The 23rd annual Game Developers Conference® returns to San Francisco’s Moscone Center March 23-27, 2009. Get ready for a week of learning, networking, and inspiration as over 18,000 developers convene to further the digital entertainment industry. The GDC hosts top sessions, panels, roundtables and keynotes from select speakers worldwide. Evening events include the 11th annual Independent Games Festival and the 9th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards. Now available for viewing are the latest sessions for Audio, Business Management, Game Design, Production, Programming and Visual Arts tracks as well as our full and half day Tutorials and our nine Summits. Visit www.gdconf.com for more information.
'Twas a great day today. Last year really felt like we were nobodies and had everything to prove. This year, after running into people from both Overgrowth and Zeno Clash, I can honestly feel good about what we've accomplished over the last year and how much of an impact we made. Still, there's always more to be done. I've taken quite a few notes on the sessions I was present at today. These notes may materialize into articles eventually, but not today – I'm about ready to pass out. Nevertheless, here's a short summary of today's highlights.
Ron Carmel and his partner Kyle Gabler seem to be making all the right moves with their wildly successful indie game, World of Goo. In this session, Ron's breaks down the sales figures of WoG for 2008 and lets us know which outlets mattered the most. In a surprise to many, WiiWare would have all but dominated everything else were it not for the almighty Steam sale.
Game lawyer Tom Buscaglia peppers Zach Aikman (Fishbeat), Micheal Wilford (Twisted Pixel) and Dylan Fitterer (Audiosurf, LLC) with questions on how to nurse the buzz earned from IGF and PAX10 awards/nominations through to genuine business possibilities. The 3 took different routes but all agreed that press exposure was something you should give your full attention for as long as you have it. While it may siphon time away from actual development, its a necessary tactic to help ensure a successful game launch.
Dylan Fitterer takes the stage again to emphasize constraints as necessary development tools for independents. While many independent (and mod) teams may push the bar in order to make themselves more comparable to full-on commercial studio titles, Dylan embraced his constraints to help himself author one of the bestselling indie games ever. Just as artists have done more with less, indie game developers should consider enforcing constraints to stimulate proactive development and unleash true creative freedom.
Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock and outspoken advocate against DRM, reveals how his company has been able to achieve the heights of success developing and publishing games like Sins of the Solar Empire and Galactic Civilizations II. While not multi-million dollar blockbusters, Stardock is still thriving on what many wrongly consider to be a niche audience. After all, compared to games like Civilization 4, many FPS games just don't stack up in sales numbers.
Well, here I am again in San Francisco yet again for my second GDC. Another year wiser and this time I'll know what to expect. Last year's conference had my head spinning in wonderment – just two months after my initial employment with ModDB, I was plopped into a building full of the best and brightest (and most hopeful) in the games industry. It was an experience that was both exciting and exhausting. This year, I have a better handle on the things to come over the next week and quite a few things I am looking forward to:
The first two days of GDC are comprised of various summits specializing in different areas. The independent games summit has speakers from all the breakout indie hits that you may or may not have experienced this year. From Flower to World of Goo, the developers behind these projects share their tragedies and triumphs, their rants and raves. These sessions hold more importance to me not only because of their relevance to the site but the passion on display when watching these speakers. Everything seems just a little bit more unfiltered and raw, like they can tell you anything they want because they're their own boss.
The Independent Game Festival finalists will all have their own booths on the exhibition floor space. I haven't had time to check out the full lineup of indie games this year, so this is a great way to catch up. It's also great to chat with the developers firsthand and let them know about ModDB!
This event feels like the Oscars of the games industry – without the black tie. Developers awarded at the Game Developers Choice Awards are chosen through the voting of their peers. This year's show is hosted by funny-man Tim Schafer, the designer behind Grim Fandango, Psychonauts and the upcoming Brutal Legend. Should be a hoot.
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Mark Chandler (lodle), our lead developer, is attending GDC for his first time. He doesn't know what he's in for.
Despite releasing CryENGINE 2 less than 2 years ago in May 2007, Crytek will be introducing CryENGINE 3 at this years GDC. Developers what is your reaction to this announcement? Whilst I'm not a developer I am quite surprized by this, as CryENGINE 2 is still so new (and one of the best next-gen engines available), the tools and development kit is not really there for the mod teams, and already they seem to be ignoring this and pushing on. Here is the official release:
"With CryENGINE 3 we are delivering our best game development technology that enables our clients to achieve their vision on current and future platforms to develop games such as MMOs, action games and more. Our complete game engine solution enables realtime development, ensures teams are able to maximise their own creativity, saves budget and creates greater gaming experiences. Also with our solution developers can start working on their next generation games today." said Cevat Yerli, CEO & President of Crytek.
"CryENGINE 3 is a revolutionary change from our previous PC-only engines – and we're applying a similar revolution to the service we provide to developers using the software to create extraordinary games. CryENGINE 3 will set the benchmark for complete game engine solutions in performance, and services to game engine licensees and their players. We've been preparing a long time for CryENGINE on consoles and weire confident that Crytek will again amaze developers at GDC." added Carl Jones, Director of Business Development CryENGINE.
CryENGINE® is the underlying technology for Crytek's critically acclaimed games Crysis and Crysis Warhead and has already been licensed to a number of major game companies around the globe, including several recent serious games training and simulation projects.
Looks like they are staying true to their word and moving away from a pure PC development focus.
Beginning next week, the Mod DB team plans on adsorbing a ton of information from indies right through to the veterans presenting at this years GDC. Our schedule is jam packed, but if you are there or if you just live nearby and you want to catch up for a chat, shoot us a message.
Organizers of the Independent Games Festival (IGF) have launched the IGF Audience Award voting website. Visitors can download and play 15 of the Main Competition finalist games and vote for their favorite independent game. Online voting will continue through March 20th, and the winner will be awarded the $2,500 prize at the IGF awards ceremony on the same evening that the voting closes, along with the winners of a total of $50,000 in prizes as part of the IGF Main and Student Competitions. The full list of finalist games for download and voting is available at Igf.com.
In addition to digital download, all finalist games will be playable at the IGF Pavilion, March 25-27, on the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Expo floor. Finalists were chosen from a record 226 entries and represent the growth of the independent games movement with innovative games of excellent quality, across various platforms. GDC, Think Services Game Group's annual conference dedicated to the art, science and business of games, takes place Mar. 23-27, 2009 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
The games with eligible demos or full versions on PC, XBLA, XNA Community Games or PSN are: Retro/Grade, Dyson, Brainpipe, The Maw, IncrediBots, Osmos, Musaic Box, Cortex Command, CarneyVale Showtime, Coil, The Graveyard, PixelJunk Eden, Mightier, You Have To Burn The Rope, and Between.
"The Audience Award is always one of my favorite categories, as such a big part of the independent movement is about giving the public a voice," said Simon Carless, IGF chairman. "With the quality of the finalist games that have been nominated this year, we hope to have a record amount of votes on the website."
Mountain Dew's Green Label Gaming is the 2009 Platinum Sponsor, alongside Microsoft's XNA division and Sony as the Gold and Silver Sponsors respectively, and DigiPen Institute Of Technology is the Platinum Student Showcase Sponsor.
The IGF was established in 1998 by the CMP Game Group (now Think Services) to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers, in the way that the Sundance Film Festival honors the independent film community. For more information on the Independent Games Festival and to register for GDC, please visit www.gdconf.com.