[Though Austin GDC is going to be announcing a whole bunch of neat keynotes over the next couple of months, we thought we'd start rounding up some of the good lectures that have already been 'stealth announced' for our September conference in good ol' Texas.]

The organizers of the 2008 Austin Game Developers Conference have revealed a number of key lectures for the event, with speakers from companies including Nexon America, BioWare Austin, and Disney Interactive scheduled to deliver a diverse set of sessions for professionals working in all aspects of the online, social game, and MMO field.

Sessions from the Online Games Track, which cover topics on Business & Marketing, Design, Social Networking & Community, and Technology & Services, will include the following:

- Nexon America's director of game operations, Min Kim, will share his experience from working with immensely popular MMO MapleStory and other games in a session titled From Development to Launch: the Keys to Building a Successful Free-to-Play MMO. The 101 discussion will cover everything from useful tips on making games to how to work with publishers - professionals working in the free-to-play MMO environment shouldn't miss this one.

- BioWare Austin lead combat designer Damion Schubert is inviting mid and high-level designers to attend his session on "elder gameplay," Endgame: How to Build High-End Gameplay for Your Most Devoted Players. This informative session will focus not only on the importance of "elder gaming mechanics," but also on the subtleties that should be considered when designing them and the dangers of overthinking them - hopefully with some tangential references to BioWare Austin's yet-to-be revealed MMO.

- Cryptic Studios director of publishing Grant Wei plans to evaluate the customer’s relationship with creators in Engaging Customer Service – an MMO perspective, a session on the many channels through which customers interact with MMOG developers - and how companies can take each interaction as an "opportunity to provide a flawless and enjoyable customer experience." With experience from the relatively successful City Of Heroes, and looking forward to Champions Online, this should be an intriguing perspective.

- Flying Lab's director of development Joe Ludwig will be presenting 'Pirates of the Burning Sea: A Post-Partum': "Well, it took five years, but Flying Lab Software has finally launched its Age of Sail MMO! Come hear the ups and downs of the project and all the things the team learned along the way."

- Internet marketing research company comScore's Edward Hunter will be speaking on 'Measuring & Metrics: The Online Gaming Audience', an advanced Business & Marketing session covering the shift in the online gaming audience demographic and where those audiences are headed, complete with relevant statistics!

- Disney Interactive senior designer Patricia Pizer is debuting 'Everything I Need To Know About Virtual Worlds, I learned at Disneyland', in which she juxtaposes Disney's DGamer project, an online world accessible through Disney's Nintendo DS games, with a relevant real-world comparison point: "Walt Disney and his team built Disneyland on a foundation of thoughtful, deep and careful design choices, each made to deliberately address issues such as quality of experience, narrative flow, party-dynamics, crowd control and user retention."

For more information on the 2008 Austin Game Developers Conference, including other key lectures already planned for the September 15th - 17th event, please refer to the official Austin GDC 2008 website.