Game Developers Conference 2016 is next month, and those interested in attending can register to do so at a discounted rate until this Wednesday, February 3rd 11:59 PM Pacific. After that you'll have to pay full price, so if you're thinking about coming to GDC this year, register now!
To give you a better idea of the sorts of in-depth game development talks taking place at this year's event, GDC organizers today highlight a handful of great sessions announced for the eight focused Summits that will take place Monday, March 14th and Tuesday, March 15th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA during the first two days of the conference.
During the Indie Game Summit, for example, Frictional Games' Thomas Grip will talk about what it was like to explore the finer points of conveying existential dread in "Soma - Crafting Existential Dread."
Soma isn't your typical horror game, and in his talk Grip will speak to the challenges faced in trying to design a game that could, through play, explore some of the most disturbing aspects of consciousness, the self, and what it means to be human.
Also, don't miss "Blending Autonomy and Control: Creating NPCs for 'Tom Clancy's The Division'" at the GDC 2016 AI Summit. During this presentation Philip Dunstan and Drew Rechner from Massive Entertainment (a Ubisoft studio) will deconstruct the AI design and creation of the combat NPC's populating Tom Clancy's The Division.
Check it out to learn how Massive designed and implemented a large number of distinct NPC types in The Division, and fine-tuned them to behave appropriate in both systemic open-world environments and custom-authored encounters.
Attendees who are excited about the possibilities of VR game development should make time to attend the inaugural VRDC at GDC 2016 (which will take place alongside the eight established Summits) to check out "Going Off the Rails: The Making of 'Bullet Train'" from Epic Games' Nick Whiting and Nick Donaldson. The pair will cover the entire process, from start to finish, of creating Epic Games' Bullet Train (pictured) VR demo.
Design considerations surrounding the user experience of adding interaction to traditionally passive experiences will be highlighted, including a breakdown of alternative paths that were considered but didn't make the cut. Additionally, the speakers will discuss where they had to diverge from their original design choices in order to match the players' expectations of the world they interact with.
Over at the GDC Education Summit RIT assistant professor Ian Schreiber will offer you valuable insight into how you can teach students the basics of balancing games. His talk, "A Course About Game Balance," will present a summary of his college-level course in game balance, examining the major topics covered in the syllabus and a set of assignments that can be used to further build balance skills by putting the theory into practice.
Make time to check it out and you'll walk away with an understanding of the realistic scope of a battle-tested course in game balance, and the kinds of topics and assignments that might be covered in such a course were they to implement it at their own school.
As part of the popular Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, Prettygreat cofounder Luke Muscat (known for designing games like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride while at Halfbrick) will showcase how he and the Prettygreat team designed and fine-tuned the intuitive touch controls of the studio's debut game Land Sliders.
Check out his talk, "Design in Detail: Controlling Land Sliders," if you'd like detailed insight and concrete examples of how to optimize your touch controls for your players, as well as advice on how to resolve divergent feedback from your playtesters.
Plus, at the GDC 2016 Narrative Summit the panel "Raid on Rise: Narrative Creation on Rise of the Tomb Raider" will feature game writer Rhianna Pratchett discussing the finer points of writing the strong story and characters of Rise of the Tomb Raider alongside a cadre of Crystal Dynamics lead narrative designers John Stafford and Cameron Suey, performance director Tore Blystad, senior story artist Jeff Adams and creative director Noah Hughes.
Check it out for a behind- the-scenes look at the narrative process used on Rise of the Tomb Raider, which will showcase how the different disciplines worked together to create the second successful installment of the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise.
When you register to attend GDC 2016 you'll also be securing access to a wide variety of game development talks, roundtable discussions, postmortems and workshops.
All passholders also have access to the GDC Expo Floor, located within the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, which serves as a showcase for cutting-edge technology from some of the industry's biggest and most influential companies.
GDC 2016 will take place next month, March 14-18th at the aforementioned Moscone Center in San Francisco.