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Let the Games Begin: Game Developers Conference in San Jose

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GDC - Where Goes Gaming
Краткое содержание статьи: Omid took some time to meander and wander through the Game Developer Conference in San Jose last week. In the process he looks at the tenuous position of Xbox, the opportunities for PC gamers, and riffs on the future of online gamelets.

GDC - Where Goes Gaming


Редакция THG,  26 марта 2001
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GDC - Where Goes Gaming

The Game Developer Conference (GDC) is game geek heaven. Thousands of game programmers, designers, artists, and the suits who like to hang around them, mingle in a laid back atmosphere. It's a little like the first day of college with some people actually going to class, while others are meeting and greeting old and new friends. The one thing that I love about it: you can rely on game developers to share. Unlike most technology events where paranoia seems to pervade, GDC is the one place where you can guarantee people are interested in talking about technology, their likes and dislikes, what's cool, what's not, and what could be better for someone bent on reporting on the event.

GDC is also a cyclical event. While it never fails to attract a large crowd of developers to its tutorials and conference agendas, in the last two or three years it has also had an exhibit hall packed with brand name hardware companies. This year, the show floor wasn't as packed, perhaps reflecting, a little, the general mood of the tech industry, and perhaps, an indication that the game industry is in transition.

It's a transition that began with the incredibly overblown PS2 and is nicely dovetailing into the incredibly overblown Xbox. More on the consoles later, but first, I have to proselytize about what caught my eye - them damn online gamelets. I am not going to call them games, to distinguish them from packaged titles with online multiplayer capability. I am talking about the kind of stuff that you can play on Shockwave.com, or Java games that all seem to just meld with your browsing. These games may be less interesting to you if you are on dial-up access, and the vast majority of you are so, I don't discount you by any means, but frankly, if you look at some of the game demo downloads that are coming out these days, I think I saw one at about 120 MB, you have to have some patience, even on broadband.

So, let's assume that download time is not an issue then, we have the horsepower in our computers, we have the graphics power, and we have enough RAM to play a decent Galaxian clone in Java, and relive a happier time when arcades still mattered, and you thought in terms of minutes per quarter play instead of CPU clock cycles. Okay, so my gaming fantasies are a bit retro, but you have to know that playing the Shockwave version of Centipede saved me the $800 it would have cost to get an arcade set-up on eBay.
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