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I had almost forgotten that GDC was the Game Developers Conference. To my shock or naivety, there were not as many games as I expected. Plenty of developing kits showcased and graphics engines on display, but, the games seemed sparse. However, I am a one-man show so I could not possibly see everything properly in one day (proverbial pass). After realized it wasn't rational to see "everything", I was able to see anything. There was a ton of content and it was sweet! From games to tech and everything in between, here is the Day 3 recap:
Qualcomm v. Intel
To be fair, I have a limited amount of knowledge when it comes to processors so do not take my thoughts as law. However, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor seemed to produce some of the coolest visual and audio quality I have seen or heard from any mobile device. Intel definitely talked a great deal about the advantages of the Pentium versus the competition and showed some nice demos. Still, I am left with the memory of the incredible sound test room which replicated the highest-end sound I’ve heard with basic headphones. I had overheard a Intel rep (who will remain nameless) talk about how insignificant Snapdragon was to Intel. I find it to be a much more relevant issue going forward if what I heard wasn't a hoax. Incredible.
Indie Strikes Back
Can you say "Wowzers"? There were so many good Indie games that I could not begin to appreciate the amount creativity in the IGF Finalists area. I browsed the section and saw many titles I owned, recognized, or never seen. Those that I never got to play, I played plenty. One of those titles was Samurai Gunn (created by Beau Blyth). Playing as a Samurai armed with blade and 3 bullets, 2-4 players dodge, shoot, deflect, and disembowel one another until the kill limit is reached (victorious 24-3 on my first attempt). It is smooth, retro-fashioned, plays perfect, and is super dope. Another mind-melt was Back to Bed, a student project that is coming soon to iOS tablets and possibly phones (created by Team: 1UP). In a Dali-like dream, you play the subconscious manifestation that must guide his sleep-walking body back to bed before he kills himself (implied of course). Its rich visuals were rich and immediately engaging. It should be a favorite upon its release.
Farsh (created by Mahdi Bahrami) was a beautiful and peaceful representation of a culture in game-form. With many Persian influences in audio and color, you use a simple mechanic of moving a rug across a complex set of mazes that will puzzle you for 50+ levels, truly wonderful. Its rich visuals were rich and immediately engaging. It should be a favorite upon its release. My heavy-rotation titles of Super Hexagon, Spaceteam, and Year Walk were also present and it was pleasant to finally meet their makers in person. Not to forget, I really need to play Hotline Miami (created by Dennaton Games); that game is insane. Also, Zenith (Arcane Kids) is fantastic and visual candy.
"Show me your Warface! Ahh"!
Its free-to-play and it is fun. Warface is a new game from Crytek on CryENGINE 3.The PC FPS is smooth and is not even finished. The look and feel is a blend of COD and Crysis that lends for some less-realistic actions that are fun but also recognizable multiplayer that casual audiences will identify with. The low entry may prove to be a high ceiling for the shooter.
I Like Project Shield
Some people say it is cheap and some say it has no chance. They all may be right but I still like the device. Nvidia’s Project Shield is the next attempt at capturing the handheld audience that already left the building. Sporting a 5-inch 720p retinal multi-touch display and Jelly Bean OS, the device easily folds onto itself for closing and storage. Equipped with headphone jack, WI-FI, and both mini USB and HDMI, I really want to own this device. If it sours on its own merit, so be it. Nvidia should definitely heed the failings of the PlayStation Vita launch; the entry-level price must be reasonable with a solid amount of launch titles and a steady line-up to follow. No price announced but expected launch is Q3.
PlayStation Vita x Mobile
With everything I previous said, I was excited for the mobile games support of Vita. With titles like Hotline Miami and FTL coming to the platform, it will unlock a new segment of casual players enjoying previously obscure games. I think this is incredible and may just be the reason (along with PS4) why I buy a Vita. More on this topic to come.
Day 4 approaches and it looks darn good. Oculus Rift, I'm coming for ya!