Well I’m back from GDC Europe, I’m quite tired and my feet are agony but I thought I post a few random thoughts about it.
First as a ‘jolly’, these things are always good, beer, old friends, new friends etc.
The star of the show by far was Takahashi-san, the designer of Katamari Damacy. He gave one truely inspirational talk on game design (in theory it was about Katamari Damacy 2, but in practise was about game and game design in general) and was a panalist in a “Make a game for granny”, where he came up with a mechnical cat that promoted speed soup cooking :-) You read correctly. Really inspiration and funny, he was a real pleasure to listen to….
Phil Harrison, give an good talk about Sony and the state of the interesting. Phil’s a very charasmatic man and a very clever fellow, so his talk was interesting. I suspect lots of sites have given the main PS3, PSP points, so I thought I’d mention some other stuff he talked about. His most played game at the moment is Ridge Racer PSP as he commutes to work but he hasn’t been able to win the last track yet. Gave some kudos to MS for XBox Live, reckons they did a really good job but of course says PS3 network will be better ;-) Really loves what Nintendo have done with Nintendogs, talked about how 3 girls in his office falling totally in love with the one of there dogs. Also mentioned that he would kill to have a similar IP/game on PSP.
ATI showed if in a fairly informal way there new graphics card. Natalya explained and demo’ed some cool techniques for data amplications, basically making the worlds richer and more full from limited data sets. Showed a part of the demo that will be released with the new card (running on a new chip) and it looked really nice, looked to me like a 1920 US street, with rain etc. Also quite alot of talk about X360 memexport and also an extension to Direct3D9 to allow render-to-vertex buffer support, this is a way of supporting GPU geometry generation using exists parts.
NVIDIA showed there 7800 demos, no new ones I’m afraid but did tell us some of the tricks. I personally like the Mad Mod Mike demo, both more impressively technically and artistical IMO (I mean how mean large boobed, floaty hair digital girls can NVIDIA do?)
Ben Cousins did a presentation on anylasing smallest parts of games as a way of comparing games even across genres, its a way of metricising the low-level parts of game play. I found it fairly interesting but (I wasn’t the only one with this comment) suffered a bit from “stating the bleeding obvious” syndrome. Videotaping a competitors games and if there timing feel better than yours, copying there numbers to yours, pretty much summed it up :-)
Richard Huddy gave the DirectX performance talk, that he’s been doing for god knows how long. Every year there is new info and things to watch out for, so I keep going. I’ve learnt something every year (this year some more info of texture and vertex caches) which is also a sign of a good talk :-) (oddly Richard wasn’t meant to give the talk this year, he was meant to have handed over the reigns to Nicholas but fate intervened and Richard got one more go for old times sake ;-) )
And I almost forgot, I gave a talk. I think it went well apart from the start. I managed to turn up late and had a few technical problems (dual monitor issues and the classic presentation fault, not turning on the microphone :-) ) which left me a little flustered to start with, but after a little while I chilled out it seemed to go a bit more smoothly. I’ve always been told, that if people ask questions it went well and I got about half a dozen at the presentation and a few more in private, so I take that a good sign. I think I managed to give some useful info about how to work with Cell without crossing any NDA’ed lines, and hopefully that will help a few developers when they follow in the footsteps we (at Ninja Theory) have already tread.
Any way think that enough babbling for the moment