It is common for game developers to need to present technical topics to a knowledgeable audience. There are internal presentations on possible approaches before starting development on a new feature. After the method works, there will be presentations within the company to encourage algorithmic reuse, and so others will know enough to get started tracking down bugs if the original developer leaves. It is also common to present particularly new or successful methods outside the company, with presentations at conferences (especially GDC or SIGGRAPH courses) or publications (blogs, book chapters, or focused conferences like I3D). From the game company's perspective, these help to raise the profile of the studio, promote the game, and attract new talent.
Each of you will choose one day to do a 10-minute presentation about a cutting edge game graphics method as described in a game developer's blog, presentation, or chapter in a book such as Game Programming Gems, Shader X, GPU Gems, etc. Keep in mind your audience's background. Spend just enough time on background material they may not already know for them to be able to follow the main new idea.
Don't attempt to present an entire 40-60 minute presentation in 10 minutes! Choose one aspect to present. Present the new technique as a whole, this is where you can go into more detail on critical background, but be sure to emphasize what is new and how the new method compares to the alternatives.
Game developers usually focus on stability (even occasional frame stalls or bad results can kill a method), performance (in milliseconds, not frames per second, since other stuff is happening during a frame), memory usage (CPU and GPU), and scalability (sure it works on a single disembodied head in the middle of the screen, but how will it do on an army?). You're reporting someone else's work, so won't necessarily have all of this data, but be sure to report any of this that is available.
Your presentation should use google slides (which you should make) and, if available, images, video or demos (from the original author or games that use the technique). Share your slides with me, and I will copy them to a shared slide directory. There will only be 1-2 tech talk presentations on any one class day, which I will assign on a first-come first-served basis. Sign up early to get the days you want.
To provide constructive feedback, each student will complete a short feedback form for each presentations. These will be returned to the student who did the presentation, so please be respectful and constructive in your comments.
Here are a few places to find source material:
- Advances in Real Time Rendering in Graphics and Games: Annual day-long "course" at the SIGGRAPH conference with 6-8 presentations per year
- Game Developers Conference: Multiple days with multiple tracks of presentations each day. For this class, look for the graphics ones. All of the talks are recorded, but only some have recording or slides available for free. If you don't see it, google the presentation title, as some companies or developers will post their slides on their own site as well.
- GPU Gems: Series of books published by NVIDIA. Each chapter is a different method by a different developer. Some similar style books (e.g. Game Programming Gems) are only available in print, but NVIDIA has made the full text of GPU Gems 1-3 free online.
- Gamasutra: Web site by the company that runs the Game Developer's Conference and used to publish Game Developer Magazine. Articles on all aspects of game development, so look for the graphics ones.
- Steve Hill's blog: Used to be graphics lead at Ubisoft Montreal, now at ILM. Posts about math-y rendering topics, but also has a great set of links to other game developer's blogs. One of the organizers of the occasional Physically-Based Rendering SIGGRAPH, which, like the "Advances" course is a potential source of talks by game developers.
- Graphics Programming Weekly: Curated collection of weekly links with short summaries
- Technically Art: Weekly collection of tech art tweets. Since technical artists are often artists with a computer science degree, or programmers with an art degree, tech art methods are totally in scope for this class. The main downside of this collection is most of these are just posting of their results. You'd need to find one that's linking to a deeper post with more details than just the final image for it to work for your presentation.
- My twitter feed: I follow a bunch of game developers, and mostly tweet and retweet just graphics and games links.