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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."

GDC 2011 Celebrates 25th Anniversary, Calls For Papers, Adds Board Members

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced the opening of the call for submissions for the show, to be held in San Francisco on February 28th to March 4th 2011. The call for submissions to present lectures, roundtables and panel sessions for the 2011 Game GDC -- the historic 25th anniversary show -- is now open through Wednesday, August 25th.

The main GDC advisory board is looking for submissions in the following game-related areas/tracks: Audio, Business and Management, Game Design, Production, Programming and Visual Arts, to be showcased on the prestigious Wednesday to Friday main conference of Game Developers Conference 2011. (Submissions for the GDC Summits will open later in the year.)

A talk abstract is required alongside a more detailed description and speaker information, and the GDC Call For Papers page has multiple annotated examples of previous submissions, giving detailed, precise instructions on speaker criteria and the selection process.

Alongside this year's call for submissions, the GDC 2011 advisory board has been expanded, adding several leading industry figures in the social and independent gaming spaces.

In particular, new board members include Media Molecule studio director Siobhan Reddy (LittleBigPlanet 2), EA2D designer/programmer Soren Johnson (Civilization IV, Spore), independent developer Adam Saltsman (Canabalt, Flixel), and Playfish San Francisco GM Dan Fiden. Also added for their art and audio expertise respectively are Undead Labs' Steve Theodore and Microsoft's Scott Selfon.

GDC Europe Adds Kinect, BioWare, iPhone Talks As Early Deadline Approaches

2010 Game Developers Conference Europe organizers have announced a Rare-helmed lecture on Microsoft's Kinect, the BioWare co-founders on the Baldur's Gate franchise, plus an iPhone marketing lecture from Words With Friends' creator, with the early registration deadline looming.

These in-depth talks are 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 regional trade and consumer show.

The announcements come with less than two weeks to go before the July 21st early registration deadline for the show, which is now in its second year as the pre-eminent European game development event. The notable new speakers for this must-attend show for game developers throughout Europe consist of the following:

- In a lecture entitled 'Kinecting With A New Audience', Rare's Nick Burton and Blitz's Andrew Oliver -- respectively first and third-party developers for the Xbox 360's newly announced Kinect motion control system -- will talk about their recent experiences building Kinect launch titles and how this affected development in their respective studios.

Subjects will include "how Kinect fitted into their game engines.... how design was affected... how they built on top of changing technology", as well as many other notable areas that might be of interest to game creators considering how motion-controlled gameplay might work within their own titles.

- A special lecture called 'Baldur's Gate - A 10 Year-Retrospective' see BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk team up with Obsidian CEO and former Black Isle head Feargus Urquhart to present a retrospective lecture on the seminal PC role-playing game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn - one of the highest-rated RPGs of all time. The Dungeons & Dragons-based title launched in 2000, and paved the way for successful BioWare RPGs like Dragon Age and the Mass Effect franchise - and three of the principals will discuss the game's creation in depth.

GDC Vault Adds Indie Gamemaker Rant, New Site Features

Continuing the Game Developers Conference 2010 free video lecture series, organizers have debuted the 'Indie Gamemaker Rant' from the 2010 Independent Games Summit, also adding multiple new site navigation features.

The new lecture, highly rated by GDC attendees, is part of a free update published at the GDC Vault website, and features video technology that allows users to simultaneously view a presenter's slides alongside video and audio of their presentation.

The well-received 'Indie Gamemaker Rant' is now available for free video streaming, and was described by its creators at the time as: "A series of exquisite [five-minute] rants by notable indie game creators. Experience different points of view on indieness, art, beauty, and the future presented by an all star cast of international friends."

As a detailed Destructoid write-up on the hour-long set of microlectures described, presenters on a host of fascinating topics included Adam Saltsman (Canabalt, pictured), Jonatan Soderstrom (aka Cactus), Anna Anthropy (aka Auntie Pixelante), Jarrad Woods (Captain Forever), Offworld editor [and now IGF Chairman] Brandon Boyer, Randy Smith (Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor), Nathan Vella (Critter Crunch), Craig D. Adams (Superbrothers), Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy), Robin Hunicke (thatgamecompany), Ryan O'Donnell (Co-Op/Area 5 Media) and Babsi Lippe (Papermint).

Of additional significance to those interested in independent and alternative views on games is the already available free video of the 'Artgame Sessions' GDC 2010 lecture -- including several smaller talks on Far Cry 2, Braid, Mark Essen's games (Flywrench), and Terry Cavanagh and Stephen Lavelle's Judith.

GDC Europe Reveals Chahi Lecture, ESA, Quantic Dream Talks

GDC Europe organizers have announced a rare lecture from Another World creator Eric Chahi on his new title Project Dust, also debuting an ESA/G.A.M.E. panel and a Heavy Rain production talk.

These lectures are 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 regional trade and consumer show.

The notable new speakers for this must-attend show for European game developers are led by Ubisoft's Eric Chahi, the creator of seminal adventure game Another World (also known as Out Of This World) in the early '90s.

Chahi has recently returned to the game industry, and is presenting a lecture with Ronan Bel of Ubisoft called 'Creating a High-Performance Simulation: A Dynamic Natural World to Play With'. In it, the duo will introduce Galileo, "a real-time simulator of flowing water, lava, erosion, sedimentation and vegetation", and its use as foundation for a fully dynamic world-based game, the just-announced Project Dust.

In addition, a panel called 'Building Grassroots Video Game Activist Networks' sees Richard Taylor of the Entertainment Software Association and Stephan Reichart of G.A.M.E. (the German Games Developers Association) team with Crytek's Avni Yerli and additional, yet to be announced panelists to discuss how the industry can guard against censorship by using its biggest advocates - its fans.

Finally, one of Europe's key, critically acclaimed games of 2009 is examined in detail by Quantic Dream's Charles Coutier in his lecture, 'A Challenging Production: Heavy Rain'. The talk will focus on the French developer's iterative processes and adaptive management approach in making the atypical title, with plenty of specifics on asset management and outsourcing practices discussed.

Cryptic CCO, Blizzard Veteran Bill Roper To Keynote GDC China

Bill Roper, the former Blizzard executive who now serves as chief creative officer for MMO developer Cryptic Studios, will deliver a keynote address at the 2010 Game Developers Conference China in Shanghai this December, event organizers announced today.
In his keynote presentation, Roper will "speak to the future of game development" in a wide-ranging speech on his career and views on the industry, according to an official statement.

GDC Online Announces First Sessions, 'Live' Track Specifics

Organizers of GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) have announced the first set of lectures for this October's pre-eminent conference related to online games, including a 'Live' track featuring Sony Online, Wizard101 and IMVU speakers.

The Austin, Texas-based GDC Online conference and expo is keenly focused on development of connected games 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.

While there are already over 25 confirmed lectures across the entire event, organizers are focusing on the 'Live' track, which discusses the vital topic of successful strategies for online games post-launch.

The rise of swiftly iterated social games and microtransactions have led to a wide array of new techniques and technologies that can help increase fun, profitability and retention, and the 'Live' track will deal with many of these.

Some of the highlights of the GDC Online 'Live' track, as announced thus far, include:

- In 'From Shadowbane to Wizard101: Strategies for Expanding Player Communities and Sustaining Enthusiasm After Launch', J. Todd Coleman & Josef Hall of KingsIsle Entertainment will reference their 10 million registered-user online game and previous experience, identifying "sustaining community that transcend genre and generation, the importance of always having new content in queue, and strategies for communicating milestones and methods for remaining engaged in public conversation."

2011 Independent Games Festival Opens Submissions, Adds Mobile Category, Expands Experimental Focus

The UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizer of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference events, is pleased to announce that submissions are now open for the 2011 Independent Games Festival -- to be held at GDC 2011 in San Francisco next March.

The longest-running and highest-profile independent video game festival, summit and showcase is now accepting entries to the 13th annual Festival, with deadlines in the Main and Student Showcase categories by October 18th and November 1st respectively, and finalists to be announced on January 2011.

All games selected as finalists will be available in playable form at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor, and will compete for nearly $50,000 in prizes, including the Nuovo Award, Excellence in Design, Art, Best Student Game, the Audience Award and the $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Winners will be announced on stage at the high-profile Independent Games Festival Awards on Wednesday, March 2, 2011, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

The Independent Games Festival Awards are held immediately before the
wider Game Developers Choice
, and both multi-thousand person attendee award shows are
part of the 2011 Game Developers Conference, taking place February
28th-March 4th, 2011. GDC 2011 also includes the 2011 Independent Games Summit,
which is entering its fifth year and offers two days of inspiration and
practical lectures and rants from the top minds in the independent
games world.

Continuing to honor the best and brightest of the indie gaming
community, the Independent Games Festival is expanding in its thirteenth
year to recognize the new opportunities open to mobile and handheld
game developers. Responding to developer feedback, games made for
Apple's iPhone, Android, Nintendo DS/DSi, PlayStation Portable, and all
handheld devices will compete in the same traditional IGF categories.
They will also be eligible for a new Best Mobile Game award, honoring
innovation, achievement and artistry in handheld gaming.

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