With GDC less than a month away, we put together this guide for GDC attendees who are technical artists or interested in the trade.
- [jump=attend][B]Are you attending?[/B][/jump]
- [jump=blog][B]TAO blogs GDC[/B][/jump]
- [jump=prize][B]Prize Giveaway![/B][/jump]
- [jump=recom][B]Recommended Sessions[/B][/jump]
- [jump=category][B]Sessions by Category[/B][/jump]
Are you attending?
The following community members are attending GDC this year (with links to speaker bio pages if available):
- Chris Evans
- Rob Galanakis
- Seth Gibson
- Jeff Hanna
- Ross Patel
- Ben Cloward (BioWare)
- jeremyc (Red Storm)
- Jason Parks (Sony Online)
- Bronwen Grimes (Valve)
- Drew (Drew Skillman, Double Fine)
- adam (Adam Mechtley, Flashbang)
- Lard (David Biggs, Torus Games)
- KritterSG (Kritter Griffin, Blizzard)
- bdeda (Ben Deda, Meggitt)
- FSTTYMS (BJ, Prime Candidate (Recruiting))
If you are attending are are not listed, please send me a PM so we all can meet up!
TAO Blogs GDC
Various TAO members will be blogging GDC. Myself, Jeff Hanna, and Ben Cloward (and possibly more!) will be blogging on the TAO Blog.
You'll also be able to get Ben's blogging on his blog and mine on my site as well..
tech-artists.org Prize Giveaway!
I will be handing out cards at GDC that will direct people to this website, where they can sign up for the site and enter a raffle code. Prizes are as follows:
Blade 3D 6-month Hobbyist License (x2, $90 value each)
Unity 2.x License ($199 value)
NVIDIA graphics card, model TBD with winner ($180 value)
EA Games (x5, $60 value each)
A big thanks to both Digini/Blade3D and Unity Technologies for donating engine licenses!
Tech Artist Sessions
The following sessions are being hosted by TAO community members and focus specifically on the technical art trade:
my focus at work is more towards animation than anything else, so these are some some of the other sessions i was considering:
Character Pathfinding and Animation: How to Make Them Work Together (Wednesday, 4:00pm — 5:00pm) - not sure what to expect from this one as it seems to be run by kynapse/autodesk
End Helmet Tyranny (Thursday, 4:30pm — 5:30pm) - facial animation talk - curious to see who the speaker is, as it hasn't been announced on the website yet.
Dynamic Walking with Semi-Procedural Animation (Friday, 4:00pm — 5:00pm) - interesting looking talk about partially automating things like foot placement and run cycles. focus on the talk seems to be about preserving animators work while making it better, which i think is a fine line to walk.
Burned by Friendly Fire: Game Critics Rant (Friday, 10:30am — 11:30am) - these are never to be missed
The Brutal Art of Brütal Legend (Thursday, 4:30pm — 5:30pm) - just hoping to catch a glimpse of this game, because i'm pretty excited for it.
Authoring for Real-Time Tessellation and Displacement Mapping (Friday, 9:00am — 10:00am) - i don't really know much of anything about real-time displacement mapping, so this will be an early morning introduction for me
These are my personal recommended sessions for technical artists (and likely my own TA relevant schedule, so no conflicts). This is only from Wednesday to Friday (ie, the main conference). If anyone else has their own recommendations, I'll make a new list for those! It was hard to choose, since there are always those slots packed with TA goodness and then slots where there is nothing...:
Universal Character System in SAINTS ROW 2 (Wednesday 10:30-11:30)Character creators and customization is a hot topic, and one which has more problems than solutions. Getting AAA visuals out of something where the user can heavily customize appearance is a constantly elevating challenge, and hopefully this session can provide some interesting experience and insight.
Next-Gen Tech, but Last-Gen Looks? Tips to Make your Game Look Better - That Don't Include Bloom and Motion Blur. (Wednesday 12-1)It is always fun to 'ooohhh' and 'aaahhh' at the newest graphics demos, but implementing them into real pipelines and games is always a different story. This talk promises a much more sobering and practical look at improving visuals through graphics technology than most ("The focus will be on using graphics technology to achieve specific artistic goals, rather than showcasing the technology itself."). Should be good, useful info for today's games.
- Technical Artist Roundtable, (Wednesday, 2:30 to 3:30)Meet and speak with other technical artists and discuss what is relevant to you. Jeff is a veteran moderator of this roundtable and they are always invaluable for technical artists as technical artists.
The Tech Behind the Tools of Insomniac Games (Wednesday 4-5)This talk is a high-level look at Insomniac's tools. With Insomniac's fast pace and reputation for quality, I expect to see something mindblowing that will make me reconsider everything I know about tools. These sorts of overview sessions can be, and often are, much more informative than the lower-level technical discussions, since they provide a more generally applicable type of knowledge.
Illustrative Rendering of PRINCE OF PERSIA (Thursday 9-10)I don't think there is a developer who doesn't like PoP's rendering style. It is one of those things we've all discussed with other graphics guys at least once, trying to figure out how they did it. Well, now we'll know!
From Pipe Dream to Open World: The Terraforming of FAR CRY 2 (Thursday 1:30-2:30, Frank from Ubi Mtl recommended this talk to me)From what I've heard of Far Cry 2's technical pipeline and mechanics, this promises to be a very informative lecture. It seems every year we see technically and artistically awesome groundbreaking games from Ubisoft Montreal and it is always worthwhile to get whatever info you can out of them.
- Technical Artist Roundtable (Thursday 3:00 - 4:00)Part deux.
Advanced Autodesk Python Maya (Thursday 4:30-5:30, and given by an AD person, just be aware)The only really relevant TA session in this timeslot, it is an advanced discussion, so Maya-Python guys are sure to benefit. Or you could go back to your hotel room early, because Thursday is party night.
- Technical Artist Roundtable (Friday, 10:30 - 11:30)Engage in deep and meaningful discussion with dozens of hung-over technical artists! The frazzled nerves and upset stomachs are sure to yield plenty of cussing, and who knows what will be said about AD.
- Technical Art Techniques Panel: Tools and Pipeline (Friday, 2:30 - 4:30)If you don't attend this, you will be perma-banned from TAO. It doesn't matter if you have a 6:05 flight home.
Sessions By Category
This is a pretty comprehensive list of relevant sessions to TA's, divided by category and then listed by date/time. I've re-listed all sessions mentioned previously. If I've missed anything you think would be relevant, please post or PM and I'll edit.
Rigging and Animation
Tools and Pipeline
*Just a note about some of the "Sponsored Sessions." I didn't include many of these as I don't find much value in them except if you are directly interested in the technologies being covered (and even then, a personal demo is of much more use). Some of these are relevant to TA's. There are sessions for SoftImage, HumanIK, Kynapse, Morpheme, and others.