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GDC Summer event will be online-only this August

Yet another change is here for the Game Developers Conference. The replacement event, GDC Summer, is still happening from August 4 to 6, but it will be online-only. The summer conference was originally planned as an in-person event like GDC typically is. However, the current state of the world is changing that once again.

Initially scheduled for earlier this year, March 16 through 20, the Game Developers Conference 2020 postponed after the coronavirus pandemic changed the entire video game industry. This included a string of major game publishers like Activision, Epic Games, Microsoft, and more working remotely. Many of those leading game publishers pulled out of GDC entirely, as well. And it wasn’t long after that that GDC formally moved its live showing to the summer.

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However, the video game industry continues its shift to remote work months after the initial postponement as the coronavirus remains a global issue. GDC Summer is embracing this method of interaction by adapting its format to meet everyone where they are without the need for a physical event in San Francisco.

Despite the shift, plans are still in place to ensure that it will deliver the same “high-quality content and networking opportunities” that developers expect from GDC, according to the official website.

However, GDC already held a digital event in March, when it was initially scheduled to take place. Various talks took place ranging from a deep dive into ray tracing for Minecraft to how The Witcher 3 came to Nintendo Switch.

Many streams of those discussions are available online, so it’s unclear how GDC Summer will differ, especially since there is typically only one GDC event per year. This is also the first time in the conference’s 32 year history that there is no in-person meeting will take place.

With the future of the game industry unknown at this time, it is understandable to move the summer replacement event to an online format. More information regarding GDC Summer and how the event will work online is to come in the next few months. This is far from the first event to be affected by coronavirus.

E3 was also canceled in the wake of the pandemic with some publishers announcing separate digital events instead. Microsoft, in particular, will only host digital Xbox Series X events through at least July 2021.

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This jaw-dropping puzzler just became my most anticipated game of 2023
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Whenever I go hands-on with a game at a preview event, I try to maintain a bit of a poker face. I’m ultimately there to do a job, so I tend to stay focused on what I’m playing and quietly work through my first impressions in real time. That routine went entirely out the window the second I got my hands on Viewfinder, a game that quite literally had my jaw hanging open for 20 minutes.
Viewfinder | Announcement Trailer | PC & PS5 | 2023
If the title isn’t ringing a bell, there’s a chance you may have seen Viewfinder on Twitter at some point. In 2020, developer Matt Stark shared an impressive work-in-progress video that showed a character taking a 2D polaroid photo and then walking into it, seamlessly turning a flat image into a full 3D space. Three years later, that neat trick has become a complete game – one that has me in utter disbelief. If the final build is as magical as what I played at this year’s Game Developers Conference, we could be looking at an all-time great puzzle game.
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Within seconds of my Viewfinder demo, I find myself shouting “No way!” out loud. The basic gist is that it’s a level-based puzzle game where players need to solve objectives by taking still photographs and placing them in the environment. On a DualSense controller, the left trigger holds a photo up while the right trigger places it. No matter where a photo is placed, it’ll instantly turn into a fully explorable 3D space within the world. I’ve seen the trick in various videos at this point, but playing is truly believing in Viewfinder. It’s an astonishing feat.
The puzzles start simple enough. At first, I’m picking up specific photos and using those to alter the environment. In one puzzle, I need to get three batteries and place them on a power pad to turn a teleporter on. I find a picture of a room and carefully line it up so its floor attaches to the one I’m on. Sure enough, I’m able to walk into the photo and round a corner within it to grab a hidden battery. In another puzzle, I need to get past a large gated wall. I place a photo of an opened gate right on top of it and then walk right through into the space behind it.

Every puzzle the demo threw at me felt entirely distinct and like it could be solved in a variety of ways. A PR person for publisher Thunderful noted that the game is almost like Portal in some way, where players need to learn how to “think with photos.” I learn exactly what that means when one puzzle has me trying to reach a rooftop that’s too high for me to jump to. I find a photo of a building nearby and initially don’t get what to do. That’s when it hits me: I can rotate the photo and line the building up, so it acts as a walkable ramp leading to the roof. Every time I place a photo, I’m shocked by how perfect the effect is. It feels truly impossible. 
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