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GDC 2008: The Conference Director's Picks

In advance of Gamasutra's canonical Game Developers Conference coverage from more than ten correspondents, starting Monday, GDC executive director Jamil Moledina has provided us with some of his top lecture p
Trying to figure out which Game Developers Conference session to attend? In advance of Gamasutra's canonical conference coverage, take a page out of GDC executive director Jamil Moledina's book and try these talks -- all of which are guaranteed to be fascinating, and cover a wide variety of topics and disciplines. Jamil's picks - which are his own personal favorites - are just a few of the top talks available at the show (run by the CMP Game Group, as is Gamasutra), and he has limited these particular picks to lectures from the main Wednesday-Friday conference. However, the Monday-Tuesday tutorial sessions and especially the GDC Summits, including the Casual, Independent, Outsourcing, Serious, IGDA Education, and Worlds In Motion Summits are also well worth checking out - and will be covered in detail by Gamasutra's more than ten show correspondents. For full session descriptions, and for details on the entire GDC schedule, please visit the official GDC website and the GDC Schedule Builder. The Keynotes A Future Wide Open: Unleashing the Creative Community Keynote Speaker: John Schappert (Corporate Vice President LIVE, Software and Services for the Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 10:30AM - 11:30AM Location (room): Moscone Center, South Hall, Esplanade Ballroom The Next 20 Years of Gaming Keynote Speaker: Ray Kurzweil, Inventor & Futurist Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 10:30AM - 11:30AM Location (room): Moscone Center, South Hall, Esplanade Ballroom GDC Favorites: Experimental Gameplay Sessions Speaker: Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 2:30pm - 4:30pm Location (room): Room 2018/2020, West Hall The Game Design Challenge: The Inter-Species Game Speaker: Eric Zimmerman (Chief Design Officer, Gamelab), Alexey Pajitnov (Game Designer, Lifemode Interactive), Brenda Brathwaite (Game Designer, Savannah College of Art & Design), Steve Meretzky (Senior Designer, Blue Fang) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 5:30pm - 6:30pm Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall From the Audio Track The Crysis of Audio Speaker: Tomas Neumann (Senior Audio Programmer, Crytek), Inon Zur (Composer), Christian Schilling (Senior Sound Designer, Crytek) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 9:00am - 10:00am Location (room): Room 2024, West Hall Procedural Music in Spore Speaker: Kent Jolly (Audio Director, Electronic Arts), Aaron McLeran (composer, n/a) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location (room): Room 2024, West Hall From the Business and Management Track Pioneering in Episodic Games and Digital Distribution Speaker: Kevin Bruner (CTO, Telltale) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am Location (room): Room 2004, West Hall From the Game Design Track Storytelling in BioShock: Empowering Players to Care about Your Stupid Story Speaker: Kenneth Levine (President/Creative Director, 2KBoston/Irrational) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 9:00am - 10:00am Location (room): Room 135, North Hall Rules of Engagement: Blizzard's Approach to Multiplayer Game Design Speaker: Rob Pardo (VP, Game Design, Blizzard Entertainment) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location (room): Room 135, North Hall E Pluribus Unum: Matchmaking in Halo 3 Speaker: Chris Butcher (Engineering Lead, Bungie Studios) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm Location (room): Room 132/133, North Hall Standing the Test of Time: A Q&A with Sid Meier Speaker: Sid Meier (Director of Creative Development, Firaxis Games), Noah Falstein Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm Location (room): Room 135, North Hall How Heroes are Made: A Collaborative Approach to Serialized Content in a Transmedia World Speaker: Jesse Alexander (Co-Executive Producer/Writer, “Heroes”/NBC) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location (room): Room 2001/2003, West Hall Wii Fit: Creating a Brand New Interface for the Home Console Speaker: Takao Sawano (Deputy GM in Entertainment Analysis & Development, Nintendo) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location (room): Room 135, North Hall Prototype: Open World, Open Mind, Next Generation Thinking Speaker: Eric Holmes (Lead Game Designer, Radical Entertainment), Tim Bennison (Sr. Producer, Radical Entertainment) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall Creating Spielberg's Boom Blox Speaker: Louis Castle (VP of Creative Development at EALA, Electronic Arts) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location (room): Room 135, North Hall Your Music Is the Game: Designing Phase, the Other Project at Harmonix Speaker: Chris Foster (Senior Designer, Harmonix Music Systems) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 5:30pm - 6:30pm Location (room): Room 2009, West Hall Creativity in the Form of Improvement Speaker: Yoshiki Okamoto (President, Game Republic) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 5:30pm - 6:30pm Location (room): Room 132/133, North Hall Development - Super Smash Bros. Brawl Speaker: Masahiro Sakurai (Designer and Director, Sora Ltd.) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am Location (room): Room 135, North Hall Diner Dash: Hometown Hero Postmortem: Where Casual Games Meet Virtual Worlds Speaker: Brad Edelman (Chief Technology Officer, PlayFirst, Inc.), Kenny Shea Dinkin (Vice President and Creative Director, PlayFirst) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location (room): Room 131, North Hall Dynamic Cinematic Gameplay: Creating Stranglehold's "Tequila Bombs" Speaker: Neill Glancy (Lead Designer, Midway Games) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location (room): Room 2004, West Hall Metaplace Postmortem: Reinventing MMOs Speaker: Raph Koster (President, Areae, Inc.), Sean Riley (Lead Programmer, Metaplace) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location (room): Room 135, North Hall From the Programming Track A Believable Character Postmortem: Motion Capture on the Virtual Set of Beowulf Speaker: Parag Havaldar (Software Architect, Sony Pictures Imageworks) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location (room): Room 3020, West Hall Lighting and Material of Halo 3 Speaker: Hao Chen (Engineering Lead, Bungie Studios) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location (room): Room 2004, West Hall Crysis Next-Gen Effects Speaker: Tiago Sousa (Effects/Graphics Programmer, Crytek) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall The Technology of Final Fantasy Speaker: Taku Murata (General Manager, Technical Research Division, Square Enix Co.,Ltd) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location (room): Room 135, North Hall Lightmap Compression in Halo 3 Speaker: Yaohua Hu (Engineer, Bungie Studios) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 2:30pm - 2:50pm Location (room): Room 3004, West Hall From the Production Track Challenges of Creating Linear Content in a Game Engine Speaker: Kim Libreri (DIGITAL DOMAIN, INC.), Jerry O'Flaherty (Director, Warner Brothers Studio) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 9:00am - 10:00am Location (room): Room 2018, West Hall The BioWare Live Team: Building Community through Technology Speaker: Derek French (Associate Technical Producer, BioWare Corp.) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am Location (room): Room 2002, West Hall From the Vision Track How to Create an Industry: The Making of the Brown Box and Pong Speaker: Allan Alcorn (CTO, IMMI), Ralph H. Baer Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall From the Visual Arts Track Uncharted Animation: An In-depth Look at the Character Animation Workflow and Pipeline Speaker: Judd Simantov (Lead Character Technical Director, Naughty Dog Inc), Jeremy Lai-Yates (Lead Gameplay Animator, Naughty Dog Inc.) Date/Time: Wednesday (February 20, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location (room): Room 132/133, North Hall The Halo 3 Cinematic Process Speaker: CJ Cowan (Bungie) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location (room): Room 2001/2003, West Hall From the Game Career Seminar From Grunt to God to Startup - Career Lessons From the Edge of Game Speaker: David Jaffe (Co-President/Game Designer, Eat Sleep Play) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 10:30am - 11:30am Location (room): Room 3005, West Hall Jamil’s Special Recommendations Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: How LucasArts is Building a Game, a Development Team and a Technology Pipeline... At the Same Time Speaker: Haden Blackman (Project Lead, Lucasarts Entertainment Co) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 9:00am - 10:00am Location (room): Room 135, North Hall The Emergent Gamer Speaker: Rod Humble (Head of The Sims Studio, Electronic Arts) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location (room): Room 2014/2016, West Hall The Future of Animation is Games Speaker: Bill Kroyer (Writer/Director, Sacred Road, Blockade Entertainment), Mark DeAngelis (Vice President of Programming & Development, Voom Networks HD) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm Location (room): Room 3004, West Hall My First MMO Speaker: Dave Jones (Realtime Worlds) Date/Time: Thursday (February 21, 2008) 5:30pm — 6:30pm Location (room): Room 135, North Hall The 1st Annual Startup Showcase - Startup Launchpad Presented by GDC and CRV Speaker: George Zachary (Partner, Charles River Ventures), Susan Wu (Principal, Charles River Ventures), Owen Mahoney (Electronic Arts), Jamil Moledina (Executive Director, GDC, CMP Game Group) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location (room): Room 132, North Hall Fable 2 -- The Big Three Features Revealed Speaker: Peter Molyneux (Head of Studio, Lionhead Studios) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 2:30pm - 3:30pm Location (room): Room 135, North Hall Conquering Bane's Citadel: The Collision of Casual and Hardcore Gaming in Puzzle Quest Speaker: Steve Fawkner (CEO and Lead Designer, Infinite Interactive) Date/Time: Friday (February 22, 2008) 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location (room): Room 2018/2020, West Hall

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