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Six sessions to watch at Devcom Digital 2020

Fighting racism with XR, making cosy games about serious topics, and a post-mortem of Diablo 2 from David Brevik

Devcom Digital 2020 kicks off on Monday, with the first of ten consecutive working days of sessions exploring every part of game development and the wider industry.

The Devcom schedule will be conducted through the Pine app, supported by daily streams from an official Twitch account -- including speaker interviews, Let's Plays from indie exhibitors, and broadcasts of "Highlight Sessions" from the conference itself.

All sessions are pre-recorded, but will be followed by live Q&A with the speakers. GamesIndustry.biz will be covering the show for its entire duration, reporting on the very best talks here on the website.

"I simply think that spreading the content over multiple days makes it easier and more comfortable for people to actually attend the sessions they're interested in," said head of program Nicola Balleta, about the reason for stretching Devcom's schedule beyond its typical three days.

"We're also convinced that, for example, an artist or audio designer is more likely to check out those one or two sessions, and come back another day, rather than sitting there and watching eight hours of art-related presentations in a row."

Devcom Digital will start on August 17 and finish on August 30. You can find the full schedule on the official website. For now, this is our selection of the most interesting talks and sessions to come over the next two weeks.

Global Anti-Racism in XR -- Dr. Courtney Cogburn
Monday August 17, 7pm CET
Racism is not only a US problem, and the global gaming and XR communities have an important role to play in anti-racism. This session will explore the global relevance of practicing anti-racism, the role of XR in promoting racial equity and justice, and the importance of transdisciplinarity to social impact XR. 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive VR experience that places you into the digital shoes of a Black male experiencing racism as a child, adolescent and adult, and other work being developed in collaboration with the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, will be used as case studies.

Killer Combat Design -- Protips From the Experts
Tuesday August 18, 7pm CET
In this panel, a talented round of combat design experts will discuss the following subjects: How to iterate as a team; When to walk away from an idea; How to bring on new talent; Boss battle best practices; Tuning for game feel in a mocap pipeline; Making defense fun. The speakers are Respawn Entertainment's Jason de Heras, Sony Santa Monica's Mihir Sheth, Recurve's Joe Quadara, and SuperAlloy Interactive's Zac Swartout and Eric Jacobus.

A Devil Makes History -- Classic Post-Mortem on Diablo 2 from David Brevik
Wednesday August 19, 7pm CET
On June 29, 2020, Diablo 2 celebrated its 20th anniversary -- so this is the perfect opportunity for a trip down memory lane. Join David Brevik, co-founder and former president of Blizzard North, for a classic post-mortem on one of the key milestones in video game history.

Non-Binary Tea -- A fireside chat with Sybil Collas and Pierrick Haem
Monday August 24, 4pm CET
Fake inclusivity and blooming community: Two creators discuss the ups and downs of being a queer game developer.

Making a Cozy Game Out of Uncomfortable Parts -- Misha Velichansky, Schell Games
Monday August 24, 7pm CET
Born in the former USSR, Misha Velichansky lived in the US most of their life. They currently work at Schell Games, where they were the director and narrative lead on the queer visual novel Mission: It's Complicated. Velichansky describes their talk as: “How I accidentally made a fun, joyful, comforting game despite -- or probably as a result of! -- tackling a bunch of serious topics.”

Modular World Building -- Raul Aparicio, Sony Santa Monica
Wednesday August 26, 7pm CET
As senior environment artist at God of War developer Sony Santa Monica, Aparicio will offer a quick overview of his thought process for building modular pieces on the grid, using Maya, followed by tips and tricks to take those pieces to completion -- and assemble a full level in Unreal Engine 4.

GamesIndustry.biz is a media partner of Devcom Digital

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