Naughty Dog @ GDC 2011
The Game Developers Conference 2011 starts next week in San Francisco and there are a few of sessions involving or being run by Naughty Dogs that you should go check out.
Hit the jump for the full list of sessions!
Looking over the full list of sessions, it looks like GDC 2011 is going to be pretty cool conference this year, as the conference celebrates its 25th anniversary. For the occasion, the GDC Advisory Board has even scheduled a great series of Classic Game Postmortems, running the gamut from Pac-Man to Bejeweled, not to mention one on Marble Madness by one of our favorite industry luminaries, Mark Cerny.
GDC 2011 is going to be a relatively quiet conference for Naughty Dog as everyone is back at the studio working on UNCHARTED 3 – we’ve only got 8 months left until release! Although we’re not hitting GDC full force like we did last year, there’s still a few sessions you should consider if you happen to be attending the conference.
The full list of sessions, along with dates, 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.
GDC Microtalks 2011: One Hour, Ten Speakers, Hundreds of Fun New Ideas
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Room 3014, West Hall 3rd Floor
Jamin Brophy-Warren (Kill Screen Magazine), Jason Rohrer (Independent), Colleen Macklin (Parsons the New School for Design), Naomi Clark (Fresh Planet), Brandon Boyer (Independent Games Festival), David Jaffe (Eat Sleep Play), Michael John (Electronic Arts), Richard Lemarchand (Naughty Dog), Brenda Brathwaite (Lolapps) and Asi Burak (Games for Change)
The fast-moving talk format with fans all around the world returns to GDC for another hour of lightning-fast lectures, visual punch and innovative ideas. The concept is simple: MC Richard Lemarchand invites nine experts from different game design-related fields to give a short talk on a subject related to this years theme, 'Say How You Play' - a discussion of new contexts for play and games. Each speaker gets 20 slides, each of which will be displayed for exactly 16 seconds before automatically advancing, giving the speaker five minutes and 20 seconds to deliver their fresh game design perspectives.
I highly recommend one of my personal favorite GDC sessions – and, now in its third straight year on the schedule, fast becoming a GDC institution. In my opinion all the speakers are amazing and will no doubt entertain – I’m personally curious to see how much content David Jaffe will try to cram into his 20 slides and 5 minute 20 second time allotment.
Experimental Gameplay Sessions
Thursday, March 3, 2011
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Room 303, South Hall
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.)
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.
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
Mark Cerny (Cerny Games)
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.
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
John Bellomy (Naughty Dog)
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.
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.
I'll be up in San Francisco attending GDC - I hope to catch some of you at some of these sessions, if not at GDC proper.