GDC is next week! I won't be going since there's a lot of Gunstringer stuff going at this stage of the game, and it's almost definitely better that I work on adding more awesome rather than doing GDC and PAX East back to back. Hopefully things will work out scheduling wise next year.
Even though I'll be here in Austin, three of my close friends are giving GDC speeches this year. They're also all about some subjects that have pretty interesting backstories, which means I'm obligated to pimp them out:
Pro Guitar in Rock Band 3
1:30pm Wednesday with Sylvain Dubrofsky
Pro Guitar was probably the most universally hard feature to develop on the Rock Band platform, since it had huge hurdles across every single possible direction. Besides the obvious design work to make real guitar readable in real time to people who haven't played guitar before, there were massive peripheral, legal, patent, licensing and authoring issues to work through.
Sylvain came on to RB3 as the senior gameplay dude, and along with Mike Monsalvatge and Bryn Bennett pretty much turned a flawed and shaky prototype that our pre-production team made into something that shipped in a pretty amazing state. There are hours of stories here with amazing solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems, so it's pretty safe to say that you'll be entertained if you show up.
Design Process and Philosophy of Dance Central
3:00pm Wednesday with Dean Tate (@IamDeanTate)
Dean is awesome, and a good friend from way back when we both lived in Australia. When we were ramping up our design team at Harmonix, I knew that we had to get him in to interview as he'd be perfect for the lead role on Dance Central.
After yelling at him for hours, he finally caved in and moved over to Boston, and made Dance Central as his first lead designer title. Those who've played Dance Central know that it's easily the best Kinect launch title. What's even more amazing is that he designed this on a short development cycle, on pre-release Kinect hardware, all while mentoring a design team so junior that they'd never worked as game designers on a game before Dance Central.
If producing Dance Central in those conditions doesn't say huge amounts about Dean's skills and process as a designer, I don't know what does. Maybe his stunning good looks?
Lessons Learned in Music Development: Brutal Legend, Bioshock and Destroy All Humans
3:30pm Friday with Emily Ridgway (@emilyindustries)
Em's pretty awesome at her job. She built all the audio for Destroy All Humans from scratch with something like a $500 budget and a not so spare meeting room, then kicked ass with Bioshock as the audio director, as well as nailing Brutal Legend's music and sound integration. She's now doing her own thing at her outsource startup Emily Industries, which I'd definitely recommend if you need audio outsource work.
It's a late session on the last day, which means it's the perfect session for you to attend and just listen to a bunch of cool sounds while relaxing from the four days of partying you did previously.