gdc 2019


Editor’s Note: Although this post was written before GDC 2019, the tables below contain valid links to the presentations that were shown.

San Francisco is the destination for the Game Developers Conference again in 2019, hosting our fine industry at the Moscone Center, March 19th to 23rd. AMD will be there presenting, meeting developers, taking in the conference and expo, and hanging out with everyone to talk about great games and graphics on PC.

You’ll see a number of sessions sponsored by us, along with the great content at the Advanced Graphics Techniques tutorial day that we’ve organised alongside our friends at NVIDIA, as is tradition.

So if your business is the state of the art in games technology, especially real-time gaming graphics, we can’t wait to see you there at the talks and the conference at large. Like last year, we’ve gathered together everything AMD are involved in organising, are sponsoring, or someone from AMD is speaking at. And like last year, the list will get updated with links to the talk content as soon as we can after the conference ends, for those that can’t attend.

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Advanced Graphics Techniques – Tutorial Day

The Advanced Graphics Techniques Tutorials takes place on Monday 18th March in Room 303 in Moscone’s South Hall. It’s a bigger room than last year, so hopefully we can get everyone in this time and avoid the queues outside the room.

Kicking us off at 10:00am are Calle Lejdfors, Technical Director at Ubisoft Massive, and Raul Aguaviva, part of the Game Engineering team at AMD, to talk about efficient and optimised rendering in Ubisoft’s soon-to-be-released title, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. The talk covers a multitude of rendering systems used in the game, and how they were optimised to get the experience Ubisoft want for players when the game is finally released soon!

11.20am sees Alen Ladavac, Croteam’s CTO, talk about the innovations they’ve packed into the technology behind Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass. They have a GPU-powered procedural system for an enormous 128×128 kilometre environment which the game demands, and which Croteam engineered to have sub-centimetre resolution without needing to fake the scale of what’s being processed and rendered. Oh, and then they filled it with over 9000 enemies.

After lunch we’ve got Dominik Baumeister, part of the Game Engineering team here at AMD, and Aurelio Reis, NVIDIA’s Director of Graphics Tools, splitting the hour to talk about graphics profiling using AMD’s Radeon GPU Profiler (RGP) and NVIDIA’s tools for debugging and profiling ray-tracing workloads in both D3D and Vulkan.

Knowing what the GPU is doing under the hood is critical to extracting the best performance, and developers have never had it better on PC with the rich actionable data presented by today’s state-of-the-art tools. Watch the experts show you how to use them in this talk.

Anton Krupkin and Denis Sladkov from Saber Interactive follow on from that at 2:40pm, where they’ll both present Saber’s optimised simulation and rendering systems used to add the huge and diverse crowds of zombies to World War Z, their latest title. Saber are laser focused on performance, so look forward to Anton and Denis showing you how they squeezed those systems into the performance budgets they have for the game.

The penultimate talk is one of my favourites on the roster. Matt Pettineo from Ready at Dawn — best known for The Order: 1886 on PS4, and Lone Echo, one of the very best games for Oculus Rift — will help you better understand GPU synchronisation in modern graphics APIs. That sound you can hear is your heart sending true love out over the void to Matt.

I’d argue that properly understanding synchronisation is probably the biggest barrier to entry when it comes to understanding how explicit APIs like Vulkan™ and DirectX® 12 get efficient work done on the GPU. Matt will walk you through how it works on modern PC and console GPUs. If you miss that one and you’re a Vulkan or D3D12 dev at GDC 2019 this year, I will personally call you up after the conference so you can explain yourself.

Closing out the day we have Mark Mihelich of Studio Wildcard, and Tim Tcheblokov, one of NVIDIA’s performance optimisation experts, to talk about the interactive water simulation in Studio Wildcard’s new game, Atlas! Atlas is a huge multiplayer online game, so the talk will focus on the water rendering system and how the gameplay interacts with them and how they’re drawn, along with how the game makes sure everything is synchronised across the entire game world so that players get the best seamless experience when playing.

Sponsored Sessions

Last but not least, we’re also presenting some of the more interesting programming sponsored sessions at GDC 2019. This year they mostly happen on Wednesday March 20th in room 3001 in Moscone’s West hall, but there’s also an interesting session on Tuesday in room 2020 in the West hall, sponsored by Khronos.

During that session AMD’s Matthaeus Chajdas will join Tiemo Jung from game developer Gaijin Entertainment, and Lewis Gordon, a Principal Engineer at Samsung Electronics, in presenting three small sessions on Vulkan features added to the specification due to developer feedback. Matthaeus is talking about memory management, Tiemo will talk about using HLSL with Vulkan, and Samsung will talk about depth/stencil resolve, including some nice real-world usage for that feature.

Kicking off the room 3001 sessions on Wednesday, at 10:30am, Ken Mitchell, our foremost CPU expert in the Game Engineering team here at AMD, will talk about optimisation techniques, tools and approaches for working with our Ryzen processor architecture. It’s a safe bet that he’ll use the word core quite a bit!

The session at 12:30pm is one I’m personally looking forward to, since it applies the GPU to a non-rendering technique that is just as responsible for immersion and the gaming experience as the visuals and gameplay: audio.

We’ve come up with a novel way to apply dedicated compute resources in the GPU to perform advanced spatially-aware audio processing, including ray-traced audio, and we’ve worked with Valve to integrate that into their Steam Audio implementation. Valve’s Senior VR Audio R&D Engineer, Lakulish Antani presents that session along with AMD Fellow Carl Wakeland.

At 2:00pm we have a talk by Ojiro Tanaka in the game technology R&D team at Capcom, and Ash Smith of the Game Engineering team here at AMD, on the optimisation work we performed together on the rendering technology behind Capcom’s recent smash hits, Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5. Tanaka-san and Ash will present work on optimising ReEngine’s D3D12 renderer in terms of barrier reduction, overlapped UAV access, GPU VRAM management techiques, and shader optimisation.

Following the ReEngine talk we have Timothy Lottes and Jordan Logan of AMD up at 3:30pm to talk about advanced GCN optimisation techniques as applied to the problem of colour management. Think of it as a spiritual sucessor to Timothy’s prior 2016 and 2018 optimisation presentations at GDC.

Timothy and Jordan will cover tone and gamut mapping and how to best add optimised processing of both to your game’s authoring pipeline. No presentation from Timothy would be complete without some deeper GCN optimisation ideas and techniques, so we’ve let him loose there too! If you’re into deeper understanding of how GCN works, you won’t want to miss it.

The perfect follow-up session happens at 5:00pm, where Amit Ben-Moshe and Rodrigo Urra of the AMD GPU tools team will present on using RGP, RGA and the AMD GPU support in Microsoft PIX and RenderDoc in order to optimise your game. We’ve got some new features to show off, especially in RGP and RGA, so definitely check that session out if you want to get a glimpse of the future of our main GPU optimisation tools.

Full Session List

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

Advanced Graphics Techniques Tutorial Day – Monday

Efficient Rendering in The Division 2Calle Lejdfors (Ubisoft), Raul Aguaviva (AMD)Room 303, Moscone SouthMonday 10:00-11:00PDF (52MB)
4 Million Acres, Seriously! GPU-Based Procedural Terrains in Serious Sam 4Alen Ladavac (Croteam)Room 303, Moscone SouthMonday 11:20-12:20PDF (22MB)
Surfing The Wave(front)s With Radeon GPU ProfilerDominik Baumeister (AMD)Room 303, Moscone SouthMonday 13:20-13:50PDF (81MB)
Debugging and Profiling DXR and Vulkan Ray-TracingAurelio ReisRoom 303, Moscone SouthMonday 13:50-14:20
High Zombie Throughput in Modern GraphicsAnton Krupkin (Saber), Denis Sladkov (Saber)Room 303, Moscone SouthMonday 14:40-15:40PDF (88MB)
Breaking Down Barriers: An Introduction to GPU SynchronisationMatt Pettineo (Ready at Dawn)Room 303, Moscone SouthMonday 16:00-17:00PDF (24MB)
Wakes, Explosions and Lighting: Interactive Water Simulation in AtlasMark Mihelich (Studio Wildcard), Tim Tcheblokov (NVIDIA)Room 303, Moscone SouthMonday 17:30-18:30PDF (99MB)

Khronos Dev Day – Tuesday

glTF and WebGLMany!Room 2020, Moscone WestTuesday 10:00-11:00
OpenXR: State of the UnionBrent Insko (Intel)Room 2020, Moscone WestTuesday 11:20-12:20
Vulkan: State of the UnionTom Olson (Arm), Karl Shultz (LunarG)Room 2020, Moscone WestTuesday 13:20-14:20
Making Use of New Vulkan FeaturesMatthaeus Chajdas (AMD), Tiemo Jung (Gaijin), Lewis Gordon (Samsung)Room 2020, Moscone WestTuesday 14:40-15:40
Bringing Fortnite to Mobile with Vulkan and OpenGL ESJack Porter (Epic Games), Kostiantyn Drabeniuk (Samsung)Room 2020, Moscone WestTuesday 16:00-17:00
Ubisoft’s Experience Developing with VulkanJean-Noe Morisette (Ubisoft)Room 2020, Moscone WestTuesday 17:30-18:30

Sponsored Sessions – Wednesday

Enabling Real-Time Light Baking Workflows in Saber Engine with AMD Radeon RaysDmitry Kozlov (AMD), Max Gridnev (Saber)Room 3001, Moscone WestWednesday 09:00-10:00PDF (2.6MB)
AMD Ryzen Processor Software OptimisationKen Mitchell (AMD)Room 3001, Moscone WestWednesday 10:30-11:30PDF (2.2MB)
Powering Spatial Audio on GPUs Through Hardware, Software and ToolsLakulish Antani (Valve), Carl Wakeland (AMD)Room 3001, Moscone WestWednesday 12:30-13:30PDF (31MB)
DirectX 12 Optimisation Techniques on Biohazard RE:2 and Devil May Cry 5Ojiro Tanaka (Capcom), Ash Smith (AMD)Room 3001, Moscone WestWednesday 14:00-15:00PDF (44MB)
A Blend of GCN Optimisation and Colour ProcessingTimothy Lottes (AMD), Jordan Logan (AMD)Room 3001, Moscone WestWednesday 15:30-16:30PDF (19MB)
AMD GPU Performance RevealedAmit Ben-Moshe (AMD), Rodrigo Urra (AMD)Room 3001, Moscone WestWednesday 17:00-18:00PDF (11MB)