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 Gamasutra features editor Frank Cifaldi:
Dragged Kicking and Screaming: Source Multicore (lecture)
Tom Leonard (Valve)
Valve’s team went through a lot of hardship to bring the Source Engine where it is today. When Half-Life 2
was released in 2004, the engine was a single-threaded beast over eight years in the making. Today, it’s a multi-platform powerhouse designed to work on a wide variety of cores. In this talk, senior engineer Tom Leonard will reveal the secrets of how this was done, through experimentation, clever use of tools, and I’d imagine lots of caffeine and good old-fashioned grit.
Evolve: Character Pipeline Advances for Next-gen Titles (lecture)
Christopher Evans (Crytek), Hanno Hagedorn (Crytek)
I haven’t actually seen any characters from Crytek’s upcoming Crysis
, but if the physics and landscapes from CryEngine 2 are any indication, I’m fully prepared to have my mind blown.
Rethinking Challenges in Games and Stories (lecture)
I like Ernest Adams. He has a way of cohesively explaining design theories that should, by all accounts, be vague and abstract. He has controversial things to say, and despite whether I agree with them, he says them with conviction. He writes one of the most popular columns on Gamasutra.com, which keeps me happy. And most importantly, he wears a top hat during his GDC lectures. In this session, Adams explores the possibilities of engaging a player through avenues other than challenge, a subject near and dear to my heart.
Sharing Control (panel)
David Edery (Xbox Live Arcade), Raph Koster (Areae), Ray Muzyka (BioWare), Kim Pallister (Microsoft)
Tides are changing, communities are growing, and players are demanding more and more control over in-game content. But how do game developers embrace this? Raph Koster joins decision-makers from Microsoft and BioWare to discuss the future of user-generated content, from implementation and screening to what GDC’s official program guide describes as “user-driven marketing,” which sounds a bit nefarious. But hey, I like a little nefariousness once in a while.
Painting an Interactive Musical Landscape (lecture)
Koji Kondo (Nintendo)
Koji Kondo’s music is perhaps the most memorable in all of games—it’s just that simple. As the composer for Super Mario Bros.
and The Legend of Zelda
, few would deny him that title. In this lecture, Kondo promises to lay bare his technique for the creation of interactive music, drawing on his experience working for Nintendo since 1984. The tough part will be trying to push your way past the fans into the conference room!
[This story originally appeared in the February 2007 GDC preview issue of Game Developer magazine.]