Microsoft, Frontier, Naughty Dog, Bungie and Framestore representatives to head UK development event

Five Develop Conference keynotes unveiled

Develop conference organiser Tandem Events has unveiled five keynote speakers for the Develop in Brighton event next month.

Each of the conference’s seven tracks will be lead by a keynote speaker, in recognition of the escalating sophistication of the individual disciplines that game development encompasses.

Five of these keynotes have been announced so far:

ART & ANIMATION KEYNOTE: Framestore and the Golden Compass: The Tools and Techniques of Visual Effects – Andy Lomas, Framestore

Andy Lomas is head of computer graphics at Framestore CFC. Over the last 15 years he has been involved in a wide range of projects ranging from commercials and long form television to live action visual effects and CG feature animation. His credits include Walking with Dinosaurs, Dinotopia, The Matrix: Reloaded, The Matrix: Revolutions, Over the Hedge, Lost in Space, Fairy Tale: A True Story, The Odyssey, Alice in Wonderland, Arabian Nights and Jason and the Argonauts. He has won numerous awards for his work, including Emmys for supervising the computer generated effects on The Odyssey and Alice in Wonderland. Currently he is working of Framestore’s first CG Feature Animation film: The Tale of Despereaux.

DESIGN KEYNOTE: Halo AI Retrospective: Eight Years of Work on 30 Seconds of Fun – Damian Isla, senior engineer; AI lead programmer Halo 2 and Halo 3, Bungie Studios

Damian Isla is a Gameplay and Artificial Intelligence Lead at Bungie Studios, where he was responsible for the AI for mega-hit first-person shooters HALO 2 and HALO 3, two of the most successful video games of all time. Before coming to Bungie, he earned an M.Eng. at the MIT Media Lab’s Synthetic Characters Group, where he did research on learning and behavior for artificial creatures. He has spoken on games and character AI at the Game Developers Conference, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), the AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference (AIIDE) and at Siggraph, and was a contributor to Game AI Programming Wisdom 1 and 3. He has a BSc. in Computer Science, again from MIT. He enjoys drama of all kinds.

PRODUCTION KEYNOTE: Working Hard and Having Fun: How Naughty Dog Made Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Richard Lemarchand, co-lead game designer, Naughty Dog

Richard Lemarchand was the lead game designer of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and also worked on Naughty Dog’s Jak 3 and Jak X: Combat Racing. He has made story-based character-action games the main focus of his design career and has worked with some of the industry’s best and brightest along the way. Richard is a hands-on designer who loves the practical business of building out a game in common-sense ways while keeping standards high. He spends his days with his metaphorical sleeves rolled up, championing the player’s experience and helping keep the development team on track.

CODING KEYNOTE: Why the Future is Brighter than Ever – David Braben, founder, Frontier Developments

Award-winning David Braben and his Cambridge based studio Frontier Developments are recognised worldwide as leading innovators in video game development technology and design. Frontier’s most recent title Thrillville published by LucasArts in North America was the best-selling original children’s/family title in 2006. Frontier’s work on The Outsider promises to deliver yet another ground-breaking title and a number of gameplay firsts. David is directing the development of several titles which all utilise the studio’s sophisticated in-house tool chain.

BUSINESS KEYNOTE: The Broadening Imperative – Phil Spencer, general manager, Microsoft Game Studios Europe

Phil Spencer is responsible for building great games with Microsoft’s European development partners and internal studios including Banjo Kazooie 3, Fable 2, Viva Pinata. Spencer joined Microsoft Game Studios in 2002, managing the development of externally developed MGS first-party games, and was promoted to general manager in 2006 overseeing all internal and external Windows and XBOX game development including such games as Halo 2, Halo 3, Age of Empires 3, Gears of War and others. He came to London to head up the European office of Microsoft Game in May 2007.

“This year’s keynote speakers are all revered experts in their fields and we are looking forward to hearing five very different presentations depicting the wide variety of stories, experiences and end products that make working in these industries so unique,” said Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events.

The Develop Conference takes place at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Brighton, UK between July 29th and 31st. For more information, visit the official website.

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