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GDC 2017 Highlights

The 2017 Game Developer’s Conference is well underway in San Francisco, delivering some of the most informed, fascinating discussions in gaming. The massive event features over 500 lectures, panels, tutorials and round-table discussions, covering every aspect of the games industry. In case you missed some of the big announcements, here are some of our highlights from the week;

Nvidia announced the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

After much speculation around their latest graphics card, Nvidia finally revealed the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, with what they claim is the largest performance jump in a Ti-branded card.

Speaking at GDC, senior VP of GPU Engineering John Alben discussed the new card’s architecture and suggested an improvement of 35% over the GTX 1080, based on internal testing. In comparison, the GTX 780 Ti saw an 18% performance boost over its predecessor, whilst the GTX 980 Ti improvement over GTX 980 was around 25%.

Based on the current Pascal architecture, the GTX 1080 Ti will boast 11GB of VRAM and clock 1583 MHz. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed off the card’s capabilities, running at a temperature of around 66 degrees celsius on a stock cooler under load. The card’s temperature and its noise level have been improved so that the Ti will stay five degrees cooler at the same noise level.

8-bit Breath of the Wild

A 2D proto-type of Breath of the Wild was shown at this year’s GDC. Game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi explained to a panel how the prototype helped them channel the freedom of the original Legend of Zelda NES game, and allowed them to test gameplay ideas for the huge open world.

“I wanted to create a game where the user could truly experience freedom … and a sense of adventure again and again, as they freely navigate through it,” Fujibayashi said.

Breath of the Wild released today to glowing, near-perfect reviews across the board, and so it’s fascinating to get insight into the development of what will no doubt be remembered as one of the best Zelda games of all time.

Now all we need is a full 8-bit, NES style Breath of the Wild on virtual console.

New titles coming to Daydream VR

Two new titles are on the way for Google’s virtual reality hardware. The first is Beartopia, the story of a bear family’s move to a new town. From the award winning team at Spry Fox, this adorable VR game looks like a mini-animal crossing, as you build relationships in the new town. The other game is Virtual Rabbids from Ubisoft, which will allow you to interact directly for the first time with the rabid creatures in the same silly, humorous style as previous Rabbid games.

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Speaking at GDC, Google’s strategic lead for games Jamil Moledina stressed the importance of avoiding the ‘novelty’ aspect of virtual reality gaming.

“This is something we’re working very hard to move away from,” said Moledina, “It’s important to us that the experiences really bring you back repeatedly to see what’s going on.”

Borderlands 3 tease (almost)

Gearbox Software showed off the capabilities of Unreal Engine 4, during Epic Games’ GDC press conference. The Borderlands developers presented footage of how their next game might look running on the new engine.

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Now whilst Gearbox President and CEO Randy Pitchford stressed that the footage was not from Borderlands 3, it is a solid indication of how the game will look and perform. Since we know the team have been working on the sequel, it bodes well to see what has been described as almost game-ready footage.

GDC Award Winners

Several games and studios were awarded for excellence across the board, with Overwatch picking up yet another game of the year accolade. Most unexpected to the recipient was the Innovation Award, which went to Hello Games for their huge sci-fi exploration No Man’s Sky. The award was so unexpected to the nominee that they weren’t even around to pick it up.

WINNERS

Best Debut

Firewatch – Campo Santo

Best Audio

Inside – Playdead

Innovation Award

No Man’s Sky – Hello Games

Best Technology

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Naughty Dog

Best VR/AR

Job Simulator – Owlchemy Labs

Best Visual Art

Inside – Playdead

Best Narrative

Firewatch – Camp Santo

Best Design

Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment

Best Mobile/Handheld Game

Pokémon Go – Niantic

Audience Award

Battlefield 1 – EA/DICE

Game of the Year

Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment

 

Alice Edwards View All

Games enthusiast with a passion for all things geek culture.

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