Hilton Brighton Metropole 9 - 11 July 2019
Insight:Inspiration:Networking

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 like VR, AR and MR.

Coding sessions

Developing a Cross-Platform Game Using a Custom Engine in 2018

Wednesday 11th July: 11.00 - 11.45 : Room 4

Are you writing or considering writing a custom engine for your next game project? This session discusses the lessons learned from developing Wargroove for Windows, Mac, Linux, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Playstation 4, using a custom engine written in C++14. It explores why Wargroove went with a custom engine, whether it was the right choice, and how big of an undertaking it was. It also seeks to answer whether a custom engine is the right choice for you, what challenges lie ahead of those who go down that road, which skills will be required of them, and how this choice affects the wider team, beyond programmers. Finally, it provides some practical tips that should be helpful if you are interested in writing your own engine.

Takeaway:

  • Should you write a custom engine for your next game?
  • How big a task is writing an engine?
  • What skills do you really need to write a game engine?

AI In Your Pocket: Character-Based Conversational Sims

Thursday 12th July: 11.15 - 12.00 : Room 4

 

While the rise of conversational interfaces has seen us welcome Alexa and and Siri into our homes and fueled the conversation about AI, we’ve made fewer strides when it comes to having satisfying conversations with game characters. Yet character-driven mobile games like Bury Me, My Love show the way forward for pervasive narrative games, while simultaneously, ‘chatbot games’ are emerging, such as event[0] with its natural language input. What do advances in AI mean for the ways in which we design interactions and conversations with game characters, and what are the new possibilities for game design: particularly when we are telling ongoing, pervasive stories? This talk surveys existing games and tools and the best practices these indicate for the future of social simulation and AI-driven characters in games.

Takeaway:
Attendees will learn about game design possibilities leveraging AI tools and techniques, and considerations when designing social simulation games featuring conversational characters. 

 

 

 

Coding Pro-Tips for Non-Coders

Tuesday 10th July: 15.00 - 15.45 : Room 2

Calling all self taught coders, I can help you! I’ve worked with all kinds of developers, at all stages of their projects and this is a collection of pro tips using real world examples to help everyone to build better, more maintainable software. 

Takeaway:

  • Breaking down the initial design into very small components - leave room to grow
  • When to change things - when it works then maybe just leave it
  • Using tools to remove manual steps to improve speed of repetitive tasks and reduce mistakes
  • Drawing diagrams to plan systems and execution flow before a single line of code is written
  • Commenting or functioning first to flesh out algorithms before implementing them

A Technical Deep-Dive into Unity's Asset Pipeline

Wednesday 11th July: 12.00 - 12.45 : Room 6

Assets are at the very core of any Unity game, and yet the asset pipeline can be one of the most opaque systems to developers. In this session, one of Unity's internal developers will deep-dive into the process your assets will go through from being dragged into the project window, to being loaded by the engine when you hit play. This session will also feature a low-level look into how assets, dependencies and scenes are represented within Unity and how you can use a deeper understanding of these systems to improve your game’s performance and your studio’s development experience.

Optimising Dynamic Graphics for PSVR in Unity

Wednesday 11th July: 14.00 - 14.45 : Room 5

This talk is going to use the development of a Sony Funded PSVR game as a case study in how to optimise for large numbers of dynamic objects in a VR environment. The nature of the project required many custom solutions that departed dramatically from the typical Unity render pipeline. Using code examples, performance benchmarks and GPU traces from the project the talk will walk through modern graphics pipelines, shader/lighting optimisation and performance bottlenecks. We will compare this to a more typical high performance VR project and show how to understand where Unity performs well and where alternate solutions may be needed. While this talk will focus on Unity and PS4 as the primary environments many of the elements discussed are applicable to different engines and platforms. The talk will be constructed from the dual experiences of the Lead Programmer and the Lead Technical artist on the project.

Vehicle AI Through the Ages

Tuesday 10th July: 11.00 - 11.45 : Room 5

This session will start by outlining the greater complexity of Vehicle AI over Character AI, especially when writing one that controls a simulated vehicle instead of an emulated vehicle, and cover the reasons why you would want to do this in games. I will move on to explain the problems that were faced over time, and the solutions used to overcome them. Finally I'll give an insight into where the Vehicle Specialist Team at Ubisoft Reflections will be taking this topic in the near future.

Alexa, Let's Play: Creative Tools for Voice AI Development

Thursday 12th July: 16.00 - 16.45 : Room 2

Sensible Object just shipped the world's first Alexa-powered board game, When In Rome. With over 40 million smart speakers in the market, this is a major platform opportunity for developers and studios. In this talk, CEO and product lead Alex Fleetwood will talk through the  custom tools they have developed to develop, playtest and ship quality games on this new platform, share insights from the front line, and talk about their plans for the next 12 months. 

Attendees will learn about the potential of voice AI as a gaming platform, understand evolving best practices around development, team structure and collaboration, and takeaway an understanding of what it's really like to develop games for smart speakers. 

Enhancing Your Game's AI Using Unity Machine Learning Agents

Tuesday 10th July: 12.00 - 12.45 : Room 5

Unity Machine Learning Agents is the revolutionary plugin for those who wish to turn their scripted game AI into a neural network-trained agent able to make reasoned decisions.

The session focuses on the implementation of the ML-Agents into an existing Unity projects. The talk includes a quick introduction to Machine Learning that does not require any prior knowledge on the topic. Alessia will cover how this is approached by Unity and how to get up to speed with the API efficiently. You will be introduced to exciting examples of what has been done with the ML-Agents, and then look at a feature demo breakdown to understand how it all works within the engine. The session aims to provide you with the tools necessary to understand and start working with Imitation Learning and the workflow of neural network training based on a Unity environment.

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