Naughty Dog and Sony Will Talk Uncharted 4, Bloodborne and More at GDC; Sucker Punch Will Be There as Well

on January 9, 2016 2:06 PM

The first sessions of this year’s Game Developers Conference have been published, and Sony’s studios will bring some interesting content to San Francisco between March 14th and March 18th.

Specifically, the announced sessions include developers from Naughty Dog, Sony’s London Studio, Sucker Punch and more. Of course, PlayStation VR will be heavily present among the talks.

Technical Art Culture of Uncharted 4

Andrew Maximov | Senior Artist, Naughty Dog Inc.

Technical Art of Uncharted 4 is a hearty reflection on the lessons learned during creation of technology that powers the current gen Art Pipeline of Naughty Dog.
Come and learn how we created our interactive foliage animation technology, cloth, hair and fur simulation, custom automated level of detail technology that allowed us to seamlessly render levels the size of our E3 demo, runtime softbody vehicle deformation, automated runtime object population solutions, tool analytics and more. All written almost exclusively within the Art Department.
But even more importantly, hear our take on what makes effective technical art, the struggles we had with adoption, why self-induced ignorance can be a creative force, why your are only as good as the best work you will ever throw away, how lack of cross departmental barriers allows you to throw more people at problems without actually having to have more people, how cross-technological communication is the next best thing after interpersonal, why nothing beats the importance of trivial tech work and how core artistic principles directly apply to creating technology.

Takeaway
Learn practical technological and production lessons from the production of Uncharted 4.

Intended Audience
Anyone interested in art, technical art, tool and shader programming, pipeline setup, technology adoption, analytics and of course Uncharted is very welcome!

The Gothic Horror Music of “Bloodborne”

Peter Scaturro | Sr. Music Producer, SCEA
Jim Fowler | Music Production Supervisor, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Penka Kouneva | Lead Orchestrator, Kouneva Studios

Bloodborne is a 2015 horror-action RPG directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki (Demon’s Soul and Dark Souls), developed by From Software (Japan) and published exclusively on PS4. The game music has received broad critical acclaim for its singular, intense Gothic horror sound performed by large orchestra, choir, soloists, percussion and utilizing extended orchestral techniques. This lecture will examine the musical style and orchestral approaches in the score. We will discuss the dissonant harmony, the horror-inspired melodic gestures, the “wall of sound” approaches and the blood-curdling action music. We will show how the challenging choral writing and the extended orchestral techniques evoked the desperate, disease-plagued City of Yharnam. We will also discuss how the orchestration helped unify the “sound” and aesthetics while working with a multi-cultural creative team (three Japanese staff composers at From Software, and three US guest composers). Additionally, the lecture will examine the communication and logistical challenges inherent with teams based across three continents, and strategies to promote successful musical productions.

Takeaway
Nuts-and-bolts deep examination of a unique, uncompromising score will greatly inspire composers at all career phases and will give new insights and tips on composing horror scores and practical techniques to working with teams with diverse cultures.

Intended Audience
Composers of all levels, Audio leads, orchestrators, producers, musicians, game makers, horror music connoisseurs.

Empowering Content Creators

Stephen Broadley | Lead Tools Programmer, Sony London Studio

The key to unlocking your content-creators talent lies in the game engine, not just the editor. In this talk, we see how designing the ‘ultimate editing experience’ impacted London Studio’s engine as much as the editor, leading to surprising interactions between the two and turning an entire team that once hated the tools into champions for them.

Takeaway
Never underestimate the value of tooling support in your engine – it will unlock its power for your content creators and could lead to some surprising benefits!

Intended Audience
This talk is intended for engine programmers, tools coders and content creators looking to create efficient content-editing pipelines.
No knowledge of programming is required.

Fast and Flexible: Technical Art and Rendering For The Unknown

James Answer | Principal Technical Artist, Sony London Studio

Sony London Studio has recently developed a number of virtual reality experiences for Sony’s Morpheus, including “The Deep”, “VR Luge” and “The London Heist” that have been showcased at GDC, E3 and other events to great acclaim.
In this talk you’ll find out how London Studio has focused its rendering technology and tools to plan for the unknown, including a look at our flexible forward renderer and tooling.The technical and artistic challenges that were overcome in making great quality within the demands of VR and the optimization strategies employed will also be discussed.
The techniques that will be shared can help studios producing VR content improve the quality of their visuals, but many are also applicable to traditional games.

Takeaway
A look at how to build a pipeline for maximum flexibility, with fast iteration times and a flexible renderer. Ideas for optimization of art content and graphics for both VR and traditional games.

Maths to Mechanics: Using Mathematical logic to Implement Intuitive Gameplay

Ronald De Feijter | Principal Programmer, Sony London Studio

Virtual Reality games have, more than any other type of video game before, raised the bar on player immersion and sense of presence. At Sony’s London Studio we have been at the forefront of this with our Playstation VR demos such as The London Heist, The Deep, and VR Luge. Whereas traditional games often apply a significant amount of abstraction in implementing the gameplay mechanics, immersion in Virtual Reality is generally best served by making the player interactions as intuitive and natural as possible. In this presentation I will discuss the core underlying concepts of the acclaimed physical interaction mechanics of The London Heist as well as the mathematical principles used to implement them. Aimed at gameplay programmers and technical designers this presentation will show you how to implement intuitive and effective motion based gameplay mechanics for your games.

Takeaway
Attendees will leave with a detailed understanding of the inner workings of a proven approach to implement physical interactions in VR. They will be able to take the core concepts illustrated by the examples and apply them to the interactions that are specific to their own game.

Music Design; Lessons from The Last of Us and more

Jonathan Mayer | Sr. Music Manager, SCEA

Jonathan Mayer has been producing music for Playstation games since 2005. In his time he has collaborated with game developers on some of the industry’s most creatively successful scores. From these experiences, Jonathan has derived some key observations as well as a strong set of opinions about how our industry typically approaches music design and production.
With a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and a holistic approach to the process, Jonathan wants to share as well as inspire current and future professionals to push the boundaries of what is possible by closely integrating music development with game design.
This lecture is geared toward game designers, music and audio professionals alike in an effort to raise questions about our industry’s approach to music in games and provide experience based best practices for the future.

Takeaway
The lecture will provide attendees with a broader understanding of the challenges present in music production for the interactive medium while positing a collection of experience-based best practices and solutions for overcoming obstacles. Attendees will gain knowledge that will boost their ability to collaborate in this area, as well.

Intended Audience
This lecture will be especially valuable to experienced and aspiring game designers, creative directors, producers and artists. Additionally, the lecture provides key information for music and audio professionals of all levels working in the game industry as well as those aspiring to do so.

Interestingly, while we don’t yet know what inFAMOUS developer Sucker Punch is currently working on, they will have a sizable presence at GDC. On top¬†participating to two group panels on animation and one on audio,¬†Audio Director Bradley Meyer will have his own panel.

It’ll be interesting to see if we’ll get any hint on their current game, even if I definitely wouldn’t expect a full announcement.

You Hear That? Team Engagement for Audio

Rev. Dr. Bradley D. Meyer | Audio Director, Sucker Punch Productions

Audio teams are often frustrated by a lack of support and understanding from their dev teams. This talk hopes to present ways to turn that frustration into cooperation by presenting a series of easy (and fun) ways audio team memebers can engage with their larger development teams early to provide audio direction to the project and enjoy a cascading benefit of knowledge through education. Using anecdotes and examples of various useful engagement practices for audio teams, this talk aims to show how these practices can pay huge dividends in getting entire teams to think about and be excited about the audio of a project from pre-production onward.

Takeaway
Attendees should come away with a range of ideas on how to better engage their development teams in both communicating what it is that audio does and what our needs are from pre-production to production and through to ship.

Intended Audience
Aspiring or experienced sound designers, audio directors, and anyone involved with audio looking for additional tools to engage with other team members or just looking for a new perspective on how to deal with development teams.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.