Game Stack Live,
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  • Graphics

    Achieve amazing visuals and performance on next-gen Windows and Xbox graphics hardware with the latest DirectX Tools and features.

    • New consoles and graphics cards usher in a new wave of more immersive video games. In this session, we will cover the latest innovations to our graphics platform, making it easier for game developers to push the limits of graphics on both PC and Xbox with DirectX, HLSL, PIX, HDR, and more.

    • The DirectX team has been working on a way to change the game for developers who want to be on the bleeding edge of graphics. We're finally ready to show the world how we're pushing the envelope with an exciting new update.

    • Introducing HLSL Shader Model 6.6: granting shader developers increased flexibility to enhance and expand existing rendering approaches and devise all new ones!

    • High Dynamic Range (HDR) is part of the gold standard for the newest generation of graphically rich games. In this talk, you'll learn about our ongoing work to improve DirectX's HDR support on PCs. We are helping to solve the problem of HDR display ecosystem variability, providing best practices for optimizing your native HDR implementations for displays, and working on exciting new technology to extend the reach of HDR PC gaming.

    • This talk will discuss the usage of Variable Rate Shading in Gears 5 and Gears Tactics. Our implementation targets zero perceptual drop in visual quality, works seamlessly with dynamic resolution, and runs across Xbox Series X|S and PC. Performance improvements will be discussed as well as how VRS was tuned to work across different rendering passes. We will also discuss some challenges and integration tips that can be applied to any game engine.

    • With raytraced visuals bumping rendering quality even higher than ever before, a significant amount of fine tuning is required to maintain real-time performance. A typical way to achieve this is to trace fewer rays, and to make sense of the noisier output that method delivers. This presentation will explain how the AMD FidelityFX Denoiser allows for high-quality raytracing results without increasing rays per pixel, and deep dives into specific RDNA2-based optimizations that benefit both Xbox Series X|S and PC.

    • This talk is aimed at graphics engineers that have little or no experience with ray tracing. It serves as a gentle introduction to many topics, including "What is ray tracing?", "How many rays do you need to make an image?", "The importance of [importance] sampling. (And more importantly, what is importance sampling?)", "Denoising", "The problem with small bright things". Along the way, you will learn about specific implementation details from Minecraft.

    • How the addition of a path traced rendering mode in Minecraft inspired our creative team. We will do a brief review of "original" Minecraft, and it's pixel art roots. We reflect on the game's unique look, and how players and creators can tell new and different stories in path traced Minecraft. Then we will discuss how this new rendering option is made available to our creators community via our texture pack system and then show the results, and speak to the aesthetic benefits and challenges of the new tech.

    • RTXDXI offers realistic lighting of dynamic scenes that require computing shadows from millions of area lights. Until now, this has not been possible in video games. Traditionally, game developers have baked most lighting and supported a small number of "hero" lights that are computed at runtime. This talk gives an overview of RTXDI and offers a deep dive into previously undisclosed details that enable high performance.

  • System & Tools

    Learn how to take advantage of features on Windows and Xbox Series Consoles for improving development, performance, load times, engine integration and more.

    • The new Xbox Velocity Architecture in the Xbox Series X|S consoles enables developers to re-imagine how to build their games. By combining a super-fast SSD, hardware decompression, and the new DirectStorage functionality, game developers have tools to develop immersive experiences with a minimal load time for users. This session will review the benefits of the Velocity Architecture and show a real-world example.

    • Microsoft is excited to bring DirectStorage, an API in the DirectX family originally designed for the Velocity Architecture to Windows PCs! DirectStorage will bring best-in-class IO tech to both PC and console just as DirectX 12 Ultimate does with rendering tech. With a DirectStorage capable PC and a DirectStorage enabled game, you can look forward to vastly reduced load times and virtual worlds that are more expansive and detailed than ever. In this session, we will be discussing the details of this technology will help you build your next-generation PC games.

    • PIX is the essential performance tuning and debugging tool for DirectX 12 applications on Xbox and Windows. As the game industry pushes the boundaries of what is possible on the latest generation hardware, we are building the tools you need to get detailed information about how those games are running. In this talk you will learn how AAA studios use PIX in their development process to make their games better. You'll hear about the latest features in both Timing Captures and GPU Captures, as well as what's coming up in 2021 and beyond.

    • The Unity Physics DOTS package, developed in partnership with Havok, needed to be cache free in order to better support scenarios such as simulation rollback for networked simulations. Stacking rigid bodies tends to require a cache, spanning multiple frames, to produce stable results. Here we will talk through some heuristics needed to resolve this paradox and to achieve a more stable physics simulation without sacrificing performance or adding additional state to the simulation.​

    • Join AMD on an adventure thru "Zen 2" and "Zen 3" processors which power today's game consoles and PCs. Dive into instruction sets, cache hierarchies, resource sharing, and simultaneous multi-threading. Journey across the sands of silicon to master microarchitecture and uncover best practices!

    • In the pursuit of enabling developers to create the most amazing gaming experiences yet, the Xbox hardware team developed many innovations to deliver the most powerful Xbox ever, the Xbox Series X. We will discuss the silicon and memory architectures that enable a generational leap in GPU, CPU and storage performance. The team will also dive into the features that enabled the console to be cool, quiet and power efficient, such as the innovative tower form factor, split motherboard design, optimized power delivery and the thermal architecture.

    • Cloud services are critical components of making games today and we expect the reliance on the cloud by game creators to continue to grow in the future. The Game Development Experiences team at Microsoft is investing deeply in our Azure infrastructure to ensure that it meets the demands of game developers around the world. In this talk we'll discuss some of the challenges of working in a decentralized and diverse world and share present and future ideas for how Microsoft can help accelerate the sharing of ideas, code, content, and creativity for game creators of all sizes.

  • Production & Publishing

    Ship your games on Xbox faster using tips and tricks from our experts on release management, publishing, certification, QA, and production.

    • The future of gaming is in the cloud. Xbox Game Streaming enables gamers to play the content they want, on the device they want, when they want. But why as a developer would you want to make the investment in optimizing your game for cloud streaming? In this session we will highlight what cloud optimizations are possible, how these optimizations are influencing consumer behavior in the current Xbox Game Streaming offerings, and where we see the impact to consumer behavior in the future.

    • Microsoft Partner Center gives you the ability to publish, or "flight" your titles in the RETAIL environment in a private, secure manner to a controlled audience.  This is a great way to validate your builds for a small group.  The Xbox Insider Program supercharges this feature and lets you scale your flight to a much larger audience either publicly or privately, with built-in tools to get actionable feedback. This presentation walks you through this flighting process step by step to illustrate just how easy it is.

    • Game telemetry is a powerful, but underutilized tool in the test/quality space. We aim to flip the status quo of games testing by empowering everyone from developers to active users to contribute to the passive verification of game features and behaviors. We will highlight a method employing the scalability of the Azure ecosystem and flexibility of Python to turn our game telemetry into actionable insights and bugs. Let everyone who touches the game, test the game.

    • In this presentation, you will learn about building cloud native CI/CD pipelines for Unity mobile game apps with managed services like Azure Pipelines and Visual Studio App Center, as well as setting up cloud ready licensing infrastructure with Unity Build Server. Also, you will discover how to achieve build performance improvement and cost savings at the same time by deploying Azure VMSS agent pools and preparing VM images with Azure Image Builder.

      Disclaimer: This talk is about our own experiences and workflows. The workflows and techniques described within is not created by, supported or endorsed by Unity.

    • In this talk, we will share the evolution of our bot testing tools from complex, fragile code to a much more powerful and flexible toolset. Our talk focuses on the advantages (and challenges) of utilizing game state information and re-usable actions to contextually control the bots. We'll demonstrate some of the system's newest capabilities to control bots in coordinated tests and how these have already been successfully utilized on titles such as Forza, Gears of War, and Minecraft Dungeons.

  • Accessibility & Inclusion

    Reach more gamers and develop for inclusivity with accessibility tools and partnerships shared through the Gaming for Everyone initiative.

    • Each studio is a little different and each dev team has their own needs. That's why having champions for accessibility embedded in the studios is a key to success. In this talk, representatives from Undead Labs, Turn 10 and the Coalition describe their journey to success in creating an inclusive atmosphere to impact their product.

    • Xbox made history when it became the first platform to publish its own set of accessibility guidelines for developers to reference. After their release, we received feedback on how they can be even more powerful. We've embarked on a massive refresh, with new background information, clarifications and example contact to drastically enhance their usefulness. In this sessions, viewers will learn about all the new updates that have been made and why we made them.

    • This talk is a retrospective of the inclusive production and community practices used during the creation and release of DONTNOD's latest game, Tell Me Why.

    • Our panel of game developers from across Xbox Game Studios talk about their specific experiences being hired, on-boarding and working in remote scenarios for Xbox Game Studios teams. Attendees will hear details on how game professionals are both joining, working and being successful as part of top-tier development teams at Xbox during a global health crisis.

    • Audio accessibility can be a daunting task for developer to consider but it doesn't have to be. Microsoft offers many technologies, platform features and techniques for bringing audio accessibility for both Gamers without Sight and Deaf and Hard of hearing gamers. We will explore WHY audio accessibility is so important, WHAT platform features, tools and technologies Microsoft offers, and HOW developers can use those to more easily bring great audio experiences which not only help make games more accessible but give everyone better, more immersive gaming experiences.

  • Audio

    Develop more immersive, dynamic, and optimized game audio using the Microsoft Spatial Sound platform, Project Acoustics, and Xbox Series console hardware.

    • This presentation is an audio content focused look at a variety of ways that Spatial Sound can be used to enhance the audio experience in a game. We will explore using Spatial to enhance Immersion, expand Story Telling, bring better Gameplay, push Spectacle, and give Clarity and mix space to the audio environment. This video will have pre-rendered HRTF playback and will be best listened to over headphones. All content will be played in A/B fashion to show difference between Stereo and Spatial rendering.

    • This presentation will focus on integrating the Microsoft Spatial Sound platform into your title. It is intended to be a primer on getting started with using Spatial Sound on our platforms. We will show how to integrate using middleware, and discuss best practices when integrating spatial sound into a game. We will cover the different types of usage scenarios possible for playback within a game, and how the Spatial platform's user choices might affect those choices.

    • This presentation will explore how we can take immersive audio to the next level in our games. By taking advantage of platform features, technologies and next gen hardware offerings, developers have the ability to bring deeply immersive audio experiences to their games, without sacrificing resources to accomplish it. We will look at Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, Advanced acoustic technologies such as Project acoustics, the possibilities of ray traced reflection techniques, and tie it all together with the promises of Series X/S audio HW processors.

  • Multiplayer

    Build next-gen cross-network multiplayer games with server hosting, player communication, matchmaking, and more powered by Azure and PlayFab.

    • This session is an introductory level overview of Azure PlayFab Multiplayer Servers, with guided steps to help developers successfully build & deploy a sample game server on PlayFab. We'll dig into compute options optimized for gaming and share best practices to quickly & easily integrate existing game server code with the game server developer kit (GSDK).​​

    • This intermediate level session will help developers learn advanced scaling techniques that adjust game sever hosting capacity to meet dynamic shifts in player demand. This is a great session for learning how to keep server hosting costs low while maintaining capacity to grow dynamically with your player base.

    • A Conceptual overview of Party Concepts and Features followed by examples of scenarios studios are using Party for.


    • Game Streaming presents opportunities to bring your game to new players and devices. This talk will cover ways to make your game stand out by mitigating streaming latency. Along the way, we'll cover time machines, coyotes, and saving the world.

    • We're going to show you how we took the console and PC version of Minecraft Dungeons and updated it to play great on mobile in just seven weeks.  We will walk through what we learned in this process, and show examples of how you might be able to apply what we learned to your own game.​

    • Migrating technology stacks can be scary. But it doesn't have to be. In this talk, we'll show you how Mojang ported Minecraft Realms from a custom infrastructure-as-a-service implementation to a managed solution running on Azure, while limiting impact to players​.

    • To create the most realistic next-gen Flight Simulator we had to design a virtual world at Earth-Scale. It means to create the most realistic Earth digital Twin ever seen from the air, with its geography, its sky, air model and weather, and its real-time activities. But also, to distribute this data to players all around the globe and gather them in a one unified world connected by our game services. This presentation is about how these challenges have been achieved using Azure scaleable solutions for computation, distribution, and services as a backbone.

    • Being able to pull actionable insights from your game analytics can help teams grind out a win, turnaround a difficult launch, or accelerate growth. In this talk, we'll cover how Azure Data Services provide powerful data analytics for game developers all around the world, helping studios acquire better insights and make smarter decisions. We'll also dive into best practices for migrating your data analytics platform from an on-premise solution to the cloud.​​

    • Game developers today want to be able to start small and then grow to meet the load when their game goes viral. Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft's fully-managed NoSQL database service in Azure that provides extreme low latency, unmatched availability and unlimited scale. You'll also learn how Azure Cosmos DB can allow you to build near real-time game analytics not possible with any other database in Azure. You'll see what other game studios have to say about using Cosmos DB.

  • Community Connections *The Americas Only

    Don't miss these exciting events hosted by the Xbox Employee Communities in the Americas time zone. They include a mix of content including Panels, Group Mentoring, and Community Connection social hours for you to participate in, learn more, and make new connections!

    • Asian Game Developers Panel Discussion Hosted by Xbox Community Leaders

      Join us during Game Stack Live for a panel discussion and an opportunity to hear from many from the game industry including Team Xbox.  The two major topics will be: what it is like being Asian in our respective companies, and what culture work we each do to help support the work and careers of our Asian teammates. 

    • Black Game Developers Panel Discussion Hosted by Xbox Community Leaders

      Join us during Game Stack Live for an opportunity to hear from other Black developers in the gaming industry. We will talk about the wide range of Black experiences in the industry and how we can work to support the work and careers of our colleagues. We look forward to seeing you there! 

    • Gaming & Disability in Gaming Happy Hour at Game Stack Live

      Join us during Game Stack Live for an opportunity to meet Gaming & Disability industry professionals for connection and community. After a welcome from members of Gaming & Disability, join the chat about what you're playing, find other community members near you, and network about job or mentoring opportunities using the event profile system. We look forward to the chance to meet you! This event is hosted and moderated by members of Gaming & Disability. 

    • Team Xbox Latinx Career Panel with Leaders in Gaming

      You're invited to join the Xbox Latinx community to listen to game industry professionals reflect on their career paths and retrace their journeys through the industry in their respective fields. This hour-long talk aims to shed light on some of the various career paths and disciplines that bring the gaming industry to life followed by Q&A at the end. We hope to see you there! 

    • Team Xbox Latinx Group Mentorships with Gaming Professionals

      Join us for an opportunity to participate in some group mentorships with various gaming industry professionals. After a welcome from members of Team Xbox Latinx, you can join a video call on the topic of your choice and these experts will answer questions they frequently come across in their mentoring as well as questions from those of you who attend. We look forward to meeting you and bringing these protips your way! 

    • LGBTQIA in Gaming Happy Hour

      Join us live to connect and build community. This session kicks off with a welcome from the Team Xbox LGBTQIA leadership, then everyone can chat about your gig, connect with other LGBTQIA people in the industry, or just talk about what you're playing. Expand your network using the event profile system to find people to learn from or partner with! This event is hosted and moderated by members of Team Xbox LGBTQIA who are looking forward to the chance to meet you!

    • Women in Gaming Happy Hour

      Join us during Game Stack Live for an opportunity to meet Women in Gaming industry professionals for connection and community. After a welcome from members of Women in Gaming, join the chat about what you're playing, find other community members near you, and network about job or mentoring opportunities using the event profile system. We look forward to the chance to meet you! This event is hosted and moderated by members of Women in Gaming. 

    • DirectX 12 Ultimate: Ask the Experts Panel

      We've already seen the first wave of titles that have unlocked next-gen graphics with DirectX 12 Ultimate on the Xbox Series X|S and a range of PC hardware. But who are the engineers who built DirectX 12 Ultimate? And can you ask them questions about how to bring the state-of-the-art to your game? YES! Come join video chat to ask your questions or to meet the developers who are building DirectX on PC and Xbox.