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11:00amJustin Glibert 0xPARC11:00am - 11:45amRoom 1
On “Autonomous Worlds”Tuesday 11th July11:00am - 11:45amRoom 1
Can blockchains create a new game genre beyond digital ownership and financialization?
Blockchains have brought their share of financialization with the NFT craze and their token-powered ponzi-mechanics. Unlike personal computers and handheld devices, they haven't significant impacted games culturally yet; their contribution has been limited to predatory get rich quick schemes. Can they unlock a new game genre then? We think yes. Just like faster CPUs and graphics card introduced 3D and first person shooters to the world, we have been observing signs of new behaviours linked to the persistent and composable aspect of the "multiplayer computer" aspect of blockchains, whom we think of as a genuinely novel form of hardware.
Over the last 3 years, we have designed and built 3 worlds running "onchain". Unlike the very visible "Web3" games or "Play to earn" platforms you might have heard of that add a blockchain economy layer on traditional game architectures, onchain games have their logic and data fully executed and stored on the blockchain, leading to unique properties we will explore in this session.
- Learn about new uses of blockchain, away from the financialisation we've seen to date
- An introduction to the concept of Autonomous Worlds
- New programming concepts
12:00pmIan Simpson TT Games12:00pm - 12:45pmRoom 3
Lego Starwars: 200+ Character States Built for 384 Playable CharactersTuesday 11th July12:00pm - 12:45pmRoom 3
One of the more unique challenges the Lego titles developed by Tt Games face compared to many other AAA games is not only creating a large number of different interactions you can do as a player, but then also customising and configuring these across such a large array of playable characters.
In Lego Starwars: They Skywalker Saga we took the opportunity to re-build much of the code base and this meant building over 200 character states from scratch and creating workflows to allow these to be configured and customised efficiently across 384 playable characters ( and a lot of non-playable characters too! ).
This session will look at the systems and processes we put in place to make this a much more manageable task.
- Understand one of the more unique challenges we face when developing the Lego games.
- Understand why we made the decisions we did around our and how other games would likely make a different set of decisions based on their need.
- See how through well thought out plans you can minimise the work and overhead needed for setting up a large variety of playable characters.
3:00pmYoyu Li Infinite Whys3:00pm - 3:45pmRoom 4
Cloud Native Development Level Up for Smaller TeamsTuesday 11th July3:00pm - 3:45pmRoom 4
Cloud technology has been a game changer for the wider tech industry in the past decade. It has been well-adopted by bigger players in the games industry too, but less so for smaller teams. The speaker Yoyu made a bold career transition from a cloud technology consultant to an indie game developer three years ago. She has seen so many ways even small game dev teams can utilise cloud technology to improve their productivity or enhance the game experience.
In this talk, she will use real-world examples of how her team utilises cloud technology, and give practical advice on how to adopt cloud-native development, in particular for smaller teams,
Yoyu is a Google Developer Expert and Champion Innovator for Google Cloud. She is also a narrative designer for Reigns: Three Kingdoms (2022) and a producer for Whispers in the West (2023).
- What “Cloud Native” means and how it differs from “game servers”
- Some practical tips for small teams to utilise cloud technology at almost no extra cost
- Use case example of using Github Actions to pre-process Google Sheets data
- Use case example of using Object Storage for hosting dynamic game content
- Use case example of using Cloud Functions for Twitch extension backend
5:00pmAndrew Fray Roll75:00pm - 5:45pmRoom 4
Dodging Bullets: Lightweight Automated Testing in RollerdromeTuesday 11th July5:00pm - 5:45pmRoom 4
Rollerdrome was released to critical acclaim in 2022. It was an enormous technical challenge to combine tactical third person shooting with rollerskate-based physics traversal on a tight budget, but the game was remarkably stable through development and launch.
The team used automated testing to support that stability, letting the build server run through specific game scenarios multiple times a day. QA were able to forgo repetitive tasks, artists had confidence their work would load on every platform, and engineers were able to continue deep optimisations very close to console sub.
It took surprisingly little effort and expertise to set this up for Rollerdrome. In this talk Andrew Fray will explain how even small teams can get started with automated testing in just a few hours, and why you might want to start applying some basic automated testing to your projects no matter where they are in development.
- To understand how automated testing can help your project, no matter its stage of development
- How to get started in automated testing with very little setup, and see instant benefits
- Next steps for when you’re ready to up your automated testing game
11:00amGert Dhaenens Frontier Developments11:00am - 11:45amRoom 4
Every Bit Counts: Effective Rendering Techniques for Sandbox GamesWednesday 12th July11:00am - 11:45amRoom 4
Frontier Developments has a history of making simulation and management games that allow the players to have very high degrees of creative freedom. These degrees of freedom bring implications to how our rendering systems need to deal with the highly dynamic nature of our games and require us to think outside of the box. This session will provide some case studies of how we tackle those problems and provide insight into the reasoning behind them.
Koen Samyn Digital Arts and Entertainment11:00am - 11:45amRoom 6Coding FREE
- Why to not underestimate the proven track record of game development’s wide range of rendering techniques
- How the interaction between multiple rendering techniques can have a larger impact than the contributions of a singular technique
- How decisions about your game world can affect which rendering technique to choose
- How to think about how your rendering techniques impact the look and feel of your game world
Take Control of Your Build System with CMakeWednesday 12th July11:00am - 11:45amRoom 6
Many programmers struggle with properly configuring the builds of C++ projects. This session will start with a quick recap of the fundamental building blocks of a C++ application (i.e. object files, libraries and executables) and how these files are built by the compiler and linker.
Next we discuss building a single executable project without dependencies while also discussing the syntax of the CMake programming language.
The logical next step is to add library projects (external and internal) to the project and to create an installer for the various executable artifacts. An important aspect of CMake in this regard is the possible to create modular library projects which makes it easier to configure new projects.
The session conclude with the integration of a CMake project in a CI/CD setting.
- Basics of CMake
- Does CMake offer an advantage for our builds?
- Structure of a cross platform build.
- CMake build configurations
12:00pmJan-Jaap Fahner Guerrilla12:00pm - 12:45pmRoom 2
Space-Efficient Content Packaging for ‘Horizon Forbidden West’Wednesday 12th July12:00pm - 12:45pmRoom 2
For Horizon Forbidden West, Guerrilla rewrote their asset packaging and streaming system from scratch. Building on concepts from graph theory, the underlying algorithm automates the packaging process while delivering a provably space-efficient layout. This method produces unique object groupings that are guaranteed to facilitate loading of any combination of content without overreading, while guaranteeing the lowest number of read operations. Packaged content is guaranteed to be non-cyclic, simplifying loading and unloading mechanisms.
The algorithm does not require any object duplication, although it does not prevent it, and does not impose any limitations on artists’ workflow or content setup, making integration into existing pipelines feasible. Fully automating the packaging process, it removes any need for manual management of the object grouping setup, while enabling fine-grained control over partial and on-demand content delivery.
- Discover a new way of packaging your game content that maximizes space efficiency and simplifies the content loading system.
- Reduce the metadata complexity of your content graph by orders of magnitude, while removing any undesired duplication on disk and in memory.
- Learn how you can get control over fine-grained partial and on-demand content delivery.
2:00pmConnor Carson Half Mermaid Productions2:00pm - 2:45pmRoom 4
Match Cuts in IMMORTALITY: Programming a Tiny ScorseseWednesday 12th July2:00pm - 2:45pmRoom 4
Hear how and why the team at Half Mermaid took the cinematic technique known as the match cut and adapted it into the boundary-pushing, exploratory mechanic it is in IMMORTALITY, the award-winning, decade-spanning FMV game about three films that were never released, and the missing actress at the center of it all. Peak into the design processes that went into the match cut system. Learn from Connor Carson, the lead programmer on IMMORTALITY, how over 2000 props, actors, set-pieces and everything in-between were tracked across every frame of 288 scenes. How that massive amount of data was optimized, converted into in-game data, maintained and synchronized, and then finally tracked across each scene in real time. How seamless transitions were calculated from the data, allowing the code to make editing decisions on the fly. And finally, How the algorithm driving the player’s progress made meaningful, yet seemingly random decisions, giving each player a completely unique experience of Marissa Marcel’s story.
Attendees will learn how Half Mermaid handled and serialized massive amounts of data in pursuit of creating a player experience that felt unrestricted and expressive. How to parse and import large quantities of different data types, and how that data was converted into positional information that had to be perfectly synchronized and tracked in a cheap way across every frame of footage. Given enough data, how the code was able to make useful and accurate decisions about when and where to transition to during a match cut, freeing the team from the burden of having to hand select transition points across all 288 clips of footage. And finally, how the game’s driving algorithm moved the player forward in a meaningful way, taking into account their decisions and progress, while still maintaining a feeling of unpredictability through use of randomness.
4:00pmRon de Feijter Interior Night4:00pm - 4:45pmRoom 2
Programming for ‘As Dusk Falls’: Using Unity DifferentlyWednesday 12th July4:00pm - 4:45pmRoom 2
In the summer of 2022 Interior Night released its first title, the branching narrative game 'As Dusk Falls'. Developed in Unity, this game posed some interesting engineering challenges due to its very nature. Think for instance of its instantly recognizable and distinct art-style using 2D characters placed in 3D environments. These character images are created by 2D artists based on stills from video shoots of actors playing out the story, which allowed us to capture the emotion of the actor’s performance. This, however, only works if these 2D and 3D elements are merged together perfectly. Or what about the design requirement to have no loading screens whatsoever during an entire episode.
This talk will focus on how As Dusk Falls was realised by creating a range of bespoke Unity extensions and pipelines as well as a number of supporting tools around that. It will discuss the way the game was constructed in Unity, how content creators were able to navigate through the game both at design and runtime and how the tools were made to enable them to work effectively. As a specific example it will examine the character pipeline combining 2D character images with 3D environments by describing the custom tooling created in Unity to work with these character images, the bespoke tools implemented to generate the required content at the video shoots, the automated processes happening both inside and outside Unity to support the content creators, and many more elements that tied into this pipeline. Furthermore, this talk will also highlight some additional (Unity) tools and integrations implemented to facilitate debugging, performance measurements, reviews and iteration, and providing production with insights into the state of development.
- How to build a branching narrative game in Unity
- How to organise a narrative game to hide content loading
- How to create an art style that combines 2D and 3D elements
- Examples of how to create custom UI and integrations for Unity to streamline the workflow for content creators
- Examples of how to combine tools inside and outside Unity to create bespoke pipelines
- Examples of how to use automated processes to free up development time
5:00pmWill Myles Framestore5:00pm - 5:45pmRoom 2
Realtime Engines: Blurring the Boundaries Between Film and Game DevelopmentWednesday 12th July5:00pm - 5:45pmRoom 2
Delivered by a games industry veteran, turned VFX noob, this session will begin with an examination of the growing trend in using real-time engines as part of the film-making process. Exploring the current applications for real-time engines in Virtual production. From In-Camera VFX using LED volumes, to engine use in Pre and Post visualisation.
Framestore's Unreal Shot Engine (FUSE) – a collaboration with Epic through their MegaGrant project - is presented as the next step in real-time engine use for film. This innovative technology seamlessly integrates Unreal Engine into the company's VFX pipeline.
In order to test FUSEs real-time workflows in a production environment, a short film "Flite", has been created. Which will be used as a case study to discuss the benefits and trade-offs of using real-time engine technology in this way.
The session concludes by considering the exciting possibilities that now exist for closer collaboration between the film and game industries.
- You'll have gained a comprehensive understanding of the traditional VFX pipeline.
- You'll understand the significant improvements that real-time technology has brought to the filmmaking process. And why real-time engine use in film has rapidly grown in popularity.
- You’ll have seen how the FUSE project has integrated Unreal into the VFX pipeline. And been used to produce a short film, rendered completely within Unreal Engine.
In summary, this session offers an invaluable opportunity to gain knowledge and insights into the cutting-edge technology and practices that are shaping and bringing together the future of the film and game industries.
12:15pmArjan Brussee Epic Games12:15pm - 1:00pmRoom 3
What’s New and Upcoming for Unreal Engine in 2023Thursday 13th July12:15pm - 1:00pmRoom 3
Arjan, who is Product Director on Unreal Engine's development team at Epic Games, will go over the headlines for what's upcoming for Unreal Engine development in 2023 and beyond.
2:00pmRegner Blok-Andersen Splash Damage2:00pm - 2:45pmRoom 2
How Splash Damage Utilises Epic’s Horde Build SystemThursday 13th July2:00pm - 2:45pmRoom 2
Horde is a new build system developed by Epic specifically for Unreal Engine. In this presentation we will discuss what exactly Horde is, how it can help accelerate development of Unreal projects, what we learned rolling it out to 5 projects and hundreds of developers, and key things to be aware of if you want to try it yourself.
- What is Horde and how it compares to alternatives
- Why should you, or should you not, use Horde
- Leasons learned rolling Horde out to a studio
3:00pmGeraldo Filipe Garcês do Nascimento Lively - A Keywords Studio3:00pm - 3:45pmRoom 2
Sustainable Coding with a Mental Health MindsetThursday 13th July3:00pm - 3:45pmRoom 2
By being kind to yourself, to the code, and to others, you can be more productive, accept future changes more easily, and leave the path open to implement new features while making your current features work better together. All with a sustainable mental health mindset.
This talk explores the intersection of game programming, software engineering and emotional intelligence. Topics include how to keep your codebase nimble, how to code well with others with a kind approach to feedback and specific approaches to game engineering to keep one step ahead of design changes.
- Kindness for game programmers: boost productivity while keeping your mental health
- Day-to-day coding principles to follow
- Modern software engineering practices applied to games: dependency injection, asynchronicity, reactive programming