The graphics conference returns to Los Angeles this August, increasing its focus on games development. Games chair Mike Hardison offers a look at what attendees can expect from this year’s event
What role do games play at SIGGRAPH? How has this changed over the years?
SIGGRAPH is about innovation in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Games, and the technology behind them, have a large footprint in both of these areas of interest. Not only does games technology touch on a broad spectrum of industries, it can also offer a new perspective and fresh approach to computer graphics.
Additionally, emerging technology such as virtual and augmented reality are using games as a catalyst to introduce themselves to the consumer market. This makes games a perfect fit for SIGGRAPH’s theme of merging technologies, as is reflected in the increasing and broad presence of games-based content.
What are the key talking points in terms of games at this year’s event?
SIGGRAPH has gathered a diverse collection of game-related content this year. We have a top-tier curation of indie and triple-A games that will host quality educational content through courses covering premiere technological advances in real-time rendering, shading, VR applications and high-quality mobile devices.
There will be talks where attendees can learn about how some of the best games of 2015 were brought together. In addition, attendees will have an insight on upcoming games and how they leveraged the latest tech and production techniques to create their worlds. Speakers include Ready at Dawn, EA DICE, Activision Blizzard, Eidos Montreal, Guerrilla Games and Avalanche Studios.
There will also be panels hosted by industry innovators discussing VR production for film and games, and the convergence in film and games technologies. The Computer Animation Festival will feature some of the year’s best game trailers and shorts.
What support do you have from the games industry?
This year, the games presence is stronger than ever. EA, Sony, Microsoft, Activision and Square Enix are representing their work and lending their support. We also have a growing indie presence with some innovative companies like State of Play, Q Games and the developers of Jonathan Blow’s The Witness. Finally, companies like Oculus Rift, Unity and Epic are offering their support with venues like the VR Village.
Why should games developers attend? What can they learn?
Attendees have the opportunity to interact with some of the top graphics minds both inside and outside the games industry. Content presented at SIGGRAPH is often relevant to people in the sector. A prime example is the convergence between games and film as both continue to push the boundaries of real-time rendering.
SIGGRAPH also holds a knowledgeable pool of computer graphics talent for devs to consult with and hire from. Plus, you have the breadth of the graphics industry in one place, from hardware manufacturers to graphics tools developers. There’s a lot to see.
SIGGRAPH is also the only place where games, research, film and makers all collide to help invent future technologies. From both an artistic and technological perspective, one does not need to look far at SIGGRAPH to see innovations and ideas from other industries applicable to the games industry.
Games professionals can gather inspiration from Industrial Light and Magic’s 40th Year Anniversary Panel, or compare production techniques from Big Hero 6 and Avengers: Age of Ultron production sessions.
How else can developers get involved?
Consider presenting your work or contributing for next year’s SIGGRAPH. As soon as this year’s conference is over, we will be gearing up again for 2016. It’s a great opportunity to give back to a community that has cradled the spirit of computer graphics and interactive techniques for decades. If interested, I would encourage you to email email@example.com.
What are your plans for the games focus of SIGGRAPH in the future?
We’re going to continue where 2015 leaves off and highlight ground-breaking techniques used in the top games. We want to find even more ways for games developers and students to be involved with SIGGRAPH by providing even more specific content tailored for them. We are looking to incorporate more specific courses, studio talks and ‘birds of a feather’ meet-ups for students and graphics professionals who want to enter or transition their careers into the games industry.
SIGGRAPH runs from August 9th to 13th in LA. Find out more via s2015.siggraph.org.