Wow...it's been without a doubt the busiest GDC I have ever attended...and the first real day of the conference is just over. The PS3 game demos at the Sony keynote was certainly a highlight; they were not quite up to the level of the pre-rendered movies shown at E3 2005 but they still looked darn good on the big screen. Of course a big news story that was only semi-GDC-related was Dell's purchase of Alienware, and I managed to squeeze in a phone chat with Alienware's Chief Operating Officer in addition to all of my GDC stuff.
So what have I been doing? Glad you asked. In this second reporter's notebook story I'll tell you just some of the things Iíve seen and experienced at GDC. Of course expect more stuff in the next reporter's update.
Game developers are always working on franchises and sequels to already recognized brands, but how does one really make an already established property seem cool and fresh? Battlestar Galactica producer Ronald D. Moore knows.
At GDC he gave the conference's second keynote address on how he made the original 1978 Glen A Larson sci-fi TV series into the new version that is without a doubt one of the best shows currently on TV. Moore talked at length about how each character in the original series was remade for the new version as well as the themes of the series itself, which in the original version was a fairly lighthearted space opera but in Moore's hands has turned into a dark and serious look at the extermination of the entire human race. During the brief Q&A session, Moore says he has an idea for how the series might end which might deal with the discovery of Earth, but Moore said don't expect Battlestar Galactica to end with that discovery. As Moore indicated, finding Earth still has some consequences.
More AGEIA Talk
The folks at AGEIA indeed showed off a LAN version of Cell Factor at their GDC booth as promised. The first-person shooter showcases the effects of the hardware physics chip and we got to see lots of new content that was not in the official press conference on Tuesday, including working vehicles in the environment that ran over objects realistically and a Capture the Flag mode that with the physics engine allows the flag carrier to use the flag as a weapon to stab objects and enemies. It's still up in the air when and if Cell Factor will be released (they are still searching for a publisher).
One thing we did learn is that the demo we saw was LAN-only; because of the limitations of Internet bandwidth with all of the physics Cell Factor would not work as an online game. One thing we did talk about with AGEIA reps was the prices for the card on Alienware and Dell showing up as $275 for an add-on to their PCs. We asked if there were plans for a less expensive card with less memory. The AGEIA rep told us that there were no plans for such a card but added that they felt the price will be justified when people begin to see AGEIA-based games on the market. They also pointed out that high-end graphics chips are far more expensive, especially with SLI and Crossfire set-up.