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GDC Online Announces Keynote From FrontierVille's Reynolds

GDC Online organizers have confirmed industry veteran and Zynga chief game designer Brian Reynolds to discuss smash hit title FrontierVille and the future of social game design in a keynote at October's show in Austin.

In his keynote address, 'Bears and Snakes! The Wild Frontier of Social Game Design,' Reynolds will explain how his Facebook title FrontierVille "treads new territory" by combining the classic techniques of traditional game design with the social gaming expertise that Zynga has gained from their FarmVille and Mafia Wars titles.

Reynolds, whose career has spanned more than 20 years with companies such as Firaxis and Big Huge Games, and who has co-created titles including Civilization II, Alpha Centauri and Rise of Nations, will also confront the challenges of taking familiar social game models and making them more entertaining for gamers and non-gamers.

With the massive gains and rapid progress of the social game space, Reynolds will offer his take on why games like FrontierVille -- which currently has 30 million monthly unique users on Facebook alone, according to -- are only the first step towards other exciting opportunities for the video game medium.

League of Legends Leads Finalists For The First Annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards

UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the Game Developers Conference Online (formerly GDC Austin), have announced the nominees for this October's first annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards, revealing that Riot Games' League of Legends is leading the pack, having been nominated for a total of five awards.

Other titles being honored with multiple nominations include We Rule (ngmoco), Champions Online (Cryptic), Dungeon Fighter Online (Nexon) and Nightclub City (Booyah) with three award nominations apiece.

The all-star list of nominees also includes nominations in new game and in-operation game categories for top companies like Blizzard (for World of Warcraft), Playfish (for FIFA Superstars) and Zynga (for Farmville and Treasure Isle).

The Game Developers Choice Online Awards will be held on the evening of October 7, 2010 as part of the 2010 Game Developers Conference Online (GDC Online), which is taking place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas October 5-8.

The Game Developers Choice Online Awards - a sister event to the Game Developers Choice Awards which take place at GDC in San Francisco every year - is the first award ceremony honoring the accomplishments of the creators and operators of online games.

This includes categories around community support and continued innovation in the field with awards in audio, design, visual arts, among other categories. These categories are nominated and voted on by the game development community, with the distinguished GDC Online Advisory Board helping to pick the special awards.

The nominees of the Game Developer Choice Online Awards run the gamut of online titles, from expansive and hugely popular MMOs such as Blizzard's World of Warcraft, through addictive social network-based titles like Farmville by Zynga. The most honored nominee is Riot Games' critically acclaimed League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle-arena game that combines role-playing, strategy, and action elements to create a captivating online experience.

The complete list of nominees for the 2010 Game Developers Choice Online Awards are as follows:

Host Of iPhone, iPad Summit Lectures Confirmed For GDC Online

Organizers of this October's GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) have announced key speakers for its iPhone and iPad Gaming Summits, including Words With Friends/We Rule's David Bettner, Pocket Legends' Cinco Barnes and more.

The two new Summits, focusing on Apple's portable gaming devices, take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5th-6th in Austin, Texas alongside the larger GDC Online event, to provide a lexicon of key facts and advice for all those working in the iPhone and iPad game areas.

From key business learnings through top technical takeaways, some of the developers who are even now surging to major success on the iPhone, iPad and other mobile platforms are shaping this inaugural GDC Summit on the subject.

Some of the newly announced highlights of this year's iPhone and iPad Gaming Summit talks, chosen by a distinguished Summit advisory board including Gamevil's Kyu C. Lee, Canabalt's Adam Saltsman, GeoDefense's David Whatley and Backflip's Julian Farrior, include the following:

- The lecture 'Turn Based: The Power and Potential of Asynchronous Gaming in Mobile' sees Newtoy co-founder David Bettner, one of the minds behind smash iPhone hits Words With Friends and We Rule, explaining why "turn based gaming, previously confined to the living room, has been liberated. At its core, it's gaming meets text-messaging and it allows you to play with your friends anytime, anywhere, in a way never before possible."

- Successful indie Arash Keshmirian of Limbic Software (Tower Madness) is presenting 'App Store Survival - Launching and Sustaining a Successful Franchise', outlining "strategies for developing a game that not only thrives at launch but holds players attention and can become an enduring franchise." Attendees will learn how to analyze and hone initial concepts (including revenue models) for the best chance of success, managing a launch and an ongoing marketing calendar, and a host of other notable tips.

GDC Europe 2010 Ends With Record Attendance, Confirms 2011 Return

The Game Developers Conference Europe 2010 has concluded a second successful year, confirming record overall attendance across paid attendees, media, speakers and exhibitors to the August 16th-18th show.

At the same time, organizers have revealed a return to Cologne, Germany for a third GDC Europe show -- again opposite GamesCom -- on August 15-17, 2011.

Produced by UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the leading worldwide Game Developers Conference series, GDC Europe is the largest professionals-only game event in Europe, presenting the latest trends and technology in all aspects of the online gaming space for developers, consumers, publishers and trade professionals.

Highlights of day two and three major talks at the show, reported by sister website, include the following notable talks:

Day Two

-In the day's first keynote, Heiko Hubertz, CEO and founder of Bigpoint, advised attendees that to conduct business in America as a European company, the time to do it is "right now." Throughout the talk, Hubertz elaborated on the differences between the U.S. and European markets and educated the audience about how to be successful in America as a European, based on Bigpoint's experience there. Hubert advised "There are only two existing markets in America, the console market and the Facebook market."

-In his keynote, Killzone developer Guerrilla Games' managing director Hermen Hulst discussed his studio's genesis, and its successes and failures in evolving into a Sony-owned AAA console powerhouse. Hulst began with the mantra: "to survive and to grow... you need to consistently improve yourself. He took attendees through examples of how Guerrilla's experiences have informed their history and the key decisions made from the time Sony signed the title that would become Killzone through to today. Plus, he revealed the studio is expanding to work on a "game with a scope and a level of ambition that once again makes us nervous" -- specifically a "brand new IP."

GDC Europe Completes First Day With Spector, Tencent Keynotes

The organizers of Game Developers Conference Europe 2010 have opened the event's doors at the Cologne Congress Center East in Cologne, Germany, and are recapping highlights and coverage of the first day's proceedings.

Produced by UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the leading Game Developers Conference series, GDC Europe is the largest professionals-only game event in Europe, and has increased in scope compared to its inaugural debut event in 2009, with record attendance ahead of this week's Gamescom consumer and trade event in the same location.

Highlights of today's major speeches at the show include (with links to full write-ups on sister site where available):

- At his track keynote on Monday, Tencent Games VP Bo Wang discussed how the billion-dollar revenue Chinese tech/game company has risen to the top of the pack, citing massive growth rates and key routes to success in Asia. Wang noted than in the six months to the end of June 2010, the gigantic Chinese-headquartered firm, which deals with instant messaging, virtual currency, and video games as its major parts, had revenues of $1.3 billion U.S. dollars.

Wang noted that Chinese gamers have a much lower disposable income, so there are unique ways Tencent attracts these gamers. Tencent tries to have 1,000 hours available at launch in its typical MMORPGs, and also encourages gamers to have fun by playing against each other in games. As Tencent also has the top instant messaging service in China, plus a top free email service, a massive web portal at, and even a search engine, cross-marketing from all of Tencent's properties seems to have catapulted the firm to the top of the pile in the Chinese market.

GDC Online Adds Major Design Talks From Carbine, Sony Online, Relic

Organizers of this October's GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) have announced several major sessions for the conference, featuring speakers from Sony Online Entertainment, Carbine, and Relic.
The Austin, Texas based GDC Online conference is focused on the development of online games, including free-to-play titles, social network games, and traditional MMOs, with a veteran online game industry advisory board evaluating and selecting the lectures.
There are already more than 70 panels, lectures and tutorials currently scheduled for the October 5th-8th event -- and organizers have newly announced a number of important talks in the 'Design' track, which discusses trends, strategies, and techniques to help developers create more successful online games.
As its official description explains, the design track -- unique to online game conferences worldwide -- focuses on "improving player retention, satisfaction, and lifetime value, applying principles of MMOs to new genres and platforms, and designing games for a wide range of audiences."
Some of the newly announced highlights from notable sessions in the GDC Online design track and elsewhere include:
- 'I'm a Special Snowflake: The Art of Participatory Story Telling in MMOs' sees Tim Cain, the design director of MMO developer Carbine Studios, drawing from his experience in the industry "to discuss the art of taking storytelling from single-player RPGs to the world of massively multiplayer online games."
Using his work writing for games like Fallout -- the seminal Interplay title that Cain also produced and lead programmed -- and Arcanum, Cain will showcase an "exclusive first look at Carbine Studios' work" regarding storytelling in the NCSoft-formed studio's unannounced MMO.

Game Developers Choice Online Awards To Honor Ultima Online, Richard Bartle

Game Developers Conference Online organizers have announced Richard Bartle as the recipient of the first ever Online Game Legend Award and Ultima Online as the first Hall of Fame game, as part of the Game Developers Choice Online Awards taking place October 7, 2010 at GDC Online in Austin -- recognizing landmark titles and deeply influential figures in the vibrant online gaming world.

These special awards were picked after open nominations from the online game community, by the distinguished GDC Online Advisory Board - including game industry veterans Playfish's Sebastien De Halleux, Schell Games' Sheri Graner Ray, and Nexon's Min Kim.

Organizers will be awarding the Online Game Legend award to Dr. Richard Bartle, co-creator of the original MUD (Multi-User Dungeon), the seminal virtual world credited with pioneering online games over 30 years ago.

Bartle, who worked with fellow MUD programmer Roy Trubshaw at the UK's Essex University starting in 1978, was responsible for greatly extending, fleshing out and popularizing the text-based multiplayer game, in which players logged onto a mainframe, socialized with one another, fought enemies and formed lasting friendships and relationships.

After commercializing MUD in the 1980s, Bartle continues to consult in the game industry and teach at Essex University as a Visiting Professor. His research on player personalities types in online games - 'achievers, explorers, socializers and killers', has led to the popular online 'Bartle Test', and the influence of both his actions and theories in the online game industry have been profound and long-lasting.

GDC Europe Adds Google, OnLive Lectures, Set For Record Attendance

The Game Developers Conference Europe, the leading conference for computer and video game developers in Europe after its successful debut last year, is on track to exceed its registration and exhibitor numbers from 2009.
The conference is now expected to receive up to 2,000 attendees, speakers and media representatives from 45 different countries, already surpassing the attendance numbers from the 2009 debut. The event is expected to garner a strong presence from European and North American industry professionals.
In particular, GDC Europe, which takes place August 16-18, 2010 at the Cologne Congress East Center in Cologne, Germany, will this year focus on media convergence and online gaming, and also features a concentration on the booming Chinese and Russian markets.
Several leaders of the international development scene and the games industry will be participating in GDC Europe addressing major topics facing the industry. In total, the event will feature more than 90 workshops, and presentations by more than 130 speakers from all over the world.
Late additions include 'Games on the Chrome Web Store', featuring Google's Mark DeLoura and Michael Mahemoff; a talk called 'Next-Gen Consoles: Cloud-Based Gaming', with Tom DuBois of streaming service OnLive, and EEDAR's Greg Short presenting 'State of The Games Market.'
They join a list of notable speakers including Warren Spector (Disney), Eric Chahi (Ubisoft), Heiko Hubertz (Bigpoint), Bo Wang (Tencent), Hermen Hulst (Guerrilla Games), Ray Muzyka & Greg Zeschuk (BioWare), Louis Castle (InstantAction), Martin Walfisz (Planeto), David Cage (Quantic Dream), Steven Gaffney (Splash Damage), Chris Charla (Foundation 9), Jorg Tittel (Break Thru Films), Avni Yerli (Crytek), Harald Riegler (Sproing), Matias Myllyrinne (Remedy Entertainment), Don Daglow (Don Daglow Interactive Entertainment), Steve Meretzky & Dave Rohrl (Playdom), Aki Jarvinen (Digital Chocolate), and Seb Canniff (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe).

GDC Online Reveals Bungie, Harmonix, 2K Lectures For Game Narrative Summit

Organizers of this October's GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) have announced details of the Game Narrative Summit, including a keynote from Bungie's Joseph Staten on '10 Years Of Halo Storytelling... And Beyond', plus major Harmonix and 2K Games lectures.

The Summit, known as the Game Writers Summit in previous years, aims to cover all facets of the game narrative development process, from writing scripts for major console titles to integrating stories into ARGs and Facebook games, and takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5th-6th in Austin, Texas.

Some of the newly announced highlights of this year's Game Narrative Summit, chosen by distinguished Summit advisory board including Ubisoft's Richard Dansky, Microsoft Game Studios' Tom Abernathy and Blindlight's Lev Chapelsky, include the following:

- Bungie writer and design director Joseph Staten will keynote the Summit with a talk titled, "Writing The Whirlwind: 10 Years On The Frontlines Of Halo Storytelling...And Beyond." Staten will discuss his lessons learned working on Bungie's flagship franchise, and how those lessons "are fundamentally changing the writing and story design for Bungie's next universe of games."

- In an intriguing lecture called "Get in the Van: Storytelling in the Rock Band Series," Harmonix design director Chris Foster and senior writer Helen McWilliams will discuss how the company's rhythm games - from The Beatles: Rock Band through Rock Band 3 -- tell stories in unconventional and unexpected ways.

Topics discussed will include "structural and implicit narrative,
storytelling within the context of a party game, using real history as
story and gameplay elements, tonal accuracy within writing, and using
the word rock as few times as humanly possible."

Warren Spector To Keynote GDC Europe 2010

Organizers of the leading Game Developers Conference series have announced that renowned game designer Warren Spector, creative director for Disney Interactive Studios' Junction Point, will open the 2010 Game Developers Conference Europe on Monday, August 16.

Spector's keynote address, titled, "What Video Games Can Learn from Other Media ... What We Can't ... And What We Shouldn't" will kick off GDC Europe, which returns to Cologne Germany August 16-18, 2010 for three days of learning, networking and inspiration.

During his keynote, Spector will share with the audience his thoughts on video games as they compare to other media such as movies, television, theater, radio and comic books and explore the ways in which video games use techniques borrowed from those mediums.

The Deus Ex co-creator will question the assumption that video games should be more like other media, and will discuss how valid these comparisons are while suggesting some new comparisons that may be more relevant for moving our industry forward.

GDC Europe Reveals Key Business, Social Gaming Talks For August Event

GDC Europe organizers are highlighting a number of key new talks at the GamesCom-colocated Cologne, Germany developer event this month, including business & production advice from LucasArts, Double Fine and Foundation 9, plus online/social game analysis from leading studios in the space.
In the past few days, a number of notable business, production, and social game panels have been confirmed for the 2010 Game Developers Conference Europe event, which will take place August 16th-18th, and is an easy additional stop for GamesCom visitors, being located in Cologne, Germany alongside the leading European trade and consumer show.
Looking more broadly at the business and production of games, a notable new panel called 'Multiple Paths of Success for the Independent Developer' features veterans like Foundation 9 VP Chris Charla, Double Fine's Zack Karlsson and Bigpoint's Nils-Holger Henning discussing new methodologies and routes to success in the increasingly competitive independently-run game studio market.
A similarly expansive production panel, called 'Extreme Producing: Order & Chaos in The Game Development Process', features figures like LucasArts' Marianne Monaghan, 2K's Lulu LaMer and ThatGameCompany's Robin Hunicke discussing "specific examples of some the extreme highs and lows they have experienced in controlling the often chaotic process of making games", with plenty of practical takeaway.
With a plethora of major social/online game lectures -- from leading companies in the space like Playdom, RockYou, Bigpoint, Digital Chocolate, Tencent and Playfish -- already part of the overall GDC Europe schedule, several other lecture and panel additions around non-social network online games have fleshed out the program. These include a panel on browser-based vs. client-downloaded online games with Gamigo, GamersFirst and IGG representation, plus a case study on localizing Asian online game Runes Of Magic for the West.

GDC Online Adds Zynga, Disney, Playdom Lectures

As momentum builds for GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) in Texas this October, organizers have announced key new lectures from the world's leading online game firms, including Zynga, Disney, Playdom, Tencent, and more.

The Austin, Texas-based GDC Online conference and expo -- taking place October 5-8, 2010 -- is focused on online games of all kinds -- including social network titles, free-to-play web games, kid-friendly online titles, large-scale MMOs, and more.

With a leading advisory board guiding the evaluation and choice of lectures, and the newly announced GDC Online Awards honoring the leading games in the space, the conference is a must-attend for those working in online games.

Some of the highlights from newly announced sessions -- as the August 4th alumni registration deadline for GDC Austin 2008/2009 attendees and speakers approaches -- include:

- 'AAA To Social Games -- Making the Leap' sees Playdom VP John Donham, most recently at Metaplace and a 20-year veteran of online games, discussing why "developing games for social networks is a dramatic shift from making titles for PCs, consoles, or even the Internet." The session will "provide you with a solid basis for revising your strategy as you approach social game development."

- In 'Scalability for Social Games: YoVille, Mafia Wars and Farmville',
Zynga's Robert Zubek expands on his GDC 2010 Summit talk from the
leading Facebook game firm to "describe architectures and proven
techniques for building scalable server infrastructure, particularly for
social web games, operating on the web and social networks."

GDC Europe Adds Limbo, Guild Wars 2, Kane & Lynch 2 Talks Ahead Of Deadline

With just a day until the July 21st early reg deadline, GDC Europe organizers have announced major talks on Limbo, Guild Wars 2 and Kane & Lynch 2 at next month's Cologne, Germany-based game conference.
Coming shortly after the Guerrilla Games/Killzone 3 keynote, these new talks are confirmed for the 2010 Game Developers Conference Europe event, which will take place August 16th-18th, and is located in Cologne, Germany alongside GamesCom, the leading European trade and consumer show.
The newly announced GDC Europe lectures arriving just before the early registration deadline include the following notables:
- In 'Limbo: Balancing Fun and Frustration in Puzzle Design', Playdead's Jeppe Carlsen focuses on the acclaimed Xbox Live Arcade title Limbo, discussing "creating an immersive game experience that is challenging to players without being discouraging." Along the way, he'll explore "relevant design principles using concrete examples from the game, focusing on considerations in the areas of accessibility, difficulty, learning by dying, and fun."
- IO Interactive art director Rasmus Poulsen is speaking on 'Art Direction in the YouTube Era', discussing how he and his colleagues approached the distinctive look to the Square Enix-published console title Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. The game takes an alternative, documentary film-inspired look to visuals, and the description notes that "as the gaming industry continues to follow the trend of hi-fidelity graphics to convey realism, an exploration to find what 'real' is sparked a fresh artistic vision" for the title.
- 'Designing Guild Wars 2 Dynamic Events' features the much-awaited ArenaNet MMO's lead designer Eric Flannum and lead content designer Colin Johanson outlining how the core content of games in the MMORPG genre has evolved over time. They "will discuss the inspiration for and the implementation challenges of their Dynamic Events system, with the goal of creating an exciting, living, breathing online world that encourages social interaction between players."

GDC Europe Adds Guerrilla Games Killzone 3 Keynote

GDC Europe has revealed a keynote from Guerrilla Games' head Hermen Hulst, discussing the upcoming Killzone 3 and managing the Sony-owned studio to success, as the July 21st early registration deadline approaches for the pre-eminent European game business/design conference.
This keynote -- to be held on August 17th -- is the latest to be announced for the 2010 Game Developers Conference Europe event, which will take place August 16th-18th, and is located in Cologne, Germany alongside GamesCom, the leading European trade and consumer show.
Hulst's talk at GDC Europe will examine how the Amsterdam-headquartered studio -- one of the leading European game developers, and employing 140 developers from 20 countries -- has matured, and which obstacles had to be overcome along the way.
He'll also focus on the company's technical focus on best utilizing console hardware, and what some of the ingredients behind the success of the Killzone series are, illuminating some of Guerrilla's emerging work on the PlayStation 3-exclusive title Killzone 3, due out in early 2011.
The announcements come with just five days to go before the July 21st early registration deadline for the show, which is created by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, as is this website, and is now in its second year as the pre-eminent European game development event.
"We are excited to welcome to the GDC Europe stage such a prominent European developer and industry figure such as Hulst," said Frank Sliwka, GDC Europe Event Director. "The Killzone series and work produced from Guerrilla Games is exemplar of the ingenuity of European developers."

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