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Tag Archives: GDC08

GDC08 Challenge: The Inter-Species Game

SeaQuest Darwin

By Evan Ackerman

For the last several years, GDC has hosted the Game Design Challenge, where three talented game designers create games based on some sort of weird concept. This year, the challenge was to create a concept for a game playable by humans and at least one other species. The competitors included Brenda Brathwaite (the Wizardry series), Steve Meretzky (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Zoo Tycoon), and returning champion and the most famous puzzle game designer you may never have heard of, Alexey Pajitnov (inventor of Tetris). Read about the concepts, including paintball dolphins and killer mutant bacteria, and learn who won, after the jump.Continue Reading

GDC08: Invisible Gaming

Static

By Evan Ackerman

One of the sessions I went to today at GDC was on experimental gameplay. There were some demos of games where you could clone your character and interact with yourself, start and stop time, play through different realities simultaneously… Basically, it was an excuse for game designers to show off weird concepts which aren’t necessarily suitable for commercial development. I thought one of the weirdest concepts was obfuscation: that is, designing a game where you (the player) have no idea what’s going on. This video shows two games which explore that concept: the first is called Static (screenshot above), and the game consists of a platformer rendered entirely in different types of random black and white static. The second is called Xtor Prime: Retribution In The Invisible Wars: Wrath Of Transparentor: Part II: The Prototype (!), and you play an invisible monster. Like, seriously, 100% invisible. Check out the vid, it’s pretty cool as long as the first game doesn’t give you a seizure:

[ GDC 08 ]

GDC08 Keynote: Ray Kurzweil On Our Technological Future, Immortality by 2023

Ray Kurzweil

By Evan Ackerman

Ray Kurzweil, an inventor (of such things as the flatbed scanner and optical character recognition) and futurist gave the keynote at GDC on Thursday. Although the title of the talk was entitled The Next 20 Years of Gaming, Kurzweil spent the majority of the keynote explaining how information technology is advancing exponentially at a steady and predictable rate, which allows us to see where our future lies as a species. The idea that was really hammered home to me is that technologies and advances which may sound like science fiction are actually predictable, and thanks to the magic of exponential progression, much closer than we think.

Here’s a little taste of what I mean… Currently, thanks to medical and biotech advances, we are adding approximately 3 months to human life expectancy every year. With the advent of applied information technology (such as the ability to turn genes on and off, something we’ve recently figured out how to do), Kurzweil predicts that that rate is going to increase significantly:

“15 years from now, we’ll be adding more than a year every year, not just to infant life expectancy, but to your remaining life expectancy, so as you go forward a year, your remaining life expectancy will move away from you… The sands of time will be running in, not out.”

Let me restate what he’s saying: if you can make it to 2023, you won’t ever die of old age. This isn’t just speculation: it’s based on a mathematical model which has been, if anything, conservative. I’m sure there’s an asterisk in there somewhere, but even so, there’s no denying that it’s exciting to think about. More stuff like this, after the jump.Continue Reading

GDC08: Novint Falcon Haptic Controller Gets A Pistol Grip, Starts To Make Sense

Novint Falcon

By Evan Ackerman

The Novint Falcon haptic controller has been out for a little while now, and from what I’ve seen, many people have a difficult time telling what it is at all, much less how it works or why on earth you’d want one. I may, in fact, have been one of those people. But slap a pistol grip on the thing and wire it up to a quality first-person shooter, and suddenly it all becomes clear. A haptic controller is a controller that provides some form of force feedback to the user: things like the PlayStation DualShock controllers qualify as haptic… drive over something bumpy, for example, and the controller shakes. It’s neat, but it’s one dimensional, in that all you get is different intensities of the same kind of shaking motion. The Falcon takes that concept and makes it three dimensional, allowing feedback to push or pull the controller in any direction. What does that mean? Recoil, baby. Once you’ve tried the Falcon, pretty much any other FPS controller seems tame by comparison. Hands-on impressions, pics, and a vid, all after the jump.Continue Reading

GDC08: Gaming On The Brain (Literally)

Brain Gaming

By Evan Ackerman

There were a lot of peripherals kicking around the Game Developer’s Conference expo floor, but most of them, however cool they might be, are just faster or better or fancier reincarnations of existing technology. The biggest wow factor as far as gaming interfaces goes was something I wouldn’t have even considered to be a viable technology, until I tried it out for myself today: brain-controlled gaming.

There were, in fact, two companies that I saw today offering brain interfaces for gaming. Both Emotiv Systems and NeuroSky were showing off wearable brainwave sensors, designed to pick up the faint electrical signals that your neurons emit whenever they’re busy. It’s the exact same thing as an electroencephalograph machine, just simpler and without the conductive goo or the metal pins in your scalp. These interfaces can’t tell exactly what you’re thinking, but they can make educated guesses about the type of thinking you’re doing. I know, it sounds like it could never really be anything more than a gimmick, but the thing is, it totally works, and it’s an entirely new gaming experience. Read more after the jump.Continue Reading

GDC08: XBox Keynote Demo Vids

GDC 08

By Evan Ackerman

I’m not exactly a gaming fanatic, but who cares, I’ll still be at the Game Developer’s Conference here in San Francisco for the next day or so. The keynote this morning was given by John Schappert, the guy at Microsoft who oversees all platform technologies and businesses, including console software, Xbox LIVE and Games for Windows. As you might expect, the meat of the presentation was in the XBox demo vids, so check them out after the jump, including some enhancements to the Unreal Engine, a Ninja Gaiden 2 demo, a Fable 2 demo, and a trailer for Gears of War 2.Continue Reading