Last week's record-breaking
Game Developers Conference was one of the most varied and dynamic iterations of the annual event ever, and GDC affiliate Gamasutra was there to provide extensive on-site reporting.
GDC 2011, which ran from February 28-March 4, hosted speakers covering a wide array topics, from trials encountered when localizing a game to the emerging social gaming sector to a candid session about game development failures.
Presenters included game industry notables such as Zynga's Mark Skaggs, Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani and Sim City
creator Will Wright, among many others.
GDC 2011 also was host to the annual Independent Games Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards, ceremonies which saw Mojang's Minecraft
and Rockstar San Diego's Red Dead Redemption
walk away as the big winners.
Below is only Gamasutra's lecture and awards coverage from last week. For the complete list of GDC 2011-related content, visit our dedicated GDC 2011 page
GDC 2011: Welcome To 'Masocore', The Evolution Of Arcade
"Highlighting exciting trends in the casual, social, browser-based and mobile spaces, Playmatics' Nick Fortugno defined 'masocore,' and discussed the exciting way forward for brutally-difficult, fast-paced games."
GDC 2011: Humble Indie Bundle Creators Talk Inspiration, Execution
"At GDC 2011, two of Humble Indie Bundle's creators discussed the genesis of the project and how they endeavored to make the purchasing process as smooth as possible."
GDC 2011: An Epidemiologist's View Of World Of Warcraft's Corrupted Blood Plague
"At GDC 2011, epidemiologist Nina Fefferman recounted the Corrupted Blood Plague epidemic in World of Warcraft
from 2005, and how even a virtual disease showed instances of "courage, fear and suspicion."
GDC 2011: Riot Games' League of Legends Postmortem
"Leaders from the team behind the popular online strategy game League Of Legends
shared what they learned from building and running their community-centric game at GDC 2011's Social & Online Games Summit."
GDC 2011: Zynga's Skaggs On How The Company Achieved The Impossible
Zynga's Mark Skaggs explains how the company did the 'impossible,' from FarmVille
-- by starting with a 'minimum viable product' and focusing on getting to market quickly, among other strategies."
GDC 2011: Koster's Big List Of Social Mechanics For Social Games
"Social games possess many basic real-world social mechanics, but there's still room for improvement as social games today are still 'primarily single-player experiences,' said Playdom's Raph Koster at GDC 2011."
GDC 2011: Team Meat Discusses Super Meat Boy's Nearly Lethal Development
"In a GDC 2011 presentation, Super Meat Boy
developers Tommy Refenes and Edmund Mcmillen laid out the many ways that the development process was just as masochistic as the game itself."
GDC 2011: Rovio's Vesterbacka Thanks iPhone For Enabling Angry Birds' Success
"Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka, discussed how the evolving mobile market enabled his company's Angry Brids powered success, also addressing crediting concerns from the maker of the game's physics engine."
GDC 2011: Indie Revelations From Experienced Developers
"Three ex-studio developers who have gone indie -- at Spry Fox, Haunted Temple, and Dejobaan -- shared development insights gained on games like Skulls of the Shogun
GDC 2011: Zynga with Friends’ Thakkar On Transitioning from AAA To Mobile
"Vijay Thakkar, technical director at Texas-based mobile developer Zynga with Friends outlined best practices for developers moving from AAA video game production to the mobile space in a GDC 2011 talk."
GDC 2011: Chair's Core Tenets For Infinity Blade Success
"Chair entertainment head Donald Mustard shares the studio's unique generative process for making truly original 'small' games -- and what he sees as core iOS pillars that led to Infinity Blade
's smash success."
GDC 2011: Derek Yu, Andy Hull Discuss Spelunky XBLA Move, Multiplayer
Derek Yu and Andy Hull discuss the development of Spelunky, which moved from what Yu calls a rough prototype to "kind of a monster," in the XBLA version. The duo also announced multiplayer for the new title."
GDC 2011: Game Developers And The Platform Power Struggle
"Daniel Cook, co-founder of Triple Town
developer Spry Fox, warned developers at GDC 2011 that certain gaming platforms might be inviting at first, but as they gain popularity, they often force devs to 'sell out or die.'"
GDC 2011: What Intuition-Led And Metric-Led Game Design Can Learn From One Another
"The principles of metrics-led social game design can inform traditional, 'intuition'-led game design and vice-versa argued Loot Drop's Brenda Brathwaite and Sony Online Entertainment’s Laralyn McWilliams at GDC 2011."
GDC 2011: McGonigal Says, 'Don't Exploit Gamers,' Extrinsic Rewards 'Missing The Point'
"Author and designer Jane McGonigal discusses "gamefulness" as an alternative to gamification: 'Designers should be making games that help people flourish,' she urges."
GDC 2011: The 'Brand New Paradigm' Of iPad Development
"Creating games for iPad is different from any other platform, says veteran developer and ex-id and Apple staffer Graeme Devine, until you think of the app as 'a world on the other side of the glass.'"
GDC 2011: The Travails of Localizing Star Wars: The Old Republic
"At GDC's Localization Summit, Gordon Walton and Ian Mitchell shared lessons learned localizing BioWare's RPGs and experiences gained by working on its in-development Star Wars MMO."
GDC 2011: Andy Schatz: 'I'll Make My Last Game When I Die'
"Andy Schatz discusses how his 15-week project Monaco
went on to win the IGF Grand Prize, and saved his sanity. The title also informed his future views on game development."
GDC 2011: Time To Ditch The Term 'Gamification'?
"Notable game makers squared off at GDC 2011 on Tuesday to debate various aspects of 'gamification' -- from its definition, its purpose and whether or not the industry should throw the word out altogether."
GDC 2011: Debating The Relative Evils Of Social Games
"In a GDC 2011 panel, five social gaming experts took a long, hard look in the mirror and asked themselves whether or not the social gaming sector that was staring them back was inherently evil."
GDC 2011: Nintendo's Iwata On Design Lessons, Social, Mobile Risks
"Nintendo president Satoru Iwata used his GDC keynote presentation to share lessons on game design and also warn developers about industry risks brought by the rise of social and mobile games."
GDC 2011: Yu Suzuki: 'Sega Will Probably Let Me Make Shenmue 3'
At a Game Developers Conference session in San Francisco, Yu Suzuki revealed that Sega may allow him to make Shenmue 3 in the future, saying that it's only a 'question of budget.'"
GDC 2011: Yu Suzuki Describes Arcade Successes, Near Death Experiences
Yu Suzuki, in a light-hearted GDC talk, revealed the roots of his more ambitious games, from Virtua Fighter
, which provided some 'near-death experiences' for his development team at Sega."
GDC 2011: Prince Of Persia Was Almost Derailed By Screenwriting Project
Jordan Mechner reminisced on the development of his seminal platform game Prince of Persia
at GDC 2011, offering recollections on the screenplay that almost derailed the project.
GDC 2011: Ubisoft's Rouse On Making Games Moral
"Ubisoft's Richard Rouse says plausible moral systems are the best way for games to be mature and meaningful -- and he cites numerous examples from other media to demonstrate how games can achieve it."
GDC 2011: Area/Code's Frank Lantz On Finding The Sublime In Game Design
"At GDC, Area/Code founder Frank Lantz used the sublime beatuy of classic games Poker and Go to explain the unique beauty possible in our interaction with the game medium."
GDC 2011: Blizzard's Cataclysm And Retaining A Game's 'Soul'
At GDC 2011, World of Warcraft
game director Tom Chilton explained development of the ambitious expansion pack Cataclysm
, and advised how to 'retain the soul of the original' when creating an update or sequel to a game."
GDC 2011: Dead Space 2's Milham: 'Double Down On Successes'
"Ian Milham, art director of EA Redwood Shores for Dead Space 2, discusses how the team succeeded by 'doubling down on our strengths instead of addressing our weaknesses.'"
GDC 2011: Ngmoco’s Young Tells Game Entrepreneurs 'Don't Be A Pussy'
"If you want to be a successful entrepreneur in the gaming industry then 'don’t be a pussy,' advised Neil Young, CEO and founder of Ngmoco at a GDC 2011 session."
GDC 2011: Pac-Man Creator Iwatani Discusses Female-Friendly Design Lessons
"In a GDC 2011 presentation, Pac-Man
creator Toru Iwatani explained how the classic game was created with a specific, underserved segment of the gaming population in mind: women."
GDC 2011: Game Designers Confront, Learn From Failure
"At GDC 2011 on Wednesday, notable game designers who have seen big successes talked about their games that weren't so successful, giving attendees lessons so they might not make the same mistakes."
GDC 2011: Minecraft, Amnesia Win Big At Independent Games Festival Awards
"Frictional Games' dark survival horror title Amnesia: The Dark Descent won three awards while Mojang's indie mega-hit Minecraft
took the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the IGF Awards."
GDC 2011: Red Dead Redemption Tops Game Developers Choice Awards
"Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption
won four awards including Game of the Year at tonight's Game Developers Choice Awards, while indie hit Minecraft
racked up three other awards."
GDC 2011: PopCap, Bejeweled's 'Sexy Action Cool' Origins
"PopCap's Jason Kapalka tells the surprising origin of the studio -- it involves a strip poker game -- and amid much speculation, explains how the three co-founders really derived Bejeweled
's match-three mechanic."
GDC 2011: Nintendo's Konno: 3DS' Social Innovation, Complex Prototyping
"During his presentation on the development of the 3DS, game developer Hideki Konno explained why he was put in charge of a hardware project, the goals the team identified, and how the system evolved."
GDC 2011: CGDC Founder Chris Crawford: Ask Yourself 'What Does The User Do?'
"In an impassioned GDC 2011 talk, Computer Game Developers Conference founder and game designer Chris Crawford discussed where the industry has been, and where it’s gone now."
GDC 2011: Epic's Bleszinski On The Rise Of The 'Power Creative'
"Epic's always-distinctive Cliff Bleszinski spoke at GDC 2011 about why games need 'power creatives' -- vocal designers who understand the deceptively-complex process of leading a game in public view."
GDC 2011: Epic’s Fergusson Describes Timeliness As Key To Success
"At GDC 2011 on Thursday, Epic Games executive producer Rod Fergusson sought to answer the question "What makes a successful game?" Turns out, the answer isn't as simple as creating a quality product."
GDC 2011: Deadly Premonition's 7 Steps To A Memorable Story
director Hidetaka "Swery" Suehiro outlined seven ways to get your story to create a memorable story, saying that 'if players can't remember your character's name, the game is crappy.'"
GDC 2011: Retro Talks Moving From Metroid to Donkey Kong Country
"A panel full of developers from Retro Studios, as well as Nintendo's Kensuke Tanabe, reminisced about the development of Donkey Kong Country Returns in a GDC presentation."
GDC 2011: Social Game Developers Direct Their Rage Outward, Inward
"At another memorable GDC rant panel, a varied group of social game developers directed their ire at everything from know-nothing executives and deceptive new platforms to social games themselves."
GDC 2011: Developing StarCraft II Like Inventing 'Basketball 2'
lead designer Dustin Browder told GDC 2011 attendees about the 'insanely hard' task of creating an e-sports game, and provided tips on creating an e-sports title."
GDC 2011: Rohrer Wins Game Design Challenge With Unique Minecraft Mod
"Inspired by the idea that chains of meaning and artifacts of those that preceded us are their own kind of spirituality, Jason Rohrer won GDC 2011's annual Game Design Challenge with a unique Minecraft mod."
GDC 2011: Perfecting The Free-To-Play Battlefield Heroes
"Ben Cousins, general manager of EA's free-to-play Easy studio in Stockholm outlined the team's experiences launching, tuning, and succeeding with the company's first non-casual free-to-play game."
GDC 2011: Ron Gilbert's 'Odd Collection' Of Maniac Mansion Memories
"In a talk he described as less a postmortem and more 'an odd collection of memories,' Maniac Mansion
programmer Ron Gilbert recounted the creation of the revolutionary 1987 classic."
GDC 2011: Daisuke Amaya Draws Lessons From Cave Story's Development
"In a GDC 2011 talk, Daisuke 'Pixel' Amaya shared lessons learned during his development of indie game Cave Story
, including thoughts on sound design, graphics, and integrating story into a game."
GDC 2011: Mark Cerny Discusses Marble Madness' Turbulent Development
"Getting his start in the industry during the arcade game crash of the early '80s, Mark Cerny's Marble Madness
was subject to a number of economic and developmental pressures, as Cerny recalled at a GDC 2011 lecture."
GDC 2011: Wright Talks Raid On Bungeling Bay Origins
"At GDC 2011 on Friday, Will Wright revealed some of the secrets behind his first full game, Raid On Bungeling Bay
, including the evolution of his in-game editing tool turning into the later Sim City