Insomniac Will Talk Sunset Overdrive's Open World, Compare With Work on Resistance 3 and More at GDC

The first panels for the 2015 edition of the Games Developers Conference have been announced, and Insomniac Games will have a whopping four panels, three of which focused on Sunset Overdrive and on its open world and art, even comparing its creation with the workflow on Resistance 3.

Order from Chaos: The Art Direction of Sunset Overdrive

Jacinda Chew | Studio Art Director, Insomniac Games
Format: Session
Track: Visual Arts

Most stylized games take their art direction from a single concept artist or art director with a strong personal style. Sunset Overdrive started out as a patchwork of dynamic yet disparate ideas that had to be pulled together into a cohesive style. This lecture will be an honest look at the production realities of creating the look for a new stylized IP with unusual beginnings. Follow the challenges that character, environment and rendering styles faced during pre-production and how they were solved along the way. Attendees will learn how gameplay, technology and tone ultimately drove the aesthetic decisions, and walk away with a better understanding of Sunset Overdrive’s unique look and attitude.

Attendees will learn how technology, tone and gameplay drove the style for a new IP rather than just aesthetics. They will see a breakdown of the problems we faced during pre-production like derivative, un-relatable, off-tone work and the solutions we came up with to solve each one to arrive at the final look.

Intended Audience
This lecture will benefit art directors, concept artists, modelers, designers and producers of all levels on all platforms. It will touch lightly upon rendering and pre-production, but will focus more on the evolution of the art than technology, scheduling or modeling/drawing practices.

Transitioning from Linear to Open World Design with Sunset Overdrive

Liz England | Designer, Insomniac Games
Format: Session
Track: Design, Production

This session goes into how, after 20 years of developing linear games, Insomniac Games evolved to tackle open world design in Sunset Overdrive. It will cover some of the pitfalls and growing pains associated with such a drastic change within the studio, and go into depth in the way we restructured the design department in order to solve these new challenges. In particular, the session will cover new approaches and techniques we made to prototyping and implementing large, overlapping gameplay systems, and dealing with the problems of working in a single shared gameplay space. Special attention is given to how our design workflow on Sunset Overdrive compares and contrasts to our previous workflow on Resistance 3, a strictly linear game.

The audience will gain insight into the unforeseen and underestimated challenges when transitioning from linear to open world game design, and ideas on how to structure and organize a team of designers and adapt your workflow to handle a more system-driven game.

Intended Audience
This session is intended for designers and other developers interested in how a studio transitioned from linear to open world games with a focus on design, but also for anyone looking for insight into the design process at Insomniac Games.

Streaming in Sunset Overdrive’s Open World

Elan Ruskin | Senior Engineer, Insomniac Games
Format: Session
Track: Programming, Production

This is a postmortem of the streaming technology used in Sunset Overdrive, the challenges and pitfalls we encountered while building it, and how it shaped our game’s design. In the space of a single project, Insomniac Games went from developing level-based platformer/shooters to the sprawling open world of Sunset Overdrive. Turning an indoor shooter engine with airlock loading into one that could stream entire city blocks while the player grinds through them at breakneck speed involved painstaking iteration and a lot of trial and error. Here we look back at the experience from every department’s point of view, including engine development, gameplay, production, art and design.

We’ll describe Sunset Overdrive’s technology for streaming a large, continuous world in detail, as well as how this technology evolved from our previous titles. We’ll also describe the production and tooling challenges faced in transitioning from constrained, linear games, to the much larger world of content in Sunset City.

Intended Audience
This talk is for developers growing from medium-sized linear games to big open-world ones, or for people curious about how Insomniac lived through that process in making Sunset Overdrive.

The studio’s Engine Director Mike Acton will also hold a session on the management of technical leads, but that’s not strictly related to Sunset Overdrive. That said, the menu seems definitely rich, and we’ll most probably learn a lot about the game’s technology. Of course you can expect to read all about it here on DualShockers.

The Game Developers Conference will be held in San Francisco between March 2nd and March 6th, 2015.

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Giuseppe Nelva

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.

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