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GDC 2013 highlights Tomb Raider, StarCraft II: HotS talks; discount pre-reg ends tonight

On the last day of discounted registration, GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting major talks on leading games including Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Tomb Raider, and CSR Racing.
On the last day of discounted online registration, GDC 2013 organizers are highlighting talks on freemium app CSR Racing getting 30 million downloads, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm's cinematic process, and the 'reinvention' of Tomb Raider and Crystal Dynamics. These talks are part of the Main Conference for Game Developers Conference 2013, which will take place next week, Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. Today's highlights begin with Blizzard's Wyatt Cheng, who will explore his company's iterative design process in 'Through the Grinder: Refining Diablo III's Game Systems.' Cheng will focus particularly on what worked and what did not for the game's health recovery, controls, and skills systems. 'The Reinvention of Tomb Raider' called for a reinvention of Crystal Dynamics, studio head Darrell Gallagher and creative director Noah Hughes will share. Along with a studio "reboot," the two will discuss how the game required rebooted creative vision and production techniques to develop a Tomb Raider for a modern audience. In another Blizzard session, lead writer Brian Kindregan will trace the story development of a difficult StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm cinematic in 'How Hard Could It Be? The Story of a Cinematic.' While showing multiple versions, Kindregan will track "the differing speed of cinematic production vs. game design, the feedback we received, the choices we made, and how they impacted the story." In 'Making it Matter: Lessons from Real Sports,' QWOP and GIRP creator and University of Oxford research fellow Bennett Foddy will share five ways in which real world sports make players care about how they play. Attendees will learn ways to leverage "cultural structures and practices of real world sports to maximize player involvement and concern." Lastly, NaturalMotion will offer a pair of business-focused lectures for its freemium mobile title, CSR Racing, which generated more than $12 million in one month. In 'Secrets and Lessons', CEO Torsten Reil will show how CSR Racing was designed to get downloads through virality instead of costly user acquisition campaigns. Elsewhere, VP Jason Avent will explain 'How CSR Broke the Mold in Freemium' by delivering "cutting edge 3D graphics and console sensibilities to the iOS app store." The schedule builder of GDC 2013 is available online for attendees to plan their week of can't-miss lectures and tutorials, including those just highlighted. GDC still offers over $100 discounts to select pass purchases made by today, Wednesday March 20th at 11:59pm EST, with prices increasing for onsite registration. GDC 2013 itself will take place March 25-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. For more information on GDC 2013, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS. Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.

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