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A Week of Game Programming Lessons

Learn the latest programming skills and techniques to develop games across platforms including consoles, mobile, PCs, virtual reality and more. The demand for high production value in games continues to increase with new tools, middleware, and technical skills required to solve difficult development problems.


Scroll down to learn about all GDC programs covering Game Programming, including:

Advanced Graphics Summit | AI Summit

Machine Learning Summit | Math in Game Development Summit

Online Game Technology Summit | Tools Summit

Core Concepts Sessions: Programming

Advanced Graphics Summit

One-Day Summit | Monday | July 19, 2021

This one-day summit provides profession insights into the state-of-the-art graphical techniques used by some of the most visually advanced games on the planet. Summit speakers will dive deep into the technical details and optimizations that drive the graphical fidelity of their games, sharing both lessons learned as well as ideas for future directions and advancements. Attendees of the summit should be familiar with modern rendering APIs such as DirectX or Vulkan, real-time shading languages, the basics of GPU programmable pipelines, as well as common real-time graphics algorithms. Some knowledge of game engine rendering architecture is helpful but not strictly required. The summit strives to focus on vendor-neutral techniques so that each session will have the potential to benefit all engines and shaders.

Boots on the Ground: The Terrain of 'Call of Duty'

JT Hooker (Treyarch)

Lifting the Fog: Geometry & Lighting in 'Demon's Souls'

Bruce Woodard (Bluepoint Games)

Procedural Grass in 'Ghost of Tsushima'

Eric Wohllaib (Sucker Punch Productions)

AI Summit

Two-Day Summit | Monday and Tuesday | July 19-20, 2021

Join top game AI programmers for panels and lectures, in addition to conversations, debates, and microtalks on how game AI can move forward. The AI Summit is targeted to intermediate to advanced programmers who want deeper insight, but anyone interested in what AI can offer next-generation games will gain invaluable insights.

Branching Out: 'Watch Dogs Legion's' Architecture for Group AI Behaviours

Christopher Dragert, Ph.D. (Ubisoft Toronto), Patrick  McKenna (Ubisoft Toronto)

'Death Stranding': An AI Postmortem

Eric Johnson (Kojima Productions)

Intrigue and Betrayal: Diplomacy AI in 'Total War: Three Kingdoms'

Duygu Cakmak (Creative Assembly), Csaba Toth (Creative Assembly)

Machine Learning Summit

One-Day Summit | Tuesday | July 20, 2021

The Machine Learning Summit will feature in-depth technical presentations to answer your most salient questions on how ML techniques can help you make better games. Discover where Machine Learning can assist developers in creating better games, while improving production and creation processes. Assess the new Machine Learning processes that can be offered to the players, ranging from beinging able to create new, original experiences to better adapting games to player's needs as they play. 

Deep Reinforcement Learning For Navigation

Maxim Peter (Ubisoft), Joshua Romoff (Ubisoft)

ML for Art and Game Balancing with Project Chimera

Ji Hun Kim (Google), Trung Le (Google), Andeep Toor (Google), Richard Wu (Google)

Smart Tech in 'Hearthstone'

Tian Ding (Blizzard Entertainment)

Math in Game Development Summit

One-Day Summit | Tuesday | July 20, 2021

Creating the latest code for graphics, gameplay, animation, physical simulation, artificial intelligence, and procedural generation requires a thorough knowledge of the necessary mathematical underpinnings. The Math in Game Development Summit presents talks on a wide variety of subjects, including biased randomness, navmesh generation, floating point error, procedural generation, and wave function collapse, as well as a deeper dive into intuiting splines, dot and cross products, and quaternions.

Conservative Mesh Decimation for Collision Detection and Occlusion Culling

Gino van den Bergen (Dtecta)

Even Faster Math Functions

Robin Green (Pacific Light & Hologram)

The White Box Black Box: Demystifying BSP

Christopher Forseth (SMU Guildhall)

Online Game Technology Summit

One-Day Summit | Monday | July 19, 2021

The Online Game Technology Summit will cover all aspects of the technical challenges that go into developing, deploying, scaling and maintaining systems that supports online, connected and multiplayer games across all game platforms. This summit will focus on production use cases and real world examples from industry professionals currently working as engineers, operations teams and related roles supporting these systems. Presentation topics include multiplayer game topologies and architectures, matchmaking, game data storage, analytics, network physics and communication, client and server side networking, infrastructure management, system scaling, operations and monitoring, security and related subjects.

Exploring Services Architecture at Bungie

Michael Williams (Bungie)

Leveraging Blockchain in Games to Redefine the Concept of Ownership

John Linden (Mythical Games)

'Rocket League': Scaling for Free to Play

Matthew Sanders (Psyonix)

Tools Summit

One-Day Summit | Monday | July 19, 2021

The Tools Summit is a deep dive into the state-of-the-art techniques and processes for building tools that enable game development teams to ship awesome games. Topics will range from usability and workflow to studio services and automated testing, and all the technology in between.

Cryptic Studios' Magic Legends: FX Engine Support for Artists

Brent Haley (Cryptic Studios)

Free Up the Cognitive Load: UX in Animation Workflow

Irene Zhu (343 Industries)

How Ubisoft Builds Tools that Are More "Intuitive"

David Lightbown (Ubisoft)

Core Concepts Sessions: Programming

Wednesday-Friday | July 21-23, 2021

The learning continues Wednesday through Friday with Core Concepts presentations. Check out the newly added 2021 sessions below.

'Genshin Impact': Building a Scalable AI System

Shuo Xu (miHoYo Co., Ltd.)

Model Collision: Balancing Speed and Size in 'Black Ops Cold War'

Andrew Shurney (Activision: Central Tech)

Rope Simulation in 'Uncharted 4' and 'The Last of Us 2'

Jaroslav Sinecky (Naughty Dog, Inc.)

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Connecting the Global Game Development Community