Game on at Game Developers Conference 2015
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) recently kicked off its annual event at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. Industry experts have planned more than 400 lectures, tutorials and group discussions regarding development technology and game design.
The annual Game Developers Conference, which is expected to draw around 25,000 people this year, has been running for 27 years, and many developers find that it presents some of the best networking opportunities in the industry. GDC claims to differ from other similar shows such as E3 and PAX, in that it is, globally speaking, the largest and longest running game industry event designed only for professionals.
While the media usually focuses on gaming bellwethers such as Nitendo and its ilk, the annual GDC event gives independent game developers space to reveal their talents and an opportunity to shine with the Independent Games Festival. This festival, which will be held for the 17th year at GDC 2015, is a competition specifically for indie game developers. Lack of funding and cut throat competition tend to create roadblocks for independent game studios, but lately indie developers such as Amanita Design, Jonathan Mak and The Behemoth have shown that they have the potential to upset the corporate apple cart. The number of such developers is mushrooming, with last year’s IGF witnessing almost 900 entries, among them being major prizewinners such as Simogo’s DEVICE 6, Lucas Pope’s Papers, Please and Luxuria Superbia from Tale of Tales.
Among the awards to be distributed at the 2015 Independent Games Festival are the Seumas McNally Grand Prize totalled at $30,000, the Nuovo Award worth $5,000 and five other awards, each valued at $3,000, which include Excellence in Visual Art, Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Design, Excellence in Narrative and the Audience Award.
IGF 2015 will also feature a Student Showcase Competition which allows student developers to display their talents as well. The students will have the chance to win two awards including the Best Student Game Award valued at $3,000 and the IGF Student Showcase Winner which is worth $1,000.
Despite the overwhelming popularity of gaming consoles, this year’s GDC event might see some companies giving an unexpected thrust to PC gaming. NVIDIA and AMD are, as of yet, keeping mum about their upcoming displays and announcements, with NVIDIA merely hinting that their surprise has been in the works for five years.
Valve, a game development company which provides a PC game digital distribution service called Steam, along with machines of the same name, is set to display a product called Vive, a Virtual Reality (VR) headset developed in conjunction with HTC. Available with the Vive VR headset will be a set of HTC-made wireless controllers that are to be used for manipulating objects or shooting weapons via hand tracking. Valve is receiving content development assistance for the device from partners at LionsGate, HBO and Google.
Aside from Valve, other big names in games such Oculus and Sony will be displaying their Virtual Reality technologies at GDC 2015 as well. Additionally, a company called Razer is expected to showcase its Open Source VR headset, while Microsoft is set to show off its HoloLens.