Editor’s Note: Although this post was written before GDC 2018, the tables below contain valid links to the presentations that were shown.

If you’re into the state of the art in games, especially real-time gaming graphics, your eyes will undoubtedly be on Moscone Center in San Francisco, March 19th to 23rd. It’s the Game Developers Conference again and AMD will be there presenting, meeting devs, wandering the expo floor and talking to anyone interested in making great games, especially on PC.

On the presentation side, a number of AMD folks will be talking this year, along with some very special invited guests. Along with our friends at NVIDIA, we’ve helped to organise the Advanced Graphics Techniques Tutorial Day again on Monday 19th March, in room 3020, Moscone West. The format has changed a little this year to help us get a more varied content lineup in place, and we’re very pleased with how that’s turned out. More on that below.

In addition to the Tutorial Day content, AMD folks are also presenting several sessions elsewhere at the conference, both at the Khronos Dev Day event — also on Monday 19th — and as part of the sponsored sessions on Wednesday 21st. Let’s dig in to the detail of what’s happening on the Tutorial Day first.

Advanced Graphics Techniques – Tutorial Day

Two gents named Max — McMullen from Microsoft, and Aizenshtein from Futuremark — will kick off the Tutorial Day with a talk on forward-looking techniques for accurate real-time reflections. It’s one of the more difficult real-time effects to get right in a modern renderer, especially in a way that’s robust. This talk will advance the state of the art.

This year we’ve invited Sebastian Aaltonen from Second Order to talk about the incredibly novel ray-tracing and GPU-based simulation technology for Second Order’s first game, Claybook. The talk will cover the ray-traced visuals, how the clay fluid simulation happens entirely on the GPU, optimisation, and how the technology was integrated into Unreal Engine 4. It’s — in my opinion anyway — one of the best talks on the entire GDC roster this year, so don’t miss it.

Our own Adam Sawicki, part of the Game Engineering team here at RTG, and author of the very popular Vulkan Memory Allocator library, has a 30 minute session to teach you about effective and efficient memory allocation in both Vulkan™ and DirectX® 12.

We’ve also got Ubisoft’s Branislav “Bane” Grujic on the Tutorial Day roster. He joins AMD’s Cristian Cutocheras in talking about the technologies behind the water rendering system in Far Cry 5. The water system is a highly-integrated piece of technology that affects a bunch of the in-game and rendering systems. The talk will cover the new innovations, the technical implementation, and the challenges in optimising it for high performance.

NVIDIA have invited the fine folks at Remedy to talk about the latest implementations of some key advanced graphics techniques in Northlight, Remedy’s excellent engine. Remedy have always pushed the boundaries of what’s possible on both PC and console — go play Quantum Break if you don’t believe me — so there’ll be plenty to look forward to in Tatu’s talk.

Finally, Alen Ladavac, CTO at Croteam — Serious Sam, The Talos Principle — will talk about GPU frame delivery and pacing. Short frame times aren’t holy grail of performance; you also need to present them to the display at the right cadence so the framerate doesn’t appear to stutter, even on single GPUs. Alen will walk you through the history of the problem, the underlying issues, and prototype methods to help you address it.

Khronos Developer Day

AMD folks will also be at the Khronos Developer Day, held on March 19th in room 3022, Moscone West. Dave Wilkinson, part of AMD RTG’s Game Engineering team, will be part of the all-star cast of ecosystem folks talking about WebGL and glTF in the opening 10am session. Dave will be talking about glTF and AMD’s latest work on the format. There’s a lot that’s happened in the world of glTF in the last year or so, so check that out if you can.

Matthaeus Chajdas will be on stage with Hai Nguyen (Google) and Greg Fisher (LunarG) later in the day to talk about the state of HLSL and how it applies to the Vulkan ecosystem. It’s been a challenging year for those trying to get a HLSL-based shader system to work with Vulkan, so Matthaeus, Hai and Greg will talk you through how it’s matured recently (including DXC!), recent developments in tooling and shader compilation, and some tips and tricks on getting it working in your own engine.

Lastly, Matthaeus will also be part of a panel chaired by Samsung’s Alon Or-bach on using Vulkan in the real world. The assembled panelists will discuss how hard it really is to get started with Vulkan, what the payoff is if you stick with it, and their own real-world experiences using it. Pro-tip: Roblox’s Arseny Kapoulkine will be part of the panel. Roblox recently shipped an update to the game that uses Vulkan on all supported platforms, including on Android, so he has some of the best real-world experience with the API in the industry today, shipping successfully on millions of diverse clients.

Sponsored Sessions

Last but not least, we’re also presenting some of the bigger sponsored sessions this year. All of them happen on March 21st (Wednesday) in room 3014 in Moscone West. Game Engineering’s Ken Mitchell and Elliot Kim have a 60 minute slot on optimising for Ryzen™ family CPUs and APUs. You’ll learn about Zen-based products, upcoming next-gen Ryzen processors, profiling tools, tips and tricks, and more. If you need to understand how to get the best out of Ryzen, which of course you do, you need to go see that talk.

Zheng Qiqiang from Netease, one of our awesome software partners, and Sean Skelton from our Immersive Technology team, have a talk on how Netease modified our TressFX open source rendering library to support curly hair! The talk will show you how to create layered curls that react naturally to its character’s movements or stimulus from the environment. The demo is awesome.

Next, one of my favourites and one I hope to catch myself. We’ve long championed using Radeon Graphics Profiler (RGP) and RenderDoc together. RenderDoc’s creator, Baldur Karlsson, joins AMD’s Gordon Selley, Navin Patel, Herb Marselas and Budi Purnomo to show you how in practice. AMD and Baldur have been working to make the interop between the two tools as compelling as possible. Both tools will see new releases at GDC that enhance the collaborateive toolchain aspects of each tool. Not to be missed. Seriously.

Then we have Jason Stewart (AMD) and Rolando Caloca from Epic presenting on how to use RGP to profile and optimise a game. Rolando’s employer should give you a hint as to the engine technology behind what you’ll see them work on live on stage. They’ll dig into its Vulkan renderer to show you how RGP can be used to improve graphics and compute workloads by understanding exactly what’s happening on the GPU.

Takahiro Harada, part of AMD’s professional graphics research team, is the architect of AMD’s ProRender global illumination renderer. Harada-san will show you how use our open source professional rendering libraries, like ProRender and Radeon Rays, in your rendering application, helping you to apply the key technologies in our professional rendering ecosystem to solve certain key rendering problems.

Last, but absolutely by no means least, Timothy Lottes, one of our Game Engineering architects, will dive deep into a profile- and trace-guided optimisation session for AMD GPUs. If you want to understand some of the real low-level magic involved in truly optimising your renderer for peak performance on our GPUs, including non-obvious and non-trivial uses cases, this session is for you. You’ll walk away with new strategies for optimising GPU usage that you’d never considered before.

Full Session List

Here’s the full session list, broken down by session type.

Advanced Graphics Techniques Tutorial Day

New Techniques for Accurate Real-Time ReflectionsMax McMullen (Microsoft), Max Aizenshtein (Futuremark)Room 3020, Moscone WestMonday
Memory management in Vulkan and DX12Adam Sawicki (AMD)Room 3020, Moscone WestMonday
The Latest Graphics Technology in Remedy’s Northlight EngineTatu Aalto (Remedy)Room 3020, Moscone WestMonday
GPU-based clay simulation and ray-tracing tech in ClaybookSebastian Aaltonen (Second Order)Room 3020, Moscone WestMonday
The Elusive Frame Timing: A Case Study for Smoothness Over SpeedAlen Ladavac (Croteam)Room 3020, Moscone WestMonday
Water rendering in Far Cry 5Bane Grujic (Ubisoft), Cristian Cutocheras (AMD)Room 3020, Moscone WestMonday

Khronos Dev Day

Full list

WebGL and glTFMany!Room 3022, Moscone WestMonday
HLSL in Vulkan: There and back againMatthaeus Chajdas (AMD), Hai Nguyen (Google), Greg Fisher (LunarG)Room 3022, Moscone WestMonday
Getting explicit: How hard is Vulkan really?Dustin Land (id), Arseny Kapoulkine (Roblox), Matthaeus Chajdas (AMD)Room 3022, Moscone WestMonday

Sponsored Sessions

Real-time ray-tracing techniques for integration into existing renderersTakahiro HaradaRoom 3014, Moscone WestWednesday
The Art of Profiling – Radeon GPU Profiler & RenderDocGordon Selley (AMD), Baldur Karlsson (RenderDoc), Navin Patel (AMD), Herb Marselas (AMD), Budi Purnomo (AMD)Room 3014, Moscone WestWednesday
Simulating and Rendering Physically-Realistic Curly HairZheng Qiqiang (Netease), Sean Skelton (AMD)Room 3014, Moscone WestWednesday
Taking the Red Pill – Using Radeon GPU Profiler to look inside your gameJason Stewart (AMD), Rolando Caloca (Epic)Room 3014, Moscone WestWednesday
Engine Optimization Hot LapTimothy LottesRoom 3014, Moscone WestWednesday
Optimizing for the AMD Ryzen™ family of CPU and APU processorsKen Mitchell (AMD), Elliot Kim (AMD)Room 3014, Moscone WestWednesday