Musings on Game Engine Design

Archive for March, 2008

GDC 2008

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This year was the tenth anniversary of my first GDC.  It’s milestones like this that make one pause and take stock of one’s life.  Over the last decade, one of my college classmates was appointed United States Attorney for South Carolina; another lost a limb fighting in Iraq; another married actor Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin).  And I… I have spent most of my waking hours contributing, in my own small way, to the perpetual adolescence of the American male.

Like a career in game development, GDC is a mix of small rewards and great frustrations–and yet the two somehow balance each other out.  Back in 1998, the attendees were a small brash crowd, excited that gaming had finally arrived and enthusiastic about the future.  I think that was the first time somebody announced the oft-repeated canard about how we’re bigger than the movie industry.  My friends and I all made the crawl from room to room on Suite Night, availing ourselves of the free drinks and the catered food from the warming trays.  There was a party on the Queen Mary.  I got a thick pile of t-shirts and an Intel graphics card, and thought, 3dfx better watch out now that Intel’s getting into the market.

Now GDC has become like SIGGRAPH.  The crowds are enormous–nearly 15,000 in attendance this year, I’m told.  But it’s not the size of the crowds that makes it less intimate.  It’s the fact that so many of the people there don’t really have much to say to each other:  there are indie game developers, console game developers, serious game developers, mobile phone game developers, people selling middleware and hardware and outsourcing to all of the above, recruiters, wannabes, publishers trying to sign developers, developers looking for a publisher, HR folks looking to hire artists and programmers and musicians, and press trying to cover the whole spectacle.  The death of E3 meant that this year there were more sessions than ever that could be summed up as, “look at my game and how awesome it is.”  I tried to avoid those.  I spent my three days at GDC looking for quiet places to talk to the people who do the same thing I do.  I didn’t go to any of the parties. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Kyle

March 12th, 2008 at 8:51 am

Posted in GDC


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When I started GameArchitect, the word blog didn’t exist yet, and there was, therefore, a real shortage of decent blogging software.  I ended up buying Joel Spolsky’s CityDesk, mostly because it was what he used for Joel on Software and I like the look of his site.

CityDesk hasn’t had a lot of work over the last couple of years, though, and I never have managed to figure out how to make it generate a proper RSS feed.  So I’m switching the site over to WordPress, about which I’ve heard good things.  All old content is still available at  Pardon the dust and plaster.

Written by Kyle

March 9th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Posted in Admin