a Near-Future Cyberpunk Setting with a Renaissance Twist in Deus Ex 3
Speaker: Jonathan Jacques-Belletete (Art Director, Eidos Montreal)
Eidos Montreal art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletete presents a lecture on "The Successes and Failures of Creating a Near-Future Cyberpunk Setting with a Renaissance Twist in Deus Ex 3", providing some of the first concrete information about the much-awaited title.
Jacques-Belletete "...will discuss the creative underpinnings behind the unique blend of art style that combines the past, present and future in the next evolution of the Deus Ex franchise", with particular reference to the title's "Cyber Renaissance" look, which "is infused across the fashion, characters, environments and story."
The Crystal Mythos and FINAL FANTASY XIII
Speaker: Motomu Toriyama (Director, Scenario Writer for Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix)
In this scarce Western lecture, Final Fantasy XIII's director and scenario writer Motomu Toriyama will discuss the creation of FFXIII's story and mythos, explaining the various processes involved in crafting The Crystal Mythos -- a foundational mythology which will underpin all games that share the "XIII" numbering. He'll discuss creating the world of the game, character design, and the development of drama between the characters. He will also speak on the direction he hopes to take in future projects.
Where Did My Inventory Go? Refining Gameplay in Mass Effect 2
Speaker: Christina Norman (Lead Gameplay Designer, Bioware)
In "Where Did My Inventory Go? Refining Gameplay in Mass Effect 2", BioWare's lead gameplay designer Christina Norman "will discuss how a small vision shift lead to radical design changes in Mass Effect 2's combat gameplay and RPG systems. Lessons learned will be presented, including the challenge of communicating gameplay changes to the existing player community."
Designing Shadow Complex
Speaker: Donald Mustard (Creative Director, Chair Entertainment Group)
Chair co-founder Donald Mustard is talking on "Designing Shadow Complex", discussing the acclaimed Xbox Live Arcade title and exploring "ideas on how to embrace the 'limitations' of the platform and use them to streamline your game design, prototype your title, and most importantly, boil your feature set down to its core essence of 'fun.'"
Achievements Considered Harmful?
Speaker: Chris Hecker (definition six, inc.)
Presenting a lecture called "Achievements Considered Harmful?", former EA fellow (Spore) and current Spy Party developer Chris Hecker tackles an intriguing angle on a major trend: "Achievements, awards, and rewards are ubiquitous in games these days... Unfortunately, more than 50 years of psychology research seems to indicate achievements may be doing subtle but irreparable harm to players and their feelings about playing games."
As Long as the Audio is Fun, the Game Will Be Too
Speaker: Akira Yamaoka (Grasshopper Manufacture Studio)
Veteran Silent Hill composer and recent series producer Akira Yamaoka, who has just joined No More Heroes creator Grasshopper Manufacture, will present a lecture entitled "As Long as the Audio is Fun, the Game Will Be Too". According to Yamaoka, the talk covers "my first 20 years in video game production, and the many years to come."
This retrospective, taken from Yamaoka's "first 20 years in video game production", will present an interesting angle: "People tend not to think about game design and audio design in parallel. I will present my views on audio design in games from a producer's perspective, having had experience in both roles. With few technological limits remaining, we can focus on achieving realism and interaction. What challenges remain in audio design?"
From Fantasy to Franchise: How to Build a Universe Worthy of Devotion
Speaker: R.A. Salvatore (Author)
In his first lecture aimed at the game industry, multi-million selling fantasy novelist R.A. Salvatore will present 'From Fantasy to Franchise: How to Build a Universe Worthy of Devotion', drawing lessons from his work in D&D's Forgotten Realms universe, and "presenting an examination of world building as a work in progress, through a sneak peek of his work with [Curt Schilling-backed Boston game developer] 38 Studios."
The Art of Interface Design at Harmonix Music Systems
Speaker: Kevin McGinnis (Senior Artist, Harmonix Music Systems)
"The Art of Interface Design at Harmonix Music Systems" is a talk by Harmonix's Kevin McGinnis discussing "an evolution over the years of how the company develops their user interfaces." The description explains: "Using games in their catalogue like Rock Band and The Beatles: Rock Band, a detailed visual thread of preproduction style boards, UI animation mockups, and tool development will be shown in describing their process."
Uniquely Ruthless: The Espionage Metagame of EVE Online
Speaker: Alexander Gianturco
For those who follow the unparalleled machinations that take place in CCP MMO EVE Online, this will be a famous story; for those who don't -- strap in, because this is one of the most fascinating things going on in player communities right now. As the description of the talk has it, "On February 4, 2009, arguably the most destructive act of player-on-player espionage in gaming history occurred: the disbanding and subsequent annihilation of the Band of Brothers alliance in EVE Online."
In this talk, Gianturco, who is the "spymaster behind this operation and many others", will analyze how the EVE Online "counterintelligence metagame" functions, and outline the exact tactics and tricks that allow players to create such fascinating scenarios within this unique game world -- even more fascinating since Goonswarm-affiliated speaker Gianturco, aka 'The Mittani' has run into major issues with his own alliance since the lecture was announced.