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The GDC Summits Call for Submissions closed September 30, 2019 at 11:59 pm PT.

VRDC and Game Career Seminar call for submissions also closed on September 30, 2019 at 11:59 pm PT.

The GDC Core Concepts call for submissions closed on August 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm PT.


New For GDC 2020:

Tutorials are now Summits! All Monday and Tuesday content has been folded into the GDC Summit program. GDC Summits are curated deep dives into specific pre-determined topics, covering a comprehensive range of game development disciplines. Summits are programmed by their respective Summit's Advisors.

The GDC Summits solicit proposals from speakers with deep industry expertise and innovative ideas from a particular niche or emerging area of the game industry. Submission criteria and guidelines are available below.

The following GDC Summits are seeking speaking proposals:

  • Advanced Graphics Summit
  • AI Summit
  • Animation Summit
  • Art Direction Summit
  • Audio Summit
  • Board Game Design Summit
  • Community Management Summit
  • Educators Summit
  • Esports Summit
  • Fair Play Summit
  • Free to Play Summit
  • Game Narrative Summit
  • Independent Games Summit
  • Level Design Summit
  • Machine Learning Summit
  • Math in Game Development Summit
  • Online Game Technology Summit
  • Production Essentials Summit
  • Technical Artist Summit
  • Tools Summit
  • UX Summit
  • Visual Effects Summit

*Game Design Workshop and Storytelling Fundamentals Workshop will remain independently curated and are not accepting submissions.

Questions?

If your question isn’t answered in the FAQ below, email Molly Portillo for GDC Summit and VRDC questions, and Ashley Corrigan for GDC Core Concepts and Game Career Seminar questions.

Submission Guidelines

If you would like to submit, please take note of the following:

Diversity and Representation

GDC aims to achieve diversity of voice, experience, and perspective. Please take this goal into consideration when considering who would be best to speak on behalf of your company or department and/or when submitting panelists.

Vendor-Specific Proposals

GDC does not accept product or vendor-related submissions. If your talk is a thinly veiled advertisement for a new product, technology or service your company is offering, please do not submit. If you would like to publicize a product, please email the GDC sales team for information on exhibiting and vendor opportunities, including sponsored sessions. 

Original Authors

GDC only accepts submissions by original authors of the presentations. PR firms, speaking relation firms, and all other parties who are not direct authors of submitted presentations are discouraged from submitting a proposal on behalf of their clients/speakers. GDC requires direct contact with presenters to expedite questions during the submission review process. 

 

Selection Criteria

The Summit Advisors will review and rate submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Concept: This is the basic idea of your submission. Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Will it be beneficial for game developers to hear? There is plenty of room for innovative ideas and also the tried and true.
  • Depth: Is the basic idea well considered and thought out? To what extent will the audience gain insight? The more in-depth, the better.
  • Organization: Are your ideas conducive to present in front of an audience? Will the Summit Advisors understand what you are trying to say? Organization helps.
  • Credentials: How do your credentials qualify you to speak on the topic you have proposed?
  • Takeaway: Is the attendee going to leave this session knowing something they didn't know when they walked in? Are they learning or being inspired? This is the most important aspect of every Summit session. The submissions will be rated on a one to five scale by each of the reviewers and the resulting scores are averaged. Submissions in each category with the highest scores are considered first. If there is too much topic overlap, a lesser scoring submission may be selected to keep variety in the program.

 

Speaker Expectations

GDC attendees are very intelligent. They are looking for material that is not obvious and expect excellence from GDC speakers. After your presentation, they will evaluate it based on delivery, knowledge of the topic and the visuals presented.

Preparation is one of the most important factors in delivering a successful talk at GDC. Please keep the following in mind when you propose to speak:

  • The proposed outline you submit now must match the talk you present at the Summit. Consider the talk’s duration and submit content accordingly.
  • Plan to commit AT LEAST 25 HOURS to prepare for your session.
  • Rehearse the delivery of your session to be more effective; preferably in front of your peers and/or record yourself speaking then review it. Both are great ways to practice pacing and timing. Your presentation materials must be completed and submitted four weeks before GDC.
  • Please note the Summit Advisors and content team are here to help. If you have ANY additional speaking questions you’d like GDC to cover, please email Molly Portillo.

Summit Descriptions & Topics of Interest

The Summit Advisors are seeking proposals on the following topics, which are the foundation of the programs this year. However, feel free to submit your own original ideas for consideration as well. At GDC, we aim to achieve diversity of voice, experience, and perspective. When considering who would be best to speak on behalf of your company or department, we strongly encourage taking this goal into consideration.

Select any summit listed below to view its description and topics of interest.

Brought to you by a collaboration of the industry's leading hardware and software vendors, this one-day summit provides professional insight on how to create cutting-edge game graphics for game developers targeting the PC platform. Presenters include members of Intel, AMD and NVIDIA's developer technology, and research staff as well as game developers who bring hands-on experience from shipping and already-released games. Together these speakers will cover advanced graphics techniques that use modern PC graphics APIs and GPUs to produce stunning visuals and achieve speed-of-light performance. This summit will also cover a series of vendor-neutral optimizations that developers need to keep in mind when designing their engines and shaders.

The GDC AI Summit features panels and lectures from top game AI programmers, designers, researchers, and AI enthusiasts in the industry. This two-day summit promises to give you an inside look at key architectures, techniques, and issues within successful commercial games, as well as let you eavesdrop on conversations, debates, and rants on how game AI can move forward. The event is targeted toward the intermediate to advanced programmer who wants deeper insight into the world of game AI. Additionally, designers, animators, and other content creators whose work touches AI systems of all types will find invaluable insights and lessons from the speakers.

The AI Summit is welcoming submissions on AI-related topics such as:

  • Postmortems of the AI in recently released (or soon to be released) games - especially with a focus of "challenges faced... and overcome!"
  • Advancements and improvements in AI architectures (e.g. behavior trees, planners, utility systems, MCTS, etc.)
  • New architectures and approaches for AI-related problems (e.g. data-driven, modular systems, etc.)
  • AI authoring tools
  • Improvements in navigation and avoidance algorithms
  • Animation control through AI systems
  • Multi-agent coordination in tactical, strategic, or social situations
  • Use of AI for content generation in games
  • Use of AI for gameplay management, pacing, etc.
  • Non-traditional uses of AI in game development applications (e.g. tools, debugging, etc.)
  • AI for narrative generation and chatbots
  • AI in VR, mixed reality, and AR
  • Experimental AI designs

Note that this is, by no means, an exhaustive list of suggestions. All submissions of presentations that involve the use of AI techniques in games will be entertained!

Skilled video game animators wield a unique blend of art, design and technical prowess to get the job done, and the Animation Summit is at the forefront of sharing the relevant knowledge with developers everywhere. Previously known as Animation Bootcamp, this one-day summit brings together a group of experienced and specialized animation experts across AAA and Indie. The Animation Summit is seeking submissions from developers across the industry to focus on deep-dive discussions into the needs of strong character performances and player communication. Submission topics of interest include all facets of animation expertise: 'traditional' focused talks on animation process, technical achievements, bite-sized tips and tricks, insight into animation culture, and how to best apply all that knowledge to game development. Through a variety of tools and disciplines, the day will show how the unique demands of game creation is creating the need not just for great animators, but great developers.

The Art Direction Summit is a one-day summit, completely dedicated to art direction and broader artistic vision. Come see the leading artistic forces of the industry share their experience and raise the most important issues of the day. Learn a ton about what really matters in art, and how to build or support a vision and make friends doing it. There will be a wealth of concentrated art-specific information from the top minds of the industry that should be interesting not just to newbies and students, but seasoned professionals who are concerned with pressing issues of the day and industry realities. New friends who are also passionate about game art are welcome. The Art Direction Summit advisors welcome all submission topics related to art direction for games.

The GDC Audio Summit is a comprehensive day of presentations across a full-spectrum of interactive audio disciplines and serves as an introduction to the Audio Track at GDC. Focused on the technical, creative, and logistical topics needed to successfully navigate the field of sound for games, this one-day Audio Summit uniquely balances deep knowledge-sharing with breadth of applicability to the entire audience (which includes both specialists and generalists; veterans and novices; and both freelance and in-house audio solution providers). Furthermore, the lunchtime surgeries offer a unique opportunity for attendees to sit and meet with many of the speakers in a small-scale setting to talk about the specific interactive audio topics that are at the top of participants’ minds.

The summit actively pursues and celebrates a diverse slate of industry presenters, featuring more than 100 unique speakers over the Summit’s history. Audio Summit advisors seek novel and diverse perspectives that can be applied to everyone creating sound for interactive media. Specific topics of interest include (but are not limited to) career development and health, music, sound design, dialogue, technical sound design and implementation, and other emerging topics relating to audio for interactive entertainment.

The Board Game Design Summit is a one-day deep dive into the art and science of designing non-electronic board (and card) games.

Featuring multiple notable speakers from the world of board game design, this is an opportunity to get deep into the design mechanics behind innovative and popular board games, and hear about the design ethos that has shaped standouts in the resurgent world of board game development.

The Board Game Design Summit is looking for talks including:

  • ‘Making of’ talks for notable and intriguing board and card games of medium or high profiles, or those with particularly different or innovative mechanics.
  • Game design talks about entire genres of board/card games.
  • Discussions of physical board games that have digital aspects included. (Digital-only board games are not a primary focus of the Summit.)
  • Talks about some of the fundamental concepts underpinning board game or card game design.

The one-day (Tuesday) Community Management Summit will cover every corner of this quickly evolving, crucial facet of video game development. Summit content will focus on how to inspire, build and maintain user loyalty and enthusiasm through the ups and downs of community opinion and adoption. It will discuss how to manage your community's needs and interests to align with your company's goals. Attend the summit to learn best practices and hear industry experts share case studies and post mortems on cutting edge community management strategies.

The Community Management Summit is soliciting the following topics for the 2020 program:

  • How to inspire, build and maintain user loyalty and enthusiasm
  • How to promote a positive community experience: in-game and out
  • Retention and requisition technique case studies
  • How to get users involved in game development and stay involved
  • Talking to your community: social media case studies, how to leverage social media, and other innovative outreach methods
  • How to run events with (and for) your community
  • Balancing your community's needs and interests with your organization's goals
  • Case studies and innovative ideas for growing and supporting an influencer ecosystem
  • Career development: finding your path and how to manage it
  • Case studies highlighting innovations and successes in 3rd party partnerships
  • Proven practices for communicating the monitoring, tracking, and reporting of community health, behavior trends, and sentiment
  • Tricks of the trade: share insights into the tools you use and how you use them to help you meet your community management goals
  • Compliance and policy strategies in the age of increasing global privacy concerns
  • Ongoing training recommendations for community managers and communications professions.

The Educators Summit is dedicated to bringing forward the most innovative and exciting ideas in game education today. Attendees will discover new experimental and inventive educational approaches as well as best practices that they can bring back to their faculty and classrooms. This one day summit brings together educators from established game development programs with new game course creators that want to understand the challenges they'll face in the next few years. It is a great professional development opportunity that will explore how new areas of game education will advance the field for the next generation of students.

Who Should Submit
You're an inspired educator with some great ideas to share with others about teaching game design/development, to improve everyone's practice. You've done some ground-breaking work on your curriculum or research that we can all use to improve what we are doing with students. You have a unique point of view on teaching game design/development that you haven't seen anywhere else, that you know could add value. You have an idea for a panel, and can assemble some great speakers from various schools to speak to a particular topic. We are looking for new voices, so if you haven't submitted before, please consider doing so. There is probably something amazing and unique about how YOU do things that we would all benefit from hearing about. We are particularly interested in hearing from programs/people who may not be regular attendees.

Audience
The audience consists of educators of game development and studies (working in the context of community college, four-year college/university and graduate education programs). Most attendees are at schools that already have well-established game programs and courses of study (or else they will be in a few short years, once they work the kinks out of a newly-developed program).

The Educators Summit is soliciting the following topics for the 2020 program:

  • Inspired approaches to teaching any aspect of game development or game studies.
  • Novel ways to fund or publish games research, student game projects, etc.
  • Proven best practices for successful programs, courses and research structures.
  • Strategies for encouraging and teaching diverse student communities.
  • Teaching game design/development online.

Annual lecture themes
If you're interested in submitting a talk to one of our annual lecture themes, be sure to note that in the "Summary for Advisors" section of the submission form. These themes include:

  • Course case studies - Short presentations (30 min) on the design of a specific course with strong proven results.
  • Soapbox - Short presentations (7-10 min) with sharp, pointed commentary on current issues in the state of game education.

Tips for submissions, based on some common mistakes we've seen:

  • The Educators Summit is not about serious games, it is about how to teach people about games (how to make games, how to analyze and understand games, issues around graduate research in games, etc.) A talk about teaching serious game development, or a game that helps teach about games, would be appropriate for the Educators Summit. Case studies of serious games that have nothing to do with game education are not.
  • Don't focus the proposal too much on the speaker and their contributions to the field. If you have an interesting project or case study to share, that's great, but be clear about the audience takeaways. How will attending your talk help hundreds of other educators do their job better?
  • Speakers vs panels: Single speaker sessions are the most successful structure. It is difficult to justify two or more speakers for a lecture format, so please consider that. Panels should be considered if your topic would benefit from multiple perspectives, and each speaker on a panel should represent a distinct aspect or point of view of the topic, typically from different institutions as well.
  • Make sure your topic isn't a beginner-level topic, such as "How to start a game development program", which has been covered many times before. When writing your proposal, it may be useful to look at session names and descriptions for the last three years (and watch talks related to your topic on gdcvault.com). In this way we can build up our collective understanding of the theory and practice of game education.
  • Takeaways and topics should be immediately clear from the initial read. Make it obvious why your peers would want to watch your proposed talk. This isn't the time to conceal information. A proposal titled "Five Things You Can Do to Improve Student Retention" should list what those five things are. Give us enough information to evaluate your talk.

We try not to include sessions in the schedule that seem too similar to a session we’ve had in recent years. So it’s good to look at the list of previous Educators Summit sessions in the Vault to see if we’ve covered your proposed topic recently. If we have covered the topic recently, make sure to include how you’re differentiating yourself from the previous session in your submission.

Esports Summit is a full-day series of panels and presentations focused on cultivating a competitive game's esports ecosystem to attract and support professional players and teams, journalists, content creators, and grassroots player organizations. Join the one-day Esports Summit and learn about growing your esports ecosystem alongside long-time developers, publishers, and esports community leaders! The summit is welcomes all submission topics related to esports.

The Fair Play Alliance is an organization of over 130 gaming companies from around the world committed to fostering healthy player interactions as a core part of how we make games. We seek to curate and empower the creation of best practices and share those practices across the industry. To that end, the Fair Play Summit invites all proposals relating to practical design methods, learnings, and outcomes, or applied research. Topics of focus include designing for player dynamics, reducing disruptive behavior including hate and harassment, creating and fostering diverse and inclusive games and gaming spaces, establishing healthy player interaction as a product or business focus, esports and streaming, combating bias in games and development, policy and guideline design, social design and systems, multicultural gaming, and more.

Please note that membership is not required to submit a proposal.

The GDC Free to Play Summit brings together top game publishers and developers from around the world to share ideas and discuss best practices for free to play gaming, which has become the dominant business model for mobile games, and is becoming increasingly important on other platforms as well. This two day program will focus on the nuts and bolts of great free to play game design and successful business strategies.

The Free to Play Summit is soliciting the following topics for the 2020 program:

  • Postmortems on the launch of new free to play games, or postmortems on major updates to existing free to play games, especially examples from outside mobile gaming and/or outside North America.
  • Strategies for launching across multiple territories.
  • Strategies for launching across multiple platforms.
  • Soft launch best practices: why, when, where, and what to look for?
  • Improving player experience and revenue performance via skillful integration of monetization elements into the game design.
  • Authentic and non-spammy social and viral engagement techniques.
  • User acquisition tips and tricks, in an era of escalating UA costs.
  • Pros & cons: staying independent versus working with a publisher or partner.
  • Differences between designing free to play games for midcore and casual audiences.
  • A survey of which genres are ripe for additional competitors, and what genres are too crowded (or too dominated by a single unassailable market leader).
  • Best practices to keep a community of loyal players in your game.
  • Keeping your players hooked: how to be sticky in a low-attention-span world.
  • Free to play games designed for non-traditional gaming audiences.
  • How to augment your IAP revenue with rewarded video and other forms of advertising.

The Game Narrative Summit covers interactive narrative in all its forms, from AAA blockbusters to indie games to mobile/social projects. The two-day event features an all-star lineup of speakers from every corner of the discipline. Session content ranges from the advanced and theoretical to practical case studies and advocacy for writers, designers, producers, and others seeking to expand their understanding of game narrative. The Game Narrative Summit attracts attendees from all over the world with a passionate interest in the ongoing evolution of interactive storytelling as a driving force in the future of entertainment.

The summit's preferred submission format is 30-minute lectures, though we may consider longer talks for subjects that warrant more in-depth approaches. The board reserves the right to suggest changes in any submissions.

The Game Narrative Summit welcomes proposals addressing all aspects of game narrative, including (but not limited to!):

  • Case studies of recent projects that demonstrate exemplary game writing
  • Fresh takes on traditional narrative techniques as adapted for interactive storytelling
  • Theoretical and conceptual advances that drive change in game narrative
  • New insights into the role of the interactive writer in franchise development
  • Analyses of timely issues in the game narrative field, e.g. inclusivity, ethical dilemmas, etc.
  • Spotlighting best practices within specific areas of interactive writing, including:
  • Narrative and emergent game technologies, e.g. VR, AR
  • Narrative in mobile, social, and casual games
  • The writing of specific game genres, e.g. FPS, RPG, MMO, MOBA, etc.
  • Resonating with specific target audiences, e.g. children, international markets, etc.
  • Advancing specific objectives, e.g. awareness, change
  • Navigating the challenges inherent to certain types of game projects
  • Focused insights on any specific elements of game narrative, e.g. character, dialogue
  • Lessons drawn from games that go beyond dialogue and focus on non-verbal narrative
  • Adapting narrative constructs from other media to games, e.g. film, comics, literature
  • Inspirational demonstrations in emotive game content
  • Business and career advice to help game writers succeed professionally
  • Verifiable evidence of the positive effects interactive storytelling can have
  • Experts debating opposing points of view on any of these topics

The Independent Games Summit is the place for the independent game developer at GDC. It features lectures, postmortems, and panels from notable independent game creators, including many former and current Independent Games Festival finalists and winners. This two-day summit seeks to achieve diversity of voice, experience and perspective, while highlighting the best and brightest in indie development.

Discussion topics range from game design philosophy to art, programming, distribution, business, marketing, and much more. The 2020 IGS will again use a main, large room alongside a simultaneous second smaller room - for deep-dive subjects and focused talks that we would otherwise be unable to fit into the program. Please submit with this in mind!

The IGS is soliciting the following topics for the 2020 program:

  • Design and Philosophy - design techniques particularly suited to indies, such as rapid prototyping or voluntary constraints, as well as more abstract talks on how you approach indie limitations - we often compile an hour of more 'out there' lectures, so don't hesitate!
  • Case Studies and Post-mortems - inspirational talks that demonstrate what worked, what didn't, what surprised you and made you wiser. Postmortems don't have to only talk about breakaway hits- failure discussions are great too, and the process can be more enlightening than the commercial outcomes! If your own project did not yield enough data for a talk on a certain topic, consider consolidating ideas from your peers or people with similar games.
  • Discipline Deep Dives - each discipline in video game development encounters unique challenges working in the independent space. Building games on your own often requires deep, specialized learning in new areas. Talks for specific audiences about advanced techniques in Engineering, Design, Art, Audio, Production/Project Management, UI/UX, or Writing, are welcome and encouraged.
  • Indie Business - how to fund your project, ship a profitable game, manage teams, pick the right platform, and run a company without self-destructing.
  • Promotion & Marketing - how to get noticed, build an audience, or even a community, when the "Marketing Department" is one person.
  • Annual lecture themes: if you're interested in submitting to give a microtalk in one of our annual 60–minute group sessions, such as the Indie Soapbox, the Failure Workshop, or the Tech Toolbox, be sure to note that in the Summary for Advisors section of the submission form

Level Design Summit offers an all-day series of talks covering topics across the vast spectrum of this crucial aspect of game design. The Level Design Summit advisors curate a diverse mix of established and emerging voices from all corners of the level design world to present an entertaining and enlightening agenda of talks for attendees. The one-day summit is seeking submissions that share specific techniques, in-depth analysis of shipped games, introspective explorations of "big" concepts that affect level designers/teams, and provide guides to process and workflow related to level design.

In academia and other industries, this year again shows rapid technological progress offering new possibilities and valuable applications of machine learning. The game industry is no different and this one-day summit will present in depth, meaningful applications in video games across two themes. The first theme is about machine learning for production. The summit will assess where machine learning can assist developers in creating better games, allowing them to improve and facilitate creation process of their games. The second theme will be about machine learning for the player. Summit sessions will then assess what new possibilities can be offered to the player, ranging from being able to create new, original experiences to better adapting games to players’ needs as they play.

Speakers contributing will go in depth when necessary in required techniques and most importantly, share practical lessons and wisdom regarding their success and failures. Attendees of the summit should be familiar with basic machine learning techniques and in the “know-how” of video game creation techniques. The target audience includes a wide range of trades including programmers, artists, and designers.

The Machine Learning Summit is welcoming submissions on topics related to machine learning such as:

  • Initiatives that contribute to support content creation process (outside the game/at runtime)
  • Advancements and improvements from academia that could be applied in the near future to the field
  • Lessons learned from attempt of deployment of a machine learning driven system in general (human/tech)
  • Successful deployment of player-facing system
  • Initiatives related to a specific trade (animation, physic, rendering, etc.) that point towards disruption in how developers are creating games

In all cases, being able to show measurable results is a must. Note that since this field is new, cases of application failure are welcome! Being able to share code/structure is also encouraged.

As gamers and gaming platforms continue to evolve and diversify, so has the complexity and variety of problems facing the modern game programmer. Creating the latest code for graphics, gameplay, animation, physical simulation, artificial intelligence, and procedural generation requires thorough knowledge of the necessary mathematical underpinnings. This one-day summit continues the tradition of the "Math for Programmers" tutorial by presenting 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. The Math in Game Development Summit welcomes session proposals covering said topics.

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 one-day 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.

A producer's role often varies from team to team and differs across studios. Good (or bad) production practices and methodologies can make or break a game's overall quality, the team's health, and even define studio culture. The one-day Production Essentials Summit is seeking submissions from game production professionals that discuss best practices in production and team management, as well as share career experiences.

Technical Art is an ever-evolving discipline, with TAs playing key roles in developing efficient pipelines, creating visually sophisticated content, and optimizing performance. Technical Artists bridge the gap between content creators and engineers, and wear many hats in the process. No matter what role a TA plays on their project, they are ready to leap into action to collaborate and solve issues with their team. The one-day Technical Artist Summit aims to help TAs around the industry find and share the tools and skills they need to manage the turbulent waves of game development at their own studios. Speakers will present new tools, techniques, and turn our attention to the future of the Technical Art discipline. The Technical Artist Summit is seeking submissions covering any topic related to technical art.

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 meet and exceed their goals. Listen to experts from studios big and small talk about their experiences shipping the tools that were used to create awesome games. The one-day summit is seeking submissions covering user experience and workflow, studio services such as automated testing and defect tracking, tools development post-mortems, and all the underlying technology related to those topics.

The one-day (Monday) GDC UX Summit features panels and lectures from top UX practitioners and advocates in the industry. This summit is targeted towards all levels of expertise in UX and focuses on best practices and case studies rather than pure theory. The intent is to increase UX awareness, become stronger as a game UX community, share our growing experience and expertise in the industry, and push the boundaries of our discipline.

The UX Summit is welcoming submissions on UX-related topics in the following areas:

  • UX strategy & maturity: how to build a UX strategy in a studio (or a development team) and to get executives' buy-in.
  • Design meets science: how designers can benefit from cognitive science knowledge and scientific method (concrete case studies).
  • UX design:
    • Case study of a feature, describing the design process and iterative loop.
    • How to advocate for UX design when working with a game team that implements before designing.
    • Game post-mortems through the UX lens.
    • VR and AR-specific challenges.
  • Esports: specific UX challenges when designing for eSports audience and social platforms.
  • New technology: the impact of new tech such as blockchain technology or machine learning on game UX.
  • Analytics and business intelligence :
    • Case studies: How to efficiently use analytics & BI to understand players and improve a game.
    • Data analysis pitfalls and how to avoid them.
    • Free-to-play: the specific UX challenges for this business model.
  • Ethics in the video game industry: dark patterns, attention economy, overall challenges, and how to push for better ethical practices for our audience.
  • Inclusion (including accessibility): best practices and guidelines.
  • Designing to prevent anti-social behaviors: best practices and guidelines.
  • User research:
    • Concrete examples of a successful relationship between user research and design.
    • Testing around the game: how can marketing and publishing benefit from user research.
    • Concrete case studies of new or challenging game features to test.
  • How to apply user research methodologies in small and indie studios that cannot afford a UX lab.
  • Testing VR or AR projects.
  • Advantages and limitations of biometrics.

Real-time visual effects (VFX) is the art of creating striking visuals for video games that clearly communicate gameplay. With what seems like magic, visual effects artists have the power to draw a player’s focus, and with intent, help lead the player to victory or to their ultimate demise. But understanding the both technical and artistic skillset required to visually communicate the complexities of gameplay and balance clarity with emotional impact is daunting (if not a complete mystery) to most. As a result, the journey for both would-be and professional VFX artists in acquiring those skills has historically been difficult, with artists generally finding ways to self-teach, seeking out one-off resources, and learning on the job through trial and error. But today, as the VFX community continues to grow and technology makes it easier than ever to communicate and collaborate, VFX artists across the globe are building a strong and supportive community, finding ways to connect with each other, sharing valuable knowledge by teaching each other methods to tackle technical blockers, strengthening one another’s artistic principles, and sharing tips on how to build a career. Join members of this community at the VFX Summit, where VFX artists of different backgrounds will spend the day sharing their experience and lessons learned across a diverse range of topics spanning technical and artistic tricks, to building a career or studio in VFX. This one-day summit welcomes all submission topics related to VFX in games.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the submission deadline?

The GDC Summits call for submissions closed on Monday, September 30th at 11:59 pm PT.

What makes a good submission?

  • Review all of the submission guidelines on this page and follow the instructions.
  • Incomplete proposals or proposals that are commercial or marketing in nature will not be considered.
  • Write your proposal so that it is easily understood. Concise, precise language and a discernible thesis will also help your chances in the review process.The advisors will read many submissions. Get to your point as quickly as possible. Consider what the proposal is about. Why is it interesting? How is it important to game development? What will game developers get out of the session?

 

What do I need to provide in my submission?

The submission form will require these key items. You may be asked to submit additional materials before a decision is made on your proposal. 

Speaker Contact Information

We require the speaker's direct email address to be associated with the Speaker Profile in the submission form. Should the speaker have a PR or administrative representative assisting with the completion of the submission form, that person's contact info should be entered in the 'PR reps' section of the speaker profile to insure all parties receive conference communication.

Select the most relevant Summit

Session Title 

Provide a session title in fewer than 10 words. Please try to include keywords, topics, and game titles covered in your talk.

Session Description 

In 100-150-words, provide a concise description of your session as you would have it appear on the GDC website. Write in 3rd person, present tense.

Attendee Takeaway

In 50-words or less, tell us what attendees will gain from this presentation. Be specific by giving concrete examples and remember that GDC attendees are experts in their field. Do not use bullet points, write in 3rd person present tense.

Intended Audience

In 50-words or less, describe your target audience and who will benefit from your presentation. Is prerequisite knowledge necessary for understanding the content of the session? If so, what are the prerequisites? Do not use bullet points, write in 3rd person present tense.

Summary for Advisors

You have approximately 500 words to describe to the Summit Advisors what your talk will be about, and why it will be interesting to Summit attendees. This is not the abstract for your talk for the GDC website, it is not meant for attendees to read, it is not a teaser, and it is not a place for cute wordplay. It is for you to describe concretely and succinctly what is compelling about your talk to the advisors, a group of people who have probably read 250 of these descriptions by the time they get to yours. Do not tease with something like, "My lecture will reveal amazing findings about how people play puzzle platformers," instead say, "We have found 90% of people only play puzzle platformers while eating pepperoni pizza," or whatever your amazing finding actually is. If you need more than 500 words to describe your lecture in this way, you can upload supplemental materials (.doc, .pdf, .txt) to your submission.

Supporting Materials

It is optional to submit supplemental information that supports your session proposal. Additional materials may include white papers, code, demos, videos, images, proof of concept, etc.

Past Speaking Engagements & Web links

If applicable, list the conferences, the title of the lecture, scores, and references. If you can provide references for these lectures, include a name and contact information. Add links to your company's website(s), personal blog(s), projects you're working on, etc., to support your proposal. Please do not offer links to news articles.

 

What are the session formats?

The final length and format of accepted sessions will be determined by the advisors. Please select what you feel will be the most appropriate.

FormatDurationDescription
Lectures60 or 30 MinutesLectures are issue-oriented, provide concrete examples, and contain both practical and theoretical information. Generally, one speaker is preferred, but if you believe two speakers would improve the presentation, please explain why in the Summary for Advisors. Postmortems and case studies are included in this category.
Panels60 MinutesPanels take many different viewpoints on a topic or issue and combine them in one debate session with a moderator. Debate among panelists (with very different opinions) is welcome and time should be built in to accommodate audience Q&A. No more than 5 people, including a moderator may participate. To be considered, panels must include all confirmed panelists in the proposal. When building the submission, please consider diversity of voice and experience.
 
A very limited number of panels will be accepted.

How do I choose a session format?

60-minute lectures tend to be case studies or inspirational, high-level, detail-oriented talks. 30-minute lectures tend to cover a single, narrow topic in depth. Panels tend to examine a controversial or difficult topic with no easy answers and lots of interesting, diverse talking points; panels are always 60-minutes, which is enough time for about eight planned questions. In all cases, expect to leave a few minutes at the end for Q&A.

Also consider who is speaking. Most lectures are given by a single person, unless there is a compelling reason that requires multiple speakers. Panels generally have a moderator and three or four panelists with unique experience or viewpoints who are known experts on the topic.

How does the submission and selection process work?

  • We will email you a confirmation when we receive your proposal. If you do not receive this confirmation, contact Molly Portillo.
  • Save the link to your proposal, you can revise your submission details until the deadline.
  • The advisors will review all submissions in the coming months and determine the status.
  • GDC conference managers will notify you of the status of your submission by late November.

The following criteria are considered when reviewing your submission:

  • Concept: This is the basic idea of your submission. Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Will it be beneficial for game developers to hear? There is plenty of room for innovative ideas and also the tried and true.
  • Depth: Is the basic idea well considered and thought out? To what extent will the audience gain insight? The more in-depth, the better.
  • Organization: Are your ideas conducive to present in front of an audience? Will the Summit Advisors understand what you are trying to say? Organization helps.
  • Credentials: How do your credentials qualify you to speak on the topic you've proposed?
  • Takeaway: Is the attendee going to leave this session knowing something they didn't know when they walked in? Are they learning or being inspired? This is the most important aspect of every Summit session. Submissions will be rated on a one to five scale by each of the reviewers and the resulting scores are averaged. Submissions in each category with the highest scores are considered first. If there is too much topic overlap, a lesser scoring submission may be selected to keep variety in the program.
  • A Note On Writing Style: Unless we've seen you speak before (or you link to a video of you speaking at some other conference), we tend to assume that your writing style is at least somewhat correlated to your speaking style because that's all we have to go on. Write the way that you would speak at GDC.

Who will review my proposal?

The GDC Summit Advisors review all submissions. Advisors to the specific Summit program you select will review your proposal. They are distinguished industry professionals who volunteer their time to help develop the numerous sessions at GDC. They work to ensure that the quality of the content provided to attendees is high-level, relevant, and timely.

Game Career Seminar is programmed by GDC staff and the Gamasutra editorial team.

If I submit to the Summits, can I submit to Core Concepts, VRDC and/or Game Career Seminar too?

Yes. There is no penalty for submitting a proposal for the GDC Core Concepts, VRDC, and/or Game Career Seminar, however, should you submit the same topic more than once, keep your audience in mind and adjust similar content as you deem appropriate. Each program has its own advisors and will be reviewed separately.

What are the benefits of speaking?

The benefits of being a speaker include:

  • Complimentary registration
  • Access to all Core Concepts sessions, VRDC, GDC Summits, the Game Career Seminar, and the Expo floor
  • Speaker meal card for the Moscone Center
  • Invitation to our annual VIP networking event, the Level99 Speaker Party
  • Your name and presentation featured in our conference program and website
  • A year subscription to the GDC Vault (recordings of all GDC events, past, and present)

How do I propose a vendor-specific session?

We want our talks to be opportunities for professional game developers to share their ideas and experiences. Proposals that are commercial or marketing in nature will not be considered. In general, content specific to proprietary products and technologies are considered sponsored material. The Summit Advisors and conference management reserve the right to exercise their editorial discretion. If you would like to publicize a product, please contact sales for information on exhibiting and sponsor opportunities, including sponsored sessions.

What does GDC expect from speakers?

When you agree to speak at GDC, you are making a commitment to deliver a well-prepared talk and to speak on the topic you have proposed. We ask that you do not drastically change the submitted topic or content. 

You will be evaluated by attendees on how well you delivered your presentation, aim to be among the top 50 presenters. 

We ask speakers to submit the final version of their presentation to be made available on the GDC Vault, so we can make it available online.

When will I be notified of the status of my submission?

You will receive an automated email response once your submission is received. We will notify you of the status of your submission by late-November. If you do not hear from us, please contact Molly Portillo.

How should a PR Rep or Executive Assistant submit on behalf of a potential speaker?

First, it is ideal for the speakers themselves to submit as they can provide the most detail about the content. However, if you are a PR representative or someone submitting on behalf of a potential speaker, fill in the speaker's contact info in the first section and also list the speaker's information in the speaker profile section, but be sure to add yourself as the 'PR contact' associated with the speaker profile(s). This will insure that you receive all email correspondence relating to GDC in the same email as the speaker(s). Without complete speaker details, the submission will be considered incomplete and will not be able to advance until speaker contact info is received.

Who should I contact with additional questions?

Please contact Molly Portillo with any additional questions.

 

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