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GDC Austin 2009: The Full Coverage

With GDC Austin 2009 complete, Gamasutra has collected its extensive coverage of the show, including session writeups and interviews drawn from the main conference as well as its iPhone, Indie, Audio, and Writers summits.

September 21, 2009

7 Min Read

Author: by Staff

With GDC Austin 2009 now complete, Gamasutra has collected highlights of its extensive coverage throughout the show, including session writeups and interviews drawn from the main conference as well as its iPhone, Indie, Audio, and Writers summits. We think it's important to leave a lasting record of what these speakers have to say, and tell those who can't be present about some of the useful advice and stats that they have. Gamasutra (a part of Think Services, as is GDC Austin itself) was at the show for all four days, and links to many notable stories are presented below: Turbine On Why Console MMO Migration Is "Inevitable" "Focusing on Turbine's plans to move in the console MMO marketplace, VP of product development Craig Alexander's GDC Austin talk discussed why the shift is 'inevitable' -- and what he's doing about it." Running a Global Community In Final Fantasy XI "What does it take to run an MMO on three platforms and in three regions, with one player base? Square Enix talked Final Fantasy XI's community challenges and the road to FF XIV at GDC Austin." Nexon's Kim Announces BlockParty, Talks Post-'Penguin' Kids At GDC Austin, Nexon America vice president Min Kim asked how we should get ready for the "penguin army" -- the first fully-connected generation -- as they graduate from Club Penguin, announcing the new BlockParty social game portal. Zynga's Reynolds On Social Game Design's Evolution "In his GDC Austin talk on Friday, Zynga's Brian Reynolds, a founder of Firaxis and Big Huge Games, talked about Facebook games and why 'social games are going to need better game design than they have now.'" Insomniac Games' 10 Commandments Of Community "Insomniac Games community director Ryan Schneider knows there are a lot of beers out there. "For us, when people go into the pub, we want to look for the Insomniac brand of beer," he said. "...We want them buying Insomniac brand beer and telling their friends about it." An Inside Look At The Universe Of Warcraft "Thursday morning's GDC Austin keynote was met with a large crowd as Blizzard Entertainment's J. Allen Brack and Frank Pearce took the stage to offer a detailed look into the inner workings of the genre-dominating World of Warcraft." Thinking Inside The Box -- Writing For Franchises "Coming from a studio best known for their extensive work on the Tom Clancy games, Red Storm Entertainment's Jay Posey had a wealth of knowledge to share in his GDC Austin 2009 Game Writer's Summit lecture about writing for franchise game titles." Gaia Online's Three Lessons For Free-To-Play Success "At GDC Austin on Thursday, Dave Georgeson, senior producer for Gaia Interactive's free-to-play casual MMO zOMG, said there are three keys to a successful online game: Make it fun for everyone, get users to want to buy, and make it easy for users to buy." The Power Of EVE Online's Council Of Stellar Management "At GDC Austin, CCP's Petur Johannes Oskarsson discussed EVE Online, the company's complex MMO with a passionate player base all coexisting on a single server, and the government that has arisen in the game to address player concerns." The Old Republic And The Challenges Of Big Teams "BioWare Austin technical director Bill Dalton delivered a look at how interdependencies can lead to problems in development on games -- with the studio's Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO as a perfectly complex test case." Free Realms And The Attention Span Challenge "Sony Online Entertainment is now moving from the hardcore to the kid market. President John Smedley revealed a PS3 Free Realms debut in 2010, and admitted that "making games for kids is hard" in his GDC Austin keynote." Mythic's Hickman Shares Warhammer Online's Biggest Mistakes "At GDC Austin, Mythic's Jeff Hickman delivered spoke frankly about mistakes the company has made, particularly in the last "interesting year" since the launch of Warhammer Online -- and looked to the future." Half-Life, Portal Scribes Talk Writing Process "Valve writers Marc Laidlaw and Erik Wolpaw delivered a talk at GDC Austin about the processes and principles of video game writing, drawing from their experiences with the Half-Life and Portal games." Heroes and Villains In DC Universe Online "Veteran comics scribe and DC Universe Online writer Marv Wolfman teamed up with his Sony Online colleagues to discuss writing for heroes and, more especially, villains at a GDC Austin talk." Writing for MMOs: You're Doing it Wrong "Is the MMO genre is a bad fit for traditional storytelling methods? At GDC Austin, Tracy Seamster of ZeniMax Online and Steve Danuser of 38 Studios discussed examples of how to do it right -- and how not to." 2D Boy's Carmel On 'Beyond The Finish Line' "In an intriguing GDC Austin lecture, World Of Goo co-creator Ron Carmel examined the world 'beyond the finish line', discussing what happens after your indie game is released and how to deal with it." Twisted Pixel Talks 'Splosion Man Postmortem "Mike Henry and Sean Riley from Austin-based indie Twisted Pixel used their Independent Games Summit talk to postmortem the six-month XBLA project and 'Summer Of Arcade' title 'Splosion Man.." Swink, Wegner On Blurst's Rapid Prototyping Madness "At the Independent Games Summit on Austin in Wednesday, Flashbang's Matthew Wegner and Steve Swink explained how their rapid prototyping of web games like Off-Road Velociraptor Safari gave them larger life lessons." Lost Garden's Cook On Why Premium Flash Games Rock "Talking at the Indie Games Summit at GDC Austin on Wednesday, Bunni co-creator and Lost Garden blogger Daniel Cook explained why he believes charging users for more complex Flash games is the wave of the future." PSP Minis Drop Features To Hasten Approval Time "Sony confirmed at GDC Austin that PSP Mini games will not be allowed to have wireless multiplayer functionality, downloadable content, or software updates, in order to quicken the approval process." How Fantastic Contraption Became A Fantastic Hit "Talking at the Independent Games Summit at GDC Austin, Fantastic Contraption creator Colin Northway explained how he created his Flash-based physics game with no pro game experience, and "made a boatload of money" along the way." NinjaBee's Fox Gets Practically Indie "NinjaBee's Brent Fox discussed practical indie tips at GDC Austin, looking at the massive advantages of being in XBLA's Top 20, and why DLC for XBLA games isn't generally a moneymaker in itself." Gaijin's Roush on Bit.Trip's Indie Construction "Kicking off the Independent Games Summit at GDC Austin, Gaijin Games' Mike Roush talked about 'holistic indie console game design' in making the retro WiiWare series, explaining how project scope morphed its game design." Certain Affinity's Bullard On Bootstrapping Your Indie Business "In an intensely practical Indie Games Summit talk at GDC Austin, Certain Affinity (Age Of Booty) production manager Jennifer Bullard talked about the realities of game business for a mid-sized independent developer, spanning business to relationships and beyond." Wolfire On Making Indie Marketing Buzz "In the final talk at GDC Austin's Indie Games Summit on Tuesday, Wolfire's John Graham discussed how to get the word out about your independent game, based around successful tactics for upcoming PC action game Overgrowth." From AAA To Indie - Tiger Style and the Making of Spider "At GDC Austin on Tuesday, former EA, Midway developers Randy Smith and David Kalina discussed moving from AAA console to iPhone development, showcasing Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor -- whose "sales have exceeded our expectations"." Five Rules For Marketing iPhone Games "At the iPhone Games Summit at GDC Austin on Tuesday, Brian Greenstone, CEO of Enigmo developer Pangea, gave five marketing rules for iPhone games, adding that "99 cents is a horrible price" for game Apps." PlayFirst On Bringing Established Brands to iPhone "PlayFirst's Chris Williams talked at GDC Austin on moving established brands to the iPhone, using the company's successful Dash series as an example -- discussing strategy, stats, and more." Newtoy On Becoming The 'Nintendo Of The iPhone' "In its search for iPhone success, Words With Friends developer Newtoy said it wanted to think like a gaming platform holder -- to be the "Nintendo of the iPhone." CEO Paul Bettner spoke at the iPhone Summit at GDC Austin." Storytelling in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 marks a new direction in narrative integration and team structure for Vicarious Visions -- lead writer Evan Skolnick and narrative designer Jonathan Mintz discussed its genesis at GDC Austin." Interactive Narrative As a Counselor "To University of Baltimore assistant professor Aaron Oldenburg, an effective interactive narrative is much like being a counselor for the player, he said during a Tuesday session at the GDC Austin Game Writers Summit."

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