GDC is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of GDC sessions by time, pass type, topic, and format. With GDC Session Scheduler, you can build your schedule in advance and access it during the show via export or with the GDC Mobile App, once live.

If you've registered for GDC, you can use the same login credentials for your Session Scheduler account. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat. Sessions do fill up, so please arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

Math In Game Development Summit: Heat is Magic

Squirrel Eiserloh (Professor of Practice, SMU Guildhall)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 17

Time: 9:30am - 10:30am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Summits Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Heat maps (spatial metadata) have myriad uses in game development, with obvious and non-obvious applications in gameplay, procedural generation, AI, physics, graphics, audio, game balance, systems design, and quality assurance. In this talk, we explore a variety of different types and applications of heat maps, including (signed) distance fields, flow fields, and several other types of spatial metadata (humidity, occupancy, danger, avoidance, obscurity, death, action, misuse, etc.). We'll also look at some operations on and between heat maps yielding even more curious and useful results.


Attendees will leave with a broadened view and heightened appreciation for the usefulness of heat maps and related constructs, as well as a number of specific tips, tricks, and applications for applying heat maps and other spatial metadata both during gameplay and throughout the game development process.

Intended Audience

Game programmers and technical designers in all areas wanting to find better ways of analyzing and understanding their game worlds – or having their games understand themselves better – for content validation, player and NPC behavior, performance optimization, and general innovation.