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Inside GDC 2009: 'Content Is King'

Ever wondered how talks get selected for GDC? Starting a series of articles from the event blog, Game Developers Conference event director Meggan Scavio reveals this year's GDC advisory board and submission process.]

Every summer, the GDC advisory board gathers to discuss the direction of the next event. The board is made up of 17 of the most dedicated, brilliant people in the industry. And I'm not just saying that because they might read this.

You may have heard of some of them, for example Blizzard's Rob Pardo, Electronic Arts' Lou Castle, veteran creator Mark Cerny, Bungie's Chris Butcher, MGS's Laura Fryer, and Maxis' Chris Hecker. See, it's true. Smarties.

Anyhow, during this meeting they talk about everything from networking opportunities ("wouldn't it be cool to have a roundtable follow a thought-provoking lecture so the attendees can discuss what they just heard?") to session formats ("what if we gave speakers 3 minutes each to present their cool idea or technology").

The meat of what they talk about, however, is the session content and how to make it better. It's all-quality all-the-time with these folks.

Our attempt at improving (and some might say maintaining) session quality for GDC 2009 was evidenced in our Call for Submissions. The board is always looking for interesting, well crafted submissions but the reality is they are really looking at takeaway.

When reviewing submissions, they want to know if the attendee is going to walk out of the room knowing something they didn't know when they walked in.

We updated the submissions process this year by dividing it into two phases with takeaway being the focal point of phase one.

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