The Game Developer Conference is an annual event hosted to allow game developers a chance to present sessions about their current and upcoming projects. Naughty Dog and Sony will give several such sessions at this year’s GDC, touching on topics like the art culture of Uncharted 4, Bloodborne‘s gothic horror music, and lessons learned from the music of The Last of Us.
The conference will be running from March 14th to March 18th in San Francisco. Here’s a rundown of Sony and Naughty Dog’s events in detail:
Technical Art Culture of Uncharted 4
Andrew Maximov | Senior Artist, Naughty Dog Inc.
Technical Art of Uncharted 4 is a hearty reflection on the lessons learned during creation of technology that powers the current gen Art Pipeline of Naughty Dog.
Come and learn how we created our interactive foliage animation technology, cloth, hair and fur simulation, custom automated level of detail technology that allowed us to seamlessly render levels the size of our E3 demo, runtime softbody vehicle deformation, automated runtime object population solutions, tool analytics and more. All written almost exclusively within the Art Department. But even more importantly, hear our take on what makes effective technical art, the struggles we had with adoption, why self-induced ignorance can be a creative force, why your are only as good as the best work you will ever throw away, how lack of cross departmental barriers allows you to throw more people at problems without actually having to have more people, how cross-technological communication is the next best thing after interpersonal, why nothing beats the importance of trivial tech work and how core artistic principles directly apply to creating technology.
The Gothic Horror Music of Bloodborne
Peter Scaturro | Sr. Music Producer, SCEA
Jim Fowler | Music Production Supervisor, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Penka Kouneva | Lead Orchestrator, Kouneva Studios
Bloodborne is a 2015 horror-action RPG directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki (Demon’s Soul and Dark Souls), developed by From Software (Japan) and published exclusively on PS4. The game music has received broad critical acclaim for its singular, intense Gothic horror sound performed by large orchestra, choir, soloists, percussion and utilizing extended orchestral techniques. This lecture will examine the musical style and orchestral approaches in the score. We will discuss the dissonant harmony, the horror-inspired melodic gestures, the “wall of sound” approaches and the blood-curdling action music. We will show how the challenging choral writing and the extended orchestral techniques evoked the desperate, disease-plagued City of Yharnam. We will also discuss how the orchestration helped unify the “sound” and aesthetics while working with a multi-cultural creative team (three Japanese staff composers at From Software, and three US guest composers). Additionally, the lecture will examine the communication and logistical challenges inherent with teams based across three continents, and strategies to promote successful musical productions.
Empowering Content Creators
Stephen Broadley | Lead Tools Programmer, Sony London Studio
The key to unlocking your content-creators talent lies in the game engine, not just the editor. In this talk, we see how designing the ‘ultimate editing experience’ impacted London Studio’s engine as much as the editor, leading to surprising interactions between the two and turning an entire team that once hated the tools into champions for them.
Fast and Flexible: Technical Art and Rendering For The Unknown
James Answer | Principal Technical Artist, Sony London Studio
Sony London Studio has recently developed a number of virtual reality experiences for Sony’s Morpheus, including “The Deep”, “VR Luge” and “The London Heist” that have been showcased at GDC, E3 and other events to great acclaim. In this talk you’ll find out how London Studio has focused its rendering technology and tools to plan for the unknown, including a look at our flexible forward renderer and tooling.The technical and artistic challenges that were overcome in making great quality within the demands of VR and the optimization strategies employed will also be discussed. The techniques that will be shared can help studios producing VR content improve the quality of their visuals, but many are also applicable to traditional games.
Maths to Mechanics: Using Mathematical logic to Implement Intuitive Gameplay
Ronald De Feijter | Principal Programmer, Sony London Studio
Virtual Reality games have, more than any other type of video game before, raised the bar on player immersion and sense of presence. At Sony’s London Studio we have been at the forefront of this with our Playstation VR demos such as The London Heist, The Deep, and VR Luge. Whereas traditional games often apply a significant amount of abstraction in implementing the gameplay mechanics, immersion in Virtual Reality is generally best served by making the player interactions as intuitive and natural as possible. In this presentation I will discuss the core underlying concepts of the acclaimed physical interaction mechanics of The London Heist as well as the mathematical principles used to implement them. Aimed at gameplay programmers and technical designers this presentation will show you how to implement intuitive and effective motion based gameplay mechanics for your games.
Music Design; Lessons from The Last of Us and More
Jonathan Mayer | Sr. Music Manager, SCEA
Jonathan Mayer has been producing music for Playstation games since 2005. In his time he has collaborated with game developers on some of the industry’s most creatively successful scores. From these experiences, Jonathan has derived some key observations as well as a strong set of opinions about how our industry typically approaches music design and production.
With a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and a holistic approach to the process, Jonathan wants to share as well as inspire current and future professionals to push the boundaries of what is possible by closely integrating music development with game design.This lecture is geared toward game designers, music and audio professionals alike in an effort to raise questions about our industry’s approach to music in games and provide experience based best practices for the future.
You Hear That? Team Engagement for Audio
Rev. Dr. Bradley D. Meyer | Audio Director, Sucker Punch Productions
Audio teams are often frustrated by a lack of support and understanding from their dev teams. This talk hopes to present ways to turn that frustration into cooperation by presenting a series of easy (and fun) ways audio team memebers can engage with their larger development teams early to provide audio direction to the project and enjoy a cascading benefit of knowledge through education. Using anecdotes and examples of various useful engagement practices for audio teams, this talk aims to show how these practices can pay huge dividends in getting entire teams to think about and be excited about the audio of a project from pre-production onward.