- So, many of you may be aware that Game Developers Conference (which my colleagues in the CMP Game Group run every year) has an advisory board - and a pretty impressive set of industry folks are on it, too, from Maxis' Chris Hecker through Blizzard's Rob Pardo to Microsoft's Laura Fryer and Cerny Games' Mark Cerny.

But what isn't discussed too much - other than Dave Perry taking some pictures of last year's meeting, and it being mentioned in interviews - is that the GDC Advisory Board is an incredibly active, conscientious and smart set of people, who take a hands-on role in working out what lectures appear at GDC every year. In fact, multiple board members individually rate each of the (hundreds of) submitted lectures ahead of helping to pick them, and there are lengthy in-person meetings each year to decide what appears at the Conference.

On Thursday, I had the chance to go and hang out with the Advisory Board as part of their annual meeting in the Bay Area, as they looked in detail at the Design Track and other parts of next year's GDC, after having previously met and then rated the submissions. Though the lecture statuses are obviously confidential and in-progress right now (I believe the first set of accepted lectures will be appearing on the GDC site in the next couple of weeks), I was struck by how thoughtful, careful, and empirical the process of picking lectures is.

- In particular, the Board takes a really deliberate, holistic view of the submissions. Attendee ratings for multiple previous Game Developers Conference speeches by the same speaker are taken into account when thinking about this year's submissions, and Advisory Board members are assigned individual outreach to any speakers who have an awesome concept that might need some more presentation or focus tweaking. And I think the result is a diverse and practical set of lectures.

Now, this isn't just meant to be a 'rah rah' post saying how wonderful the GDC is. But when you get senior folks from Microsoft, Sony, Blizzard, EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix and more sitting down together and working out what lectures the community should hear in an egalitarian way - I don't think this is really done anywhere else.

And where these members - for which there are several new folks this year - are not even being remotely precious about whether those lectures are from their own company or not - only worrying about whether the GDC attendee would appreciate them - then that's good news, abstractly. (Also, they kindly let me interject occasionally - which is nice. Also, they had Haagen-Dazs ice-cream.)

Anyhow, look out for the first GDC 2008 lecture approvals in the near-ish future - and there's some pretty droolworthy stuff in there. (Pics from GDC 2007 advisory board, thanks Dave!)