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Why Now Is the Best Time Ever to Be a Game Developer

Ingress: Design Principles Behind Google's Massively Multiplayer Geo Game

Playing with 'Game'

Gathering Your Party with Project Eternity (GDC Next 10)

D4: Dawn of the Dreaming Director's Drama (GDC Next 10)

Using Plot Devices to Create Gameplay in Storyteller (GDC Next 10)

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Making CounterSpy (GDC Next 10)

Luck and Skill in Games

Minimalist Game Design for Mobile Devices

Broken Age: Rethinking a Classic Genre for the Modern Era (GDC Next 10)


GDC Europe 2013 Category
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Balancing Monetization to Succeed in the F2P MMO Space
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SKU#: GDCE13-25658_XIQF
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Description: Balancing Monetization to Succeed in the F2P MMO Space
Gabriel Hacker | General Manager and Head of European Operations, Perfect World

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Monday, August 19
Time: 13:35-14:00
Track: Free to Play Design & Business Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


In the exploding free-to-play MMO environment, monetization balance is extremely important. What types of content should be paid for? How do you prevent players from being able to simply 'pay to win', thus diminishing the play experience of non-paying players? And what is too expensive? What is too cheap? The general manager of Perfect World, Gabriel Hacker, will address these issues, which directly concern the new F2P MMO, by walking through theory and examples of best and worst practices.


The Dumb Hobby Project: Lessons Learned Making Thomas Was Alone
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SKU#: GDCE13-25573_XQVG
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Description: The Dumb Hobby Project: Lessons Learned Making Thomas Was Alone
Mike Bithell | Developer, Independent

Location: Congress Saal 3
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 17:30-17:55
Track: Independent Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


A rundown of some of the things Mike learned while making his surprise indie hit Thomas Was Alone, and some of the lessons he'll be putting to use on his next project.


Will Unconsoles Become the Real Next-Gen Consoles?
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SKU#: GDCE13-25535_SLBE
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Description: Will Unconsoles Become the Real Next-Gen Consoles?
Sameer Baroova | Head of Games, PlayJam
Brian Bruning | Director, MOGA
Michael Schade | CEO and Co-Founder, Fishlabs
Phil Scott | Technical Evangelist, Nvidia

Location: Europasaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 16:35-17:00
Track: Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


2013 will probably be the most disruptive year in video game history ever. When the next generation of "classic" consoles for die-hard fans of AAA franchises hits the market later this year, they'll have to stand their ground against fierce competitors. On one hand, the "unconsoles" (Jon Jordan, Pocketgamer) like Ouya and Gamestick are about to enter the market from the low-end segment and on the other hand, game pad peripherals like Moga and Shield have already started to combine console controls with the ubiquity of smartphones as the real video gaming deal for the generation Y that is always on the go. However, there are significant challenges in designing games that work on both touch and gamepad controls ? especially when you also have to deal with different resolutions that come into play when you can either experience the game on a device you hold in your hand or on a TV set some meters away from you. Furthermore, the ever-growing number of digital game stores also means that there will be more fragmentation and potentially different business models that developers need to deal with. In the course of this panel, five of the most important players in the mobile space will debate the challenges and opportunities of this disruption and work out how developers can make the most out of this new situation.

Takeaway
Developers will learn how to cope with the challenges of implementing different control schemes and designing for the near and the far screen experience, as well as finding the right business model for each of the new channels.

Speakers
Michael Schade | CEO and Co-Founder, Fishlabs
Michael Schade, CEO & co-founder of FISHLABS, makers of the highly successful game series Galaxy on Fire, has been deeply involved with computer graphics, 3D animation and software development for more than 18 years. With seven years in 3D mobile gaming and an award-winning portfolio of high-end 3D games distributed globally through mobile operators, Apple's App Store and pre-loaded on Nokia and Sony Ericsson handsets, Michael has a profound knowledge of the mobile business. Michael is a well known evangelist for high-end gaming on mobile phones and a seasoned speaker with several lectures at mobile and gaming events all around the globe. Three years ago, advergaming became a major business for FISHLABS and clients like Volkswagen and Barclaycard are relying on Michael's knowledge and his team's expertise on how to engage millions of consumers worldwide through ad games on smartphones and tablets.


ibb & obb - Ten Talking Points
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SKU#: GDCE13-25534_KVTL
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Description: ibb & obb - Ten Talking Points
Richard Boeser | Sparpweed
Roland IJzermans | Owner, Sparpweed

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Wednesday, August 21
Time: 10:45-11:45
Track: Design
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


ibb & obb is a two-player cooperative platformer out on PlayStation3. Roland and Richard will give a quick glance at the past years of development and share ten points of interest, ranging from finances to artistic choices.


Playmakers in the Maldives
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SKU#: GDCE13-25533_IHXT
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Description: Playmakers in the Maldives
Patrick Jarnfelt | Developer, Copenhagen Game Collective

Location: Congress Saal 3
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 18:05-18:30
Track: Independent Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Playmakers in the Maldives is a collaborative project where game designers from different countries were invited to the Maldives to work with key artists, thinkers and organizers to create playful events in the public spaces of Male. One of the founding members of the Copenhagen Game Collective and a collaborator in the Maldives Playmakers Project, Patrick Jarnfelt, will tell about the experiences of designing games in the streets of Male, post the military coup of February 7, 2012.


Changing How Games Are Made: Seven Principles for Teams Without Management
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SKU#: GDCE13-25514_JSIM
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Description: Changing How Games Are Made: Seven Principles for Teams Without Management
Bernd Diemer | Game Director, Yager

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 13:35-14:00
Track: Production
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Over the last year, we built a AAA team without management. We will share the (so far) seven principles that helped us achieve this. These principles define how we communicate, organize ourselves, and reach decisions to deliver results that keep the publisher and the team happy. We will give insight into how we work day-to-day and milestone-to-milestone, what mistakes we made along the way and what we did about them.


Creating the AI for the Living, Breathing World of Hitman: Absolution
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SKU#: GDCE13-25510_GRWY
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Description: Creating the AI for the Living, Breathing World of Hitman: Absolution
Mika Vehkala | Senior AI Programmer, IO Interactive A/S

Location: Congress Saal 1
Date: Monday, August 19
Time: 13:00-13:25
Track: Programming
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Hitman: Absolution is a third-person assassination game where action and stealth are treated as equal citizens, granting the player total freedom in the way missions are tackled. Its gameplay is a combination of voyeurism, social stealth, action stealth and tactical combat. All these styles as well as the transitions between them must be challenging and fun to play. This requires an AI that adapts to multiple situations and reacts to the player's actions in a believable way. This presentation explains the rationale behind design choices and provides detailed information about the implementation of the multiple software layers driving AI and NPC animation in Hitman: Absolution.


10 Decisions That Took Warface to Our First 10 Million Users
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SKU#: GDCE13-25508_LWLK
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Description: 10 Decisions That Took Warface to Our First 10 Million Users
Nick Button-Brown | General Manager, Crytek GmbH

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 16:00-17:00
Track: Production
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


This session is a lighthearted journey through the last 7 years of development on Warface as Crytek moved from a traditional games platform to a free-to-play business model. Nick Button-Brown will look at 10 key decision points in those 7 years, the decisions we made, and how we adapted when those decisions were not right.


One Big World to Rule: Breaking Language Barriers
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SKU#: GDCE13-25502_GUPZ
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Description: One Big World to Rule: Breaking Language Barriers
Gabriel Leydon | CEO and Co-Founder, Machine Zone

Location: Europasaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 17:30-17:55
Track: Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Gabriel Leydon, CEO, will talk about the journey of building a groundbreaking translation technology in a pursuit to unify its world of gamers. He will describe the steps of discovery, and the hard problems the company solved to create a seemingly magical ability to translate instantly and bring speakers of many languages into the same psychological game in Machine Zone's new flagship title, Game of War.


Free-to-Play: Bitter Endings
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SKU#: GDCE13-25490_LLMP
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Description: Free-to-Play: Bitter Endings
Harald Riegler | CEO, Sproing Interactive Media GmbH

Location: Congress Saal 1
Date: Wednesday, August 21
Time: 10:45-11:45
Tracks: Business, Marketing & Management
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Currently, many free-to-play games are balanced along exponential curves. The consequence of this is that even players who really like a particular F2P game often don't leave with a positive experience compared to experiencing the grand ending of a traditional retail game, which leaves players on an emotional high. F2P games are often left at a point when players are concluding that in order to progress to the next stage, the investment in time or money is just too high. Fixing this is tricky and partially even undesirable, because players that do end up spending into an exponentially balanced end game contribute a large part of the total income an F2P game will make. The presentation will discuss ideas about achieving both high spending and an emotionally satisfying experience that doesn't conclude with a bitter ending.


How Reviewing Games for Nine Years Helped in Designing Gunpoint
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SKU#: GDCE13-25483_PKEA
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Description: How Reviewing Games for Nine Years Helped in Designing Gunpoint
Tom Francis | Designer, Suspicious Developments

Location: Congress Saal 3
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 14:30-14:55
Track: Independent Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Gunpoint's designer, writer and programmer, Tom Francis, worked on the game during the weekends while working as a full-time games critic for PC Gamer. This talk will share a bit of the awkwardness, glee, guilt and hypocrisy of someone criticising accomplished developers while making a bumbling attempt at their own first game. It will discuss what you can learn from the games you love and hate, and how to pick them apart.


Reflections on a Distributed and Manager-Less Work Environment
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SKU#: GDCE13-25479_SJHW
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Description: Reflections on a Distributed and Manager-Less Work Environment
Senta Jakobsen | Senior Development Director, Scattered Entertainment, A DeNA Company

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 13:00-13:25
Track: Production
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


A follow up to last year's presentation on 'Changing How Games are Made - Building and Working in a Distributed Team'. A review of how the first year of distributed and manager-less work has progressed. What has worked? What hasn't worked?


The Dark Sorcerer and Beyond: Shooting, Directing and Filming Virtual Actors
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SKU#: GDCE13-25478_BNSU
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Description: The Dark Sorcerer and Beyond: Shooting, Directing and Filming Virtual Actors
David Cage | CEO, Quantic Dream

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 11:00-12:00
Track: Visual Arts
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


David Cage of Quantic Dream will cover the visual art techniques used to create his last tech demo, The Dark Sorcerer, and his next title, Beyond. This talk will include performance capture, cameras, lighting, tech, directing, and everything involved in capturing, directing and filming virtual actors for next-gen titles, demonstrating it with exclusive footage from The Dark Sorcerer.


A World from Words: Highly Interactive Stories with Text
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SKU#: GDCE13-25470_BHKR
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Description: A World from Words: Highly Interactive Stories with Text
Jon Ingold | Creative Director, inkle

Location: Congress Saal 3
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 9:30-9:55
Track: Independent Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


inkle's recent iOS release, Steve Jackson's Sorcery!, is a text-based game that tells a story and provides player choices entirely through words - using minimal art and no animation or cut-scenes. Despite this, it achieved 85%+ reviews on IGN, Kotaku and elsewhere, and reached the top 20 all-app iPad chart in both the US and the UK. Creating a commercial success in a genre usually perceived as either too retro or else too avant-garde for the mainstream required a tight focus on the strengths of working with text: versatility, modularity, fast iteration and expressiveness. Using examples from Sorcery!'s script, we will demonstrate how we built a game with two people in six months that has several thousand meaningful story-choices and no canned sequences.


Give Your Good Game a Great Chance to Succeed in Mobile F2P
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SKU#: GDCE13-25468_SWHJ
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Description: Give Your Good Game a Great Chance to Succeed in Mobile F2P
Jameel Khalfan | Publishing, Pocket Gems

Location: Europasaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 18:05-18:30
Track: Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Give your good game a great chance to succeed in the mobile ecosystem. Mobile-first developer and publisher Pocket Gems will share learnings from cracking the mobile ecosystem nut to give their handcrafted games the platform to reach loyal and engaged players. Jameel Khalfan will touch on everything from design components to the incredibly complex user acquisition savvy required to breathe life into mobile games. Jameel will provide concrete and detailed examples of learning from the popular Pocket Gems catalog (including Tap Paradise Cove, Tap Zoo and Campus Life), as well as how the learnings were applied to partner games (Chasing Yello and Roboquest).


Pop-Up Arcade: Postmortems on Indie Arcades and Events
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SKU#: GDCE13-25467_KKVB
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Description: Pop-Up Arcade: Postmortems on Indie Arcades and Events
Zuraida Buter | Playful Arts Curator, Zo-ii
Marie Foulston | Queen Roughhouser, Wild Rumpus
Jonatan Van Hove | Co-Founder, Glitchnap

Location: Congress Saal 3
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 15:05-15:30
Track: Independent Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Pop-up indie arcades, game festivals and local multiplayer meetups are happening all across the world. Even though online play is omnipresent, the organizers prioritize the social situation that is created when players and spectators are all gathered in the same space. During the session, the speakers will present their experiences of the past years as organizers, as well as participants, of this local and global movement. They will discuss everything from the dirty details of how to put together a DIY arcade machine without a budget to their view on the impact of these events on game and play culture.


How Hard Could It Be? The Story of a Cinematic
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SKU#: GDCE13-25439_FZVH
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Description: How Hard Could It Be? The Story of a Cinematic
Brian Kindregan | Lead Writer, Blizzard

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Monday, August 19
Time: 9:30-10:30
Tracks: Design, Visual Arts
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm embraces cinematics as a high-level storytelling tool, a tactic that has been under fire in the games industry in recent years. This presentation will examine the strengths and weaknesses of that approach by tracing the story development of one particularly difficult cinematic. By showing multiple versions of the animatic, Brian will track the differing speed of cinematic production vs. game design, the feedback received, the choices made, and how they impacted the story. He will cover the obstacles that were overcome, those that weren't, and the lessons learned.


PlayStation Shading Language for PS4
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SKU#: GDCE13-25424_XNPV
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Description: PlayStation Shading Language for PS4
Chris Ho | Engineer, SCEA
Richard Stenson | Graphics Software Engineer, SCEA RandD

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Monday, August 19
Time: 14:30-15:30
Track: Programming
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


The PS4 is powered by a shading language that is familiar, but specific and extended for PS4. PSSL enables a degree of cross-compatibility with the PC, but extends far into specific PS4 hardware extensions that truly unlock features of the PS4 GPU in ways not seen before in this class of modern graphics hardware. This talk will feature the PC compatibility features of PSSL, as well as the hardware oriented extensions that will enable PS4 developers to 'Push the Boundaries of Play' on PS4.


Classic Game Postmortem: Kick Off
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SKU#: GDCE13-25423_EHAM
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Description: Classic Game Postmortem: Kick Off
Dino Dini | Lecturer, NHTV University of Applied Sciences

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Monday, August 19
Time: 11:00-12:00
Track: Design
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Much beloved among European gamers and developers, Dino Dini's top-down arcade soccer games Kick Off 1 & 2 were released by Anco in 1989 and 1990 respectively, and were made available for a host of platforms, including the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST. Continuing GDC Europe's series of classic postmortems of seminal European video games, Dino Dini himself will explore the making of the entire series of soccer-related games he made in the '80s and '90s. He'll include analysis into the design evolution that made the original game, including the 'kick ahead' mechanic, so successful, and add insight into its sequels and related titles. These include Player Manager (the first soccer game to twin management and a soccer game engine) and his later title Dino Dini's GOAL!.


Cloned at Birth: The Story of Ridiculous Fishing
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SKU#: GDCE13-25003_CAYI
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Description: Cloned at Birth: The Story of Ridiculous Fishing
Rami Ismail | Business and Development, Vlambeer
Jan Willem Nijman | Designer, Vlambeer

Location: Congress Saal 3
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 13:00-13:25
Track: Independent Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Vlambeer's 2013 iOS hit Ridiculous Fishing has come a long way since its conception back in 2010. Vlambeer will discuss keeping your design focused, the ups and downs of working remotely during emotionally stressful times, and how to deal with sensitive subjects such as cloning or IAP. During the postmortem, we'll explain how the game finally came to be that game that everybody was talking about.


Opinion Leaders - The Changing Relationships Between Customers, Publishers and Media
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SKU#: GDCE13-24980_MJEY
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Description: Opinion Leaders - The Changing Relationships Between Customers, Publishers and Media
Boris Schneider-Johne | Director of Enthusiasm, Independent

Location: Congress Saal 1
Date: Monday, August 19
Time: 16:00-17:00
Tracks: Business, Marketing & Management
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


Go back twenty years to 1993. When you wanted to complain about a product you wrote a letter to an editor for information, referred to magazines, or to your local retailer. Today, customers and users are in direct contact with producers and in direct competition with journalists. The leadership of opinions has shifted dramatically, but many people still ignore this situation - especially the journalists. Boris Schneider-Johne takes all of his knowledge from thirty years as a customer, producer, journalist and marketer, and explains the psychology of app store ratings, the power struggle over review embargos, the potency of numbers, and the emotions about technology. Warning: may contain current brain research, nostalgia, cynical remarks, usable tips and interactive experiments with the audience.


OpenGL ES 3.0 - Challenges and Opportunities
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SKU#: GDCE13-24957_LXBW
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Description: OpenGL ES 3.0 - Challenges and Opportunities
Marc Hehmeyer | CTO, FISHLABS Entertainment GmbH

Location: Europasaal
Date: Wednesday, August 21
Time: 10:45-11:45
Track: Programming
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


The latest innovation in mobile gaming will be fueled by the new 3D graphics standard OpenGL ES 3.0, which is expected to be implemented in smartphones and tablets hitting the streets towards the end of this year. In particular, it will further close the gap between tablets and consoles. Marc, as the CTO and mastermind behind the engine of the award-winning mobile games studio FISHLABS, creators of the critically acclaimed Galaxy on Fire series and other successful high-end 3D mobile games, will explain the new features of OpenGL ES 3.0 and highlight the fundamental differences to the predecessor based on best practice examples.


Turning Doodle Train's Failure into Rail Maze's Success
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SKU#: GDCE13-24852_RKCC
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Description: Turning Doodle Train's Failure into Rail Maze's Success
Andrei Gradinari | Lead Game Designer, Founder, Spooky House Studios

Location: Europasaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 16:00-16:25
Track: Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


This session will go through Spooky House Studios' bumpy ride with its iPhone hit game Rail Maze. First released as Doodle Train, the game was well received by the players, but didn't turn out to be a market success. After analyzing and fixing its flaws, and going through a major rebranding, the game was re-released as Rail Maze. Almost instantly, the game went to the top of Free App charts all over the world and got 5 million downloads in the first month. This session will go through what we did wrong with the Doodle Train, and how we fixed it in Rail Maze and succeeded.


We Can't Afford to Focus: A New Way of Thinking for Multi-Platform
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SKU#: GDCE13-24848_DFAW
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Description: We Can't Afford to Focus: A New Way of Thinking for Multi-Platform
Jani Kahrama | CEO, Secret Exit Ltd.

Location: Europasaal
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 13:35-14:00
Track: Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


So far we've kept things simple: make a great game on iOS, port to Android later. However, with chart positions now being subject to purchase by big players who can afford to do so - mobile is no longer an even playing field for quality content. With the above realization, we've radically changed our plan for the next game in our pipeline, Turbo Dismount. It has now become something totally different - a multi-platform project with a new approach for making each release support the larger whole. This talk will present Secret Exit's contemplations, reasoning and decisions in Q1-2 of 2013.


Warface: Creating AAA Graphics for Low-End PCs
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SKU#: GDCE13-24844_XZYK
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Description: Warface: Creating AAA Graphics for Low-End PCs
Konstantin Molchanov | Lead Artist, Crytek GmbH

Location: Offenbachsaal
Date: Monday, August 19
Time: 13:00-13:25
Track: Visual Arts
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video


The main topic will cover the most useful content creation solutions for technical issues that arise during the production of high-quality titles for low-end hardware. This includes tricks and techniques used to make game assets fit within tight, low-spec allowances, as well as how to ensure the smallest downloadable game size. Topics will include character, weapon, and environment assets creation processes that were used during the Warface free-to-play, MMO-FPS production.



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