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Welcome to the Game Developer's Conference!

Here we hope to put some of the expo-related stuff that just didn't fit anywhere else. Enjoy!

Tuesday and Wednesday

The only thing even resembling a booth that was open the first day was the "GDC Bookstore". There were a couple of new interesting offerings, but there were several leftovers from last year. The prices were nothing special, and it appeared that people were shopping for a lack of anything better to do.

Not ready yet!

The expo floor a day before opening, construction still happening at a frantic pace. It's rumored that several booths won't be ready by mid-morning tomorrow and that the floor will have to open late.

Near the door is a sign warning about California's frequent recent power losses. That would be a problem.

Odd chrome scaffolding was erected at the main entrances of the expo hall. Contained within are giant stage-lights, but there's nothing in particular at the entrance that's worth lighting, so it's presumed that this stuff was just laying about and was erected to impress us with its chrominosity.

While waiting for the expo floor to open, several of the entrants to the Independent Game Festival set up their entries. Here's newcomer Ba3d Software with a hypnotic 3D breakout game

The Microsoft party on Wednesday night was a disappointment. While free food and drinks were plentiful, a cool band (Soul Coughing last year) was nowhere in sight. Also, we figured that free joysticks and Win2k boot-CD's would be on every flat surface.

Not a bad party, but I think our expectations were set too high.

Head gamedev-honcho Dave Astle finally showed up on Wednesday afternoon, sporting the latest in gamedev-wear.

He'd been working for quite a while on an interpretive performance of Infinite Jest performed entirely with his finger and his nose. While the performance lagged a bit in the middle, the 12-hour performance captures the essence of the novel perfectly.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Keep an eye on Synovial. They've got a cross-platform API that'll allow you to create games for a whole slew of handheld platforms. That's nice because there's so much commonality between them.

Game groupies are weird. Here's a group of people awaiting an audience with some Unreal luminary holding court within the private Epic booth.

A neat surprise at the online lounge was a selection of classic video games. Some were behind glass, but some were available for play. Pictured are a Colecovision and a Vectrex.

The GDC was replete with cutting-edge game technology, yet people still sat down to play Atari 2600 Pac Man.

Another celebrity cameo was Scott Harriott from the TechTV show Internet Tonight. He showed up with camera crew in tow to film some funny bits for his show. He ended up interviewing Ernest and myself, doing some dramatic readings from Isometric Game Programming with DirectX.

In the picture, he was doing a bit where he finds an abandoned beer on a table and drinks it.

Playmate showed off their interesting shaped-fabric keyboard covers. They're designed to fit over 101-key keyboards and label things so you don't need a reference card.

Since the booths are a bit pricey, guerilla marketing abounds. Pictured is the president of GameBeat, a site dedicated to game audio. He was wandering about, handing out mouse pads and plugging his site.

Cable computer-network TechTV was in appearance for the entire time. Here are GamespotTV hosts Adam Sessler and Kate Botello looking fabulous.

WildTangent had a silly skit every few hours. Evil overlord of the universe "Betty Bad" would appear at the top of their booth weilding some sort of fragmaster 10,000 and threatening the director of marketing.

The facial hairstyle of choice was this one, dubbed "The Neuvo Mullet", "The Howland", or "Playschool's My-First-Beard®".

It was sported by many male game programmers. If you intend to be a game developer, it is suggested that you stop shaving in the middle.

This particular shot was on a running demo-reel by Eyetronics.

In a display-case in the lounge were several pieces of 70's videogame memorabilia. Among them was the patch that you could get from Activision for sending a photo of the screen with a high enough score.

It must be mine!

3D face-modeling was trendy. Here's a 3D model of your author's ugly mug courtesy of Digimask. The face looks spot-on, but it didn't do so well on the hair.

Apple dispensed with the expo-booth this year in favor of a tiny private room off to the side.

It's pretty sad that during a time that they should be pushing MacOS X to the hilt, the only thing they had to show off were two new iMac colors, pastel spots, and blue with white spots.

Another goody on the expo floor are show-specials. If you know where to look, you can get some good bargains, although an $800 graphics card had better be something special.

This little fella was all over the place. He was part of an nVidia demo, and he changed colors to match his environment, from green and blue to silver and transparent --colors that would give a real chameleon a hernia.

The booth crawl was a mob as usual, and the drinks available ran the gamut from conventional (Budweiser) to the bizarre (creepily-colored shots).