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Game Developers Conference 2007



I'll be at the Game Developers Conference 2007, which is held at San Francisco during March 5-9. One of the keynote speakers will be Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda (just to name a few). And of course, he also worked with Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri as a producer for the Pokemon games.


What's the Game Developers Conference?

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the official trade event "by developers for developers" of computer, console, mobile, arcade, online games, and location based entertainment.


The GDC attracts over 12,500 attendees and provides educational, networking, and business opportunities for game development professionals driving the $11 billion videogame industry. It is the main global forum where programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals and others involved in the development of interactive games gather to exchange ideas, network, and shape the future of the industry.

This market defining conference features over 300 lectures, panels, tutorials and round-table discussions on a comprehensive selection of game development topics taught by leading industry experts. In addition, the GDC expo showcases all of the game development tools, platforms and services. The conference also includes the ninth annual Independent Games Festival, where new, unpublished games compete for the attention of the publishing community.





GDC 2007 - Pictures


Pictures from the Event


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: So here I am, at the the Game Developers Conference 2007. Up bright and early to catch the day's activities. The event is held in San Francisco, at the Moscone Center. This is the Moscone West building (the Moscone Center spans over three buildings including the Moscone North and Moscone South.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Here's the Moscone North building. Still early in the day, so nobody playing the games at the moment.


Picture 1: Moscone North lobby. Picture 2 and Picture 3: The lobby also displayed a preview from the "I Am 8-Bit Gallery" art show that runs from April 17 thru May 12, 2007 in Los Angeles. These two particular pieces are inspired by Super Mario Bros.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Also at the lobby was the "XNA Game Studio Express Challenge." Four teams have four days to create an original video game on the spot. The finished games will be displayed to the attendees on Friday, March 9.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Heading down a level.


Picture 1: The first keynote of GDC 2007 is delivered by Ichiro Otobe (on the left), the chief strategist for Square Enix (the company that created Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts). He's joined by Tadashi Tsushima (on the right), who is a former Vagrant Story programmer, is leading a team to create a game called "Project GB" for the Nintendo DS. The keynote is titled "Serious Games Squared." Square Enix and Gakken (a major textbook publisher in Japan) formed SG Lab, a subsidiary to create serious games (or educational games). Picture 2 and Picture 3: Otobe talked about the reasons and strategies of entering the serious games market. Of course, money is a very good reason to make serious games. He highlighted this by showing Japan's top selling games in 2006 (Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl sits comfortably on top of the list, though not considered a serious game). The games highlighted shows that several serious games have made a substantial amount of sales (three games in the top seven).


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Tsushima demoed the Project GB game on the large screen. Project GB allows players to design their own game in variety of ways (change the colors, change the enemies you face, and even compose the music). In this case, it's creating your own version of "Space Invaders." So essentially, players will develop their own game using the various tools in the game.


Picture 1 and Picture 2: How do you get people to wait in line to fill out a survey? Give them a t-shirt. So like the many others, I stood there in line to take a survey. After your patience, you're rewarded with a GDC 2007 t-shirt (well technically, you're rewarded with a coupon, where you then have to bring it to another table to redeem for a t-shirt). I don't know when or if I'll wear it, but it's a nice souvenir. Picture 3: The first game I tried out at GDC is Galaga for the cell phone. I'm not exactly a cell phone game fan (since I usually have my trusty DS Lite with me), but I guess this will do for your simple classic game urges. After a quick tutorial on how to play the game (move with left and right, middle to shoot, that's it), I gave it a try. It was difficult to move and shoot at the same time, so I started using both hands to play it. Then I asked if people play this game with both hands, I was told usually beginners do that (I guess that's me), and since it's a cell phone game, it's mostly designed to be a one hand kind of deal. So I started playing it the way it was designed to be played (and stop looking like a newbie), with one hand. Problem is, I died too easily playing one handed. Give me a bit more time on it, and I should be fine on it.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: An event that caught my eye was called Game Connection. I had little idea what is from the short description I had of it, it sounded interested enough to poke my head in there and see what's going on there. Game Connection basically allows game developers to pitch their games to the game publishers, or buyers (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Capcom, Ubisoft, and so on; over 85 buyers will participate). Although Game Connection is part of GDC, the service itself is a separate paid service due to the limited space. The best way to describe it, as it was described to me, that it's "speed dating" for the game developers and game publishers. A developer and publisher will spend a certain amount of time with each other privately in their own rooms, and then move on to a next meeting. The judging by the publishers is sort of like an American Idol kind of thing, impress the publisher at all costs. In American Idol, when you're rejected, you say "can I sing another song for you?" In this case, it's "can I show you another game?" I'm told that the sell rate is pretty high, at around 85% of the developers get a deal. While most of the doors are left undecorated, some do take advantage of the decorating space seen above.



Picture 1: That's one way to cover up the window if you don't want people peeking in. Since there's the competition among developers and among publishers, some may feel the need for privacy. Picture 2 and Picture 3: One of the rooms was for the Novint Falcon, a 3D touch game controller. It looks like something my dentist would use, very high tech. So you use it like you would use a mouse on a computer, but you can move the Falcon using the circular like door knob in the air (left, right, up, down, forward, backward, sideways, you name it). They let me try out the Novint Falcon, and as soon as I learned how to control it, I couldn't believe how well the controller worked. I was controlling a tiny ball on the computer screen in a 3D space. Also on the screen was a larger ball, which can be changed to a variety of different things. For example, one of the balls was made out of a cobblestone like surface. When you went around the surface of the ball with the Falcon, you could actually feel the bumps of the cobblestones as you guided around it. Another one was made out of molasses. Unlike the other one, you could poke through the ball. Just as going through a ball made of molasses would feel, when you guided your tiny ball into it you sink in and has a sticky feel to it; there's some resistance, but little enough so you can push through with relative ease. And when your ball pops out from the other side, you feel that motion (the sudden freedom out of the molasses) very realistically as well. Another demo used the controller as a baseball glove. I was warned to hold on tight. As baseballs are thrown at you, you catch the ball by accurately moving the glove to the spot the ball is thrown. And again, the force is amazingly realistic. Then I tried out a real game with the controller using Half-Life 2. What happens when you shoot a real gun? It recoils. And so, the Falcon simulates that by pushing my hand back when I fired a gun. I was trying to hold my gun as still as possible while shooting, but the force is pretty strong (as I imagine a real gun would feel like). Each gun has it's own recoil strength, some pushed me back more than others. The force feedback also works well when you're being shot at by the enemy. When you're being shot in the front, it pushes you back. When you're shot from the left, it pushes you to the right, and so on. So just by feel, you know which direction you're being shot at. In addition, to make things even more realistic, the circular knob to control the Falcon can be removed to fit in a gun grip. So how much does this 3D touch game controller cost? You can preorder it at www.novintfalcon.com for $189 (while supplies last, that's $50 off the MSRP price), and it will ship on June 18th, 2007. And check out the Novint Falcon video that I filmed: GDC 2007 - Novint Falcon




GDC Expo

Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Here's the GDC Expo floor, which started on the third day of GDC. This is the Nintendo booth, which is a spacious area but crowded nonetheless with all the people playing on the Wii and the Nintendo DS.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Among the titles being displayed, the English version demo of Pokemon Diamond/Pearl makes an appearance at GDC 2007.

So I started up the demo, and I was greeted by my rival: "Hey! I've been waiting for you! Welcome to the Sinnoh region! This is a region of great natural beauty where Pokemon that have never been seen before can be found! Follow me! I'll walk you through Jubilife City!" You are then lead to a route (though you can't go back to the city) and he tells you: "You'll find a cave if you walk straight down this road. You should go there and check it out!"


As I approached the route, I was stopped by a lab aide: "A Pokemon Watch is for all Trainers! We call it a Poketch for short!" You then obtain the "Digital Watch Poketch app." The lab aide further explains: "There are various Poketch apps that you can add to it!"


After that, I got to battle a few trainers. The team on the demo version consists of Lucario, Roselia, and Mime Jr. Lucario has Force Palm, Me First, Bone Rush, and Metal Sound. Roselia has Leech Seed, Magical Leaf, GrassWhistle, and Poison Sting. And Mime Jr. has Barrier, Copycat, Mimic, and Psybeam.


At the end of the road, you meet Professor Rowan, who says: "Wow! You've done a great job. I can sense that you could be a truly great Pokemon Trainer. You have the Thorn Pokemon Roselia. Some Pokemon that haven't evolved in other regions might evolve here in the Sinnoh region. Hmm... Let's see what happens with your Roselia..." And then Roselia evolves: "What? Roselia is evolving! Congratulations! Your Roselia evolved into Roserade!"


And although you're at the cave entrance, you can't enter it, and this is where the demo version ends.


You can view a video of the Pokemon Diamond/Pearl demo below:


GDC 2007: Pokemon Diamond/Pearl (English Demo)




Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Pokemon Diamond/Pearl demo.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Pokemon Diamond/Pearl demo.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Also making an appearance is Pokemon Battle Revolution for the Wii. Unfortunately it's in Japanese, but there was was someone there to translate the moves for you so you know what you're doing.


You can view a video of Pokemon Battle Revolution below:


GDC 2007: Pokemon Battle Revolution




Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Pokemon Battle Revolution.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Pokemon Battle Revolution.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Nintendo booth.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: Nintendo booth.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: GDC Expo floor.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: GDC Expo floor.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: GDC Expo floor.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: GDC Expo floor.


Picture 1 and Picture 2: GDC Expo floor. Picture 3: Reminds me of another picture I took from another event, do you know which one?




Shigeru Miyamoto's Keynote

Picture 1 and Picture 2: People lined up for hours early in the morning to see Shigeru Miyamoto's keynote, so the place was packed. Picture 3: When Miyamoto was introduced, he didn't walk onto the stage. Instead, the giant screen showed Miyamoto's Mii. After some minor edits on the Mii, Miyamoto walked onto the stage as the crowd applauded loudly.


Picture 1, Picture 2, and Picture 3: His keynote, titled ""A Creative Vision," discussed Nintendo's vision, as well as his vision for video games. Using his wife as an example as a non-gamer, Miyamoto also talked about how Nintendo have converted non-gamers into enjoying this form of entertainment. You can view the video of the keynote here: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/Nintendo/38232/event.html




Hope you enjoyed the pictures from GDC 2007!