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Fortnite and Fez technical talks added to GDC Europe 2014 lineup

After last week's revelation that Brenda Romero and one of the lead developers of The Witcher would be speaking at GDC Europe 2014, we're happy to announce a pair of technical talks revolving around Epic Games' Fortnite and Polytron's Fez for the major European game conference, which is being held in Germany this August.

The event will include topics spanning AAA through mobile gaming and indie, with an eye towards focusing on both the business and the technical art of game development. Today we're excited to add these practical talks on programming and UX design to the conference lineup, which should offer meaningful takeaways for the entire industry.

Organized by UBM Tech Game Network, GDC Europe, now in its sixth year in Germany, will run Monday through Wednesday, August 11-13 at the Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany, co-located with Europe's biggest video game trade and public show gamescom.

User experience design is a trendy topic in the gaming industry; a growing number of studios are creating internal UX teams, sometimes even with a staff psychologist. Sadly, when those teams come together they can sometimes be perceived as being at odds with the design team. Epic Games' UX manager Celia Hodent believes we can do better; she believes UX specialists can empower designers to build better games based on rigorous testing.

In her upcoming GDC Europe talk, "Developing UX Practices at Epic Games," Hodent plans to explain how UX practices are developed at Epic Games - and how the team uses them as a tool for the studio to help achieve their design goals faster, using specific examples from the development of Unreal Engine 4 and Fortnite.

If you'd like to learn more about how an experienced port house works, consider checking out "The Challenge of Bringing Fez to PlayStation Platforms" from BlitWorks lead programmer Miguel Angel Horna.

BlitWorks has made a name for itself by delivering immaculate PSN ports of games like Spelunky or Jet Set Radio, and at GDC Europe this year Horna will explain how the team scooped indie darling Fez off of Xbox Live Arcade and tuned it for PlayStation hardware. Beginning with the conversion from the existing C# codebase to C++ native code, this technical talk will cover memory management without a garbage collector, tuned optimization techniques for each platform, and the process of adding PlayStation-specific features like Cross-Save or Stereo3D functionality. If you want to learn more about how to optimize a game for a platform like the Vita, this is a talk worth watching.

Of course, these are just some of the many exciting sessions that will be announced for GDC Europe 2014 in the coming weeks - with a list of announced talks now available, and early birds can register for GDC Europe 2014 by July 16 to save 200 euros on an All Access Pass.

In addition, this year marks the GDC Europe debut of the Student Pass, a more affordable alternative to the All Access Pass created specifically for qualified students interested in learning and networking at GDC Europe 2014 - as well as the return of the Indie Games Summit pass. All GDC Europe passes also allow visitors to attend Gamescom from Wednesday to Friday. For more information, please visit the GDC Europe website.

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