Microsoft's talks at GDC 2015

DirectX 12 xbox

GDC isn’t far away (March 2-5th), so you had better get on it if you haven’t booked a room or a flight yet. This will be my 6th GDC in San Francisco and my 8th overall, and based on what I know is coming, it’s the most exciting one yet. Granted, I was pretty nervous the first time I went to GDC.

There’s even a surprise happening at the Microsoft booth at the entrance of the convention. Let’s just say that if I told 10 year old Dave what he’d be doing at GDC as an adult, his head would have exploded from excitement.

I’ll also be working that booth from Wednesday – Friday, so feel free to say hello. I’m the tall guy with big ears and rosy red cheeks. We’ll have some coding competitions set up, along with games to play (and may even some unreleased ones….) and of course, there is always a bar at the business lounge area. Maybe we’ll even have another XNA meetup for former (and disgruntled) XNA community members!

Upcoming Sessions

Session Title Session Description
The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosystem Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, will discuss the future of gaming and the many ways game developers can create innovative game content and experiences for the entire Microsoft ecosystem, including Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
Developing Games for Windows 10 The Windows 10 universal app platform is designed to enable game developers to create high performance games that can target the broadest range of devices with a single code base. Whether you’re planning the next AAA blockbuster, or building a mobile mini-game in your basement, Windows provides flexibility and power that you need. This session will introduce Microsoft’s latest game development tools, platform, services and ecosystem. Come see demonstrations, best practices and learn proven usage patterns that leverage DirectX and the WinRT APIs to target the Xbox and Windows ecosystem of devices.
Better Power, Better Performance: Your Game on DirectX12 Direct3D 12 enables new performance improvements for your game on Windows 10. Learn how to architect your game engine to best reduce CPU overhead, increase GPU efficiency, and improve frame-rate stability using the new Direct3D 12 API. Understand the fundamentals for building a fast-performing, efficient game engine on Direct3D 12 and where to find the best resources for diving deeper.
Gaming Consumer Experience on Windows 10 Gaming is a key area of focus for Windows 10 – especially PC gaming. Create Windows 10 gaming experiences that maximize exposure in the Windows Store and provide mechanisms for users to discover, download, play, and re-engage with your game. Understand how Windows 10 helps drive engagement using live tiles and notifications. Learn about the gaming experiences and Xbox Live social engagements made possible through the Game bar and the Xbox app on the PC.
New Opportunities for Independent Developers ID@Xbox is Microsoft’s self-publishing program for independent developers on Xbox. This talk will give developers an overview of how the ID program will work in the future, as well as provide guidance on the opportunities for independent developers across the Microsoft ecosystem.
Developing with Xbox Live for Windows 10 What if you had access to the largest set of game service functionality via Xbox Live? What if you had an SDK for enabling and accessing the Xbox Live gamer network, gamer score, achievements, leaderboards, and multiplayer services from any Windows 10 device easily? What would your games look like? Through demonstrations and samples, we’ll examine the breadth of functionality and ease with which you can build and release a game that utilizes Xbox Live features.
Xbox Live Multiplayer: Introducing services for cross-platform matchmaking and gameplay Windows 10 brings Xbox Live multiplayer functionality to all your connected devices. Use Xbox Live services and developer-facing APIs to match-make gamers across any Windows 10 device and create unique gameplay experiences.
Fable Legends: Cross-device Gameplay with Xbox Live Not only does Windows 10 bring the power of Xbox Live to PCs, it allows for experiences to cross all of your connected devices. This talk explores the design, implementation, and other considerations of Fable Legends in building a seamless cross-device gameplay experience between Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
Best Practices for Leveraging Cloud-Based User Stats and Achievements in Xbox Live Integrate your next-generation Windows 10 game with Xbox Live for cloud-powered experiences like Hero Stats, Achievements, and Leaderboards that can be updated independently from your game code. Surface the most engaging player stats from your game directly on Windows 10 and build powerful companion experiences through the Real-Time Activity service. Get tips on common configuration pitfalls, Xbox Live policy considerations, and how to avoid common failures during Certification.
Distributing Games Across Microsoft’s Phone, PC, and Xbox Marketplace Windows 10 is coming soon to a phone, PC, and Xbox near you — and with it, a streamlined approach to distributing and merchandising your game on Microsoft’s growing marketplace. Explore upcoming features that make publishing easier so you can reach more customers while increasing ROI.
Advanced DirectX12 Graphics and Performance DirectX12 enables next generation games to deliver better performance with greater flexibility and control. This technical session goes deep into the DirectX12 APIs you can use to reduce CPU rendering overhead, manage GPU resource usage more efficiently, and express the most cutting-edge 3D graphics possible across the spectrum of Windows 10 devices. Whether you are building a game for the phone, PC, or Xbox – you don’t want to miss this talk.
Sustained gaming performance in multi-core mobile devices Modern mobile devices and smartphones are reaching the computing capabilities reserved until recently for desktop PCs. Windows 10 phones and tablets with 8 CPUs and very powerful GPUs are expected soon. Despite significant progress in reducing power consumption these devices are able to draw more power under sustained load than can be safely dissipated with current passive cooling technologies. Windows 10 and the hardware it runs on are designed to safely handle such situations, mostly by reducing the system performance – which could affect game-play negatively. Learn to counter this effect by designing games that achieve sustained thermal-to-quality tradeoffs in these systems.
Designing games for a Windows Core World How can your game take advantage of the broad reach of multiple form factors shipping with Windows 10, and provide the best experiences to your target audiences? Can a one-size-fits-all design approach succeed or should you tailor the experience to each device? We will discuss and demonstrate the design implications of Windows Core game development scenarios from casual to AAA games, as well as some common pitfalls with an appropriate checklist to mitigate concerns around legibility, input schemes and content density. This talk also examines user engagement expectations and how to map usability goals to user trends for each device.
PC Games for Windows 10 Windows 10 brings new features for developers targeting the phone, tablet and desktop PC gamers. In addition to DirectX 12 and improved access to modern features, there are better tools for developing, debugging, and profiling games. Learn how your new Windows PC games can take advantage of Windows 10 capabilities and get tips on making your current Windows games work great on Windows 10.

 

Here’s a few points that stand out to me, though:

Distributing Games Across Microsoft’s Phone, PC, and Xbox Marketplace

We’ve already stated that we are moving to a unified marketplace, where you can sell your applications across all three of our platforms (Xbox One, Windows 10, Win Phone). This will give you a better understanding of how to get your apps  across our unified platform, as well as how it will affect your current apps in the store. I’m sure they will cover gaming as well, and what the future landscape looks like as well.

For years, developers have stated that they wanted to have visiblity on a console. Welll, this may be your chance.

Developing with Xbox Live for Windows 10

Windows and mobile developers have been wanting more of the Xbox Live APIs available to them which the console developers have had for years. Some of those APIs include, leaderboards, achievement, and matchmaking services, so it looks like we’ll hear more about the current and future status of those.

New Opportunities for Independent Developers

While my first title on XBLIG, Piz-ong, may not hasve been the hit I was hoping it would be, that doesn’t mean I can’t still write games for Xbox. Our staff will go over the ID@Xbox program with you during this talk, as well as explain how to best prepare for getting your game on the console, if you aren’t already in the program.

 

Finaly, here’s a complete list of the talks, along with links to the GDC posting.

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