A melting pot for all aspects of computer graphics and interactive techniques, SIGGRAPH continues to showcase the best and brightest in these fields. With video games continuing to gain exposure and popularity, it comes as no surprise to see this reflected in this year’s conference lineup.
SIGGRAPH 2011 offers a record amount of game development content: courses, talks (technical, studio, and exhibitor talks), workshops on game development, game and technical papers. In addition, game content can be found in the Computer Animation Festival, in which Real-Time Live! showcases the latest trends and techniques in games. And for those wanting a hands-on experience, the Sandbox provides the ideal environment to test drive the latest in interactive entertainment.
The following is a three part interview with the key individuals who make game content at SIGGRAPH possible. Join us to learn firsthand what’s in store for this year’s SIGGRAPH game content, speaking with Drew Davidson, SIGGRAPH 2011 Games Chair; Jason RM Smith, SIGGRAPH 2011 & 2012 Real-Time Live! Director and Chair, and Naty Hoffman, SIGGRAPH 2011 Game Development Community Director.
Part I – Interview with Drew Davidson, SIGGRAPH 2011 Games Chair
Drew Davidson is a professor, producer and player of interactive media. His background spans academic, industry and professional worlds: he is the Director of the Entertainment Technology Center – Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University and the Editor of ETC Press.
What are your responsibilities as Games Chair?
To oversee and coordinate game-related content at SIGGRAPH, working with Naty Hoffman, Jason RM Smith, and T.L. Taylor (who chaired games papers this year).
In terms of Games Papers, how many submissions were received? Was there an increase in the number of submissions? Did you notice any trends in the content received?
We had around 100 submissions this year, which is right around what we were expecting. Since we’ve had Game Papers for several years now, we have had between 80-100 submissions each year. As for trends, there seems to be more attention being paid to indie games and user-generated content.
How has the growth of the video games industry affected the amount of game content at SIGGRAPH? Has it affected this year’s game content lineup? And do you foresee this trend expanding game content inclusion in future SIGGRAPHs?
That it’s there at all attests to the growth of the industry, and Naty Hoffman, Game Development Community Director has done some great work this year getting involvement and participation from the industry in this year’s SIGGRAPH. As for expansion, that’s tough to tell, it’s been successful and it’s going to be more of a PR issue as SIGGRAPH works to get the word out to attendees about the amount of good content related to games.
Since games have a little bit of everything, where does game development fit in SIGGRAPH?
Games fit into SIGGRAPH both in terms of graphics (with real-time rendering and such) and also in terms of interactive techniques (issues around design and player engagement) so there’s some good fit with SIGGRAPH.
SIGGRAPH 2011 is in Vancouver, a location that has long been associated with game development. Any thoughts on what has made this location a hub for gaming?
Well, it’s a great city all around, so it’s an appealing place to work, and there has been a lot of local support to do business here. And with the local universities, there is a lot of potential talent. All of this has helped make it a great hub for game development.
Has the conference’s location this year impacted the gaming content being included, interest level in content, or amount of submissions/participation by the local community?
It definitely has. Sylvain Provencher and Glenn Entis have been great in helping with some outreach, and again, Naty has done a great job coordinating with industry as well.