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Journey, Dishonored, The Walking Dead lead Choice Awards nominations

Organizers have revealed the finalists for the 13th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the leading peer-based video game event celebrating the industry's top games and developers.
Winners in all categories will be honored at the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, taking place on Wednesday, March 27th at 6:30 pm at the Moscone Convention Center during the 2013 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Independent titles are heavily represented across multiple categories this year, with games from that segment of the industry being nominated alongside some of the year's biggest mainstream releases.
Overall, Thatgamecompany's visually-and-aurally stunning emotional adventure Journey leads with nods in six categories: Best Design, Best Downloadable Game, Best Audio, Best Visual, Innovation and Game of the Year. Bethesda Softworks' and Arkane Studios' historical revenge epic Dishonored is recognized in four categories, Best Narrative, Best Visual, Best Design and Game of the Year.
Another leading nominee is Telltale Games' The Walking Dead, a post-apocalyptic adventure title based on Robert Kirkman's comic book series of the same name, honored in three categories for this year's awards: Best Downloadable Game, Best Narrative and Game of the Year. Rounding out the Game of the Year finalists are BioWare and Electronic Arts' action role-playing game Mass Effect 3, also nominated in the Best Narrative category, and Firaxis Games' and 2K Games' tactical role-playing strategy title X-COM: Enemy Unknown, also recognized in Best Design.
Additional titles with multiple nominations include Ubisoft Montreal's Assassin's Creed III and Microsoft Studios' and 343 Industries' Halo 4, long-running franchises which are nominated alongside newcomers like Giant Sparrow's The Unfinished Swan and Subset Games' FTL: Faster Than Light.
The 2013 Game Developers Choice Awards are open to any video game that was initially released and made publicly available to consumers during the 2012 calendar year, irrespective of platform or delivery medium. Industry professionals participate in open nominations for the selection of this year's finalists. Winners will be selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is an invitation-only organization comprised of leading game creators from all parts of the industry.
The complete list of nominees for the 13th annual Game Developers Choice Awards is as follows:

GDC 2013 reveals F2P Summit featuring Zynga, TinyCo, more

Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have revealed its new Free to Play Design & Business Summit for the March conference, with TinyCo on using analytics for mobile game improvement, Zynga on why FarmVille won't go away, and more.
The Free to Play Design & Business Summit is just one 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.
Nick Ross of TinyCo, developer of mobile hits such as Tiny Village and Tiny Zoo Friends, will share how to find and exploit data in 'How to Lie with Analytics.' His discussion will include topics that help improve a game's success such as tracking, sampling, and balancing significance versus execution.
Zynga's Mike Perry and Abhinav Agrawal will share the platform expertise, game design, and development processes for its social gaming giant in 'Why Won't FarmVille Go Away?'
The two will discuss "how to leverage platform opportunities and use design refactoring methods to extend the lifetime of a social game. In addition, attendees will gain insight into the rapid design, scoping, and development process of features for FarmVille."

GDC 2013 donates Indie Games Summit tickets to Indie Giving charity

Organizers of Game Developers Conference 2013 are announcing a partnership with the Indie Giving charity effort, donating 30 GDC Indie Games Summit tickets to the 2013 Indie Giving event.
As part of the new agreement with Indie Giving, which is run by FGL head and indie community veteran Chris Hughes, generous indie game creators will get an exclusive opportunity to buy the now sold-out IGS pass (alongside a pre-GDC Flash Games Summit pass).
Along the way, they will volunteer on an onsite project just before GDC 2013, with 100% of their Indie Giving package price going directly to the U.S. National Parks Conservancy.
For those who sign up for the Indie Giving package, on Saturday, March 23rd, the group will be working with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to help preserve and enhance beautiful landscapes and maintain historic buildings and trails.
Indie Giving package buyers will also have a chance to attend the Independent Games Summit on Monday, March 25th and Tuesday, March 26th at GDC 2013 - the only way you can get this sold-out pass right now. You can also attend Sunday, March 24th's Flash Gaming Summit with your Indie Giving package.

2013 Independent Games Festival announces Student Showcase winners

The Independent Games Festival has announced the eight Student Showcase winners for the fifteenth annual presentation of its prestigious awards, celebrating the brightest and most innovative creations to come out of universities and games programs from around the world in the past year.

This year's showcase of top student talent include the first-person meta-videogame ATUM, from the Netherlands' NHTV IGAD, the similarly meta-game-ified pen & paper RPG Knights of Pen & Paper, from Brazil's Instituto de Ensino Superior de Brasilia & Universidade de Brasilia, and the Jet Set Radio-esque Zineth, a game which "celebrates speed, movement & Twitter", from students of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

In total, this year's Student Competition took in over 300 game entries across all platforms -- PC, console and mobile -- from a wide diversity of the world's most prestigious universities and games programs making the Student IGF one of the world's largest showcases of student talent.

All of the Student Showcase winners announced today will be playable on the Expo show floor at the 27th Game Developers Conference, to be held in San Francisco starting March 25th, 2013. Each team will receive a $1,000 prize for being selected into the Showcase, and are finalists for an additional $3,000 prize for Best Student Game, to be revealed during the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 27th.

The full list of Student Showcase winners for the 2013 Independent Games Festival, along with 'honorable mentions' to those top-quality games that didn't quite make it to finalist status, are as follows:

GDC 2013 adds Pixar story, Activision Blizzard next-gen rendering talks

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced new talks for the upcoming March 2013 conference, including Pixar's 5 key plot points for great stories, Creative Assembly's Total War strategy design, and Activision Blizzard's next-gen programming tips for photo-realistic characters.
These talks are part of the Main Conference, encompassing the Design and Programming tracks, to be held Wed-Fri, March 27-29 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.
For the Design track, Pixar's Matthew Luhn will make a rare video game conference appearance to present the lecture 'The 5 Key Plot Points to Creating a Great Story.'
Luhn, a story supervisor who has worked on standout Pixar titles such as Up and Monsters Inc., will explain how to create great stories and characters for animation, live action, and games. Using his tips, attendees will spend part of the session developing their own stories and characters with others.
Also part of the Design track, Creative Assembly's lead designer James Russell will provide insight into the dilemmas faced in 'Designing Grand Strategy: Making the Mechanics of Total War.' The acclaimed strategy game series evolved through internal debates on "realism, simulation versus game rules, mystery versus clarity, decisions and counterpoint, gameplay depth versus micromanagement, gameplay system dynamics, and more," which Russell will discuss in depth.

Bungie to offer first glimpse of 'brave new world' at GDC 2013

Bungie, a little over 20 years old, has spent nearly half of its life working on the multi-billion dollar franchise, Halo. After its long run with the IP, Bungie's developers faced an enormous challenge: how to tackle their next adventure?
In a session at the upcoming 2013 Game Developers Conference, writer and design director Joe Staten and art director Christopher Barrett will offer a glimpse at what their team has built for where the "next ten years of great Bungie adventures will unfold."
The hour-long lecture will cover the team's building techniques for the new world - widely reported to be codenamed 'Destiny' - that they aim to fill "with even more amazing mysteries, places, creatures, and opportunities for player investment." The duo will also use concept art and design case studies to illustrate Bungie's world building ideas.
While the talk is focused on art and design collaboration, it will also benefit all developers who are eager to improve their team's world building process.

GDC Play adds 'Best in Play' awards program for GDC 2013

Organizers of the 2013 Game Developers Conference have announced the new award program - 'Best in Play' - for exhibitors in the three-day GDC Play 2013 event.

GDC Play, which is still available for potential exhibitors, is a separate area of the San Francisco show that showcases emerging and independent developers with a series of kiosks and meetings rooms. It will take place Tuesday, March 26 - Thursday, March 28 at Moscone Center during the 2013 Game Developers Conference.

For the new 'Best in Play' award program, all GDC Play exhibitors will be judged on their in-development or complete games by a panel of veteran GDC organizers and Gamasutra editors. The top 8 will be named 'Best in Play' winners, and all 8 winners will receive 2 All Access Passes to Game Developers Conference 2014.

Winners for 'Best in Play' will be announced mid-February. Special 'Best in Play' designations will be attached to the honorees' GDC Play kiosks at GDC 2013, where their games will be playable to all GDC attendees. Existing GDC Play exhibitors become eligible for 'Best in Play' when they enter their booth information in the GDC Play Matchmaking Software.

In a new, expanded onsite location this year, GDC Play 2013 will be in the South Hall's Gateway Ballroom, in a prominent position directly opposite the main GDC Expo floor - providing enhanced opportunities to target the more than 20,000 attendees at the show.

GDC 2013 adds talks on bugs, mobile strategy, audio for March event

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced new talks for the upcoming March 2013 conference, including Ubisoft's time-saving ideas on bug management, Activision partner Flurry's analytics-derived mobile game strategies, and AudioGaming's AAA audio lessons applied to indie mobile development.
These lectures are part of the Production, Business, and Audio tracks in GDC's main conference, taking place March 27-29 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.
For the Production track, Ubisoft tools team leader Raphael Saint-Pierre will provide an overview of the platform and workflow that teams rely on during development in 'Spend Time Where it Matters: Friction Free Bug Reporting.'
Time not spent on bugs can be used to create games. Saint-Pierre will offer time-saving ideas for reducing the overhead of bug management while raising the value of each bug report.
For the Business track, Dan Laughlin of analytics firm and Activision partner Flurry will provide extensive, genre-specific data while answering the question 'Which Comes First: Your Business Strategy or Your Choice of Mobile Game Genre?'

Valve to talk head-mounted display research, Team Fortress 2 VR port at GDC 2013

Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have announced the recent addition of two talks from Valve that discuss porting Team Fortress 2 to VR goggles - plus research and development challenges for head-mounted displays and tracking systems.
These talks are part of the Programming and Design tracks of the GDC main conference that will take place March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.
Valve programmer Joe Ludwig's 'What We Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality' will explore the efforts of several employees over the last year to get the game to run in virtual reality goggles.
These efforts have included "what stereo support entails, rendering 2D user interface in a 90 degree field of view display, dealing with view models and other rendering shortcuts, and how mouselook can interact with head tracking in a first person shooter." Ludwig will also share ideas on how a game specifically designed for virtual reality could avoid many of the issues that Valve faced when porting Team Fortress 2.

GDC 2013 announces Spec Ops: The Line narrative, FTL design talks

Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have announced the latest Summit talks scheduled for the March conference, covering FTL: Faster Than Light's full postmortem, Spec Ops: The Line's acclaimed narrative built around shooting, and a lecture on introducing students to game audio.

These talks are part of the Independent, GDC Education, and new Game Narrative Summits that will take place Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.

In the Independent Summit, Justin Ma and Matthew Davis of Subset Games will explain their process and rationale from crowdfunding to release, focusing on the player experience of running a starship and keeping gameplay structures, mechanics, and genre secondary, in 'Designing Without a Pitch - FTL Postmortem.'

Their singular focus allowed the duo to iterate on or abandon much of the IGF-nominated FTL's design until the game became fun. In this talk, the duo will teach "the hows and whys of separating one's expectations from preconceived notions about games, genres, settings, and other previous experiences when designing."

In the Game Narrative Summit, 2K Games lead writer Walt Williams will detail crafting the story behind the military shooter Spec Ops: The Line in 'We Are Not Heroes: Contextualizing Violence through Narrative.' Attendees will learn how creating the game's narrative elements around the mechanic of shooting "led to a more immersive and emotionally impactful experience."

IGF 2013 Student Showcase Nominations Coming January 22nd

Due to an error on our official rules page, which showed two separate dates -- each incorrect -- for the announcement of the nominees for this year's IGF Student Showcase, a quick update on the correct timing.

Our body of nearly 250 judges are currently evaluating all of the over 300 entrants into this year's Student competition, and we will be releasing the names of the winning games on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013.

GDC 2013 adds Capy, Shellrazer, Yamove! Summit talks

Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have revealed the latest Summit talks scheduled for the March conference, including Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP collaborator Capy on the viability of paid Apps, Ninja Robot Dinosaur Entertainment's approach for IAP in iOS hit Shellrazer, and a unique collaboration between engineering students and indie game developers resulting in dance battle game/Indiecade finalist Yamove!

These talks are part of the Smartphone & Tablet, Independent, and GDC Education Summits that will take place Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.

Nathan Vella of Capy, the Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP collaborator and Critter Crunch creator, will examine the smartphone and tablet app market in 'Still Kicking: The Viability of Paid Apps in the Era of F2P.'

Vella will impart the risks of free-to-play as a small studio and the continued viability of developing paid apps. He will also paint a clear picture of the paid app market while showing how to leverage the opportunities in the paid app space.

Complementing Vella's paid App talk is Shane Neville of Ninja Robot Dinosaur Entertainment's 'Shellrazer - Designing In-App Purchase Without Losing Your Soul' for the Independent Games Summit.

GDC reveals talks on The Walking Dead, Outernauts, banned Halfbrick prototype

GDC organizers reveal three new talks for the upcoming March conference, including a nontraditional approach to The Walking Dead's art, console developer Insomniac's experiment in free-to-play and Flash, and Halfbrick Studios' divisive and ultimately banned prototype.

The lectures are part of the Design, Visual Arts, and Programming tracks in GDC's main conference, taking place March 27-29 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.

Halfbrick's chief creative officer Luke Muscat will share in his design lecture details about the strategy game that seemingly tore his company apart in 'The Prototype that was Banned from Halfbrick.' The short-lived title Tank Tactics ignited destructive social behavior, and had to have its plug pulled before its prime by the Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride developer.

Fortunately, the spirit of the game lives on in Muscat's talks, which "demonstrates the power and persuasion of game mechanics." Accompanying this story, he will explore the responsibility designers have "to create mechanics that have a positive impact on players' social behaviors."

2013 Independent Games Festival Announces Main Competition Finalists

The Independent Games Festival (IGF) juries are announcing the Main Competition finalists for its historic 15th annual awards - nominating nearly 30 outstanding independent game titles to come out of the worldwide community in the past year.

This year's finalists for the most prestigious independent video game awards and showcase were each picked by a discipline-specific set of expert juries, following playthroughs and recommendations of the 580+ IGF entries from over 200 top independent game experts.

Some of the multiple-nominated games for this year's extremely diverse Festival include Cardboard Computer's 'magical realist adventure game' Kentucky Route Zero, Subset Games' spaceship sim 'Roguelike-like' FTL, and Richard Hofmeier's stark, dense street vendor simulator Cart Life.

The first-ever Excellence in Narrative Award is also showcasing unique titles such as Blendo Games' quirky 'first-person short story' Thirty Flights Of Loving, Auntie Pixelante's autobiographical game about a trans woman undergoing HRT, Dys4ia, and The Fullbright Company's abandoned house mystery Gone Home.

The Nuovo Award, once again honoring 'abstract... and unconventional game development' of all kinds, also saw many standout games competing for its $5,000 prize, including Sleeping Beast's irreverent local co-op sci-fi smartphone game Spaceteam, Michael Brough's 'one move a day for 100 days' VESPER.5, and Mousechief's multi-generational family history title 7 Grand Steps.

The full list of finalists for the 2013 Independent Games Festival, with jury-picked "honorable mentions" to those top-quality games that didn't quite make it to finalist status, is as follows:

GDC 2013 adds XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Assassin's Creed III, EA Battlelog talks

GDC organizers have announced new talks for the upcoming March 2013 conference, including an XCOM: Enemy Unknown art autopsy, audio tricks used in Assassin's Creed III borrowed from film scoring, and EA's survey of successful online game data systems.

These talks are part of the Main Conference, encompassing the Production, Visual Arts, and Audio tracks, to be held Wed-Fri, March 27-29 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.

First up, Greg Foertsch of Firaxis Games gets his hands dirty for an 'Art Direction Autopsy: XCOM: Enemy Unknown.'

In this talk, he will extract the team's visual timeline, showing how they re-imagined a series that is over two decades old. Foertsch will also explain how "adjusting along the way to support the core gameplay can help enhance the players' experience."

For the Audio track, Benedicte Ouimet and Jerome Angelot of Ubisoft will offer how to mix Hollywood film scoring with gaming in 'Assassin's Creed III Music Score: Redefining Musical Standards for the AC Brand.'

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