GDC 2011 - Day Two

GDC 2011 - Day Two

As we head into the second day of GDC 2011, there's a several sessions featuring Naughty Dogs or very, very close friends of Naughty Dog that you should consider checking out today.

Hit the jump for the list of sessions today.

March 3, 2011

We hope everyone has had a great first day of GDC 2011 and that some of you were able to attend the absolutely packed GDC Microtalks session yesterday. Today, we've got several sessions we recommend checking out if you're a Naughty Dog fan.

The full list of sessions for today with times, locations and descriptions, is reproduced below. Visit our Facebook events page or the GDC Schedule builder if you want to add these sessions to your calendar, export them or print them out.

Keep checking back on the GDC11 tag to stay up to date with the sessions and our goings on throughout GDC.

Experimental Gameplay Sessions
Thursday, March 3, 2011
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Room 303, South Hall

Speakers
Andy Schatz (Pocketwatch Games), Asher Vollmer (University of Southern California), Jason Rohrer (Independent), Hanford Lemoore (Independent), Michael Brough (Independent), Nicolai Troshinsky (Independent), Mihir Sheth (University of Southern California), Chris Bell (Carnegie Mellon ETC), Agustin Perez Fernandez (Independent), Frank Lantz (Area/Code/Zynga), Robin Hunicke (thatgamecompany), Richard Lemarchand (Naughty Dog), Daniel Benmergui (Independent) and Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.)

Description
The 9th annual Experimental Gameplay Sessions invites developers of experimental gameplay to demonstrate and discuss their games and prototypes. In a series of short presentations, this session focuses on the exploration of new frontiers in game design. Independent games, academic projects, and AAA mainstream games that break new ground are all represented.

My thoughts
This session never disappoints year after year as the speakers are always incredibly creative and innovative, not to mention at the top of their game. Always inspirational and thought-provoking.

 

Classic Game Postmortem - MARBLE MADNESS
Thursday, March 3, 2011
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Room 3007, West Hall 3rd Floor

Speakers
Mark Cerny (Cerny Games)

Description
Mark Cerny is a legend in the games industry, working as a consultant, producer, and programmer on hits like RESISTANCE, RATCHET AND CLANK, JAK AND DAXTER, SPYRO THE DRAGON, and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2. Before building that near-incomparable resume, though, he designed Atari's MARBLE MADNESS, the addictive and maddening arcade game that ate scads of quarters as players craved another spin of its trackball. Along with the game's catchy soundtrack and Escheresque graphics, Cerny will share insights on how he designed the classic title that paved the way for games like SUPER MONKEY BALL, SPINDIZZY, MARBLE BLAST, and KORORINPA.

My thoughts
There’s no doubt all of the Classic Game Postmortem sessions will be packed to the rafters and Mark’s postmortem of classic arcade game Marble Madness will be a tough one to miss if you opt for the equally excellent Experimental Gameplay Sessions listed above. I have to shamefully admit that although I’ve seen Mark numerous times in the Naughty Dog halls, it wasn’t until the DICE Summit 2011 that I learned he worked on one of my favorite early arcade games Marble Madness.

 

Animating NPC's in UNCHARTED
Thursday, March 3, 2011
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Room 134, North Hall

Speakers
John Bellomy (Naughty Dog)

Description
This talk will cover the design and growth of Naughty Dog's animation system with emphasis on NPC's. Starting with the initial design in DRAKE'S FORTUNE, the talk will cover the problems and eventual solutions we addressed to achieve the desired variety and fidelity. Starting with improvements in both CPU efficiency and memory usage, we will show how these changes also helped evolve the authoring pipeline to improve animator efficiency and allow for rapid iteration. The combined benefits allowed us to greatly increase the number of NPC characters we shipped compared to UNCHARTED 1 while avoiding the need to grow our animation department.

My thoughts
On the more technical end of things, John “Cowboy” Bellomy will provide an in-depth look at our animation design and runtime solutions as we worked to increase the scope and quality of our animations from game to game. I’ve always thought the team here has done an impressive job having enough animations to blend smoothly between all the various states and attitudes all the different characters show in the game, so this should provide some insight into how we tackled that challenge.

We hope to see some of you at one of these sessions!