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GDC Preview: Features Editor Brandon Sheffield’s Picks

As part of Gamasutra's preview of this year's Game Development Conference, Game Developer features editor Brandon Sheffield gives his top session picks, including Killer 7 creator Goichi Suda maintaining that punk's not dead, and Guitar Hero
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 features editor Brandon Sheffield: Punk’s Not Dead (lecture) Goichi Suda (Grasshopper Manufacture) When talking about the darker side of originality in Japanese games, Goichi Suda’s company Grasshopper Manufacture comes swiftly to mind. Suda’s games may be visually striking and sonically unique, but his company’s attitude is what makes the games work. In this talk, Suda will discuss how his organization creates games that are true to the spirit of original design, and how like a rock band, if any member of the team leaves, the resulting product is, and should be, changed forever. Real-World SPU Usage (lecture) Chris Carty (SCEE), Nicolas Serres (SCEE) We’ve all heard how SPUs are going to revolutionize game programming on the PlayStation 3. But how? These little bundles of mystery make the Cell processor what it is, and in this talk, two Sony Computer Entertainment Europe programmers share their expertise on the subject, focusing on concrete cases, rather than abstract “just use them!” ideas. Programmers in attendance are expected to be somewhat familiar with the PlayStation 3 architecture. Designing Gears of War: Iteration Wins (lecture) Cliff Bleszinski (Epic) Gears of War is lauded by many as the first fully next-gen game for consoles. In this talk, outspoken lead designer Cliff Bleszinski will take the audience through his team’s successes and mistakes when creating the gameplay for the benchmark title and share what he learned about iterative design techniques. He’ll also describe the team structure and checks and balances that allowed the game to ship on time. And if we’re lucky, maybe he’ll explain why he put so many corpses on toilets in the game. Designing Games for Everyone: Harmonix Design in Practice (lecture) Tracy Rosenthal-Newsom (Harmonix), Rob Kay (Harmonix) Harmonix has long been interested in making games appeal to the masses, and with Guitar Hero, it truly hit its stride. In this talk, Harmonix higher-ups discuss practical steps developers can take to make their games more widely accessible, from removing barriers to entry, to extensive focus testing. This talk, naturally, is designed to be accessible to everyone, so come one, come all. The Game Attorney’s Developer Deal Roundtable (roundtable) Tom Buscaglia (T. H. Buscaglia and Associates) Tom Buscaglia will lead a group of lawyerly folks in a discussion of developer deals. Specific topics will include IP retention and reversion, termination pay out provisions, and ancillary revenue streams. The talk is specifically aimed at senior executives from independent studios. [This story originally appeared in the February 2007 GDC preview issue of Game Developer magazine.]

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