logo for Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2009)

Peter Shirley - Parallel Programming on the GPU

An increasingly small percentage of the GPU is devoted to special purpose operations such as clipping. This has enabled a variety of numerically intensive algorithms to be implemented on the GPU. To achieve high performance, these algorithms have had to be restructured to take advantage of the multiple types of parallelism within modern GPUs. While the performance gains from this process have been impressive, the parallel programming techniques required for these gains are not widely known in the programming community nor are they part of the standard computer science curriculum. This tutorial will discuss those programming techniques for games from a nuts and bolts perspective with particular emphasis on available tools and how they can be deployed both in and out of the classroom. This tutorial assumes no familiarity with the tools under discussion.

Peter Shirley is a Senior Research Scientist at NVIDIA and Adjunct Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah. He has a B.A. in physics from Reed College and a Ph.D. in computer science for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He spent four years as an Assistant Professor at Indiana University and two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Cornell Program of Computer Graphics before moving to Utah. His professional interests include interactive and realistic rendering, statistical computing, visualization, and immersive environments.

Michael Klutcher - XNA Game Studio 3.1 New Features and Overview

XNA Game Studio is an excellent tool for teaching the fundamentals of Game Development. Instead of focusing on platform specific issues or worrying about complex APIs, Game Studio allows the student and the professor to focus instead on the mechanics of game implementation and design with an eye towards making the game a fun and engaging experience to the player.

In this talk Michael will provide a brief overview of XNA Game Studio and how it can be deployed quickly and easily in a lab scenario. We will also take a look at the education catalog associated with XNA Game Studio and provide some examples of how you can integrate some of this content into your educational plans. We'll also be providing a sneak peek into some of our upcoming content as an early preview of our latest offerings.

After the covering the initial overview we'll be diving into the new features of XNA Game Studio 3.1, including Video Support, Avatar support on the Xbox 360 Console and support for automatic serialization in the XNA Framework Content Pipeline. As we dive into the code needed to support these new features we'll be showing how to upgrade a starter kit with support for video and take a look at using custom Avatars with animation support.

Michael Klucher resides in Redmond, Washington where he has been working as a Program Manager for the XNA Platform and Tools team since December of 2005. Working on XNA Game Studio since its initial inception, Michael has been involved with the design of many feature areas such as the XNA Framework Content Pipeline, XNA Game Studio Connect on the Xbox 360, and most recently the work to bring XNA Game Studio to the Zune platform. He began his career in the entertainment industry almost a decade ago at Rainbow Studios, working in the animation division on animation and effects for television shows. He eventually moved into video games where he has shipped over 9 game titles for several current and previous generation platforms. He enjoys all things technology especially mobile gaming and gadgets. He holds degrees in Computer Animation from The Art Institute of Phoenix and Multimedia from UAT.

Davey Jackson - Introduction to Torque 3D 2009

In 2009 GarageGames released the newest version of their award winning Torque engine, recently renamed, Torque 3D. New for 2009 Torque 3D features full integration of the COLLADA file format standard as well as 3D browser based web rendering technology. Torque 3D also features significant improvements in usability, art pipeline management, real-time world editing, rendering and terrain management. GarageGames offers Academics an opportunity to work with this state-of-the-art professional game engine with full source code access. In this session, Jackson will review Torque 3D's major systems including terrain, scene object tools and 3D web rendering. As a bonus Davey will also discuss digital distribution options for student IP and making the transition from student to professional game developer. Participants in this session will walk away with an understand of Torque 3D's on board systems and GarageGames' unique academic and research licensing.

Davey Jackson joined GarageGames in July 2005 as the Director of Educational Outreach. During his time at GarageGames, Davey has worked with over one-hundred colleges and universities, in 16 countries, on setting up or expanding their game design and programming courses. From 2006-2008 Davey manged the production of three books on GarageGames Torque Technologies and coordinated over a dozen professional training sessions for academics. In the summer of 2008 Davey became the Director of Licensing at GarageGames, managing their console, commercial and serious Games licensing for Torque Technologies. An avid gamer, Jackson started playing computer games on an Apple IIC at age 5. Utilizing educational games throughout his K-12 schooling helped Jackson to overcome learning disabilities. This is Davey's third year presenting at the Foundations of Digital Gaming Conference.

About GarageGames

GarageGames consists of a band of professional game developers committed to publishing truly original and exciting games and technology on its own terms. The company wants to give any and all game makers the opportunity to publish their games, find their audiences and perhaps make their fortunes. At the leading edge of multiple major innovations in game publishing and development since its founding, GarageGames has been a positive force for change in games. GarageGames entered the market as a publisher using digital distribution for PC games all before the casual game phenomenon that made digital distribution mainstream. GarageGames followed on that effort by continuing to seize new opportunities such as those on next-gen consoles like Microsoft's original Xbox and its LIVE Arcade channel as early as 2005.

Arnav Jhala - Unrealscript Programming for Game Development Courses

Unreal is a sophisticated 3D engine developed by Epic Games Inc. that resides under the hood of many popular games. A large and active mod community has developed around the Unreal engine technology. Mod development on the Unreal engine is facilitated by powerful tools for authoring game content. Unrealscript is a high-level language based on object-oriented design principles for authoring gameplay on the Unreal engine. It is designed with features that map to the nuances of game programming like game-state and event management. This tutorial will focus on an introduction to Unrealscript with particular emphasis on the design of programming assignments using Unrealscript for introductory game development courses in computer science. Participants will gain an introduction to Unrealscript development, pointers to resources for mod-authoring, and sample code for class assignments mentioned in the tutorial.

Arnav Jhala is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen. His research interests lie at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Media, particularly in the areas of Computer Games, Computational Filmmaking, and Narrative Discourse. Arnav has contributed to several research and industry projects using the Unreal engine including the Mimesis and Zocalo projects at the North Carolina State University, Leaders project at the Institute for Creative Technologies (USC) in collaboration with Paramount Pictures, and America's Army: Adaptive Thinking and Leadership simulation at Virtual Heroes Inc. Arnav holds a PhD in Computer Science from the North Carolina State University.