Now that our panel of distinguished judges have had the time to tally and certify the vote, our awards for the best and worst of the GDC 2001 are in, and here they are.
This is a tough one, since were a lot of great presentations, and obviously there's no one that attended all of them to objectively select a winner. However, based on our personal experiences and feedback from others who went to the show, we're awarding the Best Presentation to Will Wright's keynote Design Plunder. In his extremely entertaining presentation, the creator of The Sims, SimCity, etc., not only gave us a taste of his genius creative vision, but demonstrated how design ideas can be taken from nearly any other field.
Lee Sheldon's Beyond Story: Making Games That Mean Something tutorial
Paul Schuytema's Touchpoints of Design tutorial
Kent Quirk's Independent Development and Publishing: Case Study lecture
Ernest Adam's Will Games Ever Become a Legitimate Art Form? lecture
Chris Crawford's Interactive Storytelling: The Real Thing tutorial. "Despite enthusiasm for his subject and a lively speaking style, Mr. Crawford's presentation suffered from a lack of real preparation or focus. What content there was in the tutorial was overwhelmed by a patronizing attitude, excessive self-aggrandizement, and more than a little arrogance and bitterness." - David Michael
Carsten Magerkurth's Using Windows To Create Palm Games lecture. He basically showed how you could write a game that was cross platform between Windows and Palm... by simply making your Windows game look horrible.
Most/Best Free Alcohol
As the expo floor correspondant (i.e. the one who was *supposed* to get hammered), John's going with Wordware.
Beer flowed like water at the hospitality suites, but the lines were long. Microsoft had a great bar at the party and at their booth, but drink-passes were limited and slightly harder to come by than a commission to the Air Force Academy. Wordware was always good for a tequila shot whenever I walked past, and there wasn't a line for 'em. For the daring, they'd even shoot the tequila into your mouth with a Super Soaker.
Best Booth Babe
The Metrowerks babe. John like very much. Also, he's got a pal who's a Presbyterian minister who emailed him with the vote for her, so she crosses religious lines.
The other Metrowerks babe
The Vicon motion capture babe
Oldest Booth Babe
Can't really tell from this picture, but this babe from iSmell was way too old for this sort of thing.
Most Well Endowed Booth Babe
With no side-by-side comparison and no first hand experience, it's hard to say, but these girls from Elsa are hard to argue against. Even Dave's man boobs paled in comparison. After taking this picture, Dave commented that he felt "packed in bubble wrap".
The other iSmell babe
The GIGNews girl
Booth With Best Babes Who Weren't Actually Booth Babes
Maybe a better name for this would be Companies We'd Most Like to Work For. Whether it be by coincidence or intent, many companies had their booths manned by regular employees who were far more attractive, and certainly more natural looking, than the booth babes. The clear winner in this area was Renderware. Besides having more attractive women than anyone else, they were intelligent and helpful, and of course, they had British accents.
Bender Helper Impact - okay, they were in the press room, so not technically a booth, but they deserve a mention =)
Technical Overload Presentation
Keith Packard of the original X team gave a presentation on the XFree86 graphics pipeline at the Linux in Game Development tutorial. After his explanation of the pipeline, the half-dozen ways to draw a bitmap, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of each, the only thing John came away with was that X graphics are as big a mess as Windows.
Mark Kilgard's More Advanced Hardware Rendering Techniques tutorial
Jason Mitchell and Chris Bennett's Special Effects with Pixel Shaders tutorial
Steve Pavlina's Secrets of Successful Indie Developers roundtable was scheduled for the last session of the last day, so it took advantage of the fact that it could run over. I'm not sure how long it actually lasted; we left after two hours on bullet point 2 of 7. Not that going long was a bad thing, though. It was packed with useful information from successful indie developers.
Best-Looking Company Shirts
Not to toot our own horns, but we were told repeatedly that the GDNet hockey jerseys were the coolest shirts at the show. On the expo floor, people thought there were more of us than there actually were, so I guess they were a good idea.
We've had a lot of people tell us we should sell these. If we do, they'd have to be about $50 plus shipping to cover costs, but if you'd be interested, e-mail email@example.com and let me know.
Best IGF Games That Didn't Win Anything
With Shattered Galaxy (created with a multi-million dollar budget) taking 4 of the 6 awards, there were many games worthy of recognition that didn't get it. Some of our favorites included Iron Squad, StrifeShadow, and TAKEDA.
Rubber cell-phones from Comverse. I can't wait to leave one floating in a public toilet somewhere.
The $15 Maya T-shirts. In a room where you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a free T-shirt, the idea of charging anything for 'em, much less $15, is the height of hubris.
Intel. Plenty of stuff to show off, well organized, and the people manning the mini-booths genuinely knew what they were talking about.
Pixelogic, for having the only product impressive enough for the "microphone guy" demo to hold my interest for 15 minutes.
Prima Tech, because 3 of us are writing books for them that they had on display =)
A tie between Apple and Happy Puppy/PC Gamer/Whatever. Apple should've been showing off OS X at every corner, but only had a private booth with two new iMac colors to show. The multi-company booth added to the ghetto motif by presenting us with a fine show of tattered boxes.
Best Booth Advertising for Someone Else
For some mysterious reason, the computers in the Gamasutra booth were all tuned in to GameDev.net.
We didn't have anything to do with this.
Cheesiest Marketing Gimmick
Wild Tangent wins this one hands down. At regular intervals, they put on a display at their booth involving Alex St. John's brother acting out a horrible skit involving a smoke machine and being threatened by a real-life version of their "Betty Bad" character who has escaped from the video game. You really had to see it to appreciate how painfully cheesy it was.