Video gaming masterminds David Braben (Frontier Developments), Damian Isla (Bungie Studios), Richard Lemarchand (Naughty Dog) and Phil Spencer (Microsoft Game Studios Europe) and top animator Andy Lomas (Framestore) will deliver keynote addresses at this year's Develop Conference and Expo, which takes place from July 29-31 in Brighton.
For the first time, each of the seven conference tracks (Art & Animation, Design, Production, Coding, Business, Audio and World Vision) will be led by a unique keynote address in recognition of the increasing sophistication of the varying disciplines within games development. These presentations are in addition to the overriding high profile Develop Conference keynote speaker who is yet to be announced. The following have been confirmed to date:
ART & ANIMATION KEYNOTE "Framestore and the GOLDEN COMPASS: The Tools and Techniques of Visual Effects" -- Andy Lomas, Framestore
Andy Lomas is head of computer graphics at Framestore CFC. Over the last 15 years he has been involved in a wide range of projects ranging from commercials and long form television to live action visual effects and CG feature animation. His credits include WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, DINOTOPIA, THE MATRIX: RELOADED, THE MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS, OVER THE HEDGE, LOST IN SPACE, FAIRY TALE: A TRUE STORY, THE ODYSSEY, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, ARABIAN NIGHTS and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. He has won numerous awards for his work, including Emmys for supervising the computer generated effects on THE ODYSSEY and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Currently he is working of Framestore's first CG feature animation film: THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX.
DESIGN KEYNOTE "HALO AI Retrospective: Eight Years of Work on 30 Seconds of Fun" -- Damian Isla, senior engineer; AI lead programmer HALO 2 and HALO 3, Bungie Studios
Damian Isla is a Gameplay and Artificial Intelligence Lead at Bungie Studios, where he was responsible for the AI for mega-hit first-person shooters HALO 2 and HALO 3, two of the most successful video games of all time. Before coming to Bungie, he earned an M.Eng. at the MIT Media Lab's Synthetic Characters Group, where he did research on learning and behavior for artificial creatures. He has spoken on games and character AI at the Game Developers Conference, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), the AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference (AIIDE) and at Siggraph, and was a contributor to Game AI Programming Wisdom 1 and 3. He has a B.Sc. in Computer Science, again from MIT.
PRODUCTION KEYNOTE "Working Hard and Having Fun: How Naughty Dog Made UNCHARTED: DRAKE'S FORTUNE "-- Richard Lemarchand, co-lead game designer, Naughty Dog
Richard Lemarchand was the lead game designer of UNCHARTED: DRAKE'S FORTUNE, and also worked on Naughty Dog's JAK 3 and JAK X: COMBAT RACING. He has made story-based character-action games the main focus of his design career and has worked with some of the industry's best and brightest along the way. Richard is a hands-on designer who loves the practical business of building out a game in common-sense ways while keeping standards high. He spends his days with his metaphorical sleeves rolled up, championing the player's experience and helping keep the development team on track.
CODING KEYNOTE "Why the Future is Brighter than Ever" -- David Braben, founder, Frontier Developments
Award-winning David Braben and his Cambridge-based studio Frontier Developments are recognized worldwide as leading innovators in video game development technology and design. Frontier's most recent title THRILLVILLE, published by LucasArts in North America, was the best-selling original children's/family title in 2006. Frontier's work on THE OUTSIDER promises to deliver yet another ground-breaking title and a number of gameplay firsts. David is directing the development of several titles which all utilize the studio's sophisticated in-house tool chain.
BUSINESS KEYNOTE "The Broadening Imperative" -- Phil Spencer, general manager, Microsoft Game Studios Europe
Phil Spencer is responsible for building great games with Microsoft's European development partners and internal studios including BANJO KAZOOIE 3, FABLE 2 and VIVA PIÑATA. Spencer joined Microsoft Game Studios in 2002, managing the development of externally developed MGS first-party games, and was promoted to general manager in 2006 overseeing all internal and external Windows and XBOX game development including such games as HALO 2, HALO 3, AGE OF EMPIRES 3, GEARS OF WAR and others. He came to London to head up the European office of Microsoft Game in May 2007.
A full list of confirmed sessions can be found online at www.developconference.com. Registration is now open and delegates can apply for super, standard, mobile, audio and expo passes for the Develop Conference and Expo online at www.developconference.com. Discounts are available on all passes purchased before July 1, 2008. The expo pass is free of charge -- available online.