GDC 2009: Day 5

March 31st, 2009 · No Comments

I know, its already Tuesday, and I’m just now getting around to posting the happenings of GDC on Friday. Its been busy, cut me some slack. At any rate, Friday at GDC was like most final days of a conference: lots of people with suitcases in tow, gradually diminishing population throughout the day, and exhibitors tearing down their booths and trying to give away as much remaining swag as possible. NASA Expo Booth Unfortunately, I didn’t have too much time to make it over to the Expo hall on this last day, but I did manage to secure some good swag. Perhaps the best of all was available at the NASA booth. Yes, NASA was at GDC this year promoting their library of 3D models that are free for all to use. They had some very nice pins, big meatball stickers and meatball temporary tatoos. NASA Meatball(don’t know what I’m going to do with the tat)

The math and physics discussions were over for the week, although there were a few session on how physics was integrated into some animation packages. The session I attended was High-Definition Physics with Clothing and Vegetation by NVIDIA APEX. I’m not an animator, but the presentation was very interesting. The APEX animation engine incorporates the PhysX engine as well, so animation and simulation can be combined in one tool with no coding required. Very nice. Check out NVIDIA’s APEX website linked above.

Attending the Math and Physics tutorials the first two days was certainly worthwhile, but I did regret not being able to also see the Serious Games Summit. Fortunately, Ben Sawyer of the Serious Games Initiative gave a great summary of the two-day summit. One of the biggest consumers of serious games currently is the health field. Through games such as DDR and WiiFit, health organizations are starting to realize that video games can drive physical activity. You don’t always have to play video games on a couch! In order to reinforce this trend in the health fields, the Serious Games Initiative created a group called Games for Health which is looking at not only how games and game technology can help patients, but also how it can aid nurses and doctors improve their ability to deliver quality health care. SlinkyBall from HAGames.comThere were many other presenters as well, including the more traditional education-based serious games from Hidden Agenda Games. HA Games uses an interesting model of providing financial incentives for college students who develop educational games for high school students. An interesting model, and one that would benefit students at both levels. For an example of one of their games, check out SlinkyBall which demonstrates the function of simple machines.

The last talk I attended for the conference was a historical look at the game development challenges of the Atari 2600 by Ian Bogost of Persuasive Games. It wasn’t exactly what I’d expected going in, but it was an entertaining talk which tied into Kojima’s keynote from Thursday regarding how hardware limitations can influence game design.

With the conference over, Russ and I headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 to enjoy the sights and seafood. Good times and great food were had, and many pictures were taken. Here’s a small sample. The rest can be seen in the GDC09 set I have on Flickr.

Pier 39

Fisherman's Wharf

Golden Gate and Moon
(yes, I needed to clean my lens and image sensor. it was a long week)

Tags: Friends · Gaming · Social

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