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GDC ’13 Recap: Day 2 Slowburn

Day 2 at GDC was, well, another continuation of Day 1. It had more summits with more speakers and was mostly more of the same. Collectively, the panels were lackluster (ahem, Samsung), but, a couple salvaged the day. In anticipation for the main expo's opening, I powered through the slow to get to the instant-grati of Day 3. My choice panels of Day 2 included:

Video Game Journalism in the National University System

How does an individual start writing about video games? It is a question that is continually asked by those outside and inside the industry. Casey Lynch of IGN gave an insightful look into the beginnings of the introduction of Video Game Journalism into the National University curriculum. Currently, Iowa University started a class focused around gaming and it has been successful in gaining the interest of other top universities. Casey also gave some great commentary on how the integrity of the industry should be of high importance and the development of better stories within the 24 hour news cycle. Also, there were some funny tidbits in dealing with developers and their PR machines. Great motivation.

The future of Mobile Graphics

This summit was one of my favorites of the week. Moderated by Peter McGuinness (Imagination Technologies), Steve Blackmon (Caustic Professional), Aras Pranckevicius (Unity), Tamas Schlagl (Crytek Budapest) and Julien Merceron (Square Enix) engage in a civil debate about the techniques, philosophical practices, and future endeavors for mobile graphics. It was definitely a unique discussion as each panelist had no problem disagreeing with the other which made for a more enlightening and educational experience for all involved. Here are some notable quotables from the each participant:

  • Steve- “The one-man shop will cease as mobile graphics continue to grow; it will be more costly to do everything on your own. Desktop titles (Triple-A) are at this hurdle as game development costs are astronomical because of the costs of polished graphics in a competitive market."
  • Aras- "Problems in mobile are not the graphics. The hardware keeps increasing at a really high rate. It will level out at some point. We will see way more unification in regards to bandwidth as the line is blurred between mobile and light-laptops."
  • Tamas - "Software side, we have to think about what we are doing with the limitations of the hardware. The camera is limited. FX on mobile and console are really important. Depth of field is something essential and is being measured. Allocation between different parts of the chip (memory) is important."
  • Julian- "I think in the next 3 years, we will see more games in 3D. 2D games will not disappear, but 3D will become more prominent. I would like to see how mobile devices will become second screens for tv sets. Secondary screens, for mobile devices, are something that needs to be looked at as new graphics chips come out."

I was thinking it, someone else said it. Cloud services, like Gaikai, could make the issue of mobile graphical challenges irrelevant as outside servers do the heavy processing. Panel felt that the GPU may or may not be ready for the streaming but it could definitely help. In the end, the processing/chip speed must be able to use the technology.

Samsung + Developers

Not the worst, not the best, just felt it was closer to Samsung infomercial than development discussion (to be fair, they did mention the word "development" several times). Most interesting portion of the chatter was the introduction of Chillingo (developer of Pixel People) as a new partner with Samsung in bringing their iOS standard of great games to Samsung. Plus their new joint venture of 100% Indie was fantastic. And, I got word the Pixel People is "highly likely to make it on Android" (excellent!). 

Day 3 recap in oh, an hour or so?


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