09 May 2014

Notes from Digital Dragons 2014 Day 1

Digitial Dragons logo
official logo from digitaldragons.pl

Digital Dragons conference was organized in Cracow for the thrid time. I had no chance to be there in the first two years, but fortunately I managed to appear there this year! See my short info from the first day.

See also the day two notes


The conference is a growing event that connects game developers, academia and business. This year there are over 800 participants!. I was very happy to see people not only from Poland, but from other European (and even more distant) countries as well. For all the people in Cracow's gamedev this is a great chance to meet, find opportunities and simply have fun... all because of the game industry :)

See the intro video at Vimeo


Below you can find a quick and subjective summary of the talks I've been at today:

  • Marek Ziemak, 11 Bit Studio - "Scheduling – black magic used by experience producers to deliver finished games with great metacritic score"
    • Not my topic, but the presentations was done well and even I could understand it.
    • A collection of tips about starting your new game project: Vision Document, Kano Model
    • How to make your game distinguishable from others and not to forgot about the basics (like save system :))
    • People will kill you if do not provide the solid base and will very appreciate it if you give them something unique.
  • Leszek Godlewski - "One year of porting: post mortem of two Linux/SteamOS launches"
    • The presentation already available here at Slideshare and his website
    • Problems and possible solutions with handling Linux distros and Unreal Engine 3 game.
    • On UT3 you can only use old OpenGL 2.1. For instance this makes shader usage quite complicated and ineffective. Shader linkage is cumbersome: makes loading long and even causes stalls in the rest of application. Separate shader objects would help, but not in this version of the engine.
    • Quite geeky presentation but it was nice to see it.
  • Wojciech Pazdur, The Farm 51 - "Get Even: The real world versus the virtual world - how to make a game about it."
    • Amazing presentation about using 3D scans of environment and various objects in the real game.
    • trailer here and the site
    • 3D scanning is nothing new, but it was not used much in games. Now, as usually, thanks to growing power of the hardware, we can take advantage of it.
    • Taking scans seems to be quite easy (although sometimes dangerous :)). On the other hand the postprocessing and actual placing in the game can be hard.
    • Farm 51 seems to be setting new standards in this area and they gather valuable know-how.
  • Julian Gollop, Indie developer - Gooey blobs and chryssalids-milestones in my 32 year career in gamedevelopment"
    • Story of a 32 year career in game development from a veteran
    • Currently he is developing Chaos Reborn - after a successful KickStarter campaign
  • MichaƂ Madej, Ubisoft Shanghai - "Challenges of designing multiplayer games"
    • Design choices and problems with multiplayer for End War Online
    • Why is match making so difficult and there is no simple solution for that.
    • How to create a "flow" for players.
    • I thought it is a simple problem, but apparently this makes your multiplayer game actually playable.
  • Adrian Chmielarz, The Astronauts - "Holy grail of narrative games or how to to tell a story through gameplay"
    • Another great talk, this time about creating stories in games.
    • Adrian now works on VANISHING OF ETHAN CARTER . The game looks amazing.
    • He believes that games have even more power to tell stories than books and movies.
    • Why core idea is so important and how to build gameplay around it.
    • The trinity: Engagement, Immersion and Presence.
  • Benjamin Glatzel, Deck13 Interactive - "Volumetric lightning for many lights in Lords of the Fallen"
    • Description of the volumetric lighting system used in the game.
    • The game - Lords of the Fallen - made by CI Games and Deck13
    • Slides full of math and little font for shader code :)
    • Old methods like: light shafts as postprocessing or bilboards are not effective and give a lot of artifacts. Developers wanted to find some better solution.
    • basic idea: Raymarch in light space + optimizations + deferred renderer.
    • Optimizations involve rendering in quarter of resolution, interleaved sapling (using 8x8 tiles), upsampling and bilateral filtering. Additionally they implemented temporar reprojection.
    • Performance: around 0.7... 0.85ms + 0.3ms for temporar reprojection (if I heard correctly)
    • Interesting thing: for some effect those light shafts (+3D noise texture) can effectively replace particle effects.
    • Slides here: bglatzel.movingblocks.net/publications/

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