The 2022 Game Developer Conference (GDC) is just around the corner. And with it, the details about the speakers and content are coming together for the hybrid iteration of this influential game developer show. GDC’s organizers have recently announced their agenda is now online, covering both the online and in-person portions of the show. And, without a doubt, there is plenty to talk about after two years without an in-person GDC event.
It’s been a wild ride for the game industry in the last couple years, including high-visibility change and upheaval around unionization (such as at Vodeo Games), workplace culture (like at Activision Blizzard and UbiSoft), work-life balance, and managing a post-pandemic form of work. These topics are reflected in many of the sessions. For example, this is one of the GDC 2022’s featured sessions, a multi-session exploration of the changing dynamic of what it means to work in game development:
“In this installment of the GDC Main Stage, ‘The Developer’s Renaissance’ is a multi-part presentation about the future of game development and the evolving workplace. It’s an introspection about how the pandemic allowed the industry to reexamine how things are done—figuring out what’s important (and perhaps what’s not), and how things can be better moving forward. Topics include: finding the right balance in a remote/hybrid work environment, taking a stronger approach to addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, and empowering developers to ‘kill it with kindness.'”
One of GDC’s long-standing popular sessions are retrospectives, or “postmortems,” that look back on the good, bad, and the ugly from the development of classic and popular games — from the unique perspective of their creators. One such session includes a very familiar developer and first-person shooter game in the business and gaming development community:
John Romero (Managing Director, Romero Games Ltd.)
“Wolfenstein 3D Postmortem: In early 1992, id Software had just shipped their latest 2D platform games and were ready for something different. Having released the first texture-mapped 3D shooter, Catacomb 3D, just a couple months earlier, they were planning what their next project would be. Wolfenstein 3D was an ambitious design for an MS-DOS PC in 1992. There were no GPUs, most games were 320×200 pixels, a lot of memory was 4GB, and mice were rarely used. Follow the journey that the four founders of id Software took to create a watershed moment in gaming history that showed the world that the PC could play a new kind of game that no other machine could replicate. Game designer, programmer, and id Software co-founder, John Romero, will take the audience through this short seven month timeline and show you just how much happened during Wolfenstein 3D’s development rollercoaster ride.”
The Virtual Reality Developer Summit was a standalone event that accompanied GDC, but it’s now reincorporated into GDC as the “Future Realities Summit.” There will be a broad number of sessions covering virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and, of course, the catch-all concept of the metaverse. One of the sessions an interested GDC attendee may want to check out is:
Future Realities Summit: Metaverse Games: State of Play and Opportunities
Dom Tait (Research Director, Omdia)
“Tech companies are working hard to create the metaverse, but a number of games already offer their version of it. This talk will assess and quantifiably rank the main games contenders by looking at what makes a successful metaverse, and how companies both inside and outside gaming can benefit from it.”
Besides the Future Realities Summit, another new summit added for GDC 2022 is the Open Source Game Development Summit. This summit is about developers who are using, or who are interested in, using open source tools in their developer tool stack. One example of a talk an attendee may find in this summit is:
Open Source Game Development Summit: Open Source Strategy for Game Studios
“Game studios are using open source at an increasing pace, but that’s not necessarily good. Like many things, the devil lies in the details. There’s much more to open source than getting utilities for free. With just a little thought and effort, open source can be a strategic super power for studios, reducing staff recruiting and onboarding times while giving a big boost to branding.
Come learn from a corporate open source strategist and the founder of a popular (and open source!) narrative design tool, then take your studio to the next level with open source.”
Of course, these examples barely scratch the surface of the sessions available through “GDC week,” which you can check out here. GDC 2022 takes place from Monday, March 21 to Friday, March 25, returning to the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Conference health and safety guidelines that reflect current COVID-19 guidance can be found at this link. The virtual GDC event has a longer window for participation, with the event starting on March 21 until Friday, April 1. Virtual sessions will be available for on-demand viewing through April 1. For folks anxious to build their agenda, they’ll be able to plan out their schedule on March 14, which is when the virtual GDC event platform and mobile app should be available.
For virtual and in-person GDC pass options, visit the GDC registration page for more information.