Guerrilla Speaking At Game Developers Conference 2018

Guerrilla; 6 March 2018

Gdc18 01

The 32nd Edition of the Game Developers Conference is taking place in San Francisco next week.

Just like last year, several developers from Guerrilla will be visiting and speaking at GDC 2018. If you’re attending and you’re interested in the various facets of Horizon Zero Dawn’s development, be sure to sign up for the sessions below!

Beyond Killzone: Creating New AI Systems for Horizon Zero Dawn

  • Topic: AI Summit
  • Speaker: Julian Berteling, AI Programmer
  • Location: Room 2002, West Hall
  • Format: Session
  • Date: Monday, March 19
  • Time: 10:00am – 11:00am

Summary: Having established AI tech in your studio is great… until your next game adds demands well over and above what your existing systems were designed to handle. This session describes the changes that Guerilla made to switch from having to support a single human enemy in closed corridor spaces to a game with more than 25 wildly different characters in a large open world. Specifically, the lecture explains how they changed the navigation and animation systems that made the characters in Horizon Zero Dawn move realistically. Additionally, they detail how these changes impacted their workflow throughout the project.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Animation Bootcamp: Bringing Life to the Machines of Horizon Zero Dawn

  • Topic: Visual Arts
  • Speaker: Richard Oud, Lead Animator
  • Location: Room 2010, West Hall
  • Format: Tutorial
  • Date: Monday, March 19
  • Time: 10:00am – 11:00am

Summary: After more than a decade of making first person shooters, Guerrilla has undertaken the task to create an open-world action RPG in the form of Horizon Zero Dawn. Richard was responsible for setting the style and fleshing out one of the game's greatest spectacles: the machines. This talk will discuss what it took for the team to create these beasts from scratch, and explain the process from pre-production and prototyping, all the way to the final polish of the characters -- reference, motion style, workflow, animation-tech, AI behavior, and polish will all be covered in-depth for attendees.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Tools Tutorial Day: UX Microtalks, Part 1

  • Topic: Programming
  • Speakers: David Lightbown, UX Director @ Ubisoft Montreal; Nikoline Hogh, UX Designer @ Unity Technologies; Robin-Yann Storm, Tools Designer @ Guerrilla
  • Location: Room 3007, West Hall
  • Format: Tutorial
  • Date: Monday March 19
  • Time: 2:10pm – 2:40pm

Summary: What is “UX”? Why are so many people talking about it? How does it relate to tools development? This series of microtalks will help answer all those questions, and more! In Part 1, David Lightbown (Ubisoft) will show you how spending less time at your desk can make you a better tools developer. Next, Nikoline Hogh (Unity) will show you the various ways in which tools design can limit creativity, as well as how you can enable your users to be more productive. Finally, you will hear from Robin-Yann Storm (Guerilla) about why even the smallest details in your tools are critical, even something as simple as the humble transform gizmo.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Art Direction Bootcamp: A No Nonsense Approach to Designing Robot Dinosaurs

  • Speaker: Jan-Bart van Beek, Studio Art Director
  • Location: Room 20, North Hall
  • Format: Tutorial
  • Date: Monday, March 19
  • Time: 2:40pm – 3:40pm

Summary: In this talk, Jan-Bart van Beek, the Studio Art Director at Guerrilla, will take you through the journey that studio had to make in order to design the majestic post-post-apocalyptic world of Horizon Zero Dawn. As the originator of the concept Jan-Bart is able to give a unique insight in what it is like to take a small, almost silly, idea and see it slowly developed into one of the most successful new gaming franchises of the year. We will see the game, it’s world, it’s characters and it’s iconic robot dinosaurs, develop from just a couple of sketches, through prototypes and ultimately to a fully-fledged game.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Audio Bootcamp XVII: Lunchtime Surgeries

  • Topic: Audio
  • Speakers: Scott Selfon, Audio Experiences Lead @ Oculus; Damian Kastbauer, Technical Sound Designer @ ArenaNet; Elvira Bjorkman, Music Composer & Sound Designer @ Two Feathers Studios; Aaron Brown, Sound Designer & Composer @ Aaron Brown Sound; Victoria Dorn, Composer & Sound Designer @ Sony Interactive Entertainment, Brian Lee White, Co-Founder @ Finishing Move; Matthew Marteinsson, Sound Designer @ Klei Entertainment; Kevin Regamey, Creative Director @ Power Up Audio; Amanda Rose Smith, Audio Engineer; Brian Trifon, Co-Founder @ Finishing Move; Anton Woldhek, Principal Sound Designer @ Guerrilla; Gina Zdanowicz, Sound Designer, Composer, Dialog Editor & Founder @ Serial Lab Studios
  • Location: Room 3004, West Hall
  • Format: Tutorial
  • Date: Tuesday, March 20
  • Time: 12:20pm – 1:50pm

Summary: An opportunity for deeper conversations with Audio Bootcamp speakers over lunch in a smaller scale setting. Grab some food and then come back to sit at tables in the round with the day's speakers on the topics that are top of mind for you about the industry, the day's topics, and the questions at the top of attendee minds.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Audio Bootcamp XVII: Zen and the Art of Game Audio Maintenance

  • Topic: Audio
  • Speaker: Anton Woldhek, Principal Sound Designer
  • Location: Room 3002, West Hall
  • Format: Tutorial
  • Date: Tuesday, March 20
  • Time: 5:30pm – 6:00pm

Summary: As a sound artist in games, you sometimes end up in situations where your sounds don't behave the way you want them to. This misbehaving is often called “bugs”. Bugs create unrest and can prevent you from being creative. They can become overwhelming. This talk attempts to prevent bugs from becoming overwhelming by first analyzing and re-discovering with a beginners mind how game audio works. Starting with creating sounds and putting them in the game, to how they are played back in the engine and finally pushed to your ears. Following that there will be several case studies of things to maintain. These will be very clear and practical tips that everyone can use straight away. They will be illustrated by practical real-world examples.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Level Design Workshop: Balancing Action and RPG in Horizon Zero Dawn Quests

  • Topic: Design
  • Speaker: Blake Rebouche, Senior Quest Designer
  • Location: Room 20, North Hall
  • Format: Tutorial
  • Date: Tuesday, March 20
  • Time: 4:40pm – 5:10pm

Summary: Prior to creating Horizon Zero Dawn, Guerrilla did not have a quest design team. To meet the their vision of a vast open world filled with narratively driven quests, studio leadership identified early in production that a new group of designers would be necessary to supplement Guerrilla's existing design expertise. Blake Rebouche, Senior Quest Designer at Guerrilla, was hired in 2015 to be part of that new team and to bring his experience to the development of Horizon Zero Dawn. Blake will explain through his own experiences and anecdotes what it was like finding a happy medium between the systems-driven content of open-world RPGs like The Elder Scrolls and the action focused level design of games like Guerrilla's own Killzone.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




GDC Film Festival: NoClip: Horizon Zero Dawn + Work In Progress Screening (TBC)

  • Topic: Special Event
  • Speakers: Danny O’Dwyer, Founder @ NoClip; Jeremy Jayne, Director of Photography & Colorist @ NoClip
  • Location: YBCA Screening Room
  • Format: Special Event
  • Date: Tuesday, March 20
  • Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Summary: In Noclip's most recent and celebrated documentary, the team travel to Amsterdam to talk to the team at Guerrilla about their epic journey bringing Horizon Zero Dawn to PlayStation 4. Including exclusive insight into the production process, never-before-seen prototypes of the game, and insight into the studio's decision making process, "The Making of Horizon Zero Dawn" is a look into what it takes to make a successful AAA game in today's unforgiving market. Danny O'Dwyer and Jeremy Jayne will be on hand for a Q&A and, to be confirmed, show work in progress from their next upcoming documentary.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Tools Design Roundtable Day 1: Design

  • Topic: Design; Production & Team Management
  • Speaker: Robin-Yann Storm, Tools Designer
  • Location: Room 206, South Hall
  • Format: Roundtable
  • Date: Wednesday, March 21
  • Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Summary: Creating and maintaining an internal tools design system can be a daunting and often amorphous task. When you are trying to design tools that can be instinctively used and that solve unique workflow problems at the same time, there can be a lot going on. In this session attendees will be able to ask and answer other studios about how they tackle these problems, what has or has not worked for them, and why.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Giving a Voice to the Machines of Horizon Zero Dawn

  • Topic: Audio
  • Speaker: Pinar Temiz, Sound Designer
  • Location: Room 3002, West Hall
  • Format: Session
  • Date: Thursday, March 22
  • Time: 10:00am – 11:00am

Summary: Horizon Zero Dawn is a game that took over six years to develop. For Guerrilla, moving away from the Killzone franchise meant entering a new world full of different audio challenges. This talk will focus on the sound of "The Machines", one of the main pillars of this new world. It will provide insight into the audio design process of these fictional creatures; creating audio to realize a high level of variety, nuance and functionality, while keeping the process manageable and scalable for the breadth of the machine lineup. We'll share some of the valuable lessons we've learned while bringing these machines to life.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Tools Design Roundtable Day 2: Production

  • Topic: Design; Production & Team Management
  • Speaker: Robin-Yann Storm, Tools Designer
  • Location: Room 206, South Hall
  • Format: Roundtable
  • Date: Thursday, March 22
  • Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Summary: Creating and maintaining an internal tools design system can be a daunting and often amorphous task. When you are trying to design tools that can be instinctively used and that solve unique workflow problems at the same time, there can be a lot going on. In this session attendees will be able to ask and answer other studios about how they tackle these problems, what has or has not worked for them, and why.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Horizon Zero Dawn: A Game Design Postmortem

  • Topic: Design
  • Speaker: Eric Boltjes, Lead Designer
  • Location: Room 25, North Hall
  • Format: Session
  • Date: Thursday, March 22
  • Time: 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Summary: Going through early prototypes and delving into design decisions and processes that shaped development of the game, this talk gives insight into the journey game design went through while moving from an ambitious paper concept to a finished open world action RPG, with all of the small and large design decisions and choices that have to be made along the way.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Repopulating the Earth: Character Production on Horizon Zero Dawn

  • Topic: Visual Arts
  • Speaker: Dan Calvert, Character Art Director
  • Location: Room 2005, West Hall
  • Format: Session
  • Date: Thursday, March 22
  • Time: 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Summary: After 15 years of developing Killzone, Guerrilla Games made the bold decision to move in a new direction and focus on a brand new genre and IP - Horizon Zero Dawn. To Guerrilla's character team, the massive open world of Horizon Zero Dawn was a giant blank slate with unlimited potential, but from another perspective it provided a host of new challenges.

How could we rise to the creative challenge of filling a world full of new and distinct peoples without second guessing ourselves and succumbing to uncertainty? How could build enough content to fill the massive open world without losing the small-team culture we'd spent years developing? How could be do useful work in an environment where everything - story, mechanics, world building - is constantly evolving? This lecture discusses how we tackled these challenges, with honest reflection on our successes and mistakes.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Horizon Zero Dawn: Using Automated Tools to Support Testing an Open World Game

  • Topic:  Production & Team Management
  • Speaker: Gareth Tynan, Test Manager @ Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Location: Overlook 3014, West Hall
  • Format: Poster Session
  • Date: Friday, March 23
  • Time: 12:15pm – 12:40pm

Summary: This poster session is an expansion of Ana Barbuta’s talk entitled Horizon’s QA Open World Case Study and this will be a further insight into the tools used to support the testing of Horizon Zero Dawn. The poster session will cover how automated tools helped to provide telemetry data, data visualization and user tracking. Then, the session will explore how that data was turned into useful information to influence the testing approach.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Horizon Zero Dawn: Using Automated Tools to Support Testing an Open World Game

  • Topic:  Production & Team Management
  • Speaker: Gareth Tynan, Test Manager @ Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Location: Overlook 3014, West Hall
  • Format: Poster Session
  • Date: Friday, March 23
  • Time: 12:50pm - 1:15pm

Summary: This poster session is an expansion of Ana Barbuta’s talk entitled Horizon’s QA Open World Case Study and this will be a further insight into the tools used to support the testing of 'Horizon Zero Dawn'. The poster session will cover how automated tools helped to provide telemetry data, data visualization and user tracking. Then, the session will explore how that data was turned into useful information to influence the testing approach.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Horizon Zero Dawn – A QA Open World Case Study

  • Topic: Production & Team Management
  • Speaker: Ana Barbuta, QA Manager
  • Location: Room 3016, West Hall
  • Format: Session
  • Date: Friday, March 23
  • Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Summary: A retrospective of how Developer (Guerrilla) and Publisher QA (SIE) worked together in partnership to help deliver a AAA experience. The presentation will focus on the victories and the challenges we faced as part of testing such an ambitious open-world title, and leveraging automated test solutions and telemetry to inform exploratory test strategy. The presentation will talk about how we managed teams over a 21 month testing lifecycle, with a team ranging from small internal test teams, before scaling up to a team of 70+ people across the globe with tens of thousands of test hours invested. The presentation will cover the successes and challenges relating to our people; early engagement, communication, trust, agility and collaboration. Our processes; risk management, test strategy, and post launch support, and our tools; Telemetry, Risk Registers, Worldwide build delivery.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.




Between Tech and Art: The Vegetation of Horizon Zero Dawn  

  • Topic: Visual Arts, Programming
  • Speaker: Gilbert Sanders, Principal Artist
  • Location: Room 2001, West Hall
  • Format: Session
  • Date: Friday, March 23
  • Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Summary: After more than ten years making the grim, sci-fi world of Killzone, Guerrilla decided, that one of the pillars for their next IP would be the beauty of nature. In this talk, Gilbert Sanders, Principal Artist at Guerrilla, will present what the studio has learned in order to bring the lush and vibrant nature of Horizon Zero Dawn to your console, while keeping an eye on performance in this Open World Action-RPG. This talk will cover technical implementation details of our shaders, meshes, render passes, and various optimizations and workflow approaches.

Click here to view and schedule this session on the GDC website.