The SIGGRAPH conference continues to evolve with the times. Ten or fifteen years ago, it was very academically driven, solving problems that nobody had solved before just for the sake of doing something different or more realistic. Today, SIGGRAPH has a much more pragmatic character. Most solutions and techniques presented have been developed out of a need for movie rendering, model authoring and manipulation, or even real-time graphics applications. At the same time, SIGGRAPH has retained the same rigorous background that it always had, making it quite a change from what we’re used to in game development.
This year’s GDC, for a change of pace, was held in San Francisco. It was also the last GDC dealing mostly with the current generation of consoles. Yet again, GDC managed to live up to all expectations. I walked away totally exhausted, but at the same time energized and inspired and full of new ideas.
It’s that time of the year again: days are getting longer, the weather is slowly getting warmer, and a hint of change is in the air. That can only mean one thing: the Game Developers Conference is approaching again! This article will help you navigate your way around GDC more successfully and help you get the most out of this year’s conference.
The GameTech Leadership Summit was the second part of this year’s Game Tech Seminars. Underneath a somewhat confusing name, it really was an analysis of the tools and technology in games today.
The first day is where the real meat of this second part was. It was a postmortem/analysis of the tech involved in some of the most successful games today (Halo 2, Half Life 2, The Sims 2, and Stranger) done by the tech lead (or someone close to that position) for each of the teams. Each of the talks was packed with information and some of them are freely available online, so I’m not even going to try to summarize the talks. Instead, this is going to be more of a highlight of things that caught my eye or I thought were particularly important.
They say good things come in small packages. That was certainly true of this year’s Game Tech Seminars. It was a four-day intensive conference dealing with very specific topics (realistic characters and engine/tools technology) with a very impressive list of speakers. The best part though, was the attendees. There were only about 80 people total in the conference (due in no small part to the hefty price tag attached to the conference, I’m sure), and they were mostly tech leads or directors of technology of their companies. It was great to see lots of familiar faces, but also a lot of new ones I only knew through the Internet or not at all before. The great discussions following each session, or even over lunch or dinner were worth the price of admission alone.