GDC 2015 kicks off on March 2nd – just seven weeks away – and we're continuing our countdown to the biggest event in the game developers' calendar by taking a closer look at some of the speakers lined up.
Below are seven of the sessions you must make time for. There are, of course, plenty more to see – more than 500, in fact – and you can find out more about the full programme at www.gdconf.com.
Bungie reveals how it harnessed multi-threaded rendering in Destiny
Say what you will about Destiny's substance, there's no denying that Bungie's ambitious shooter is one stylish looking game. The studio's Natalya Tatarchuk will be sharing some of the team's techniques at GDC, focusing on multi-threaded rendering: using as many of the new console's multi-core computational architectures as possible.
Swery spills the beans on 'sensory replication'
Hidetaka 'Swery' Suehiro aimed to empathetically connect to his players in his latest game, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, through a design method he terms as 'sensory replication'. At GDC this year, the designer will discuss what this technique involves, how it can engage players emotionally and how it will help players who hate motion controls enjoy a Kinect game.
Crowd computing with Ubisoft
For all its faults, Assassin's Creed: Unity did at least impress with its advanced crowd technology, bringing Revolutionary Paris to life. Ubisoft's AI programmer Francois Cournoyer will discuss the new techniques the teams used to create thousands of replicated, persistent and interactive NPCs – plus how Ubi attempted to swap low-res NPCs for high-res versions without the player noticing.
Double Fine discusses Broken Age's unique animation style
The long-awaited crowdfunded adventure game from Tim Schafer and his team finally made its way to PC last year. With Act 2 of Broken Age still on the way, the studio's Raymond Crook offers a detailed walkthrough of the 2.5D animation style the game uses, as well as the animation pipeline behind it.
Scripting with the Frostbite engine
Dragon Age: Inquisition was the first entry in the series that used DICE's Frostbite engine, which require a new approach to scripting. EA's Matthew Doell will share insights into this process at GDC, talking through how Frostbite Script enables the publisher's developers to create custom tools for each of their projects and share those with other teams.
Borderlands writer on DLC storylines
In a sessions amusingly titled 'Plot is dumb, character is cool', Gearbox writer Anthony Burch will discuss what players really want from the narrative of DLC and expansions. Using Borderlands 2's DLC as an example, Burch will weigh up the benefits of focusing on lore and storyline versus fleshing out established characters.
Mike Bithell reveals how to polish your indie game
The Thomas Was Alone and Volume dev will offer advice on how to best spend your time when polishing your game for launch. How do you avoid spending too long refining your title? What should you prioritise? Using both his titles as examples, Bithell will show practical examples that other indies can apply to their own projects.
We'll be bringing you weekly updates on the conference, its programme and more. As usual, the March issue of Develop will be available on the show floor for all attendees, and we'll be covering every major announcement and more online.
And if you want to meet up with our Deputy Editor Craig Chapple at the show, email firstname.lastname@example.org.