GDC Europe: What's new for 2014?

GDC Europe: What's new for 2014?
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

July 25th 2014 at 11:35AM

Meggan Scavio, general manager of GDC Events, gives us an insight into the best sessions and new additions

There's just a few weeks left before GDC returns to Europe for its annual summer conference.

To get a better insight into what attendees can expect from this year's event, we caught up with GDC Events general manager Meggan Scavio (pictured) to find out what we should be looking forward to.

And watch out next week for Scavio's Top 10 sessions from GDC Europe 2014, giving you a sneak peak at the must-see talks of the conference.

What's are the biggest additions GDC Europe 2014?

2014 will see the launch of the European Innovative Games Showcase. It’s similar to the Experimental Games Workshop at GDC in San Francisco in that we’ve provided a venue to demo innovative and uniquely European games. We opened submissions for the Showcase a few months ago and invited key European developers to judge the submissions and select the games to be featured onsite. The featured games will also take part in a series of microtalks during the Independent Games Summit where they can share details about their respective projects. I’m really excited about this program and hope to make it an event you see every year at GDC Europe.

What are the highlights of the programme? What speakers and sessions should people not miss?

One of my favorite lecture series from GDC is the Classic Game Postmortem. This year we’ve invited iconic British game designers, Charles Cecil, to deliver a talk on creating the seminal ‘90’s adventure game, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars.

We also have award-winning game designer and Fullbright scholar, Brenda Romero, scheduled to do a talk called “I, Outsider.” Brenda remains one of the highest rated speakers in the history of GDC and will captivate GDC Europe attendees with her take on what it means to be an outsider.

Brenda is also hosting the panel, #1ReasonToBe. After two successful and moving years at GDC in San Francisco, Brenda is bringing together a group of talented, European women to share, microtalk style, their experience of being a woman in games. A real can’t-miss experience.

What has most influenced the schedule of this year's conference?

As is the case with all GDC’s, GDC Europe relies on the brilliance of its advisory board to program content that relevant to the times and of a high-level quality. Our advisory board is made up of representatives from across Europe including some from Rocksteady Studios, Rovio, EA DICE, Mojang, Ubisoft, and more. They select submissions from an open call as well as via a process of invitation. The advisory board also individually mentors each speaker in hopes of provided the best session content available. It’s a lot of work but the payoff is well worth it.

How does the schedule reflect where games development is today?

We always makes our best attempts at addressing every issue currently affecting the industry at large, though GDC Europe aims to holds more of a laser focus on Europe.

Clearly there are many issues hitting developers at all levels and locales. We’ve found discoverability to be one of the largest hurdles for developers today. With the number of devices and games available, how do you find your audience?

Mike Rose, an editor from Gamasutra, will speak on “How to Get Your Game Discovered by YouTubers”. There has been much discussion lately over the decline of the traditional video game reviewer/journalist and the rise of the YouTube gaming personality. Is having TotalBiscuit play and review your game online more beneficial than a positive review on one of the larger gaming websites? Mike conducted a survey to get to the heart of the matter and will share the results during his session.

It’s incredibly important to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry and there’s no better place than the largest professional video game development conference in Europe.

Of course, before you learn how to market your game in an ever-changing landscape, you have to make the game and probably for multiple platforms. What is the best route? We have a talk from Gameloft called “Art Production Learnings: From Console to Browser to Mobile.”  Thomas Woode, Studio Art Director, will talk about the different approaches and considerations developers need to take in each of these sectors.

There’s also a talk from Miguel Angel Horna discussing “The Challenge of Bringing Fez to PlayStation Platforms.” He’ll share his experience converting such a large project. Rovio will also be on hand to discuss “From Console to Mobile and Beyond,” explaining how they made the trip from a console/PC boxed to the world of mobile and Free to Play.

Why should developers attend GDC Europe 2014?

I think it’s incredibly important to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry and there’s no better place than the largest professional video game development conference in Europe. There is no other place in Europe at which you will find such a large and diverse gathering of developers, all there to share experiences, both good and bad. It’s also helps inject a renewed dose of inspiration into ones daily routine. I think seeing firsthand what this industry can do and how far it’s come is rejuvenating. I certainly wouldn’t want to miss it!

How does it differ from the March iteration of GDC?

We really do try to maintain a focus on concerns that are specific to the European video game community. Not every team can travel to San Francisco annually so we’ve tried to provide a local event that is easier to attend and catered to their needs.