[Apparently, there's lots of announcements coming, but my GDC Europe colleagues are starting to ramp up for the August event that's alongside massive consumer/trade expo GamesCom in Germany -- initial speakers, listed below, seem v.neat.]

GDC Europe organizers have announced major new speakers for the August event taking place in Cologne alongside Gamescom, with notables from Sony, Playdom, Crytek and Playfish speaking on social games, budget balancing, game metrics controversy and beyond.

Following the recent announcement of a keynote from browser game giant and Battlestar Galactica MMO creator Bigpoint, the new sessions reveal significant breadth to the leading European video game conference, which takes place on August 16th-18th in Cologne, Germany.

Some of the notable new speakers for the conference (which is created by the UBM Techweb Game Network, as is this website) include the following:

- In 'Intuition vs. Metrics: The Big Debate', Playfish's Jeferson Valardes will explore the controversy about the social game space's metrics-driven approach to design and development. Valardes, at the Electronic Arts-owned leading social network game firm (Restaurant City, Pet Society), promises "take this controversial subject by the neck and leave no stone unturned" in discussing it.

- Crytek producer Bernd Diemer (Crysis) is presenting a thought-provoking design lecture from the leading German firm, 'Imaginary Places, Strange Maps, and How Pop Culture Resonates Past Media Borders', discussing how inspiration for games can be taken from the strange, compelling miasma of pop culture through our earliest experiences.

- In a key production track lecture from Seb Canniff of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, 'Budgets - The Bermudan Part of the Production Triangle', the SCEE manager will provide hands-on advice on how to build, track and stick to a video game project budget, looking at "what most often goes wrong, and providing tools and tips on how to avoid these pitfalls".

- Discussing 'The Year in Social Games', Playdom's Steve Meretzky & Dave Rohrl -- both recognized creators recently moved to the social game space -- point out the most interesting social games of the year – both the popular and hidden gems, while making "bold predictions about what to expect in social gaming during the coming year."

- Finally, industry veteran Don Daglow, formerly of Stormfront Studios (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) presents a notable business talk, 'All These Platforms and Business Models: How do I Target My Game?' In it, he will use his decades of industry experience share "how to look at platforms, distribution methods, business models and audiences and answer the critical question, 'Where will people play my next game, and how will they buy it?'"

In addition to these major announcements, GDC Europe organizers have announced a focus on 'Games & Movies/TV' for a track taking place on the first day of the event (Monday, August 16), in partnership with IHK Koln, the City of Cologne and Mediencluster NRW.

The first announced speaker for this track is BreakThru Films' Jorg Tittel, who is working for the Oscar-winning UK based film company (Peter And The Wolf) on several transmedia projects, including an animated and live action feature, The Flying Machine, with a simultaneously created game. In addition, he'll be discussing an anticipated major new sci-fi TV series which is planned to have multiple associated video games.

Overall, the GDC Europe conference, taking place Monday through Wednesday August 16-18, 2010 at the Cologne Congress Center East in Cologne, Germany, will once again run alongside the major GamesCom event to present the leading game industry event for developers, consumers, publishers and trade professionals.

For more information on specifics for GDC Europe -- for which registration is now open -- interested parties can visit the official Game Developers Conference Europe website.