A few months ago the team at Insomniac Games released Marvel's Spider-Man, an astonishingly well-made open-world superhero game, and now many of them are headed to the 2019 Game Developers Conference in March to talk about what they learned!
This is a great opportunity to learn useful game dev skills from some of the best in the business, so conference organizers want to make sure you don't miss out on all the exciting, informative Spider-Man talks taking place at the show this year.
For example, you've probably already bookmarked creative director Bryan Intihar's talk on "Conquering the Creative Challenges in 'Marvel's Spider-Man'", in which he'll discuss three major hurdles they faced during the game's development and how Insomniac Games overcame them in order to hit the team's creative/narrative goals.
But you might have overlooked senior engineer Elan Ruskin's technically-minded complement to that talk, "Marvel's Spider-Man: A Technical Postmortem." This was Insomniac's biggest game to date, and Ruskin's talk looks back at how their technology evolved to make it possible, and the setbacks and pitfalls along the way.
He'll discuss the challenges of rapidly growing asset count, and adapting rendering, streaming, and lighting to build a New York City that fits on a Blu-Ray. He'll also show the evolution of the Insomniac team's combat and the learning curve on making enemies and bosses that work with an agile webslinger. He'll cover the procedural tools for marking up Manhattan, and how their approach to building the city changed over time, as well as how the pedestrians, traffic, street vignettes, and random crimes grew from humble beginnings to an interactive part of a living city!
Plus, Insomniac's Noah Alzayer will be delivering a great presentation on "(Super)Humans of New York: Managing the Many Faces in 'Marvel's Spider-Man'" that promises to be intriguing -- especially if you have any interest in facial animation or face management in games.
With more and more triple-A projects relying on subcontracting outside companies to create high-end facial rigs, this talk will go over how Insomniac Games' rigging team created a (mostly) drama-free pipeline for integration, feedback, rig enhancement, and change tracking for approximately 150 facial rigs from a 3rd party vendor without tying up the whole team. This talk goes over the way this was all achieved and overseen with very little overhead tied to getting new deliveries for characters, the way they managed and tracked their own changes to the rigs, the edge-case issues they ran into for certain characters, and the tools and methods they developed to solve them!
And in a special talk during the GDC 2019 Animation Bootcamp, "Animating the Main Villain in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' (or "What, I'm Rigging HOW Many Legs?!")", Insomniac's Sophie Brennan will give you an overview of what went into animating the iconic final villain in Marvel's Spider-Man. From concept, to model, to rig, to game, join this session to see what it takes to bring WAY too many legs to the screen!
For a deeper look at the city itself, make time to see principal technical artist David Santiago's talk on "Procedurally Crafting Manhattan for 'Marvel's Spider-Man'." He'll break down the design of the game's open-world pipeline and how each procedural system was originally designed to support iterations, and dependencies.
Of course, the reality of production posed greater challenges than expected. Procedural systems were used to author and modify much more content than planned; a lot seemed to go wrong before the Insomniac team ultimately got it right. Their production failures became success stories and have laid a road-map for future projects, so don't miss this reflection on some of the major challenges devs face when proving their creative vision early on -- you'll walk away with practical strategies on how to overcome those challenges in your own projects!
And finally, if none of this means a thing because it ain't about that swing, you'll want to check out lead gameplay programmer Doug Sheahan's "Concrete Jungle Gym: Building Traversal in 'Marvel's Spider-Man'" talk, which is all about the inner workings of the game's remarkable web-swinging!
Notably, Sheahan will give you an in -depth view into how the traversal system for the game was created. The talk will focus on how the swinging mechanic was originally executed and the process through which it evolved in order to increase usability and player engagement. This will include a discussion on the integration of additional mechanics as well as how the camera was designed to increase the sense of speed, power, and enjoyment for the system. It promises to be a fascinating talk, so try to swing by!
Further details on these talks and many more are available now on the GDC 2019 Session Scheduler. There you can begin to lay out your GDC 2019, which takes place March 18th through the 22nd at the (newly renovated!) Moscone Center in San Francisco.
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