So the Montreal Game Summit is fast approaching and I'll be attending. I thought there might be 1-2 people out there who had some interest in knowing what presentations I hope to attend (obviously there are likely to be scheduling conflicts) and why, so here we go:
Advanced Prototyping (keynote). Why?: Maxis is the leader (imo) when it comes to user created content in the gaming space (first sims, now spore). Prototyping tools, procedurally generated and user created content are also all areas I am interested in in terms of creating next-gen 'AAA' titles armed with tools that might help reduce costly waste.
Closing keynote Why?: I'm willing to bet this one won't conflict with any other presentations, so I expect most attendees of the conference to be there. I always find it interesting to hear visionaries duke it out in a roundtable, so this one should be interesting.
Game Writing: Best practices Why?: I've met Susan O'Conner before. She seems to know her stuff so I'm expecting an insightful presentation. Additionally, strong story telling has always been important to me in games -- both the ones I play and the ones I create.
VO Panel Why?: Again, for personal and professional reasons, strong VO in games is important (I really liked the voice actors we chose for The Two Thrones). Also one of the panel members is the head of Ubisoft's sound studio -- gotta root for the home team!
Game AI is dead. Long live Game AI Why?: Strong AI is going to matter a lot in the game I'm currently working on. Professional vested interest. Additionally we're not sending any programmers from our team to the conference, so I'll need to attend this talk and take good notes to bring back, even if I don't understand it all.
Controllers and Decontrollers Why?: Anyone who has played a recent Ubisoft game probably recognizes that we put player emotion (impacting it, controlling it, encouraging it, etc) high on our list of priorities. The abstract for this talk sounds a little academic, but I have high hopes.
The 4 most important emotions of game design. Why?: See above re: emotions. Additionally I heard Nicole talk at this year's GDC and really enjoyed it. I tried to find a way to work with her consulting company, XEODesign, but it wasn't to be. This one will be interesting.
Building New IP and Innovation in Games Why?: The subject of the talk speaks of some pretty grand ambitions. Also I know Vanderlei ('Vander') and want to support him.
How To Keep A Team Motivated, Or Why it Doesn't Even Matter Why?: I'm a Producer. Producers try to keep their teams motivated. Additionally, though, I love the frankness of the subject matter -- sometimes there is just nothing you can do to fix a demotivating situation (no matter how hard you spin) so why not build a company around preventing them from occurring? Pipedream? I hope to find out.
Agile Game Development From The Trenches Why?: Ahh...Agile. The production methodology that will save gaming. I've heard about it, read about it, tried implementing it, and obviously have more to learn about it. I expect Noel (the presenter) to be mobbed with questions after the session.
Opportunities and Challenges in the Age of Digital Distribution Why?: Not only is Kim an old friend of my sisters and a reader of this blog, but he is also talking about things I believe firmly will help define the future of the gaming industry as we know it.
Talks I won't likely attend but would recommend
Bare metal: modern graphics hardware architecture Why?: JF St-Amour is one of the best 3D programmers I have worked with so for those interested in the field, I expect this to be an interesting talk.
Mobile Game Deployment - Unlocking the secrets Why?: Alex is one of my best friends, and an incredibly sharp and driven guy. He blew through the ranks at Airborne Entertainment faster then I ever would have, so I respect his insights a great deal.