GDC 2014 adds talks about The Last Of Us, Broken Age and more

Today's GDC 2014 session highlights include a rundown of the contextual dialog system in The Last Of Us, a sneak peek at the scalable graphics engine of Double Fine's Broken Age, and more.
Passes for the Game Developers Conference 2014 are going fast, and today we're announcing even more sessions for the Main Conference that you'll want to check out. Today's highlights include a rundown of the contextual dialog system in The Last Of Us, a sneak peek at the scalable graphics engine of Double Fine's Broken Age, and more. Now in its 28th year, GDC is the world's largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event, and will once again take place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California during March 17-21, 2014.

Coding a contextual dialog system like that in The Last Of Us

Jason Gregory, lead gameplay programmer on The Last Of Us, is giving a great talk about programming dynamic dialog systems at GDC 2014. His talk, titled simply A Context-Aware Character Dialog System, should reveal how the sound team at Naughty Dog built a dialog system that allows enemy and ally NPCs in The Last Of Us to converse with each other and the player character in realistic ways. Gregory will explain how the system takes contextual data into account, including individual knowledge, collective knowledge, global game state, and information about the surrounding environment. This talk will explore the requirements and problems inherent in any NPC dialog system, and describe the baseline features required of any such system. Gregory will also explain the unique problems Naughty Dog faced while building The Last of Us, and describe the systems developed to solve them. It will then conclude with Q&A and a discussion of some ideas for future work.

Eradicating the scourge of GPU-CPU sync points

Continuing on in the technical vein, Nvidia senior software engineer John McDonald intends to continue his "crusade" against the scourge of CPU-GPU sync points with his GDC 2014 talk Avoiding Catastrophic Performance Loss: Detecting CPU-GPU Sync Points. According to McDonald, CPU-GPU sync points continue to be a one of the largest performance sinks on the PC, and often prove maddeningly difficult to locate. McDonald plans to briefly review the Direct3D and OpenGL driver models, as well as a description of the two types of sync points applications face. With that foundation in place, he will demonstrate a new, vendor-agnostic technique to detect CPU-GPU sync points. Afterwards, he'll cover how to fix CPU-GPU sync points in the context of a real-world, complex application. Additionally, a complete set of problematic entry points will be provided for each of Direct3D11 and OpenGL.

How Broken Age scales to run on everything

Double Fine lead programmer Oliver Franzke is coming to GDC to explain how the studio created a game that maintained a consistent level of visual quality across multiple platforms. Franzke's talk, Scaling from Mobile to High-End PCs: The Tech of Broken Age, is expected to run down the key decisions made to make Broken Age playable across a variety of devices and hardware profiles. It's recommended that attendees have at least a very basic understanding of real-time rendering techniques, as Franzke will detail Double Fine's authoring process of flexible 2D characters and parallaxing environments, the data build pipeline, and run-time techniques such as advanced 2D lighting and shadows. Several practical solutions for maximizing rendering performance on mobile GPUs as well as other challenges associated with mobile/PC cross-platform game development will also be presented in exquisite detail.

More essential GDC details

Earlier GDC 2014 announcements include the lineup for this year's ALT.CTRL.GDC alternative controller exhibit, the news that Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine will be giving a GDC talk about Narrative Legos, and the winners of the Game Narrative poster sessions.. Developers on Papa & Yo, Robotron 2084, and Max Payne will also be giving talks. All of the announced talks are now available in the online GDC 2014 Session Scheduler, where you can begin to build your conference week and later export it to the up-to-the-minute GDC Mobile App, coming soon. GDC 2014 itself will take place March 17-21, 2014 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. You can register for the event by visiting the info page on the official GDC 2014 website. Early Bird pricing, with discounts up to 30 percent, will remain in effect until January 31st. Some passes have limited amounts, and with the Independent Games Summit pass already sold out, interested parties should register now. For more information on GDC 2014, 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

Latest Jobs

Xbox Game Studios

Redmond, Washington
Technical Lighting Artist


Hamburg, Germany
Game Designer - Elvenar

Six Foot

Houston, TX
Six Foot Director, Player Relations

Hometopia Inc.

Lead Engineer
More Jobs   


Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more