With more than 500 sessions, it’s easy to get lost in this year’s conference programme. Fortunately, we’ve picked out our most anticipated talks to help you catch the best of GDC 2015

Countdown to GDC 2015: Three days to go – 15 must-see sessions


Math for Game Programmers

10am to 5.30pm, Room 304, South Hall
Programming track

Experts from Google, Activision, Ready at Dawn and more teach devs the core mathematics behind aspects such as 2D and 3D graphics, physics simulation and nuanced gameplay in a day packed with tutorials and microtalks.

The Uncomfortable Truth About Mobile Games

10am to 11am, Room 2011, West Hall
Business, Marketing and Management track

Pollen VC discusses how studios can balance monetisation with increasing user acquisition costs in the increasingly competitive mobile market, touching funding paid promotions and generating long-term value from your users.

Leading Players Astray: 80 Days & Unexpected Stories

11.50am to 12.15pm, Room 2005, West Hall
Independent Games Summit

Freelance writer Meg Jayanth draws on her experience with Inkle Studios’ mobile hit 80 Days as she talks about how indie developers can create stories that do more than just explain mechanics and motivation.


Everything You Need To Know About YouTubers But Were Afraid To Ask

1.45pm to 2.10pm, Room 2005, West Hall
Independent Games Summit

YouTube personality Alex ‘Baer’ Larrabee details the process he and his peers go through when choosing which games to play and promote, and suggests how devs can better interact with YouTubers.

Measuring and Manipulating Player Trust through Choice and Game Mechanics

2.20pm to 2.45pm, Room 306, South Hall
AI Summit

This lecture will show how ‘trust’ can be formalised mathematically using decision theory and game theory, allowing developers to create believeable NPCs and depict the consequences of player actions.

When Story is the Gameplay: Multi-Genre Writing for Telltale Games

4.30pm to 5.30pm, Room 3016, West Hall
Game Narrative Summit

The team behind The Walking Dead and other episodic hits discuss how they create stories in virtual environments, and how the line between writing and game design has become increasingly blurred.


Building Fear in Alien: Isolation

12pm to 12.30pm, Room 3020, West Hall
Design & Visual Arts tracks

Creative Assembly’s Al Hope looks at how the team used visuals, audio and the Xenomorph’s senses to ramp up the tension in the best-selling sci-fi horror title.

Designing for Empathy with Sensory Replication in D4

2pm to 3pm, Room 3016, West Hall 
Design track

Deadly Premonition dev Hidetaka ‘Swery’ Suehiro discusses what his new tech technique ‘sensory replication’ involves, how it engages players emotionally and how it helps those who hate motion controls to enjoy a Kinect game.

Transitioning from Linear to Open World Design with Sunset Overdrive

3.30pm to 4.30pm, Room 3016, West Hall
Design and Production tracks

Insomniac Games discusses how, after 20 years of developing linear titles, it tackled the challenges of open world design. The team will also directly compare the workflow on Sunset Overdrive to Resistance 3.


Peggle Blast: Big Concepts, Small Project

10am to 11am, Room 3006, West Hall
Audio track

PopCap’s audio team reveals how they achieved high-quality audio within just 5MB in Peggle Blast, using MIDI music, procedural audio synthesis and more to produce 30 minutes of music and hundreds of sound effects.

Blending Cinematic and Gameplay Animation in The Order: 1866

11.30am to 12.30pm, Room 3003, West Hall/
Production track

Ready at Dawn’s lead animators describe how they had to rethink traditional animation procedures for the PS4 exclusive, using the same assets for both cutscenes and gameplay.

Indie Polish: Making the Most of the Last 10%

3pm to 3.30pm, Room 2015, West Hall
Design and Visual Arts tracks

Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell offers advice on how to best spend your time when polishing your game for launch. What should you prioritise? He will show practical examples that other indies can apply to their own projects.


Classic Game Postmortem: Loom

10am to 11am, Room 135, North Hall
Design track

Veteran games developer Brian Moriarty looks back at the development of 1990 graphic adventure game Loom, a mature fantasy title with an innovative interface that paved the way for countless LucasArts classics.

Driveclub: Coffee and Skidmarks

11.30am to 12pm, Room 3006, West Hall
Audio track

SCEE and Evolution Studios discuss the tools, tech and recording techniques that went into the PS4 racer, touching on some of the challenges encounteredwhen working on a brand new console.

Black Characters in Games: Diversify Your Game

1.30pm to 2.30pm, Room 124, North Hall
Advocacy track

This lecture will discuss game characters in present-day titles from both a protagonist and antagonist point of view as they pertain to black people and minorities, including the perception of both the characters and the dev team.

Don’t forget, the March issue of Develop will be on the show floor all week, giving you the chance to get your company in front of thousands of GDC attendees.

To find out more about advertising opportunities, contact Alex via aboucher@nbmedia.com or Charlotte via cnangle@nbmedia.com. You can also call them on 01992 535647.

And if you want to meet up with our Deputy Editor Craig Chapple at the show, email cchapple@nbmedia.com.

Check out our previous Countdown to GDC 2015 round-ups here.

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