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Question of the Week Responses: Best of GDC 2006

We present your responses to last week's Question of the Week which asked, "What were the most interesting announcements or sessions/events at this year's Game Developers Conference?"

Quang Hong, Blogger

April 18, 2006

6 Min Read

Taking a look back at last month's Game Developers Conference, last week Gamasutra asked our professional audience, “What were the most interesting announcements or sessions/events at this year's Game Developers Conference?"

The responses we received showed great variation, with few to none mentioning the same session, and each taking away something different from this year's conference. Without further ado, here's the responses - feel free to cross-reference the lectures on the master list of content or at GDC Radio:

Jon Blow's experimental gameplay session is always a favorite, and this year didn't disappoint. I added the "Game Developers Rant" session to my favorites last year, and was pleased that this year most rants were peppered with a positive call to action for the audience (Crawford's being the exception). The quantity and quality of stuff being shown at the IGF year to year is astounding. I spent a lot of time there this year.
-Kim Pallister, Microsoft Corp

Platform Keynote: Disrupting Development by Satoru Iwata, Cracking the XX files: How Devs Can Turn Women Players into Buyers , and the Secret Level Party.

I found one session particularly inspiring. It was refreshing to hear the speaker talk about the inspirations behind his product. Most inspiring, though, was the way he talked about the ideological goals he specifically wanted to express with it, that he had something larger about the world he wanted to show through his entertainment. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, that speaker had nothing to do with the game industry - it was Ron Moore at his Battlestar Galactica keynote.
-Borut Pfeifer, Sony Online Entertainment

Will Wright's talk was great, of course. NaturalMotion seemed to be the buzz of the show. Keep an eye out for some new products coming out by them. And AGEIA PhysX demoed a prototype game using their engine that looked like a blast. I think RunTime Physics proved to be the revolutionary feature that next-gen consoles can offer.
-Jason Parks, SCEA

The Gym: Where The Incredible Hulk Goes To Train [A session that focused on code techniques used for implementation of the Gym, GUI-based decision tree and state machine editor, as well as the workflow issues arising from integration of the Gym into the production pipeline.]
-Arien Yuhn, VirtualDigm. Inc.

The most interesting sessions by far formed a trifecta of rapid prototyping: Kyle Gabler and Kyle Gray's "Build a Game in Seven Days", Chris Hecker and Chaim Gingold on advanced prototyping, and Eric Todd's talk on rapid prototyping in pre-production. It was a great glimpse at the way things ought to be done.
-Darius Kazemi, Turbine Inc.

My most interesting session at GDC was definitely Evan Skolnick's "...And Make It Snappy!" presentation on writing concise dialog. I found it interesting because
A) it dealt with the day-to-day, micro-level details of game development, rather than the theoretical ones and
B) it was a session on the technical elements of writing, a rarity at GDC and other conferences. Oh and the return of Suite Night was certainly bearable as well!
-Coray Seifert, THQ, Kaos Studios

Among the most interesting sessions for me this year were postmortem-oriented ones where the presenter described how they actually built and finished their game: Civilization 4, God of War, Ghost Recon. The rights, the wrongs, the problems and the solutions.
-Javier Arevalo, Pyro Studios

The display of the new SpeedTreeRT Technology, the Endorphin 6.4 presentation, Nvidia's Art Contest, HDR Brightside, and the new kick-ass VIRE GL V7350 Accelerator. Not to forget Alienbrain, and last but not least, information about the next PlayStation by Harrison. Actually one pice of software caught my attention, and that is SketchUP recently bought by Google. @Last software truly invented an impressive piece of code, that actually lets you create some stunning 3D geometry, and simply enjoy it. Overall, the whole experience was a blast... Take that for the first time attendee. Looking forward to next year.
-Aleksandar Dragosavljevic, 2Wire

The Sony and Nintendo keynotes were revealing. I realized that if Phil Harrison and Satoru Iwata got in a fight, Harrison would bore the Iwata to sleep by talking about e-commerce on the PSP.

Evan Skolnick (of Vicarious Visions)' talk about writing for games. He quickly got to the heart of the issue, discussing how to write effective dialog for games, without coming off too cursory or specific. Let's face it—a good percentage of new releases are still lacking in the written word department. Hopefully with increased industry-wide recognition, game writing will continue to improve as writers learn to explore the unique opportunities and possibilities exclusive to games as vehicles for storytelling.
-Ben Serviss, Creo Ludus Entertainment

As a casual games developer, I found Min Kim's talk "Casual Games: Lost In Translation", an interesting outlook on how the Asian idea of a casual game is completely different than the North American (and to an extent, European) take on what a casual game is. This was one of the most insightful small sessions of the conference, with some of the most valuable take away.
-Mike Sweeney, Slingo Inc.


Advanced MMO Economies [ A follow-up discussion from last year's MMO economics round table. The round table defines some classic definitions of economic elements and challenges the participants to think about how these can be built into a game effectively. Additional topics include the design impact of real world player-to-player sales.]
-Eric Ye, IBM



[Please note that the opinions of individual employees responding to the Question Of The Week may not represent those of their company.]

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Quang Hong


Quang Hong is the Features Editor of Gamasutra.com.

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