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Browse and sort the list of GDC Summer sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All session times are shown in Pacific Time.

Please note GDC Summer has ended! Check out GDC Vault to view previous GDC sessions.

How to Dissect an Exploding Spaceship in 'Hardspace: Shipbreaker'

Richard Harrison  (Technical Director, Blackbird Interactive)

Date: Thursday, August 6

Time: 3:00pm - 3:30pm

Pass Type: Conference Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Hardspace: Shipbreaker lets you chop up derelict spaceships with a high-powered laser cutter. Ships can be sliced and diced in any way you can imagine, which requires robust algorithms to cut arbitrary meshes, visualize the interior of cut surfaces, and maintain the physics of separated parts. Cut the wrong way and you may rupture a fuel line, sever a live electrical connection, or catastrophically damage the reactor core. In this session, Blackbird’s Richard Harrison will cover how the cutting process works, how it interacts with physics and the volatile elemental system, and the content pipeline developed to procedurally create cuttable ships.


Attendees gain insights into the challenge of cutting arbitrary geometric meshes, and learn about the graphics and optimization techniques used by the Shipbreaker team to achieve visual targets and good performance.

Intended Audience

Geared primarily towards programmers and technical artists, the session includes images and design discussions that are accessible and interesting to a general audience.