Activities at the Game Developers' Conference, Europe
Earl's Court Conference Centre, London
This year I sat on a panel called (deep breath), Preparing for and Transitioning to Next Generation Platforms for Game Design, by which is not actually meant "platforms for game design," but "platforms, from a game design perspective." (There were other panels devoted to programming, art, and so on.) My own feeling on the subject was that apart from the need to know the capabilities of the hardware, game designers would not be strongly influenced by the features of the next generation platforms. The general sense of the panel was that now that the graphics were so good, developers really need to concentrate on AI; but faster hardware alone is not enough to produce the AI advances we need. That's going to require a lot of research, which will probably mostly be done in universities rather than game companies.
I also attended the Academic Day, and got shanghaied on an hour's notice to sit on a panel in which my colleagues and I were to discuss the future of industry/academic cooperation.
One of the best things about GDC-E was that I finally got to meet Demis Hassabis, one of the British game industrys design stars, the man behind Theme Park and the just-published Republic.