We look at some of the sessions you should save time for in San Francisco next month

Countdown to GDC 2016: Six triple-A games dissected

There are just six weeks to go until the 30th Game Developers Conference takes place, and we’re continuing our countdown towards the big event with a look at some of the sessions already confirmed.

While the indie scene disrupts the games industry every day, it’s still the triple-A developers that are leading the way in visuals, scope and polish. As such, the organisers of GDC have called on the world’s biggest developers to share their secrets.

Here Be Dragons, or lessons learned in the development of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

CD Projekt Red’s principal programmer Balazs Torok discusses the hardships of creating last year’s acclaimed RPG, ranging from memory management to rendering performances. Torok will even offer tips on open world game design. You can find out more about the talk here.

Raid on Rise: Narrative creation on Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rhianna Pratchett is joined by the narrative and creative teams from Crystal Dynamics as they reflect on the continuing reinvention of gaming icon Lara Croft. The panel will also demonstrate how story and characterisation can be essential to success in the triple-A space. Find out more about this talk here.

Blending autonomy and control: Creating NPCs for Tom Clancy’s The Division

As hype builds for Ubisoft’s online shooter, Massive Entertainment’s senior AI programmer Philip Dunstan and game designer Drew Rechner reveal how they’re populating The Division’s devastated New York City with enemy NPCs that can navigate an open world. Find out more about this talk here.

More explosions, more chaos and definitely more blowing stuff up: Optimisations and new DirectX Features in Just Cause 3

One of Intel’s sponsored sessions, this discussions between Intel’s Antoine Cohade and Avalanche’s Emil Persson details the technology that helps Just Cause 3 fans create untold chaos without bringing down the game’s performance. Find out more about this talk here.

Standing on the shoulders of giants: The story behind the music and sound design for Star Wars Battlefront

With John Williams and Ben Burtt unavailable, it’s up to composer Gordy Haab and DICE sound designer David Jegutidse to talk about working with the legendary audio work of the Star Wars films. Find out more about this talk here.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: London wasn’t built in a day

Ubisoft’s team lead tools Damien Bastian reveals the new methods of world-building that saw last year’s Assassin’s Creed take shape. Bastian will detail the features of Ubisoft’s toolset, such as road mesh generation and building placement, as well as showing the evolution of the virtual Victorian London. Find out more about this talk here.

As always, our bumper-sized March issue of Develop will be available on the GDC show floor to all attendees, and we’ll be covering every major announcement and more online. Be sure to bookmark www.develop-online.net/gdc.

To find out more about advertising opportunities in the GDC issue, contact Jennie Lane via jlane@nbmedia.com or Charlotte Nangle via cnangle@nbmedia.com. Alternatively you can call them on 0207 354 6000.

If you’d like to get in touch with advice on how to prepare for the busiest week of the year or notify us about a must-see session or event, email jbatchelor@nbmedia.com.

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