I took the day off of work last Thursday and headed up to San Francisco to wander around the Game Developer’s Conference.
The expo and career halls were both a bit less heavy on exhibitors when compared to the last couple of years. The expo hall especially seemed to be missing a number of past attendees such as Turbine and Red5. Booths seemed to be occupied less by companies making games and more by schools with certificate or degree programs related to gaming, companies selling tools to help game developers (my favorite being Speedtree; I love that there is a company out there to help you get your foliage correct), and representatives from various locales that would like you to open a studio or development site in their district.
Not that those are bad things to see at such a conference, but they are a bit less interesting to somebody from outside of the industry like myself.
Probably the most commented on technology at the show was OnLive‘s game delivery service. OnLive promises to delivery top quality games directly to your PC, Mac, or HD TV so that all the heavy lifting, that done by the CPU and GPU, is done at their end. That means that you can play the latest games without having to have the latest hardware on your PC. You will be able to play games on your toaster, so to speak, if they can deliver. And that was the question on everybody’s lips, “Can they deliver?” They had a slick demo in a huge booth and showed off an impressive list of partners. Brent covered the OnLive booth and technology as part of one of his video podcasts from GDC.
The career hall was also less sprawling than in previous years. Notable for their lack of a boot this year was Sony Online Entertainment. I do not know if that was because they have been folded in with Sony Computer Entertainment America, which did have a booth, or because Brenlo, their past recruiting anchorman at GDC, was off having a painful medical procedure.
FileCatalyst was there pitching their file transfer technology as both a solution for moving files between locations as part of the development process as well as a potential technology for companies to move files to end users.
It was a gorgeous day in San Francisco, about as bright and sunny and warm as you can expect to get that often gets cold and foggy during the summer. I took a break from the show floor for a walk and a snack in the park while I waited for things to wind down.
As it got closer to dinner time I met up with Darren and we went off to find Brent so we could go to the VirginWorlds collective dinner, something that has become an annual event at GDC.
We gathered up Brent and walked briskly (because we were late) over to Le Colonial, a French Vietnamese restaurant over by Union Square. There we were joined by Shawn Schuster of Massively and the collective podcast OMG Real Life!, and Lady Sinea of RingCast, among other podcasts.
Le Colonial was excellent and we ate and drank to excess and talked non-stop. The Bo Luc Lac was particularly good, the filet mignon cubes practically melting in ones mouth. There was live music upstairs that was close enough to enjoy but far enough away to not impede conversation. A good time was had by all.
Eventually the evening came to an close. We had eaten all we could politely could in a public place, the conversation began to slow down, and was time to say good bye until next year. GDC 2010, March 9-13! Be there!