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GDC Preview: EIC Simon Carless' Picks

As part of Gamasutra's preview of this year's Game Development Conference, Game Developer and Gamasutra EIC Simon Carless gives his top session picks, including a keynote by Miyamoto, and an exploration of Spore's 'magic crayons.'
As part of Gamasutra's preview of this year's Game Development Conference, editors from Game Developer Magazine and Gamasutra selected their picks for mustn't-miss sessions. This selection of top picks comes from Game Developer and Gamasutra EIC Simon Carless: Nintendo Keynote (60-minute address) Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo) As of press time, details were hazy on the specific topic of Shigeru Miyamoto’s GDC keynote, but really—it’s Miyamoto. Isn’t that enough? The creator of Mario, Zelda, and a zillion other seminal Nintendo franchises will not appear at GDC just to do some Wii orchestra conducting, so I’m expecting great things. If you’re not there, you’re oh so square. Spore’s Magic Crayons (lecture) Chaim Gingold (Maxis/EA) Another year, another Spore talk? Well, yes, but over the course of its obviously careful, experimental, and iterative development, the brain trust at Maxis, led by Will Wright, has constructed a landmark title. Even if Spore is not actually that fun to play (and who knows, it might yet happen), the mental power that’s gone into the procedural and organic creation of virtual life is formidable. Creating More Original, Unique Music for Games (panel) Jesper Kyd (Jesper Kyd Productions), Richard Jacques (Richard Jacques Studios), Inon Zur (Composer), et al. Okay. I’m the first to admit that the title of this audio panel is pretty terrible, but I can’t remember seeing a more interesting collection of composers together in one place at GDC, from old school Amiga demo scene veteran Jesper Kyd, through Sega-sonic U.K. composer Jacques. Given the amount of soundtracks licensed from hip hop or punk stalwarts, original scoring is an increasingly important topic, so I’m glad a group of good repute are covering it. The Video Game Piracy Problem: Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest Todd Hollenshead (id Software) Id’s CEO Hollenshead has been notably vocal on the problem of game piracy in the past—especially because id makes PC-centric games that often don't have central servers to easily prevent counterfeiting, like MMOs do. This lecture therefore promises to reveal Hollenshead’s experiences over the past 10 years fighting for the cause. Cross Application Asset Creation for Lair: From Characters to Clouds (lecture) Mark Teare (Factor 5) This session’s overview explains that the PlayStation 3-exclusive dragon combat game’s creators want to share how to “use all the tools an artist has to creatively and efficiently solve these problems and develop new asset specific workflows that can be integrated into the pipeline.” In any talk, this would be important, with pipelines ever more complex and vital. But given the specific subject matter, and as Lair is one of Sony’s signature next-gen titles, this looks un-missable. [This story originally appeared in the February 2007 GDC preview issue of Game Developer magazine.]

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