Vancouver – A first look at some of the sessions taking place at GDC Canada 2010, which is happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre this May 6 & 7 was released at the end of last week. GDC Canada 2009 offered many opportunities to learn, exchange ideas, network and socialize, and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year. With the addition of the Canadian Video Game and Digital Arts Awards, Video Games Live and the return of the Game Career Seminar, GDC Canada is growing, and this is a great thing to see in our city.
Haven’t registered yet? Alumni Registration, for those who attended GDC Canada 2009 or VIGS 2008, closes on February 26th, with Early Bird registration open until March 31, 2010. There are also many opportunities for event sponsorship, from general sponsorship to networking events and more.
Check the GDC Canada site often for the latest schedule updates.
* Building Social Games: Games at the Speed of Light
Speaker: Bill Mooney (Zynga)
Topic: Social & Casual
The social gaming market is exploding – viral propagation across the world, low barriers to entry which create agile competitors, and a rapidly changing and imperfectly understood marketplace. Bill walks through key learnings from his time making Zynga franchises Mafia Wars and FarmVille.
* A Tale of 14 Apps: IUGO’s App Store Journey
Speaker: Sarah Thomson (IUGO Mobile Entertainment)
IUGO Mobile Entertainment, one of the leading independent mobile developers delves behind the scenes to reveal their successes and failures on the App Store. IUGOs Director of Business Development, Sarah Thomson, shares details on which of their 14 titles have been hits and which underperformed. Through thoughtful and compelling analysis Sarah discusses why some titles excelled while others failed; which were a surprise and how some were a disappointment. Take a rare glimpse into one of the most prolific producers of premium games on the App Store and find out what the future holds for IUGO and the iPhone.
* 10 Tips (and more!) to Make Your iPhone Game More Successful
Speaker: Alan Martin (Vogster Entertainment)
Based on the experience of Robocalypse Mobile Mayhem and other market research, this session provides strategic advice on things iPhone developers can do before AND after the games launch to maximize their products exposure and longevity on the Apple charts. Information that can be applied to other digital distribution markets is included, as well.
* The Art of Conversion: How to Manage Players through Your Game Service
Speakers: Andrew Mayer (Media Shifters), Nick Fortugno (Playmatics)
Topic: Social & Casual
One of the most profound changes in the game industry recently is the transition of games from a boxed product to a service business. The developers relationship with their customer no longer ends at the point of purchase, but begins with installation. But as the platforms for delivering these new games grow more mature, traditional channels for viral growth are rapidly becoming less effective. Nick Fortugno and Andrew Mayer will explore the lifecycle of this next generation of game players, and how to keep up with this changing market by looking at the user experience through the traditional lens of conversion: converting platform users into game players, converting players into viral advocates, and, most importantly, converting your user base into paying customers
* Beyond Mafia Wars: The Rise of Next-Generation Social Entertainment
Speaker: Steve Bocska (Pug Pharm Productions)
Topic: Social & Casual
Mafia Wars, Farmville, Kart Rider, Maple Story — Can new entrants effectively compete in the casual online gaming space? Or have they already missed the boat? And more importantly, where is the next Blue Ocean opportunity in casual online gaming? This session explores how truly social games represent the current low-hanging fruit for designers and developers. It reveals why Facebook is a dangerous place to develop, how to know if your social game is actually viable, why the mobile gaming model is fundamentally broken, and many mistakes being made by virtually every independent developer in the industry today.
* A Dynamic Component Architecture for High Performance Gameplay
Speaker: Terrance Cohen (Insomniac Games)
This presentation will detail a dynamic component architecture used in the Resistance franchise to represent aspects of entity and systems’ behavior. This component system addresses several weaknesses of the traditional game object model for high-performance gameplay, particularly in multi-threaded or multi-processor environments. Dynamic components are allocated and de-allocated on-demand from efficient memory pools, and the system provides a convenient framework for running updates in parallel and on different processors such as SPUs. The system can be layered on top of a traditional game object model, so a codebase can gradually migrate to this new architecture. The presentation will discuss motivations and goals of the system as well as implementation details.
* Character Voices- Conceptualization, Casting, Recording, and the Cultural Reference Point
Speaker: Zach Hanks (SOUNDAWG)
Topic: Game Design
Most problems with a games voice acting are created before any recording happens. The pitfalls are dug during Conceptualization, Casting, and Session Preparation. This seminar will reveal both the requirements and traps of crafting a vocal palette. Conceptualization – Designing a vocal palette and the Cultural Reference Point Casting – Character breakdowns, casting directors, and actor selection Session Preparation Voice Directors, actors scripts, perfectionism, and minimizing retakes Attendees will leave this talk with new tools to bring to the production process. saving time and money, as well as adding greater depth and specificity to universe in which your characters dwell.
* Contract Negotiations
Speaker: Feargus Urquhart (Obsidian Entertainment, Inc.)
Topic: Business & Production / Lecture
Negotiating a contract can be one of the most stressful parts of the process of making interactive entertainment, especially for new companies. In this presentation Feargus shares strategies and advice, gleaned from over almost 15 years of experience, that is aimed at smoothing out the negotiation process – for both developers and publishers.
* Emerging Legal Issues in Social Gaming: The Re-appearance of the Gamekeeper
Speakers: Dr. Andreas Lober (SchulteRiesenkampff) and Olivier Oosterbaan (Create Law)
Topic: Social & Casual / Panel
With the strong growth of social gaming, new legal issues ask for attention. In this session, attorneys Dr. Andreas Lober from Germany and Olivier Oosterbaan from the Netherlands will touch on a number of new legal issues surrounding social gaming, such as privacy in relation to meta-data, viral marketing and misleading advertising, virtual goods and gambling, as well as platform dominance. Social gaming being a global phenomenon, the international perspective is more important than ever, and the clash of the game operator’s Terms of Service with those of the social platform needs to be resolved.