GDC Day 2

Started off the day with Marc LeBlanc’s session titled “Intuition and Intellect.” It was about game design, in particular his recent game “Oasis.” It is a simple strategy game that has some interesting elements. Basically it is a reverse Mine Sweeper with nice graphics and lots of rules.
Then I went to Satoru Iwata’s keynote. He is the President of Nintendo. In contrast with yesterday’s Microsoft keynote, this one was very inspirational. He talked about his early days of game development and tied it into Nintendo’s recent direction. He then demoed the Nintendo DS eight-person multiplayer Mario Kart, live on state with volunteers.
He also revealed some information about the next generation Nintendo console, the Nintendo Revolution. He said it will use WiFi and be backward compatible with the GameCube. When he talked about WiFi, he didn’t seem to mean WiFi, like your local household network, but WiFi as in some general wireless system such such as what a mobile phone company may offer. It should be interesting to see what is announced at E3.
Next, I went to another keynote. This one by John Underkoffler. He advises film makers about the science in their movies. For instance, he lead a team that worked on Minority Report. It was interesting to see what sort of research goes into something like that.
After lunch I went to a very disturbing talk by Scott Bilas. He talked about Flash as a game development tool. I was very bothered by this talk.
He started off by putting down Director big-time. It sounds like this guy had some “bad experience” or something. He admitted to not using Director MX 2004, but that didn’t stop him. He listed Lingo as one of the biggest problems with Director. Yikes.
As for Flash, he talked about it like it was the greatest software development platform ever. I got to the point where I started to think that maybe he was doing things that I wasn’t. But when he showed some examples, they weren’t that special. He then went on to show how he uses a 3rd-party script editor, custom-made tools he wrote in C#, a custom wrapper around the .swf to make an executable, and how the debugger was useless. What? But if Flash was that great, why is all that needed?
He talked about how Flash code and graphics performance are slow, but then gave it a grade of “C” for performance. If Flash is a C, then what would be an example of a D?
I hit him up with a question at the end about Flash files being susceptible to reverse-engineering. He didn’t have an answer, but admitted to using these tools to steal other developer’s techniques. Amazing.
I then went to Brian Robbins’ roundtable on Web-based game business models. It was a who’s-who of the Web-based game world. We got into an interesting discussion about whether “downloadable” games are just a momentary business model or whether they are hear to stay.
Then I went to the party. I talked with Steve Bullock for a while and also Alex Zavatone. I also caught up with Jules Urbach from Groove.

Posted on March 10, 2005 at 9:00 pm by site admin · Permalink
In: General