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Game Developers Conference 2012 – A Retrospective

This was my first time attending the Game Developers Conference. Doing my usual research, I’d spoken with a number of friends who had been to GDC before to get a sense of what to expect. I had my own theories, but never really was that interested in the show before because I knew it catered more to the game development process that can range from very interesting to the not-so-much-my-thing.  But I know it’s changed over the years and while stated in my last post how much it caters to the game maker, it has something for the game enthusiast as well.

There were several developers on hand to not only show off some of their advancements in tools for making games but many studios there to show off their game development projects as well.

On the tool side, Crytek was there to showcase some enhancements CryENGINE®3.   This is a developer technology that can be licensed to studios for making gaming environments as visually stunning and realistic as possible whether it is water, mountains, weather, characters, etc. This tool really helps game developers set the tone for their game whether it be on the PC, Xbox 360™ or the PlayStation® 3. Check it out in action through this tech demo.  With technology like CryENGINE®3, developers can really blur the lines of fantasy and reality.

On the games side, there we a few things that jumped out at me including a game called Rikochet. As the story goes, you are part of a freedom fighter militia called The Minutemen – a group trying to restore life back to normal after a disease called Horse influenza wiped out much of society allowing the remaining military powers of the world to combine and create DARKWATER INC.

Graphically, the game was beautiful and the gameplay was smooth and fluid, even for the pre-alpha build that was playable. While I’m usually cannon fodder in most FPS games, I was able to hold my own in the deathmatch demo using a wide array of weapons at my disposal.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for the release of this game.

Paradox Interactive had a lot of things also going on which is definitely worth writing home about…or at least writing here about.  I saw War of the Roses first, which takes you back to merry old England circa 1455 for some old-fashioned multiplayer combat. Trust me when I say, use the longbow character. Sure the guy with the mace looks cool, but few things are more satisfying than a headshot from afar.  Well, maybe the moment where you enter the execution mode for that up-close & personal touch for the final blow.

For something completely different Dungeonland is a great, cooperative action game where you take your adventurers through the most sick and twisted version of an amusement park you’ll never want to visit.  Think Diablo in Wonderland! Two words – sheep cannon.  Bright, colorful, incredibly addictive, this game was a lot of fun. Just make sure to keep a Nuyorican Rogue in your party, just in case.

Once the playtime was over, it was great to talk with some of the developers on hand to see how imperative storage is as part of the game development process.  Ranging from full servers to SSD drives within their own workstations, having the right backup support is essential when making a great game.

With GDC now a fond memory, the trek to E3 continues on as companies get ready for their big reveals, event planning and asset collection to release to the fans.  I’m excited to see what E3 has in store this year. Aren’t you?

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