Monday, March 30, 2009

GDC 2009 - My Overview

Gamebryo Lightspeed consumed nearly all my GDC hours. I was slammed with setup, demos, client meetings, partner tech meetings, and selling on the show floor 16 hours a day all week. ;) Friday 11pm when I thought I was finally free, I was pulled into a group of Japanese developers to pitch some more.

Other things I did see:
  • OnLive - cloud computing video games delivered via low-latency live video/audio feed. They've got a little hardware box to connect to your TV. AMD has made some vaporware news on this topic too. I'm not certain OnLive will make it, and get publishers to sign on etc... but I am certain that we'll see this technology eventually. More likely that it will stick vs:
  • Stereo - NVIDIA has been pushing it, Sony had some R&D passive displays and games with stereo, and some other vendors have contacted me about it too. A nice suit from a market research firm interviewed me on the topic... just about everyone except users and game makers seem keen on this. I'll put my money down that it's a short term flop of a gimmick.
  • Engines - So many engine companies... alpha sort: BigWorld, Blade3D, C4, Crytek, Evolution, Gamebryo LightSpeed, Hero, Infernal, Project Offset, Source, Torque, Unity, Unreal, Vicious, Virtools, and some not-yet-announced engines walking the show floor. Somehow I don't think they're all going to make it...
    ... If you checked some out - drop a comment and let me know what you thought.
  • Tools - A few different "platform" companies have shown some very nice tools for developers in the works. NDA blocks me, but the good news is that game development on increasingly complex machines will be a tad easier.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mark DeLoura's Game Engine Survey

Mark DeLoura has published results from a Game Engine Survey (part1, part2). Well worth a read for any game developer.

I’m pleased to see that developers are using engines!
55% of the responders stated that they are using a middleware game engine on their current project.
Also, many are using Gamebryo:
39% are using Unreal, and 22% are using Gamebryo, with other engines landing significantly smaller percentages.

Gamebryo 2.6 has been on the market since last fall, and stacks up nicely to the needs developers are expressing: They want tech that works for any genre, Source code, Easy integrations with other middleware, Multi-threading, On target viewers, stand along editors, solid documentation, and real support.

At GDC we’ll be unveiling Gamebryo LightSpeed. (Some press coverage has already gone out.) Looks like we’re on the money with our major new features and tools. Mark’s survey shows developers are demanding tools for rapid prototyping and rapid iteration. We’re delivering just that with LightSpeed, and doing it with the same technology that clients can use all the way to gold master.

Interesting times. I’m glad to have made the transition from internal tech at game studios to a tech company supporting hundreds of games. The industry has rounded the bend on adopting this business model, and from an engineer’s point of view it just makes me feel good to have things built more efficiently.