Seven multiplayer talks you need to see at GDC

We’re heading to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March. With so many talks and panels, we thought we’d pick out our seven favourites to help you narrow it down.

Image source: Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

If you’re anything like us, you’re eagerly counting down the days to GDC. But you’re probably also wondering how to make the most of your time. Which talks should you attend? What’s going to be most useful if you’re making a multiplayer game?

So if you’re building a multiplayer game, these are the talks we think you should check out. Or you could come see us in person and we’ll give you some first-hand advice. Drop a time in our calendar.

1. 10 Ways to Crash Your Server on Launch Day

By Chris Cobb from Pragma PlatformMonday 21st March: 10:50–11:50, Room 3002.

Launch day is so vital to your game’s success. It’s the absolute worst time for things to go wrong, and even the smallest mistakes can sometimes lead to catastrophic results. That said, avoiding these mistakes isn’t particularly hard. You just need to know what you’re looking for.

So in this talk, Chris goes through real-world stories that cover everything that could go wrong, from storing too much useless data to not setting up your login queues properly.

2. Deconstructing the Combat Dance: Designing Multiplayer Bots for ‘Halo Infinite’

By Sara Stern from 343 IndustriesThursday 24th March: 16:00–17:00, Room 202.

It used to be that bots came as standard in every multiplayer game. But as games have grown more complex, developers have steered away from them. Which is a shame, particularly when a game gets a little older. There are far too many games where the lobbies are just graveyards. If those games had bots, it could slowly revive the game.

True, creating the bots is difficult. But with this talk from Sara, you’ll see how Halo created realistic AI that could simulate real human players. And with this model and process, you can create AI and bring your old games back to life.

3. Real-Time Anomaly Monitoring in Multiplayer Online Games

By Lei Xia from Thunderfire UXMonday 21st March: 15:50–16:50, Room 2016.

As we gather more and more data about our games, it can be tricky to sift through all that information and figure out what’s actually relevant, and what is a red herring. Which anomalies are noteworthy and important, and which are just glitches in the real-time system itself?

This is a talk for data scientists, programmers and testers alike. Lei will go through how to set up a system to trouble-shoot problems with your data capture, catching and fixing issues early. So you can rely on the data you’re collecting being accurate.

4. ‘Sky’s’ Journey to 1MM CCU: A Cloud Native Approach To Scaling

By Kunal Lanjewar from ThatgamecompanyMonday 21st March: 17:30–18:00, Room 3002.

Scale. It’s something we’re all too familiar with here at Gameye. A question we hear a lot of the time is: ‘What do you do when a game is extremely successful?’ Sky: Children of the Light did really well, but Thatgamecompany worried about how they’d manage to scale and run the game.

This’ll be a great talk to show you how even a small indie studio can manage to cope with huge numbers of users, and how to set up your backend to deal with the challenges.

5. Getting Noticed: Tips for Making Your Pitch Stand Out

By Lindsey Rostal from Kowloon NightsThursday 24th March: 10:00–11:00, Room 202.

Once you’ve got your game ready, you’ll probably want to start pitching to publishers and investors so you can get the game out there. But there are hundreds of games and developers that you’re up against. So how do you stand out in the ever-growing crowd?

Lindsey has seen over 1,000 pitches and signed more than 50 games in the last few years, so she’s the perfect person to explain what you need to do to get noticed. Not only will she dig into what makes a good pitch, what to include (and leave out), but she’ll also talk about how to find a partner that suits your studio.

6. Professional Growth: Growing You, Not Just Your Skills

By Bernard Yee from OculusWednesday 23rd March: 11.30–12:00, Room 2010.

Developing a multiplayer game isn’t just about having the skills and tools. We often forget about the softer, personal traits. What makes a good leader? What’s the difference in attitude between a junior and a leader?

It’s something we reckon isn’t talked about enough in this industry. This is a very important session about how to make sure you’re always growing and developing. It’s more about your mindset than any particular skill. And because of that, it’s probably one of the most important talks.

7. The Many Challenges of Making Baldur’s Gate 3

By Swen Vicke from Larian StudiosWednesday 23rd March: 09:00–10:00, Room 3014.

Larian took on a very difficult task when they chose to develop Baldur’s Gate 3. Not only was it a sequel to a beloved franchise, but there were a lot of expectations on Larian after Divinity: Original Sin 2’s success.

Swen, the creative director, talks about the pitfalls of growing a team, how to turn potential problems into future successes and how to manage your players’ expectations.

Heading to GDC? Give us a shout

We’d love to chat. We’re going to be at GDC, with our own stand. So if you want to pop by and say hello, or you want some advice on how to host a multiplayer game, we’re at stand S563 in the Expo Hall. Or feel free to book in a meeting.

Let’s chat multiplayer. Looking forward to seeing you at GDC.

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