This week is the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a gathering of game creators from around the world to talk about how they do what they do (and even show off a few surprise announcements). We'll be covering all of the biggest stories from the show, but even if you can't make it to the show yourself, you can still feel like you're here by watching select panels live on GameSpot.
We'll be streaming panels live as they occur, and you can check out our streaming schedule below! All panel descriptions are taken directly from the GDC online schedule.
This page will be updated throughout the week to include the live and archived videos.
TUESDAY, March 18
GameSpot's The Lobby live show
- Our weekly live show will feature an interview with storied developer Peter Molynuex.
WEDNESDAY, March 19
- Who: Yu Suzuki | President, Ys Net (with PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny translating)
- When: 2:00PM-3:00PM
- What: Yu Suzuki will talk for the very first time about the creation of the console classic, Shenmue. Beginning with the origin of the title as a Virtua Fighter-based RPG on the Sega Saturn, he will take the audience through the long journey of the game that led to its ultimate release in 1999 on the Sega Dreamcast. (via the GDC website)
Meanwhile, In Japan
- Who: Keiji Inafune | CEO, Comcept, Inc. and Mark MacDonald | Executive Director, 8-4, Ltd.
- When: 5:00PM-6:00PM PST
- What: Fresh off their success crowdfunding the Mighty No. 9 project, Comcept CEO Keiji Inafune is joined by Tokyo-based consultant Mark MacDonald of 8-4, Ltd. to talk about the experience, as well as other trends in the Japanese industry. How did the different Western and Japanese partners come together to manage one of the biggest Kickstarter campaigns of all time? What are the advantages and challenges to creating and selling modern Japanese games to a primarily Western audience? And how are Japanese developers and game-players responding to newer business models like crowd-funding and free-to-play in general? Join us for anecdotes and insight covering all these topics and more. (via the GDC website)
IGF/GDC Awards Show
- When: 6:30PM-8:30PM PST
- What: The IGF was established in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers. At the awards ceremony, the IGF gives out eight awards and over $55,000 in total prize money to the most innovative independent games. The awards are held in conjunction with the Game Developers Choice Awards. Learn more about the IGF at www.igf.com. The Game Developers Choice Awards are the premier accolades for peer-recognition in the digital games industry, celebrating creativity, artistry and technological genius. Industry professionals from around the world nominate for the awards, free of charge, ensuring that the recipients reflect the community's opinions. Learn more about the GDCA at http://www.gamechoiceawards.com. (via the GDC website)
THURSDAY, March 20
Lucasfilm Studio Postmortem
- Steve Arnold | Co-Founder- Emeritus, Polaris Partners
- Noah Falstein | Chief Game Designer, Google
- David Fox | Director/Game Designer, Electric Eggplant
- Ron Gilbert | Game Designer, Independent
- Peter Langston | Cooperative Resercher/Co-Director/Arts and Technology Hacker, Apple Advanced Computation Group
- Chip Morningstar | Principal Architect, PayPal
- When: 10:00AM-11:00AM PST
- What: Before LucasArts, there was Lucasfilm Games. From a small startup within a medium-sized (and very famous) film company, this group grew from 1982 to 1990 to become one of the most popular game companies of its day. It then morphed (a Lucasfilm term!) into LucasArts, which was acquired by Disney, and then shut down shortly after GDC 2012. In the early days, the company was known for experimentation, with early multiplayer (Ballblazer), first-person games (Rescue on Fractalus, Koronis Rift), the first MMO (Habitat/Club Caribe), and of course, some well-loved graphic adventures (Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken, The Secret of Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and more). This postmortem asks the questions, "What mix of creative and business forces shaped this early success story?" and "Could this kind of company be duplicated today?"
Creating BioShock's Elizabeth
- Who: Shawn Robertson | Animation Director, Irrational Games
- When: 2:30PM-3:30PM PST
- What: Behind the critical success of BioShock Infinite is the game's heart and soul, Elizabeth. Not only did Elizabeth carry the narrative weight of BioShock Infinite on her shoulders, she was also a robust AI that allowed for many systemic interactions. The creation of Elizabeth was an organic process that evolved over time and included members from every department at Irrational. This presentation will go over some of the decisions we made and the lessons we learned as we gave shape to Elizabeth and attempted to bring her to life. With a focus on animation, Shawn will talk about the various systemic and narrative techniques that we used on Elizabeth, and give practical examples of how they worked within the game. He will touch upon how a character like Elizabeth needs art, narrative and systems working together to create the illusion of humanity.
FRIDAY, March 21
Battlefield 4: Creating a More Dynamic Battlefield
- Who: Linnea Harrison | Level Artist, EA DICE
- When: 10:00AM-11:00AM PST
- What: When developing Battlefield 4, our approach to game creation evolved in order to adapt to new technologies and systems, as well as a growing and changing player base. The game manages to improve upon key areas and add new dynamic elements while maintaining the core Battlefield experience. This talk will explore the game's creative vision and how it was implemented through various production techniques, including destruction, "levolution" and the new dynamic weather system.
- Who: Ken Levine | Co-Founder, President and Creative Director, Irrational Games
- When: 11:30AM-12:30PM PST
- What: It's clear that narrative is an important part of video games and something that the audience deeply relates to. However, the strengths of interactive media are player participation, the ability to experience content in different ways on different playthroughs and the fact that the content is not static. It's time for narrative to deeply embrace these elements. The challenge lies in building non-linear, replayable (narrative) sequences. By breaking narrative down to its smallest yet non-abstract elements and finding ways to combine and recombine them, one could potentially build a nearly infinite array of narrative opportunities out of these small building blocks. The comparison is closest to, say, the Death Star play set of our childhood, which was very specific and beautiful, but single-purposed versus Legos. Which on their own seem less exciting and less appealing, but can be recombined and repurposed in an infinite number of ways. It's time to start exploring narrative Legos.