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18th March 2024
Final GDC 2024 Programme with Remedy Lectures

GDC 2024 will open its doors today, with the five-day event being held across the ocean in San Francisco, USA. The week promises a packed schedule with lectures, with eleven of them by Remedy developers. The industry event allows professionals to share their knowledge, learn more about their craft, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines. While some lectures are behind closed doors, some are recorded and posted online publically later. We hope and will let you know if any from Remedy's listings are posted online. 

About GDC. Originally started in April 1988, GDC is a networking event for video game professionals looking to connect and advance their careers and expertise. The event is packed with summits, workshops, roundtables, advocacy sessions, career development, and more.  The talks are available to check out via the GDC Vault, with some also making their way to YouTube for everyone to enjoy. (Fingers crossed that as many Alan Wake 2 lectures make it to a public platform.)

GDC Awards. Concluding the event is the Game Developer Awards, with Alan Wake 2 listed as a finalist in "Best Narrative", "Best Technology", and "Best Visual Art", with an honourable mention for "Game of the Year". You can read more about the finalists HERE

Monday 18th March

Adobe Developer Summit: The Environment Art Technology and Workflows of Alan Wake 2 (Presented by Adobe)

Speakers: Miro Vesterinen  (Lead Environment Artist, Remedy Entertainment) & Benjamin Lindquist  (Principal Technical Environment Artist, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 2020, West Hall
Date: Monday, March 18
Time: 1:20 pm - 2:20 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Summits Pass, Expo Pass, Audio Pass, Indie Games

Description: The presentation will give a brief high-level overview of the narrative-driven AAA game development company, Remedy Entertainment, and an in-depth look into the environment art workflows developed for Alan Wake 2. The talk will demonstrate prior conventions related to asset creation and texturing at the company and how these were improved during development. A deeper dive into physically based rendering (PBR) practices and pitfalls, Substance texturing processes and the in-engine (Northlight) developed landscape and material workflows will be provided as well as a glimpse into future tech development plans.

Takeaway: Attendees can learn more about Remedy Entertainment as a company and the company specific processes and workflows involved in environment art creation as well as get a view into the environment tech built for Alan Wake 2.

Intended Audience: Artists, Game developers, Art Directors, 3D art students

Tuesday 19th March

Level Design Summit: The Player vs Dream Logic: Developing the Mission Structures for 'Alan Wake 2'

Speaker: Anne-Marie Grönroos  (Lead Level Designer, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 2001, West Hall
Date: Tuesday, March 19
Time: 10:50 am - 11:50 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Description: Alan Wake 2 is a survival horror game with a weird, complex story featuring two worlds and protagonists. This session covers how the mission structures evolved during development and what can go wrong when you combine puzzles, narrative, combat, and dream logic. Using the Proof of Concept missions as a case study, the talk shows how we structured the missions into various kinds of loops, the many failed attempts at designing dream logic, and how bringing the two protagonists closer helped us escape the nightmare New York.

Takeaway: The attendees will learn how the earliest Alan Wake 2 missions evolved from concept to playable levels, see the impact narrative and mission structures had on each other, and gain insight into the struggle of making dream logic playable.

Intended Audience: The session is aimed at mission and level designers. It's accessible to anyone with a basic understanding of level design, but should be especially interesting to those dealing with semi-linear game spaces, puzzles, and gameplay intertwined with narrative.

Wednesday 20th March

Large Scale GPU-Based Skinning for Vegetation in 'Alan Wake 2'

Speaker: Kiyavash Kandar  (Graphics Programmer, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 2016, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 20
Time: 10:30 am - 11:00 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Description: Alan Wake 2's forests and vegetation of the Pacific Northwest carry the atmosphere of the horror survival genre almost like a character on their own. This talk showcases Remedy's new GPU-based skinning pipeline, built to handle detailed and dense environments that are mostly comprised of dynamically animated vegetation geometry. To match the team's ambitions in geometric fidelity and complexity of motion, they also developed a new GPU-based animation system that could animate skeleton rigs at runtime via compute shaders. The talk provides a look under the hood at the techniques used to hit performance targets, create feature rich systems for artists, and enable full representation in the Northlight engine's raytracing implementation.

Takeaway: Attendees will get an insight into the design decisions and implementation details surrounding a high-fidelity GPU-based animation system built to scale. The presented material will give references for understanding, assessing, and designing similar systems for their own needs.

Intended Audience: This is for VFX and technical artists, rendering programmers, those with a background in games and game technology, proceduralism and shader enthusiasts. Prior knowledge and experience in related subjects is recommended.

In Your Head: Audio-Driven Everything in 'Alan Wake 2' and its Mind Place

Speaker: Joshua Bell (Senior Technical Audio Designer, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 3006, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 20
Time: 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Audio Pass

Description: Alan Wake 2's profiling feature allows the player to delve into the minds and motivations of the game's characters, and access their thoughts and glimpses of past/future events. It exists inside the Mind Place, a 3D-space, immersive in-game user-interface, and hub to filter narrative elements and explore the story. Navigating the wealth of content, the narrative importance, and the abstract essence of the Mind Place and Profiling module posed challenges for the team. However, it presented a great chance to enhance Alan Wake 2's narrative and collaborate closely with visual disciplines to craft a cohesive audio-visual experience. We will go through the audio design for the "Profiling" feature, exploring how we concepted, overcame technical limitations, gave ourselves a framework to execute the large amount of content needed, and utilised an "audio-driven audio" and audio-driven visuals approach to craft a balanced and coherent experience.

Takeaway: Attendees will learn how an audio-driven approach resulted in a unique audio experience in Alan Wake 2. Attendees will find out how audio-driven approaches could be used in their work for driving visuals, or other SFX elements, and be inspired by the potential to craft a unique cross-disciplinary experience.

Intended Audience: This talk is for anyone involved in game audio at any level. It may be of particular benefit to those working on projects that have a large volume of narrative content to cover, or those who are interested in deeper cross-collaboration between audio and visual departments.

Building Game Worlds with OpenUSD

Speaker: Vesa Paakkanen (Lead Tools Programmer, Remedy Entertainment Plc)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 20
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Description: The complexity and size of the game worlds are ever-increasing, and tools need to meet that demand. At Remedy, we have been working on new tools and tech stack to allow us to build worlds faster and with more detail than ever before. At the core of our solution is Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD) by Pixar which provides a powerful composition engine as well as a format compatible with the DCCs. In this presentation, we share how we integrated OpenUSD into our tools and engine, what kind of technical and user experience challenges we have faced, and show examples how we have tackled those while having two major game projects using it throughout the development.

Takeaway: Attendees are expected to learn how Remedy has integrated OpenUSD into their world building tools, what challenges it has posed and how those have been tackled.

Intended Audience: Programmers, technical artists and UX designers interested in integrating OpenUSD into engine and/or content pipelines. To be able to fully enjoy this presentation basic knowledge of OpenUSD and intermediate technical expertise is expected.

Real-Time World Editing Technology in Northlight

Speaker: Sebastian Eriksson  (Lead Core Engine Programmer, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 20
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Description: Requirements for game worlds are ever-increasing, being more realistic, more interactive, and larger than ever before. This means that there is a ton of content to be authored, but also large amounts of data to pass through pipelines and workflows to the engine runtime. Remedy has been working on a new data pipeline and technology stack for the Northlight engine that allows us to optimize entity data for authoring at edit time, and performance at runtime, while keeping near-instant iteration times for world editing workflows. The fundamental parts of this technology are OpenUSD for authoring, and Northlight's transformative live-edit pipeline that enables entity modifications to be applied to a running game process on the fly. In this presentation, Sebastian shares how we keep the editor and runtime data representations separated, how the data is transformed, and how the real-time editing between the editor and runtime works in practice.

Takeaway: Attendees are expected to learn how Remedy has integrated OpenUSD into their data pipelines for world building, and how the Northlight engine implements a live-editable data pipeline for transforming USD scenes into an efficient runtime format in real-time.

Intended Audience: Programmers working on or interested about game engine design and data pipelines. To be able to fully enjoy this presentation intermediate technical expertise is expected.

Thursday 21st March

ECS in Practice: The Case Board of 'Alan Wake 2'

Speaker: Alexander Balakshin  (Senior Gameplay Programmer, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 2016, West Hall
Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass 

Description: For Alan Wake 2, Remedy Entertainment is using a new data-oriented ECS gameplay framework instead of the previous object-oriented one. As a result, we have performance gains such as cache coherency and multithreading out of the box. Also, being implemented using some of the latest C++ features, the new framework changes the way gameplay programmers write their code by providing them some extra convenience and productivity. We will present how this framework is used for implementing one of the game's features – the Case Board. We will cover how we describe the Case Board objects with components, how we register their systems, and how we interact with other modules (camera, cursor, etc.). Finally, we'll show how the interaction between C++ code and Lua scripts is organized.

Takeaway: A practical example of the ECS framework application in a real project and a demonstration of how a gameplay engineer's mindset is changed while working with a data-oriented approach. Also, this could be an inspiration for engine developers who are working on their own gameplay frameworks.

Intended Audience: Gameplay programmers and engine programmers working on their own gameplay frameworks. To be able to fully enjoy this presentation, intermediate technical expertise is expected.

Alan Wake 2: A Deep Dive into Path Tracing Technology (Presented by NVIDIA)

Speakers: Juha Sjöholm  (Senior Developer Technology Engineer, NVIDIA) & Kiya Kandar  (Graphics Programmer, Remedy Entertainment Plc, Remedy Entertainment Plc)

Location: Room 3020, West Hall
Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Summits Pass, Expo Pass, Audio Pass, Indie Games Summit Pass

Description: Alan Wake 2 was released last October with path tracing and DLSS Ray Reconstruction, receiving a lot of attention for the visual experience it offers. This session explains all aspects of the path tracer including acceleration structure management with large amounts of dynamic content, representation and accessing of material data, light sampling techniques and image upscaling and denoising methods. All key technologies are covered including using of the opacity micromaps (OMM) with alpha tested assets such as vegetation and hair, use of the shader execution reordering (SER) in the path tracing shader, how the DLSS Ray Reconstruction is used to produce the final image, and how smooth frame rates are achieved through the DLSS Frame Generation.

Takeaway: Using path tracing and NVIDIA technologies such as DLSS Ray Reconstruction in your game can be convenient and you can achieve stellar results and get good value for your investment.

Intended Audience: Graphics Engineers

The Art of Characters in 'Alan Wake 2': Character Outfit Creation Process

Speaker: John Crossland  (Principal Character Artist, Remedy Entertainment Oy)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall
Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Description: In this character art session, we explore and dissect how at Remedy we approach the character creation process for outfit modelling. The session is dedicated to looking at the outfit aspects of Saga and Alan, how we approached the designs to create a grounded sense of realism. Then how we captured the outfits to ensure the highest level of realism from scanning, sculpting, modelling, and texturing. Finally, how we review final outfits in engine and calibrate materials for our final asset reviews. This session gives an insight into what goes into making Alan Wake and Saga Anderson's outfits in Alan Wake II.

Takeaway: Attendees will learn about how Remedy creates digitally realistic digital double outfits for character models.

Intended Audience: Digital artists or Character Artists working within movies or games.

Friday 22nd March

Making Linear Story Playable: The Narrative Design of 'Alan Wake 2'

Speaker: Simon Wasselin  (Lead Narrative Designer, Remedy Entertainment Oy) & Molly Maloney  (Principal Narrative Designer, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 2002, West Hall
Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Description: Remedy has never shied away from complex stories and characters, and Alan Wake 2 features some of our most ambitious protagonists to date. When it came to putting players in the minds of both a talented FBI detective piecing together a supernatural mystery, and a tortured author attempting to write his way out of a web of darkness, Lead Narrative Designer Simon Wasselin (Quantic Dream) Principal Narrative Designer Molly Maloney (Telltale Games) had to tackle some big questions: How do we give players a satisfying interactive experience within the confines of a linear story that can't budge? How do we allow for player expression when the protagonists are locked into specific roles? How can we leverage interactivity to incept complex, multilayered exposition into the minds of our audience?

This talk focuses on the design of the narrative mechanics used to convey exposition in Alan Wake 2. Join us as we discuss the challenges of agency vs expression, linear vs branching storytelling, and how by involving Narrative Design in gameplay we can create more powerful story experiences in AAA games.

Takeaway: Linear storytelling in the AAA space can be more than plot points bookending gameplay. By leveraging the tools of branching narrative, even an extremely linear experience can invite the player to be a part of its story. By creating interactive mechanics less centered around traditional gameplay loops and more focused on a building a sense of ownership and investment, we create a "stickiness" in our games that keep players playing until the end. Learn how to think about gameplay mechanics through a narrative lens, see the iterations of various narrative design mechanics in Alan Wake 2 - where they succeeded and failed, and gain insights into the creative process of story-driven AAA games from two branching narrative veterans.

Intended Audience: This talk is targeted at developers interested in Narrative Design, storytelling, and anyone looking for ways to incorporate Narrative Design more effectively into their development pipeline.

The Dark Place of 'Alan Wake 2': Crafting an Evolving Nightmare Dimension

Speaker: Nazareno Urbano  (Principal Environment Artist, Remedy Entertainment)

Location: Room 2001, West Hall
Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Description: The presentation is a dive into the world-building aspect of The Dark Place of Alan Wake II, we explain how we approach the environment world-building and what tools we use to create an evolving nightmare dimension where the world is shifting, and multiple layers of reality are interconnected in a dream logic structure where the reality is subjective.

Takeaway: Attendees can be inspired by having a glimpse into the world-building of a Remedy AAA narrative game. They can learn about our challenges during production and what it takes to balance narrative-heavy environment creation, gameplay, and art direction.

Intended Audience: This talk is for anyone involved with art, world-building, and environment art at any level.


The Control Series

The Crossfire Series

The Quantum Break Series

The Alan Wake Series

The Max Payne Series




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