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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Character Technology of 'The Last of Us Part II'

Wasim Khan  (Technical Director, Naughty Dog LLC & Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Programming, Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

'The Last of Us Part II' is Naughty Dog's biggest game to date. This talk looks back at the journey of how character tools and technology evolved to make it possible, and the breakthrough, setbacks and pitfalls along the way. For an iteration-focused studio like Naughty Dog, where frequent reviews and ongoing playtests shape the production, it becomes increasingly difficult to make time-intensive changes to the pipeline in the midst of production. Lastly, this session will give an overview of character authoring, shaders, gore tools, optimization to support non destructive, artist-driven workflow which allows for forward facing development.


Attendees will walk away with an understanding of the artist-driven, character focused tools developed for The Last of Us Part II. This session will take a deep dive into character tech and pipeline tools to accommodate a challenging workflow. It includes character assets optimization to fit in the memory budget, data driven face rigs and deformation tech, animation tools, NPC assets authoring (human and infected, RATKING), gore tool development. How our current tools and challenges are shaping a pipeline for future titles as production continues to scale.

Intended Audience

Character Artists, Character TDs, Technical Artists and Tech Art Directors with intermediate to advanced experience. AAA game development of advanced character assets, rigging techniques, plugins, shaders, scripting and tools will be discussed in the context of DCC software and game engines. Talk is comprehensive and does not require any prerequisite knowledge, though a familiarity with AAA game development pipelines may help.