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GDC 2013 adds NASA, Wii U, Dishonored, Journey, DayZ talks

With just a day until the early registration deadline, Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have revealed talks from NASA on game tech used for robots in space; Nintendo on Miiverse, HTML, and Javascript for Wii U; and lessons from designing DayZ and Journey and co-directing Dishonored.
These lectures are part of the Programming, Production, and Design Tracks in GDC's Main Conference, to be held March 27-29 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center.
The highlights of each lecture are as follows:
- In 'We Are the Space Invaders (Presented by NASA),' Victor Luo and Jeff Norris will explain the crossover between video games and the systems that command real spacecraft. Highlights include the agency's first console video game and how they pilot giant spider robots and humanoids with video game technology.
- Bohemia Interactive project lead Dean Hall will discuss how online multiplayer game DayZ went from mod to commercial game and how it remained "largely intact" after going viral in 'Designing DayZ: Lessons from Cherno.'
- In Empowering the Player in a Story-Rich World: Co-Directing Dishonored,' Arkane Studios' Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith will discuss how they aimed to create "spaces that enable the player to improvise and experiment, devising their own solutions to gameplay obstacles," and engage them "dramatically through interactive systems."

GDC 2013 adds Unfinished Swan, Schell, FTL, Riot talks for Summits

Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have revealed new Summit talks for its March conference, including a discussion on Giant Sparrow's acclaimed indie The Unfinished Swan, Jesse Schell's look into how different mediums are shaping storytelling, an FTL postmortem and a Riot QA spotlight.
The first two of these spotlighted talks are part Game Narrative and GDC Education Summits, just two of eight total Summits that will take place Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA during the first two days of GDC 2013.
In 'The Future of Storytelling: How Medium Shapes Story,' Jesse Schell, professor at CMU's Entertainment Technology Center and founder Schell Games (Puzzle Clubhouse), will offer attendees "useful tools for understanding what story structures work best on present-day gaming platforms, and on the many new ones that are right around the corner."
In 'The Unfinished Swan: From Student Prototype to Commercial Game,' Giant Sparrow's Ian Dallas will discuss what went right and wrong with the Game Developers Choice Awards nominated first-person painting game. Topics will include what the studio learned in school that was most useful and why it chose a publisher instead of staying independent.
In addition, organizers are reminding of two other exceptional talks scheduled for the GDC 2013 Summits. In the QA Summit, League of Legends developer Riot Games' Benjamin Seifert will discuss a three-prong approach to QA in 'It's Raining New Content: Successful Rapid Test Iterations.' Also, in the Independent Games Summit, Subset Games will deliver a postmortem on its IGF and Game Developers Choice Awards nominated game in 'Designing Without a Pitch - FTL Postmortem.'

BioWare founders Muzyka, Zeschuk to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at GDCAs

Co-founders of the award-winning BioWare studio Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards for their contributions to the art and science of games at the 13th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCAs).

The GDCAs, held yearly at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, are the leading peer-based video game industry awards celebrating the industry's top games and developers.

Both Choice and IGF Awards will see the return of industry-favorite hosts with Tim Schafer, the LucasArts veteran and President and CEO of Double Fine Productions (Brutal Legend, Costume Quest, The Cave), hosting the Choice Awards ceremony and Pocketwatch Games' Andy Schatz, creator of 2010 Independent Games Festival Grand Prize winner Monaco, returning as host of the Independent Games Festival awards.

Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Muzyka and Zeschuk, known throughout the game development community as the 'BioWare Doctors,' met while in medical school at the University of Alberta where they learned they shared a passion for video game development.

They each continued to moonlight as doctors during the early years of BioWare but then transitioned to the video game industry full time as they and their passionate teams at BioWare went on to create some of the industry's most influential, highly praised and critically acclaimed role-playing games such as Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

iam8bit to hold 'Class Of GDC' photoshoots at GDC 2013

2013 Game Developers Conference organizers are announcing the first of a series of new, interactive onsite events, 'Class of GDC: Photo Playset,' created in a renewed partnership with production group iam8bit.
In its own area on the Lower Lobby of the North Hall, iam8bit will offer GDC attendees from March 25-29 a free photo session with optional, "questionable fashion and laser backdrops" to personalize their photos with friends and colleagues.
As the official event description explains: "GDC is kinda like a high school reunion. Every year, the game industry gathers in San Francisco to hug old pals... and make some new ones.
It's the place to learn and share (and drink) the many fruits of our creative business, under one gigantic roof. So it only makes sense to immortalize the occasion - especially because everyone always needs a new Facebook profile pic.
Presenting the "CLASS OF GDC: Photo Playset," where attendees are welcomed into an elaborate snapshot experience, harkening back to those days of bad dos, questionable fashion and laser backdrops. But hold up - this isn't JUST some funny thing you did at a party once...
A hair & makeup artist will be on hand to help you achieve that perfect look, you'll get to sift through a random assortment of ugly sweaters and hideous dresses, and a well-educated photographer will earn back their student loans while you awkwardly smile."

'Road to the IGF' Pt.1: the stories behind this year's top indie games

Gamasutra's 'Road to the IGF' series is in the process of highlighting every 2013 Independent Games Festival finalist - and here's the first batch of interviews, including Kentucky Route Zero, Cart Life and Incredipede.
All finalists will be playable at an expanded IGF Pavilion on the Game Developers Conference 2013 Expo floor from March 27-29, 2013, at San Francisco's Moscone Center.
This year, the 'Road to the IGF' series has already shared stories of innovation in indie gaming such as Q-Games' Move-controlled audio experiment PixelJunk 4AM, Blendo Games' 10-minute long adventure Thirty Flights of Loving, and more.
The full highlights so far from this year's finalists are as follows:
- Simogo discusses its haunting and intentionally-mysterious Visual Art nominee Year Walk, a divergence from the studio's familiar, cute tone.
- Cardboard Computer reveals the inspiration for Kentucky Route Zero, and why it's glad that the game's Kickstarter came before the big crowd-funding boom.

Borderlands 2 humor, World of Warcraft networking talks added to GDC 2013

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced new lectures for its 2013 Main Conference, including how Borderlands 2 added humor through gameplay, how World of Warcraft coded its network API, and how EVE Online became a multiplatform universe.
These lectures are part of the Programming, Production, and Design Tracks in GDC's Main Conference, to be held March 27-29 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center.
In a Design Track lecture, Gearbox Software lead writer Anthony Burch will share how his team added humor in game mechanics in the talk 'Designing Humor in Borderlands 2.' He will discuss "how a quest with no gameplay can actually be funnier than a quest with it, how every mechanic holds the potential for humor, and how even jokes need debugging."
For the Programming Track, Blizzard's Joe Rumsey will explore solutions to issues for 'Network Serialization and Routing in World of Warcraft.' He will share sample code to illustrate how they handle machine generated codes for serialization, dynamic protocol negotiation, and more.
Lastly, for the Production Track, CCP Games' senior technical producer Andie Nordgren will discuss connecting PlayStation 3 shooter DUST 514 to the existing EVE Online universe in 'Creating the EVE Universe: Technical and Cultural Strategies.'

GDC 2013 reveals Indie Summit talks on crowdfunding, Retro/Grade, Molyjam

Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have revealed new Summit talks for its March conference, with lectures on the Peter Molyneux parody turned international game jam, Retro/Grade creator's self-tortuous development cycle, and research on what works for Kickstarter.
These talks are part of the Independent Games Summit, which is just one of eight Summits that will take place Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA during the first two days of GDC 2013.
First in this highlight, Double Fine's Anna Kipnis will discuss the Peter Molyneux parodying Twitter account, @PeterMolydeux, and the international Molyjam game jam that came from it in 'Molyjam: How Twitter Jokes Can Save Video Games.' Kipnis believes these jams "are important to stave off creative stagnation in our industry" and will share how this one was invented, organized, and went viral so quickly.
In 'Obsessive-Compulsive Development: A Postmortem of the Development of Retro/Grade,' Matt Gilgenbach of 24 Caret Games will share why it took him four years of "grueling crunch" to ship the 2009 IGF nominated title to PlayStation Network. Along with sharing the mistakes he learned from, he will discuss how his obsessive-compulsive disorder adversely affected the game and how others can approach indie development with the proper mindset.
Finally, ICO Partners' CEO Thomas Bidaux will present his Kickstarter research in 'Crowdfunding for Indies: Real Numbers and Trends.' Bidaux, who helped Strike Suit Zero hit its Kickstarter target and has done empirical research into the platform, will pass on his findings from projects of all sizes, examining what works, what does not, and where crowdfunding is going.

GDC Business Matchmaking service returns for All-Access GDC 2013 attendees

With just a week left for discounted registration to the 2013 Game Developers Conference, show organizers have opened the Business Matchmaking website for All Access pass holders, GDC Play exhibitors and Expo exhibitors to set up onsite meetings with each other.
This online tool is now officially available and will allow GDC 2013 All Access Pass attendees to identify, contact, and request and receive meetings with GDC exhibitors of all kinds.
Meeting possibilities also include those in the GDC Play Pavilion, a separate area of the San Francisco show that showcases emerging and independent developers with a series of kiosks and meetings rooms.
In addition, GDC Play exhibitors are able to contact more than 100 notable distributors, publishers and funders in a special 'VIP' pool, as part of this program. The Business Matchmaking tool remains a great means of establishing business deals, starting new partnerships, and more.

GDC 2013 debuts design lectures from Diablo III, Lili, Dear Esther creators

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced new Design Track lectures for the upcoming March 2013 conference, including a design postmortem for Diablo III, mid-core mobile lessons learned from Lili, and Dear Esther co-creator's case studies on apocalyptic games.
The Design Track is just one of seven focused Tracks for the Main Conference to be held Wed-Fri, March 27-29 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.
The first new talk is a design postmortem from Blizzard's game director Jay Wilson entitled 'Shout at the Devil: The Making of Diablo III.' He will focus on the core design goals his developers set, focusing specifically on those they struggled with and the design lessons they learned during those struggles.
In 'How to Build a Better Apocalypse,' Dear Esther creator thechineseroom's Dan Pinchbeck will assert that end-of-world games can show "perfect fusion of content and mechanics." He will use case studies to demonstrate how a strong, well-honed apocalyptic story and setting can support and enhance gameplay.
Lastly, former Epic lead designer turned BitMonster president Lee Perry will present 'From Gears to Lili, Lessons About Mid-Core and Mobile.' Perry will focus on production, promotion, and design lessons that are shaping his company's choices and thoughts on "the next evolution in gaming" -- the mid-core mobile segment.

GDC 2013 adds visual art talks from Journey, Rayman, StarCraft II

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced new Visual Arts Track lectures for the upcoming March 2013 conference, including talks on the tech behind StarCraft II's visually lush cutscenes, the creative process for the acclaimed Journey's art, and the standout animation tools created for Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends.
The Visual Arts Track is just one of seven focused Tracks for the Main Conference to be held Wed-Fri, March 27-29 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.
The first chosen talk is from Blizzard's Matt Schembari, and is named 'Cutscenes Everywhere: The Tech Behind StarCraft II's Storytelling'. The lecture presents "how the new cutscene editor and its underlying engine were built in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm", and will review the design process, and how having a user-focused approach shaped both the tool and engine alike.
In 'Rayman Reinvented,' Ubisoft animators Eric Verwaerde and Anais Dusautois will discuss how their team brought the limbless character to life in Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends (pictured). This talk will cover the creation of tools such as the Ubi-Art Framework Animation tool, "which were designed specifically to put artists at the heart of the development process."
Finally, in 'The Art of Journey,' Otis College of Art and Design staffer and former Thatgamecompany art director Matt Nava will share his creative process while working for thatgamecompany on the studio's award-winning PS3 game. Nava will base the talk on his book, "The Art of Journey," and will offer behind the scenes looks at "the design of the character, creatures, landscapes, architecture, and sequences in the game."

GDC 2013 to include unique Summit talks on DIY indie games, African game dev

Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have revealed new Summit talks for its March conference, with lectures featuring VVVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh and Porpentine's DIY game curation showcase, Touch Arcade's iOS press promotion tips, and Leti Games' lessons in African video game development.
These talks are part of the Independent Games, Smartphone & Tablet Games, and Localization Summits that will take place Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA during the first two days of GDC 2013.
For the Independent Games Summit, VVVVVV and Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh will share his curation initiative in 'Free Indie Games: Curating the DIY Revolution.' Co-editor and game designer Porpentine will present overlooked indie games from 2012 and will describe "how outsider voices are challenging and redefining the nature of games."
For the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, Touch Arcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp will argue that 'There's More to Life Than Press Releases and Promo Codes.' He will show examples of a community-building, snowball effect that creates downloads and leads to media coverage without a single press release.
Finally, for the Localization Summit, Wesley Kirinya and Eyram Tawia of Leti Games will discuss the political and cultural sensitivities needed in 'The Emerging Landscape of African Game Development.' Using their 7 years of experience as developers in Africa, they will also explore unique challenges such as a very low internet penetration rate and a need to educate the player in using gaming technologies.

GDC 2013 adds Papo & Yo talk, reminds on Feb 13th reg deadline

The 2013 Game Developers Conference has announced Papo & Yo and more talks and the return of its '100+ talks in one' Flash Forward session, ahead of the February 13th early deadline for pass registration.
Sessions just added for the March 27th-29th Main Conference include Vander Caballero of Minority, sharing the new way he brought an emotional journey to PlayStation Network players in 'Rethinking How We Build Games and Why: The Papo & Yo Story.' Attendees will learn how to use their own personal stories to inspire interactive narratives and provide growth or meaningful takeaway.
In 'Your PR Is Broken: Journalists Speak Out,' Alec Shobin of Fieldrunners developer Subatomic Studios will moderate a diverse panel on helping PR get the message out. Scheduled panelists include Ben Kuchera (Penny Arcade), Alexander Sliwinski (Joystiq), Eli Hodapp (TouchArcade), and Dan "Shoe" Hsu (VentureBeat).
Finally, Mikkel Christiansen and Frans Galschiot Quaade of IO Interactive discuss how they created an audio engine from scratch for the Glacier 2 proprietary engine in Hitman: Absolution. In 'An In-Depth Look at the Sound Design Choices and Technical Solutions in Hitman: Absolution,' they will share how creative discussions led to an audio tool "that empowers the sound designer and greatly reduces the need for custom code."
Details on these and all of the sessions at GDC 2013 can be found at the official GDC schedule page, with new talks still being added every week.

GDC 2013's Classic Postmortems feature Myst, X-COM, Crystal Castles, Pinball Construction Set

By popular demand, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) is bringing back the Classic Games Postmortem series for the third consecutive year with sessions taking a close look at four seminal games at GDC 2013.

Organizers have revealed that postmortems for Crystal Castles, Myst, Pinball Construction Set and X-COM: UFO Defense are confirmed for this year's conference. Organized by the UBM Tech Game Network, GDC 2013 will take place March 25-29 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

The Classic Game Postmortems series provides GDC attendees with sessions that examine the development of some of the industry's most influential landmark titles. The series debuted at GDC 2011 as part of the conference's twenty-fifth anniversary celebration, has featured games including Pac-Man, DOOM, and Maniac Mansion, and has returned each year since due to its ever-increasing popularity.

This year, the original designer and programmer of Crystal Castles, Franz Lanzinger, will discuss secrets of the classic Atari arcade game; Robyn Miller, co-director of Myst, the best-selling PC game of the 1990s, will share how he and his brother created a game that remains relevant more than 20 years later.

In addition, Bill Budge, father of the seminal Pinball Construction Set will lay out one of the earliest examples of an in-game editor - a title that game developer legend Will Wright has credited as a key influence on the simulation games that launched him to stardom; and Julian Gollop will reveal tactics he deployed in directing, co-designing, co-programming and co-drawing X-COM: UFO Defense. Additional details for each postmortem are as follows:

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