Another year, another GDC come and gone. It's an old adage that while you're buried in Moscone Center, you're often missing more things at the show that people at home are learning via streaming or on social media.
From career panels to procedural generation, GDC's wide array of talks was best captured by the developers who showed up to learn from each other's work. So if you're still recovering from your conference plague, we at Gamasutra have decided to help you out by cataloging some of the most informative livetweeting done at GDC 2019.
Be sure to click on each individual tweet to see their expanded threads!
The devil you know (may cry)
Frequent Gamasutra contributor Brandon Sheffield buzzed around GDC with loads of great livetweets you should take a look at, but we wanted to stop and highlight his tweets about Thursday's postmortem of the recently released Devil May Cry 5 by game director Hideaki Itsuno.
Let's see an emotion pic.twitter.com/Vpee5eAfBT— brandon sheffield (@necrosofty) March 22, 2019
Itsuno's talk moved from high-level to intensely practical, explaining how game designers can work backwards from emotional experiences in order to create a framework for great gameplay. While part of his talk dug into some of the narrative arcs for characters like Nero and Dante, he also stopped to compare the game design of Devil May Cry 5 with its predecessor for the audience's benefit.
Here's how that looks in devil may cry 5 vs 4. No more single frames of success, success is scaled. pic.twitter.com/aVMSyEkB2a— brandon sheffield (@necrosofty) March 22, 2019
Shout, shout, let it all out
Sarah Elmaleh, Anthem voice actor and co-organizer of gamedev.world, spent this year's GDC livetweeting sessions that cover both facets of her career: voice-driven lines, and social activism in the games industry. If you're involved in either world (or both!), you can drop by her Twitter feed for a peek at some of the slides from talks that covered the writing of Lord Shaxx in Destiny 2:
#gdc Writing Lord Shaxx Destiny talk!!— Sarah Elmaleh heads to PAX (@selmaleh) March 21, 2019
Look at this lovely evolution!
Went from dry, slightly chastising announcer
to *supportive space-dad*, leveraging @RealLennieJames Lennie James’ awesome Shakespearean cred,
lavishing player w praise & other direct engagement pic.twitter.com/Wuh9djzD9w
Or you can review her livetweets of the Game Workers Unite unionization panel, that covered the challenges of organizing unions in a tech industry world.
Even campuses are experiencing collective action now— Sarah Elmaleh heads to PAX (@selmaleh) March 22, 2019
Silicon Valley Rising - shuttle bus workers, cafeteria workers, etc were able to come together bc other workers offered solidarity and resources
Weather the storm
Weather Factory co-founder Lottie Bevan left us with two helpful livetweets from GDC this year. First, she managed to sum-up Jason Rohrer's Indiepocalypse session in one helpful tweet (that frankly made it easier for this particular writer to discuss at GDC):
sooooo @jasonrohrer's indiepocalypse talk was like a maths teacher explaining an impossible problem into something v v clear— Lottie Bevan âœˆ GDC (@tronbevan) March 18, 2019
indiepocalyse = shift from 'consumable games' (one-shot experiences) to 'infinite unique situation generators'
explains a lot about CS!
And second, she was able to livetweet her partner in (game development) crime Alexis Kennedy's talk about the making and selling of Cultist Simulator.
lean into your limitations as an indie! be distinctive: e.g. cultist's key art (thanks @ungapants) which catches the eye, evokes emotions and can be copied (because it's its own thing) for relatively cheap, allowing us to do a lot with only a little £ #gdc19— Lottie Bevan âœˆ GDC (@tronbevan) March 22, 2019
Naomi Clark, game design professor at the NYU Game Center, offered up a thorough livetweet of GDC's panel on how co-op structures can be good for game developers, but this wasn't the only appearance of co-ops at GDC!
Now @cleodee continues with Co-ops 101. Traditionally associated with industrial, craft and agricultural labor, not startup businesses—but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be, beyond some companies’ reluctance to be egalitarian pic.twitter.com/ocTJLczchb— Naomi Clark [æš—æ‚ªãƒ»ç›´ç¾Ž] (@metasynthie) March 19, 2019
During the Dead Cells postmortem, Sebastien Benard made a point to call out how Motion Twin's co-op status helped support new team members, and made everyone feel empowered in the decision-making process. From our own coverage:
Ubisoft team lead game designer Liz England spends every GDC doing some exceptional livetweeting, but we'd like here to highlight her coverage of the unspeakable horrors that lie beneath your game design.
Got the definition! pic.twitter.com/89ZIUIbH8W— Liz England (@lizardengland) March 21, 2019
England also livetweeted sessions like the Into the Breach postmortem, which broke down everything from the mechanics that were removed from the final game, to the prototypes that made the game clean, simple, and easy to read.
Prototypes gave them an understanding of why genre conventions existed, and a really solid understanding of what worked and didn’t work. Turned out that telegraphed attacks was the biggest influence on design, breaks a lot if tactics systems. pic.twitter.com/12YLh1Yo3S— Liz England (@lizardengland) March 21, 2019
Tooting our own horn
Lastly, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention our own livetweeting at the show done by yours truly! We tried to succinctly break down a few talks we couldn't get to in our main coverage, including talks about the animation of the key villain in Marvel's Spider-Man:
To the design and AI logic that gave birth to Atreus in God of War:
We covered how the developers of Subnautica figured out how to make game development itself part of the game product:
And Bekah Saltsman's tips for pitching to publishers like Finji:
What should be in your game’s screenshot? Saltsman has a blog you should read, but here’s the core questions she says you should ask. (References Into the Breach as having perfect screenshots) #GDC19 pic.twitter.com/uWZryeMPaI— Gamasutra (@gamasutra) March 18, 2019
Oh and before you go, Gamasutra and GDC EVP Simon Carless caught some very uh, interesting photos of Gabe Newell during Valve's talk about brain interfaces from this year.
There are multiple good Gabe gag slides in this otherwise serious Ambinder talk. (He recognizes that direct access to your brain may not be a socially acceptable interface!) #GDC19 pic.twitter.com/GPeNDyRCP1— Simon Carless (@simoncarless) March 22, 2019
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