Virtually Attend GDC

Can't make it to San Francisco to see the Game Developers Conference? No problem! This year, we're going to be offering you an unprecedented inside look at GDC so you can virtually attend it from your own home.See below for a list of the sessions we covered!Monday, March 23Session:...


Can't make it to San Francisco to see the Game Developers Conference? No problem! This year, we're going to be offering you an unprecedented inside look at GDC so you can virtually attend it from your own home.

See below for a list of the sessions we covered!

Monday, March 23

Session: 2D Boy: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Going Indie But Were Afraid to Ask
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Ron Carmel (Co-Founder, 2D Boy), Kyle Gabler (2D Boy)
Session Description: When Ron Carmel and his business partner Kyle Gabler formed 2D Boy and started making the IGF award-winning WORLD OF GOO, they knew a bit about game design and programming, but hardly anything about the business aspect of making a game. This session is geared towards people who are considering going indie - what are the costs involved with developing a game? What is considered a good publishing deal? What should I expect in terms of sales? How do I maintain control of my IP?

Coverage: Video
Speaker: Petri Purho (Kloonigames)
Session Description: After a series of critically acclaimed monthly games released on his website, Petri Purho single-handedly produced the version of innovative physics sandbox game CRAYON PHYSICS DELUXE that won him the Grand Prize at the Independent Games Festival last year. Having completed and released it, he returns to GDC to discuss the genesis of the project, what went right and wrong in making it, and what independent developers can learn to make them successful in an incredibly competitive market.

Tuesday, March 24

Session: The Indie Advantage? A View From Both Sides
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Rod Humble (Executive VP, Head of EA Play Label, Electronic Arts)
Session Description: Rod Humble is head of the EA Play label, which includes THE SIMS, Hasbro and the Casual studios. Which is about non indie as you get. On the other hand he has been an indie developer in the past and he still makes indie games such as THE MARRIAGE in his free time and releases them for free.

Session: The Art of Independent Game Promotion
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Phil Fish (Polytron), Kyle Gable (2D Boy)
Session Description: Phil Fish of Polytron (FEZ) and Kyle Gable of 2D Boy (WORLD OF GOO) reveal the secrets of massive promotion on a shoestring budget: how to speak to the press, how to create a trailer the internet loves, and how to best promote for your game...Click on session title to read the full description.

Session: SPORE's Wake: What Seriously Happened?
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Margaret Robertson (Consultant and writer, Lookspring)
Session Description: No matter your position in the games space there was little disagreement over the last few years that Will Wright's SPORE would have a major impact. From within the context of serious games there were many unique issues that were predicted to arise, and a lot of potential was identified.

Session: The Indie Game Maker Rant
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speakers: Steve Swink (Game Designer, Flashbang Studios), Phil Fish (Polytron), Heather Kelley (Game Designer, Kokoromi), Erin Robinson (Wadget Eye Games), Mare Sheppard (Metanet Software), Kellee Santiago (President, thatgamecompany), Petri Purho (Kloonigames), Mark Johns (Game Designer, Doomlaser), Chris Lobay (Infinite Ammo), Michael Samyn (Process Director, Tale of Tales), Raigan Burns
Session Description: A series of exquisite rants by indie game creators including: Mark Johns of Doomlaser (SPACE BARNACLE), Petri Purho of Kloonigames (CRAYON PHYSICS), Kellee Santiago of ThatGameCompany (FLOWER, FLOW), Chris Lobay of Infinite Ammo (AQUARIA, MARIAN), Michael Samyn of Tale of Tales (THE GRAVEYARD), Mare Sheppard of Metanet (N+), Erin Robinson of Wadget Eye Games (NANOBOTS), Heather Kelley of Kokoromi (SUPER HYPER CUBE), Phil Fish of Polytron (FEZ), and Steve Swink of Flashbang Studios (RAPTOR SAFARI, BLUSH.) Experience different points of view on indieness, art, beauty, and the future presented by an all star cast of international friends.

Session: Stardock On The PC Hardcore Scene As Indie
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Brad Wardell (President/CEO, Stardock)
Session Description: Stardock's Brad Wardell is the founder of an independent game developer and publisher with such titles as GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS II, SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE, DEMIGOD, and ELEMENTAL. Through its choice of game projects combined with its digital distribution platform, Impulse, Stardock has been able to tap into the core PC game player, a group that has been often ignored in recent years, with the ability to create games they want and deliver those games to them. Wardell will discuss the strategy Stardock uses to design such games as well as how they deliver these games to the target audience through both retail and digital channels.

Wednesday, March 25

Keynote: Discovering New Development Opportunities
Coverage: Video and Live Blog
Speaker: Satoru Iwata (President, Nintendo Co., Ltd.)
Session Description: Satoru Iwata will talk about Nintendo's role in creating better tools and bringing opportunities for developers to introduce their innovative ideas to a marketplace that is increasingly willing and eager to embrace new game design possibilities.

Session: Evolving Game Design: Today and Tomorrow, Eastern and Western Game Design
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Mark MacDonald (Executive Director, 8-4Ltd), Goichi Suda a.k.a. SUDA51 (CEO/Game Designer, Grasshopper Manufacture Inc.), Fumito Ueda (Sr. Game Designer, Int'l Production Dept, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Japan Studio), Emil Pagliarulo (Lead Designer - FALLOUT 3, Bethesda Game Studio)
Session Description: What are the most important recent trends in modern game design? Where are games headed in the next few years? Drawing on their own experiences as leading names in game design, the panel will discuss their answers to these questions, and how they see them affecting the industry both in Japan and the West.

Session: The Inspiration Behind Nintendo DSi Development
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Masato Kuwahara (Nintendo)
Session Description:Masato Kuwahara has played a central role in designing the Nintendo DSi hardware. In this session he will explain how the company came to develop the system with all these new features and what kind of new software development opportunities the team had in mind. He hopes the features and promise of Nintendo DSi will serve as inspiration for developers everywhere.

Session: The Game Design Challenge: My First Time
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Eric Zimmerman (Chief Design Officer, Gamelab), Steve Meretzky (VP of Game Design, YouPlus), Kim Swift (Level Designer, Valve), Sulka Haro (Lead Designer, Sulake)
Session Description: Welcome back for another year and another Game Design Challenge, where three amazing game design greats create original concepts around a very unusual game design problem. Join us as returning champ Steve Meretzky squares off against two new challengers.

Session: Dazed and Confused in the MMO World
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Paul Barnett (Senior Creative Director, Mythic Entertainment)
Session Description: Mythic Entertainment's senior creative director, Paul Barnett, talks to developers about how the Mythic team managed to take a beloved intellectual properly – WARHAMMER FANTASY – and convert it into to an MMO that's fun in its own right, but also appeals to lifelong fans of the IP.

Session: HALO in the Laboratory
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: John Hopson (Games Researcher, Microsoft Game Studios)
Session Description: HALO 3 pushed the envelope of how usability, playtesting, and datamining can be used to inform game design. This session will cover the lessons of the HALO 3 user research effort: what worked, what didn't, and how it helped make a better game.

Session: Doing Business In The Game Music Industry In Japan 101
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Norihiko Hibino (GEM Impact)
Session Description: The session will begin with a brief introduction of Norihiko Hibino and his studio, GEM Impact, which will act as an example of one of many business models that composers in Japan have adopted to work in the increasingly competitive Japanese game music market. Hibino will explain what is commonly asked of a game audio professional by developers in Japan and throughout Asia.

Session: Silencing the Censors - Recent Developments in the Battle for Free Expression in Game Development
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Lawrence Walters (Weston, Garrou, Walters, and Mooney)
Session Description: Legislators and family values groups continue their attempts to censor videogame content through legislation, taxation, and media outreach. Building on the previous years' presentations, the speaker will provide an understandable and humorous look at video game censorship, and what the industry can do about it.

Session: The 9th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards
Coverage: Video and Live Blog
Speaker: Chris Hecker (Technology Fellow, Maxis/Electronic Arts)
Session Description: 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.

Thursday, March 26

Session: My Lessons Learned from Flagship Studios
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Stephen Goldstein (Senior Counsel, Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP)
Session Description: In October of 2007, Flagship Studios had everything going for it. Comprised of the founders of Blizzard North, Flagship owned its IP, was in total control of its destiny and was about to launch HELLGATE: LONDON, one of the most hotly anticipated titles of the year. Eight months later, Flagship laid off almost all its employees, lost the rights to its games and closed its doors.

Keynote: Solid Game Design: Making the 'Impossible' Possible
Coverage: Video and live Blog
Speaker: Hideo Kojima (Head of Kojima Productions)
Session Description: Known for giving rise to the stealth action game genre with his creation of the acclaimed METAL GEAR series more than two decades ago, Mr. Kojima's keynote will focus on methods for overcoming development obstacles with creative game design. Concrete examples will be given using the driving game design philosophies behind the METAL GEAR series as reference.

Session: All About NOBY NOBY BOY
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Keita Takahashi (Bandai Namco)
Session Description: Takahashi will talk extensively about his new game NOBY NOBY BOY.

Session: IV Style: Returning to the Roots of a Fighting Game Classic
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speakers: Yoshinori Ono (Producer, Capcom Entertainment)
Session Description: Capcom Producer Yoshinori Ono makes his first appearance at the GDC with an in-depth look at the planning and design process behind the biggest fighting game of the year. Covering everything from STREET FIGHTER IV's genesis to the intricacies of the development process itself, Ono will offer a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inner workings of Japanese development, offering insight into the difficulties and rewards of resurrecting a dormant series without betraying the expectations of fans around the world.

Session: He Who Ships, Wins: Producing GEARS OF WAR 2
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speakers: Rod Fergusson (Senior Producer, Epic Games)
Session Description: This lecture will give an overview of the GEARS OF WAR 2 team's best practices when it comes to shipping a major holiday release within 24 months, all while managing high internal demands and a multitude of external expectations. This presentation will reflect upon specific philosophies, methodologies and techniques to see how they were applied to the production of GEARS OF WAR 2 and to what benefit. Topics will include pre-production scoping, handling crunch and managing the endgame.

Friday, March 27

Keynote: Unlikely Beginnings: FALLOUT 3's Lead Designer on his Path into the Game Industry
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Geoff Keighley (Spike TV), Emil Pagliarulo (Lead Designer - FALLOUT 3, Bethesda Game Studio)
Session Description: IEmil Pagliarulo, of Bethesda Game Studio, was the lead designer and writer for Fallout 3, the retro-futuristic and dystopian action role-playing game released in October 2008. That's one hell of a job. How did he ever get it?

Session: Stretching Beyond Entertainment: The Role of Games in Personal and Social Change
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speakers: Rusel DeMaria (Author/Analyst, DeMaria Studio), Will Wright (Chief Designer, Maxis), Lorne Lanning (President, Oddworld Inhabitants), Peter Molyneux (Head of Studio, Lionhead Studios), Bing Gordon (Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers), Ed Fries (CEO, FigurePrints)
Session Description: This year we bring the discussion back with an all-star panel to look to the future of games, not in terms of technology, and not in terms of what's the next hotness, but in terms of what we can do with the creativity of design to help inspire a better world.

Session: DEAD SPACE: How We Launched the Scariest New IP
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Chuck Beaver (Senior Producer, Electronic Arts Redwood Shores)
Session Description: We will be reviewing the methods, successes and stumbles we encountered in bringing a sci-fi horror IP through the pitch and green light process, all the way through production and final at EA. We will then cover the art and science of making a horror-genre title, including the lessons learned on what is and is not scary.

Session: Lionhead Experiments Revealed
Coverage:Video and Panel Writeup
Speaker: Peter Molyneux (Head of Studio, Lionhead Studios)
Session Description: This talk reveals a range of ideas which are bubbling under the surface at Lionhead Studios. With visual and playable examples Peter Molyneux will give a full explanation on how these experiments evolved. It also gives some context on how they might be into future games.

Session: Cinematic Game Design III: Action!
Coverage: Panel Writeup
Speaker: Richard Rouse III (Lead Single Player Designer, Kaos Studios/THQ), Martin Stoltz (Cinematic Director, Big Huge Games)
Session Description: This next installment in the popular Cinematic Game Design GDC lecture series focuses on action scenes. Many games deliver highly immersive conflict, but action films manipulate a wider range of emotions and make their conflict meaningful.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 89 comments about this story