Coding

The games industry clearly remains the most exciting and varied sector for a programmer to go to work in. In the Coding Track our seriously knowledgeable and experienced technical speakers will show you exactly how to rise to the many challenges and opportunities facing game programmers today - including new and emerging platforms.

Coding sessions

A Beginners Guide to AI Character Design

Tuesday 12th July: 11.00 - 11.45 :

Building smart, reactive and non-player characters for games is no easy task. They need to make smart decisions, move through the world smoothly, react to the player and systemic behaviour. Plus we bundle that with dialogue, animations and more to make them feel like they exist in these virtual spaces. On paper, it sounds pretty straightforward, but in practice, it can become very complicated, very quickly. In this session, we highlight the variety of tools and techniques you can use to make smart characters, how to design for a variety of situations and how best to ensure character art and animation helps reinforce all the smarts happening behind-the-scenes in your codebase.

Takeaway:

  • Understand the functional and non-functional requirements of different non-player characters
  • Gain a deeper understanding of common AI tools and techniques used for decision making in non-player characters
  • Learn good practices for designing intelligent, sensible and realistic characters
  • Understand how to achieve more intelligent characters through smart design and efficient tricks

Is Your Code Working For You?

Tuesday 12th July: 12.00 - 12.45 :

Is your code working for you, or are you working for your code? Are you writing the same code you've always written, and are worried whether it's the best way to do things? Are you following "best practice" advice, but want to understand why those are the rules? Game development is its own ball game, and there are sometimes unwritten rules about which language best practices are applicable. Sometimes a language evolves, or we switch languages, and the best practices we used to swear by now don't make sense. Sometimes we're confident we know exactly what a code snippet will do, and when we run it - it doesn't quite do what we expect. This talk will present tips and tricks for games programming, from beginner to advanced, C++, C#, and beyond. It will present the good, the bad, and the sometimes hilarious of games programming, using real examples and code snippets, and provide tools and exercises to take you beyond this talk to explore deeper into the code you write every day.

Takeaway: 

  • "Gotchas" you may accidentally be writing (especially if you switch language!)
  • Things you may have been told to do, but which you definitely should not in games development
  • Things you have been told not to do, but which are probably ok!
  • Tools to help you explore deeper into the language you are using every day


 

Get Immersed! Virtual Humans in Training and Collaboration in Virtual Reality

Tuesday 12th July: 15.00 - 15.45 :

This talk will give insight into the exciting world of research on Virtual Humans and how they have been utilized for training and collaboration in Virtual Reality in areas such as the Health and the Games Industry. Touching on Embodiment, Avatar realism, Non-verbal communication, and Immersion techniques. Delegates will leave with a new perspective on how Virtual Humans and Virtual Reality can provide stress-provoking interactions and a unique method of immersed self-assessment that can not be offered by any other platform.

Takeaway:

  • Delegates will leave with an understanding of how plausibility in VR can be moderated by the implementation of Virtual Humans
  • Delegates will leave with an understanding of how embodied social interactions can create unique opportunities for self-reflection and learning
  • Delegates will leave with an understanding of the limitations and challenges surrounding using Virtual Humans for Social Virtual Interaction.

The Tech Journey Behind Love & Pies

Tuesday 12th July: 16.00 - 16.45 :

We will discuss how we built several prototypes and tools to support rapid iteration of design and art while avoiding the production of heaps of tech debt. We’ll outline our modular code approach that’s saved us loads of time and allowed us to pivot many times before attaining success.

Takeaway:

  • How to prepare for prototyping
  • How to support your art and design teams
  • What you’ll need to build to release a large F2P mobile game (edited)

Extra Credit - Turning Internal Assets into a Valuable Side Hustle

Tuesday 12th July: 17.00 - 17.45 :

The Unity Asset Store is a great resource for developers, but it can also be a surprisingly profitable secondary revenue stream for small Indies. John Campbell shares his experience of developing for the Store. During the development of a game, we all create tools, systems, and assets for our own needs, but often these are valuable to others and can enjoy a second life on the Asset Store providing not just additional income but also secondary benefits to your studio. Learn the publishing process end-to-end, starting with identifying potentially successful assets, creating and refining them for best success, release and store presentation, and post-release growth and curation. Also, practical advice on user experience, documentation, and how to efficiently manage your community and support requests. Triangular Pixels has been publishing to the Asset Store for four years. We started as an experiment but have steadily grown our store presence to where it’s an important part of our business. We include knowledge gained from our successful (and unsuccessful) assets, what we did right and what went wrong, and how we’ve integrated our learnings into our day-to-day development of our game projects. We also cover the risks (and perceived risks) with publishing on the Asset Store and how to evaluate their impact on you, how to mitigate those that are relevant, and which perceived risks you don’t need to worry about.

Takeaway: 

  • Learn how to evaluate your assets to identify potentials
  • How to build a distinctive brand and stand out on the Asset store Learn about converting internal assets into successful store assets.
  • Tips to improve your user experience to match the expectations of Unity users.
  • Efficiently build your community and handle support and feature requests.
  • Specific advice for programmers creating asset store tools.

Across the Board on Apple Arcade: Putting DOTS Through its Paces

Wednesday 13th July: 11.00 - 11.45 :

We will present our experience co-developing "Detonation Racing" for Apple Arcade.  We will review our experience using the DOTS architecture in Unity to develop a scalable system that played to the strengths of a wide range of device capabilities.  We will share details of our vehicle handling implementation using the DOTS physics engine and discuss how we leveraged variable time-steps to support non-interactive sequences during gameplay.  We will provide an overview of an internally developed offline visibility culling system for reducing vertex bandwidth, and give an overview of the performance reporting system that was utilised to ensure we could release a high-quality and high-performance title across the board of target devices on the Apple platform.

Takeaway:

  • Specific lessons learned using DOTS on a real-world project
  • Detailed description of rendering optimizations and performance reporting system 
  • Practical guidance for developing/testing/deploying to mobile, Apple TV, Mac

Injecting Innovative Ideas into Your Games Through Working with the IGGI Centre for Games Research

Wednesday 13th July: 12.00 - 12.45 :

IGGI stands for Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence. It is the world’s largest centre for games research, with 120 doctoral researchers, based at Universities in London and York. IGGI has won £30 million pounds against fierce competition from other more traditional areas of science and engineering, to support games research. IGGI has worked closely with many games companies since 2013 to deliver on a mission of getting more innovative research ideas into commercial games.

In this session we will present the IGGI programme, and a key games industry partner will present the benefits which have been obtained by working with IGGI researchers, alongside one of the researchers whose ideas have benefitted the company.

We have found that placing IGGI researchers within games companies is key to injecting innovation to time-starved games company staff, who often lack the time to read research literature.

While we have strong links with many games companies, IGGI is a large programme and through this talk we hope to reach out and establish new games industry links, leading to research-inspired innovation in games, and ensuring that our research is relevant to the real needs of the games industry.

Takeaway:

  • Working with the IGGI research centre can inject research innovation into your games company
  • Researchers from IGGI want to understand the long-term innovation needs of the games industry, to direct their research programmes
  • Working with researchers is a way to explore interesting and wacky ideas off the critical path (and even around the bend smile

How to Get Things Done Without Ever Breaking Things

Wednesday 13th July: 15.00 - 15.45 :

In this talk you will learn about the best practices, considerations and effort that goes into developing and maintaining a cross platform game engine with monthly releases without ever breaking things for the end-users.

  • Technical challenges specific to game engines
  • Important performance metrics to look out for when evaluating game engines
  • How coding practices and design principles can help write efficient and maintainable code for game engines (and games)

Navmesh: The Technical Requirements & Solutions it Can Bring for the Future

Wednesday 13th July: 15.00 - 15.45 :

In this talk, programmer Jonathan Maldonado discusses the technical approach Glowmade took on building a navmesh system from scratch, how it solved the needs of Glowmade's upcoming game and where it can go from here.

Takeaway:

  • How to build your own navmesh
  • How taking this approach can give you greater options
  • What building your own navmesh can help you achieve

Improving Developer Iteration in Unreal Engine 5

Wednesday 13th July: 16.00 - 16.45 :

It is widely accepted that the more efficiently a developer can iterate, the more likely the result of their efforts will be much higher in quality.

The rate of growth for modern games and the more recent world events that have forced many of us to work in a more globally distributed and isolated manner have only made developer iteration harder than ever.

Long sync times from source control, increasingly long data and code builds, valuable SSD space being eaten up and increasing larger product footprint are just some of the factors affecting our ability to work efficiently in this new world.

During this talk we will take a walk through some of the upcoming features for Unreal Engine 5, which will soon be made available to licensees, that have already impacted developer iteration for both The Matrix Awakens Demo and Fortnite, and for our teams and partners at Epic Games.

Takeaway:

  • Visibility on upcoming UE5 features that will improve developer iteration for licensees.
  • Retrospectives on roll out of these features and the impact they have made on Epic products.
  • Teams that may be considering or have implemented their own features can learn about Epic's experiences.
  • Opportunity to give feedback to Epic about your experiences and solutions for Unreal Engine.

Diving Deeper into Developer Iteration in Unreal Engine 5

Wednesday 13th July: 17.00 - 17.45 :

Following Mark’s talk about developer iteration in Unreal 5 you’re invited to join this round table to dive deeper into issues that may be impacting your projects.

The rate of growth for modern games and the more recent world events that have forced many of us to work in a more globally distributed and isolated manner have only made developer iteration harder than ever.

Long sync times from source control, increasingly long data and code builds, valuable SSD space being eaten up and increasing larger product footprint are just some of the factors affecting our ability to work efficiently in this new world.

Come and join this interactive session and get a greater insight into how you can work more efficiently with UE5.

AI Supported Tools for Game Development

Thursday 14th July: 12.15 - 13.00 :

Procedural content generation and AI-assistive methods can do more than help us create content. If we allow ourselves to think of the machine as a colleague, then we can collaborate with it to improve our work as it assists us in becoming better and more skilled content creators.

Takeaway:

  • The main takeaway is how by viewing the AI as a colleague, developers can get more ideas and become more creative
  • Delegates will also get an overview of the current state of the art in AI-assisted methods for content creation
  • Delegates will learn design patterns and challenges, that can be directly applied to their in-house tools development

The Real-Time Volumetric Superstorms of Horizon Forbidden West

Thursday 14th July: 14.00 - 14.45 :

Real-time Volumetric Cloud systems in Games have seen increasing adoption by game developers in the past few years. Many systems use a coverage/type map based modeling method combined with an optimized ray-march and shading solution similar to or expanded upon what was described in detail in the SIGGRAPH 2015 Publication, The Real-Time Volumetric Cloudscapes of Horizon Zero Dawn. This session will focus on explaining how Guerrilla expanded its Nubis cloud system to include tornadic superstorms, internal lighting and lightning flashes, a solution to render faster moving clouds with temporal upscaling as well as visual enhancements - all without using expensive simulations or lighting calculations so that the system could scale between current and previous-gen Playstation consoles.

Takeaway:

  • Attendees will first learn about the real-time volumetric cloud system, Nubis, and how it was expanded to support large tornadic storm systems, internal lighting, lightning effects and further visual enhancements - all while preforming within a reasonable budget on PS5 and PS4 hardware.
  • Attendees will also be presented with a solution to dramatically increase the speed of fast moving temporally constructed volumetric imagery.

Terminal Velocity: How Backend Game Services Power Our Titles

Thursday 14th July: 15.00 - 15.45 :

In this session, we'll be going over how the game services team is structured at Mediatonic and our role in the success of Fall Guys. We'll be walking through how we prepared for and managed the explosive launch of our game. We'll cover how we've scaled the game over the last few years to manage millions of players. We'll be providing a broad overview of our processes, designs, and workflows.

Takeaway:

  • Learn how Mediatonic handled a very busy launch for Fall Guys
  • Learn how we leverage cloud services to allow us to scale to millions of CCUs
  • Find out more about game services as a discipline and how cloud services could help you scale your own projects

How we Brought a Large C++ AI Codebase to C# and Unity

Thursday 14th July: 16.00 - 16.45 :

Integrating a big C++ project with the .NET framework and the C# programming language is a daunting task. The open-source project CppSharp provides some automated assistance with generating bindings and wrappers between the two languages, but differing semantics around memory management, templates, generics, and many other details make this far from simple when working with large codebases. In this talk, we explain in detail how CppSharp and its underlying .NET technology P/Invoke work, how the wrapper generation process can be customised for a specific project, and how we set up our projects for rapid iteration on our integration layer between C++ and C#. We will explore the challenges we encountered in building the C# and Unity integration for our C++-based game AI middleware Kythera AI, including getting the two languages’ memory management philosophies to work with each other, exposing C++ templates to C#, and mapping C++ value and reference semantics to their .NET equivalents. We will also discuss performance considerations such as the relative expense of different techniques for mapping C++ constructs into C#.

Takeaway:

  • How programmers can use P/Invoke and CppSharp to make their C++ libraries available to C#/.Net - Caveats, problems and solutions around memory management when calling native code from the .NET runtime, which is garbage collected
  • How to make common C++ features like templates, bitfields and value and reference semantics available in C# that do not have a direct equivalent
  • Performance considerations and optimizations when using these technologies

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Develop:Brighton offers you an inspiring mix of top-notch speakers, practical how-to sessions, insights into the latest trends and technologies, plus fantastic networking opportunities. Find out about the different conference pass options and prices here or...

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