London calling for developers

London calling for developers
Michael French

By Michael French

August 2nd 2006 at 11:00AM

GDC London is spearheading the London Games Festival’s development activity this October, and along with a name designed to set it apart from GDCE, its conference structure has been revamped to reflect the sector’s new way of making games.

Timed to take place just as the games market prepares for the launch of two new consoles, the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, the London Games Festival is hoping to reignite a passion long-held by the industry: to create an event that highlights the cultural, economic and entertainment value in games. It’s already scored the backing of London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

The week-long event includes a variety of consumer-facing activity, the BAFTA video game awards, the London Games Summit and a slab of developer-orientated events such as the Content, Outsourcing and Middleware Market, the London Game Career Fair and, of course, GDC London.

Speaking to Develop, executive director Jamil Moledina from organiser CMP Game Group explained that this form of GDC has taken on a “substantive evolution” in how it will present content to attendees.

“All GDC events, and to my knowledge all game development conferences, have to this date delivered sessions by discipline – art, design, audio and so forth. Logically presenting content in this manner concentrates learning,” he said, “however it’s also isolating and dismissive of the emerging trend among leading developers to create by cell, inserting designers and animators among programming teams.”

Added Moledina: “So what we’re doing now is presenting each session at GDC London in an interdisciplinary fashion, where formerly separate disciplines are discussed in a common framework with a game creation issue, such as creating believable faces.”

The format for GDC London means that two days of sponsored sessions running from October 2nd to October 3rd overlap with the two-day intensive single-track seminar, running October 3rd to October 4th. Next-gen topics up for scrutiny include creating rich environments and innovative gameplay while the sessions, which all take place in one room at the BAFTA HQ, will see two speakers from different disciplines come together to describe how they overcome a common challenge.

This new view on educating at a conference is something Moledina hopes will inform other events going forward: “This is an approach we’re bringing to all future GDC events to some degree and we are actively encouraging interdisciplinary sessions in our GDC call for papers which is currently open at gdconf.com.”

CMP and Moledina are also programming the ELSPA and Tiga co-presented London Games Summit, which is also an evolved conference event, designed to take ELSPA’s previous Summit events to a new high – with an angle for developers, too.

Designed as a two-day seminar, the Summit casts a wider view on the entire market, looking at evolving issues such as outsourcing, government collaboration, Hollywood collaboration, broadening the market, best practices for making blockbuster games, development services, plus the retail channel and digital distribution.

“The lines between publishing and development are increasingly becoming blurred, making this the ideal event for executives running independent development studios to expand and increase their knowledge and understanding of the future landscape.” commented Mike Rawlinson, ELSPA’s MD.