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.
While some part of almost every game needs to be tightly bound to a graphics (and perhaps physics) engine, there are benefits to minimizing this coupling and writing as much as possible as "pure" code, such as ease of refactoring and testing, portability and reuse, and protection against 3rd-party changes. For some styles of game it's possible to reduce the core engine, whether Unity, Unreal, or something else, to a means of gathering user input and displaying results to the player. Here I'll take you through how I structured a Unity puzzle game, Hexahedra, in exactly this way and the benefits I was able to reap by doing so. Hexahedra's architecture resembles the OSI network model, where the puzzle simulation (pure C# provided as a DLL) and the Unity implementations of game elements, in a hierarchical structure (puzzle, factory, workstation, device), are able to communicate with each other with message passing through a single link. The puzzle simulation passes a series of events to Unity for display, and Unity collects user input and passes it back through to the simulation. This allows the puzzle simulation to be reused to power a backend stats server while also making it particularly easy to refactor and unit test. The event-driven system also makes additional gameplay features such as rewinding time much easier to implement. I'll also highlight considerations that make this approach unsuitable for some types of game.
Test Driven Development (TDD) can be a dry topic, and one of those concepts you learn about but possibly never see how to apply in a real world situation. Often focussed on discrete unit tests written at the beginning of a new project, its hard to reconcile that knowledge with your legacy, completely untested codebase, and even harder to reconcile with the many variables and interconnected systems that make up game development. This talk will give an overview of TDD from the point of view of someone who sees it as a mindset, rather than prescriptive. By addressing common misconceptions and using real world examples, this talk will explain the value that TDD brings specifically into the games development environment, showing how this mindset will impact and improve your implementations, stability, and communication between disciplines.
There is only one hard problem in software development. Communication. Code reviews can be an important part of that, but too often they degenerate into nit-picking or become a box-ticking exercise. Code reviews have evolved from their roots in the more formal practice of code inspections, into asynchronous change-reviews such as the GitHub Pull Request process. Along the way much has been gained, but some things have been lost. While code reviews have seen widespread adoption, there are still questions as to whether reviews are the right tool for those in the games industry. Given that the tooling and methodologies that are widely available were mainly developed for the benefit of large distributed teams there are valid questions as to how applicable these techniques are to the smaller, more tightly-knit teams commonly found working on games. In this talk, Joe will share his experience of why code reviews matter, what they are good for and where they are not so useful. He will also look at some of the pitfalls to avoid and will give advice on best practices to help game developers, whether 30 years in or just starting their journey, to decide what form of review will best support the needs of their teams.
At Darewise, we aim to modernize the game development process for our game-as-a-service: Life Beyond. To support a rapid iteration and release schedule while the game is still under heavy development, we have had to adapt our studio culture and our development processes to match. In this talk, we will focus on the programming aspect, on how to create, foster, and preserve a high-quality-code culture that results in a healthy, robust, and modular codebase that is resilient to design changes and could easily be reused for other games. We will cover the specific programming practices (best practices, code reviews, DevOps, management of technical debt...) as well as the equally important human aspects of management, hiring, knowledge sharing, and project planning methodologies we use.
Reinforcement learning has recently shown impressive results on video games. This session presents a pragmatic view on training reinforcement learning based bots for modern video games and the different technical challenges that arise when developing and scaling such a system. Indeed, a lot of academic research allowed the field of reinforcement learning to reach a state where it is applicable to actual problems but very little has been studied when it comes to application at scale and the practical issues that need to be taken into consideration when developing and using a reinforcement learning system.
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Develop:Brighton is especially unique - it’s by the seaside and there’s a lovely relaxed tone that goes with that.The talks are cool, the networking is cool and having the opportunity to catch up with people – that’s always the excitement for me!
Develop is a very important place – it’s one of the few developer focussed conferences we have in Europe and that makes it very valuable.
I’ve been to every single Develop in the last 12 years. One thing you get here is networking - you will meet the most amazing individuals in the video games industry.
I’ve felt a big passion here at Develop!
Develop always gets put in the diary. There are many reasons to be here, not just the talks, but the networking, people exchanging ideas about where the industry is right now and where it’s going to. It’s pretty essential to be here I think.
Ian Livingstone, CBE
Develop is the must-attend event for the games industry in the UK. It’s where we all come together and learn from each other. It’s the best way into the industry and it’s the best place to learn from your colleagues.
Develop is important – the networking is very important. And go to talks they’re inspiring and get your creative juices flowing, they can make you think and you’ll learn how other people do things.
One of the things I like about Develop is it brings people together from across Europe and the whole world. There is a very high level of professionals here, so you have company leaders having drinks with juniors from their community.
Dr Mata Haggis-Burridge
We are so lucky to have Develop here in the UK. It’s a unique event where you can come and discover new things with people who care passionately about video games. It’s a sea full of new ideas.
By coming to Develop what you get is the opportunity to network like you can’t in any other situation. Everyone knows everyone and it’s such a wonderful community feel.
There are many ways you can be part of Develop:Brighton - including taking a booth in the Expo or choosing one of the many sponsorship opporunities during the event or at the Star Awards.Contact us now!