Goodness knows as a member of the press, I don't always get to pick which Game Developers Conference panels I go to. But if given the choice this time around, I really want to see what comes out of these panels.
"A Big Dash of Success: How to Capture the Female iPhone Gamer" — Chris Williams
Yes, how will you capture me? In a net? But seriously, I find the topic interesting after speaking with ngmoco about how much of their user-base is made up of women. Also, I remember a blogger complaining about the difficulties women with long nails have when using the touch screen and wonder if any ergonomic complaints like that will make it into the talk.
Advanced Localization Methods for Japanese Games — Ryoichi Hasegawa, Mark McDonald, Fabio Minazzi and Peter Fabiano
I've worked as a localization specialist on Japanese manga for almost four years now, so naturally I'm interested in the topic. But even better, I love meeting other localization people and trading war stories. My favorite is still the time I had to explain to a client why it wasn't okay for a snobby character to say "Any guy who gets to eat my pie is a lucky fellow" in what was supposed to be a kids manga about baking.
Creating the Active Cinematic Experience of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves —
Amy Hennig and Josh Scherr Game Director Bruce Straley and Lead Designer Neil Druckmann
I may not understand a word that's being said — but I imagine there will be lots and lots of pretty imagery.
Character Voices: Conceptualization, Casting, Recording, and the Cultural Reference Point — Zach Hanks
This is one sounds interesting (no pun intended) because it seems to me like voice acting is becoming a bigger deal than it ever was before. Also, I'm secretly hoping James Arnold Taylor will be around so I can pester him some more about his work on Ratchet & Clank.
Environmental Narrative: Your World is Your Story — Richard Rouse III
As more massively-multiplayer games pop up and more designers opt for open or semi-open world environments, I think this topic will matter a great deal even to developers of linear games. Particularly, I'm thinking of what to expect from Fable III.
You can find the full list of what's lined up so far here. What's your top five — assuming 1) you could go for the entire conference on any track and 2) you don't have to factor in panels that occur at conflicting times.
ETA: Whoops, mixed up my Naughty Dog people. Amy Hennig and Josh Scherr are giving a talked called "Behind the Scenes: Uncharted 2's Unique Cinematic Production Process," which while probably equally cool is not the one I intended to be on this list. Thanks for the correction, Kurt!