Here's the pertinent panel description.
This session examines the BioWare Mass Effect team’s new level-creation process, which is focused on maximizing iteration for quality while minimizing rework and cost. This approach to building levels strives to integrate the Design, Art, and Production teams such that the highest-risk level-creation issues are addressed early in the development cycle. Lessons learned from Mass Effect lead to a detailed description of the new level-creation process, and graphical examples of a level illustrate its progression through the necessary phases. The discussion also examines how BioWare is currently implementing this process using elements of Scrum and Lean Development.
Attendees will: - Gain insight into some of the major issues the development team encountered while building Mass Effect at BioWare; - Get a detailed look at the Mass Effect team’s new approach to creating levels while avoiding these issues; - Find out how this new process is working for the Mass Effect team; - Learn about new pitfalls the team discovered that can potentially be avoided on future game projects.
"Graphical examples of a level" does imply some form of media will be shown. I loved the heck out of Mass Effect, and thought its repetitious level design was one of the few glaring flaws in an overall excellent experience. Man, it got old running around the same prefab planetary installations and retextured mountainous terrain over and over. Made me burn out on the side missions before I wanted to be done with them. From this description, it sounds like the BioWare team took that deficiency to heart and are working to address it. I can't wait to see what they've done so far.
Thanks to Gamezine for uncovering this one.