Your guide to the sixth MIGS conference

Event Preview: Montreal International Game Summit 09

Monday 16th of November marks the start of the two-day Montreal International Game Summit 09 – an event which expects to welcome 1,500 attendees from across the globe.

Designed to cater for those in the programming, visual arts, design, audio, production, business, and serious games disciplines, the Canadian conference has been conceived so as to offer an environment conducive to learning, networking and debate.

With over 80 courses and seminars sheduled to take place across the two-day summit, MIGS offers one of the most impressive programs of any of the year’s conferences, spread across half-a-dozen themed-tracks.

As the sixth MIGS event, 2009’s Alliance Numérique organised summit is also to feature a VIP gala, a number of cocktail parties, a range of specialised meetings, a separate business lounge and a large ‘Exposition Zone’ packed with exhibitors.

You can view the detailed schedule on the official MIGS 09 website, or check below to see Develop’s picks from across the program.

MIGS takes place from Monday 16th to Tuesday 17th November at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure.


Fostering Cultural Diversity in Game Development
Yoichi Wada, president and CEO Square Enix

Square Enix acquired Eidos as a wholly owned subsidiary on April 22, 2009 in a step to further achieve its corporate philosophy: To spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable experiences. The Group is currently building a new, group-wide game development environment in an effort to make full use of the unique individual characteristics of its three core brands – Square Enix , Taito and Eidos; moving beyond differences in style and background while strengthening creativity and innovation. In his speech, Mr. Wada will share the steps the Group has taken, providing to those involved with the global video game industry a vision of future game development.

Designing Assassin’s Creed II

Patrick Plourde, lead game designer, Ubisoft
Production track

Working under a very aggressive schedule, Assassin’s Creed II development team had the objective to create a ‘monster’ game, sequel to the first opus, Assassin’s Creed. With more than 300 developers on the project, the team had to deal with the numerous challenges of such a production all the while keeping the game development on track.

Patrick Plourde will go over the technical approach the Design team took during the production of the game: -Keeping the design focused on the right things; Building a game around a strong documentation structure :Validating the results with players In identifying the core experiences of the game, as well as having a solid design structure, the designers can influence risk management and ensure the game’s success.

Digital Distribution Will Change Your Game
Vander Caballero, creative director, EA Montréal
Design track

If we use the app-store (Apple digital distribution system on I-phone) as a reference of what the future holds, the future of console gaming will look drastically different from what it is today. In the month of August none of the top publishers had a game in the top 20, the closest is EA with Tetris at position 28.

All top 10 positions are held by indie developers; do big companies have something to learn from indie developers in online distribution? Would gamers want more of the same AAA cookie cutter mechanics with nice graphics? Or would this distribution channel create an appetite for innovative mechanics and experiences?

Jason Graves, composer, Jason Graves Music
Production track
Dead Space: A Musical Post-Mordem

Dead Space’s music played an important role in establishing the tense atmosphere of the game. Composer Jason Graves will take you through the music production process, from conception and live recording to interactive implementation. He will highlight techniques that can be applied to any production, regardless of the game’s genre or musical style.

Practical Parallel Programming – SPU Usage and Advice From Killzone 2
Michiel van der Leeuw, Technical Director Guerilla
Tech track

In this talk we’ll go into lessons learned about parallel programming during the development of Killzone 2. A lot of different techniques will be covered to give an idea about the type of code that Killzone 2 shipped with as well as more general lessons learned, advice and a vision of where parallel programming is going.

Cinematics Sans Cutscenes
Jonathan Cooper, lead animator, BioWare
Art track

Cutscenes are a divisive subject amongst videogame developers. We rely on them as a relatively production-safe solution for imparting exposition and story progression, to give the player objective location information, and to reward achievement and successes like level completion. However, they cut more than just the camera. The flow, immersion, and most of all, interactivity uniquely enjoyed by the medium of videogames all take a hit for their (often unskippable) duration. In their defense however, attempts to forego their inclusion can result in a weaker visual presentation and take us further away from an emotional connection with characters and story.

Additionally, a quick scan of screenshots previewing upcoming games illustrates our growing reluctance as an industry to present titles from the in-game perspective, where cameras are rightly skewed towards gameplay. This talk explores various techniques used by games over the years to create a cinematic look outside of the traditional reliance on cutscenes, with the pros and cons of each, finishing with suggestions on how these might be combined in the future to offer cinematic moments while keeping the player in the game. Takeaway: Techniques alternative to cutscenes for imparting interactive story and cinematic moments in games. Intended Audience: Game Designers, Writers, Animators and those involved in storytelling.

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