Volition GDC Presentation Archive

Volition employees have given several presentations at the annual Game Developers Conference. Here is an archive of slides and other files from past Volition lectures and classes.

2008

Python for Technical Artists
Lecture by Adam Pletcher

Description:
Technical Artists must constantly expand their skillsets to efficiently meet new challenges. Python is an interpreted scripting language uniquely suited to meet the increasing demands of technical art. Python provides intuitive, fast solutions for many issues facing today's content creators. This lecture gives an overview of the language's strengths as a game development tool, with many examples and recipes to provide a jump-start.

Downloads:
Powerpoint Slides - GDC2008_AdamPletcher_PythonForTechArtists.ppt
Example Python Files - GDC2008_AdamPletcher_PythonSamples.zip (10/15/2008)

Internal & Outsourcer Management Of Tools & Pipelines
Lecture by Brendan Hanna Holloway and Adam Pletcher

Description:
The amount and variety of custom tools and pipelines is skyrocketing. How can a game studio efficiently deploy, update and manage them all? Outsourcers using those pipelines complicates things even further. The Saints Row project peaked at over 100 internal Volition developers and more than 20 overseas artists. This lecture provides detailed advice on effective tools and pipeline management, drawn from experience on past and present Volition projects.

Downloads:
Powerpoint Slides - GDC2008_HollowayPletcher_ToolsManagement.ppt

2007

Saints Row Scheduler
Lecture by Randall Turner

Description:
Making optimal use of all available CPU resources on a next generation platform can be challenging. This treatment of the approach taken by the Saints Row team illustrates some of the techniques appropriate to a homogeneous multiprocessing environment, where individual processing elements are very similar or identical. This lecture progresses from a presentation of basic multithreading principles to a representative job scheduler design to more advanced load balancing techniques, job granularity issues and handling third party package requirements.

Downloads:
Powerpoint Slides - GDC2007_Turner_Randall_Scheduler.ppt

The Creation of Saints Row's Open World Cityscape: Stilwater
Lecture by Jason Hayes and Kenny Thompson

Description:
As games continue to evolve so does gameplay. With the incredible success of open world sandbox games, Saints Row is one of many that will surely follow. Within this lecture we walk through the creation process of Saints Row's open world city, Stilwater. It covers the choices made to create what is now a gigantic, complex, and detailed world. This presentation covers the turns we took, consider the mistakes made, and postulate on our future processes.

Downloads:
Powerpoint Slides - GDC2007_HayesThompson_SaintsRowCityscape.ppt

Tech-Art Driven Shader Pipelines in 3dsmax
Lecture by Raymond Stewart

Description:
High level shader development languages have drastically altered the role of the art department in defining the final appearance of next-gen games. With this new level of control comes new layers of complexity in process, tool development, and asset production. Explore the tech-art issues that are on the critical path to this new fixture of the production pipeline.

Downloads:
Powerpoint Slides - GDC2007_RaymondStewart_ShaderPipelines.ppt

2005

Strategies & Techniques for Real-Time Shaders
Master Class by Neil Hazzard (Autodesk) and Adam Pletcher

Description:
This two hour master class is focused on best work practices when building and editing real-time shaders using 3ds max 7 software. Shaders are tackled from the perspective of the artist as well as the programmer.

Downloads:
Powerpoint Slides - GDC2005_AdamPletcher_RealtimeShaders.ppt (Pletcher)

2001

Art Creation for a PlayStation 2 Launch Title -
The Ups and Downs of Summoner

Lecture by Adam Pletcher

Description:
A post-mortem style rundown of the various art-related challenges we faced on the Playstation 2 RPG title Summoner.

Downloads:
Rough Transcript - GDC2001_AdamPletcher_Summoner.doc