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GDC Main Stage: The Developer's Journey

Siobhan Reddy (Studio Director, Media Molecule)

Sean Murray (Founder, Hello Games)

Laralyn McWilliams (Creative Director, Microsoft)

Location: GDC Main Stage, West Hall, Street Level

Date: Wednesday, March 20

Time: 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Indie Games Summit - Get your pass now!

Topic: Special Event

Vault Recording: TBD

New to GDC, The GDC Main Stage is a space for larger discussions on the state of game development. This year’s presentation, The Developer’s Journey, is a first-of-its-kind combined talk that kicks off with Media Molecule’s Siobhan Reddy presenting opening remarks on how her team’s upcoming title, 'Dreams' plans to unlock player creativity in unprecedented user-generated detail, following a special musical performance using the game. Next up, Hello Games’ Sean Murray takes us behind the scenes during the intense and dramatic launch of one the biggest selling new IPs in recent years, 'No Man's Sky'. He will demonstrate how his team found the grit to deal with releasing an innovative and polarizing game into an increasingly vocal gaming landscape. Finally, game development veteran Laralyn McWilliams then draws on 15+ years of dev experience to close out the session with a talk about finding resolve and inspiration in a stressful environment. Using practical tools and techniques, she’ll describe how to stay optimistic and inspired through unforeseen challenges.

Part 1: 'Dreams': Unlocking Creativity in Everyone (Siobhan Reddy)
In her talk, Reddy will discuss the evolution of Dreams from 3D sculpting tool to full blown game creation engine in the journey to bring the hobby of game creation into the living room for the modern generation. She will also cover how building a studio culture of “jamming” has resulted in everything from creative solutions to development problems, new games within Dreams and literal jams - musical and otherwise - in the tools.

Part 2: 'No Man's Sky': Grit (Sean Murray)
A small and unlikely team was behind one of the most ambitious and anticipated games of 2016. Hello Games' Sean Murray takes us behind the scenes during the intense and dramatic launch of one the biggest selling new IPs in recent years. He demonstrates how his team found the grit to deal with releasing an innovative and polarizing game into an increasingly vocal gaming landscape, and details how through determination and love in 2019 they have built to record player numbers and positivity amongst their most negative detractors. This candid and open discussion will show the power of focusing on what you do, rather than what you say, in the face of adversity.

Part 3: I Don't Want Your Lemons: Optimism Fuel for Weary Devs (Laralyn McWilliams)
Game development is a hard business. You've all been through the wringer, whether you're indie or commercial developers, long-time veterans or folks in their first few years as a professional. It's easy to become cynical, and that's the start of the short path to burnout. It's not your fault: there's solid evidence that stress makes creativity difficult if not impossible, especially when it's prolonged. Yet some of us persist, through crunches, layoffs, relocations and even your company closing down. What is it that keeps you here and keeps you creative? This inspirational talk provides practical tools and techniques to stay positive and creative in game development despite the bumps (and craters) in the road, drawn from the experiences of fellow developers with 15+ years in the business. By finding common threads, everyone can find a way to make life's manager take the lemons back.

Takeaway

Attendees will learn about how to capitalize on moments of inspiration. The session will also cover effective methods of staying proactive in spite of criticism, and overcoming adversity through positivity and productivity. Using practical techniques, participants will learn proven methods for staying inspired through the inherent challenges of game production.

Intended Audience

This talk is meant to benefit anyone looking to be inspired, or who wants to learn how to bolster their own spirits and productivity and that of their teams.