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GDC 2020 Virtual Talks start today, here’s the full schedule

Following the postponement of GDC 2020, organisers have detailed a week of talks and panels that will be live-streamed on Twitch from today.

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GDC 2020 virtual talk schedule
Game Developers Conference

Following the cancellation of GDC 2020, organisers have lined-up a week of talks and sessions to be live-streamed on Twitch, starting today.

This year’s GDC was set to host hundreds of panels, talks, and roundtables. With the conference ‘postponed’ due to COVID-19, organisers are instead broadcasting a selection of self-recorded developer sessions on Twitch.

Nearly 40 talks will be streamed, as well as the Game Developers Choice and Independent Games Festival awards. Highlights include a look at storytelling and narrative from Capybara Games, an exploration of Borderland 3‘s accessibility features, and a post-mortem on Adam Robinson-Yu’s wonderful game, A Short Hike.

Double Fine and iam8bit will also highlight a range of upcoming indie games in a special digital version of Day of the Devs. Microsoft will broadcast its GDC sessions via the Game Stack Live digital event.

Finally, it’s also worth reminding our readers of the various initiatives supporting independent developers affected by GDC’s cancellation. You can read our report here.

Here’s the full lineup of GDC 2020 virtual talks with PT start times. You can watch each one on the GDC Twitch channel.

GDC 2020 Virtual Talks schedule

Monday, March 16

  • 9:00am – The ‘Kine’ Postmortem
    Gwen Frey (President, Chump Squad)
  • 10:00am – Storytelling with Verbs: Integrating Gameplay and Narrative
    Kaitlin Tremblay (Writer & Narrative Designer, Capybara Games)
  • 11:00am – Intrinsically Motivated Teams: The Manager’s Toolbox
    Alexandre Moufarek (Product Manager, DeepMind)
  • 12:00pm – From ‘Assassin’s Creed’ to ‘The Dark Eye’: The Importance of Themes
    Winifred Phillips (Composer, Generations Productions LLC)
  • 1:00pm – Representing LGBT+ Characters in Games: Two Case Studies
    Tori Schafer (Writer & Designer, Proletariat)
  • 2:00pm – The Sound of Anthem
    Cody Behiel (Audio Lead, Electronic Arts BioWare), Eric Vervaet (Director of Audio, Electronic Arts BioWare)
  • 3:00pm – Is Your Game Cross-Platform Ready?
    Raymond Arifianto (VP of Tech, AccelByte)
  • 4:00pm – Forgiveness Mechanics: Reading Minds for Responsive Gameplay
    Seth Coster (CEO & Game Programmer, Butterscotch Shenanigans, Inc)
  • 4:30pm – Experimental AI Lightning Talk: Hyper Realistic Artificial Voices for Games
    Zeena Qureshi (Co-Founder & CEO, Sonantic)

Tuesday, March 17

  • 9:00am – What to Write So People Buy: Selling Your Game Without Feeling Sleazy
    Chris Zukowski (Founder, Return To Adventure Mountain)
  • 9:50am – Failure Workshop: FutureGrind: How To Make A 6-Month Game In Only 4.5 Years
    Owen Goss (Co-Founder, Milkbag Games)
  • 10:00am – Stress-Free Game Development: Powering Up Your Studio With DevOps
    Seth Coster (CEO & Game Programmer, Butterscotch Shenanigans, Inc)
  • 11:00am – Baked in Accessibility: How Features Were Approached in ‘Borderlands 3’
    Andrew Bair (Lead UI Programmer, Gearbox Software)
  • 12:00pm – Matchmaking for Engagement: Lessons from ‘Halo 5’
    Josh Menke (Lead Engagement Designer, 343 Industries)
  • 1:00pm – Forget CPI: Dynamic Mobile Marketing
    Heather Gainer (Marketing Manager User Acquisition, Kongregate)
  • 2:00pm – Integrating Sound Healing Methodologies Into Your Workflow
    Matt Levine (Uncle Vector’s Audio Lab LLC)
  • 3:00pm – From 0-1000: A Test Driven Approach to Tools Development
    David Paris (Senior Engineer, Playground Games)
  • 4:00pm – Overcoming Creative Block on ‘Super Crush KO’
    Gabby DaRienzo (Senior Artist, Drinkbox Studios)
  • 4:30pm – When Film, Games, and Theatre Collide
    Sarah Scialli (Game Director & Mocap Engineer, Tinted Stardust & DreamWorks)

Wednesday, March 18

  • 9:00am – Bringing Replays to ‘World of Tanks: Mercenaries’
    Andrew Glover (Lead Software Engineer, Wargaming Sydney)
  • 10:00am – Developing and Running Neural Audio in Constrained Environments
    Carter Huffman (Co-Founder & CTO, Modulate.ai), Brendan Kelly (Research Engineer, Modulate.ai)
  • 11:00am – Mental Health State of the Industry: Past, Present & Future
    Eve Crevoshay (Executive Director, Take This)
  • 12:00pm – Empathizing with Steam: How People Shop for Your Game
    Chris Zukowski (Game Designer & Marketing Consultant, Return To Adventure Mountain LLC)
  • 1:00pm – Scaling to 10 Concurrent Users: Online Infrastructure as an Indie
    Andrew Erridge (Software Engineer & Cofounder, Gamebreaking Studios)
  • 2:00pm – Crafting A Tiny Open World: ‘A Short Hike’ Postmortem
    Adam Robinson-Yu (Developer, Independent)
  • 2:30pm – Indie Soapbox: UI design is fun!
    Nathalie Lawhead (Independent Game Designer, Alienmelon)
  • 3:00pm – Don’t Ship a Product, Ship Value: Start Your Minimum Viable Product With a Solution
    Janessa Olson (Product Manager, Data & Tools, Kongregate)
  • 4:00pm – Day of the Devs: GDC Edition Direct
    Presented by: Double Fine & iam8bit
  • 5:00pm – Independent Games Festival & Game Developers Choice Awards
    Hosted by: Trent Kusters (IGF) and Kim Swift (GDCA)

Thursday, March 19

  • 9:00am – Machine Learning for Optimal Matchmaking
    Josh Menke (Lead Engagement Designer, 343 Industries)
  • 10:00am – Skill Progression, Visual Attention, and Efficiently Getting Good at Esports
    Dr. Anders Frank (Game Experience Researcher, Tobii)
  • 11:00am – Making Your Game Influencer Ready: A Marketing Wishlist for Developers
    David Ortiz Lapaz (Communications Director, ICO Partners)
  • 12:00pm – How to Run Your Own Career Fair on a Tiny Budget
    Chris DeLeon (Independent Educator & Game Developer, Gamkedo LLC), Dru Erridge (Software Engineer & Cofounder, Gamebreaking Studios), David Mullich (Adjunct Professor, ArtCenter College of Design), Tiffany Otto (Director of Partnership & Sponsorship, IndieCade)
  • 1:00pm – Making a Healthy Social Impact in Commercial Games
    Jennifer Estaris (Game Director, Sybo Games)
  • 2:00pm – ‘Forza’ Monthly: Live Streaming a Franchise
    Shay Goldenberg (Producer, Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft)
  • 3:00pm – Aesthetic Driven Development: Choosing Your Art Before Making a Game
    Vladimir Slav (Owner & Director, Coldwild Games)
  • 4:00pm – Reading the Rules of ‘Baba Is You’
    Arvi Teikari (Game Developer, Hempuli Oy)

Friday, March 20

  • 9:00am – Beyond Games as a Service with Live Ops
    Crystin Cox (Director of Live Operations, Microsoft)
  • 10:00am – Kill the Hero, Save the (Narrative) World
    Hannah Nicklin (Studio Lead, Narrative Designer & Writer, Die Gute Fabrik)

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Art of Rally is a diminutive driving delight

Art of Rally may feature some micro machines, but it’s not just a novelty racer.

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art of rally
Funselektor / Thumbsticks

Art of Rally may feature some micro machines, but it’s not just a novelty racer.

Have you ever tried to make a 3D driving game in an engine like Unity or Unreal? No, of course, you haven’t. You’re probably a normal person with sensible hobbies. You probably went outside and spoke to people. (In the before times. Nobody goes outside anymore.)

Me? I’m an odd sort. I like to know how things work. So in my neverending quest to produce semi-functional video game demos that never amount to anything, I’ve tried to make a few driving games. It’s surprisingly difficult.

Not that it’s hard to slap some skinny cylinders on a cube (yay, primitives!) and make it roll. Modern game engines come equipped with everything you’ll need to make a functional vehicle. If you put together all the various mechanical bits you’ll get something that works. It can be tweaked and tuned and customised, but is perhaps a bit too twitchy and complex for video game purposes, especially if you’re looking for an accessible, arcade feel.

To get something that plays well? That’s the real challenge. (And for the record, I usually settle on something like this. If it looks dumb but it works, it’s not dumb.)

art of rally night

Art of Rally, an arcade rally game by Funselektor Labs, currently has a free demo available. When I fired it up and started playing with a keyboard, I felt instantly reminded of my own twitchy forays into driving games. But we have all long since learned that the keyboard is not the ideal way to simulate analogue inputs like an accelerator pedal or steering wheel.

Steering was a difficult tap dance across the keys; acceleration was all or nothing; and between the two, uncontrolled slides, spins and crashes were frequent. Then I dug out an Xbox One controller and, suddenly, Art of Rally began to sing.

Just the ability to gradually depress the accelerator – and let’s not understate just how good those analogue triggers are on an Xbox One controller – unlocks a new universe of control. Feathering the accelerator through a shallow bend, near-impossible on the binary clack of a keyboard, is second nature now. Crashing is through exuberance and ambition, not through lack of control. Accidents are fun, not frustrating. (And accidents in Art of Rally are really good fun.)

Whipping through the forests of Finland in Art of Rally, with the squirmy retro rally car wrestled under control, you can appreciate how pretty a picture Funselektor has painted. It’s minimalist and understated, with block colours frothy foliage and bouncy, lo-fi obstacles. This is rallying with a smear of vaseline on the lens and gravel in its heart, which suits its adorable replicas of (what look very much like) a Lancia Delta and Ford Escort RS1800.

art of rally jump

Don’t expect Art of Rally to be a hyper-realistic racer, then. The pared-back visuals and instinctive action tell you where Funselektor’s priorities lie. This pocket rocket will never compete with Codemasters’ efforts on realism and technicality, then, but that’s not the aim here.

But for an accessible, arcade-friendly rally game? We’re expecting Art of Rally to have plenty of depth to back it up. You’d expect nothing less from the creator of (the surprisingly zen) Absolute Drift.


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This week’s Xbox One releases (March 30-April 3, 2020)

This week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases includes a classic survival horror, an interactive movie, and a game about delivering parcels that isn’t Death Stranding.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

This week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases includes a classic survival horror, an interactive movie, and a game about delivering parcels that isn’t Death Stranding.

A bumper week of new Xbox One releases is headlined by Capcom’s remake of Resident Evil 3. If you enjoyed last year’s stunning update of Resident Evil 2, you can expect the same lavish production values, control refinements, and well-directed scares.

Another nerve-wracking release is The Complex from Little Jade Productions. It’s pitched as “a live-action, cinematic interactive movie sci-fi thriller” about the aftermath of a bio-weapon attack in London. The story is written by Lynn Renee Maxcy, winner of two Writers Guild of America awards for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale. Michelle Mylett and Kate Dickie are among the cast.

If you’re looking for something a little less panic-inducing, you should totally check out Totally Reliable Delivery Service. We played the game at E3 last year and had a blast. It’s funny, chaotic, charming, and sometimes panic-inducing. Oh crap.

Other new games include Lost Artifacts: Golden Island, Random Heroes, and Snakeybus, which, if you haven’t seen it, is exactly the game you think it might be.

Each new release can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store and Microsoft online store. Here’s the confirmed lineup.

New Xbox One games – March 30-April 3, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  • The Complex

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

  • Shaolin vs Wutang
  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • Random Heroes
  • Lost Artifacts: Golden Island

Thursday, April 2, 2020

  • No releases

Friday, April 3, 2020

  • The Curious Expedition
  • Horror of the Deep
  • HyperParasite
  • Resident Evil 3
  • Snakeybus

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 games. Jump on the Thumbsticks bandwagon by following us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake to ship early in some regions

Disruption to global supply channels means that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipped early in Europe and Australia.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake delay
Square Enix

Disruption to global supply channels caused by COVID-19 means that Final Fantasy VII Remake is shipping early in Europe and Australia.

It looks like some players will get the chance to visit Midgar a little sooner than expected. In a statement posted to Twitter, Square Enix says that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipping to Europe and Australia earlier than planned due to the impact of COVID-19 on global supply channels.

In the statement, producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Tetsuya Nomura said:

“These unique circumstances have made it very difficult to align timing of our global shipping. Our highest priority is that all of you, including those who live in countries currently facing the biggest disruption, can play the game at launch, so we made the decision to ship the game far earlier than usual to Europe and Australia. As a result, there is greater chance that some of you in these regions will now get a copy of the game prior to the worldwide release date of April 10.”

Copies of Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipped to other Western regions later this week. The game should be available for the official launch date, although it might be prudent to expect short delays and a lower than usual numbers of physical copies available. Such is life. You’ll pull through it.

The statement ends by asking players who get the game early to not spoil the experience for others.

“We know there are potential spoilers that have been out there for over two decades as the original Final Fantasy VII was released in 1997. But Final Fantasy VII Remake is a new game that still has many surprises for everyone.”


This week’s new video game releases

To find out more about this week’s new releases – including Resident Evil 3, Persona 5 Royal, and Totally Reliable Delivery Service – read our full Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One roundups. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard for daily news updates.

Thumbsticks needs your support

We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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Last chance to save in the PlayStation Store Mega March sale

Pick up some huge PlayStation 4 discounts while you can in the PlayStation Store Mega March sale.

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Resident Evil 2 - PlayStation Store Sale
Capcom / Sony / Thumbsticks

Pick up some huge PlayStation 4 discounts (while you can) in the PlayStation Store Mega March sale.

You’ll have to be quick if you want some savings, the Mega March sale ends today in North America and at midnight tomorrow in Europe.

If you want a game to lose yourself in, Assassin’s Creed Origins is reduced by a massive 74% and will keep you busy for weeks to come. Engrossing space simulation Elite: Dangerous also has enough content for several lifetimes and is discounted by 55%.

Other highlights include PS4 exclusive Bloodborne, which is discounted by 37%, and a 42% cut for Sega’s HD update of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz.

If you’re excited by this week’s release of Resident Evil 3, you have just enough time to get through Capcom’s stellar remake of Resident Evil 2. It’s reduced in the region of 50% depending on the version of the game you choose.

Other sale titles include The Blackout Club, SteamWorld Dig 2, and Watch Dogs 2. Head over to the PS Store in your country to see the full list of discounted games.

PlayStation Store Mega March Sale Highlights

  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • AO Tennis 2
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins
  • Banner Saga Trilogy
  • Bloodborne
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
  • Dark Souls: Remastered
  • Darksiders III Season Pass
  • Doom + Wolfenstein II Bundle
  • Elite Dangerous
  • Far Cry 5
  • Hitman Go
  • Human: Fall Flat
  • Lego DC Super-Villains
  • Life is Strange Season Pass
  • Little Dragons Café
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 & 2
  • Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
  • Overcooked! 2
  • Peggle 2
  • Rage 2
  • Resident Evil 2 Deluxe Edition
  • Riverbond
  • Skyrim Special Edition + Fallout 4 G.O.T.Y. Bundle
  • Soulcalibur Ⅵ
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  • Watch Dogs 2 – Deluxe Edition
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
  • XCOM 2

For the latest video game sales, follow Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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New Nintendo Switch releases (March 30-April 3, 2020)

This week’s lineup of new Nintendo Switch eShop games includes games about zombies, dinosaurs, couriers, and chemical bio-weapons. Enjoy!

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New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

This week’s lineup of new Nintendo Switch eShop releases includes games about zombies, dinosaurs, couriers, and chemical bio-weapons. Enjoy!

Our pick of the week is Totally Reliable Delivery Service from We’re Five Games. If you thought traversal in Death Stranding was a challenge, the ragdoll physics of this comic multiplayer courier game should be just the tonic. TRDS was one of our E3 2019 highlights. It’s fast, frantic, and funny.

Bub and Bob (and friends) return in the long-awaited North American release of Bubble Bobble 4 Friends. It’s a delightful update of an arcade classic with 100 new levels and support for four-player co-op. The 1986 original is also included as a bonus.

Zombie Army Trilogy brings Rebellion’s cult horror FPS series to the Nintendo Switch. In addition to three campaigns, there are online modes for 2-4 players.

Other new Nintendo Switch releases include Operencia: The Stolen Sun, a new RPG from Zen Studios, and The Complex, a new interactive sci-fi thriller movie from Little Jade Productions and Wales Interactive.

Finally, Dandy Dungeon – Legend of Brave Yamada, the quirky tale of dungeon puzzling and mid-life crisis from Onion Games, gets a free update. Dandy Dungeon II: The Phantom Bride doubles the size of the game and adds new music from Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu and Touhou Project’s Zun.

Here’s the full lineup of new Nintendo eShop releases. We’ll keep this post updated with new additions throughout the week.

Nintendo Switch releases – March 30-April 3, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

  • What the Box?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  • Bubble Bobble 4 Friends (NA)
  • Zombie Army Trilogy
  • TY the Tasmanian Tiger HD
  • Operencia: The Stolen Sun
  • The Complex
  • Chapeau
  • Treachery in Beatdown City
  • Stones of the Revenant

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

  • Dandy Dungeon – Legend of Brave Yamada 2 (Update)
  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • Wurroom

Thursday, April 2, 2020

  • Curious Expedition
  • JunkJack
  • Horror Bundle Vol. 1 (Paranautical, Uncanny Valley, Slain: Back from Hell)
  • Lost Artifacts
  • MazM: Jekyll and Hyde
  • MetaChampions
  • The Otterman Empire
  • Pocket Harvest
  • Rascal Fight
  • Snakeybus

Friday, April 3, 2020

  • Aeolis Tournament
  • Drift Zone Arcade
  • HyperParasite
  • In Other Waters
  • Random Heroes

More video game news from Thumbsticks

Ctrl+D the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 updates. You can also follow us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Thumbsticks needs your support

We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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