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Independent Game Development Roundtable posted 3/27 at 1:37:56 PM PST by Mason McCuskey

For me and a couple other GDNet staffers (Dave, John Hattan, and TAN), the GDC ended with a round table on how to be a successful independent game developer. On tap were topics of interest to anyone making and selling games themselves, on-line: distribution, marketing, support, etc.

The roundtable actually lasted quite a bit longer than just one hour (no-one next in line to kick us out of the room), which was nice. In fact, after a couple hours, I finally had to leave, so I didn't get to see the end of it.

Overall I think it went just about as well as a roundtable on the topic could have. Steve Pavlina, the moderator, did an excellent job making sure everyone stayed civilized, yet still had a chance to speak. His questions really got the group talking. We stayed on topic longer than most roundtables, but eventually got sucked into talking about the ASP (Association of Shareware Professionals).

If there was one area the round table lacked, it was debate. Contrary to what you might think, we really didn't spend much time debating whether any particular technique or trick was actually valuable, and helped generate orders. I attribute this to the fact that the attendees were basically polarized: they either had very little experience distributing a product on-line, or they had shipped several products and basically knew the ropes.

That made for a great exchange of knowledge, but didn't give us experienced folk a chance to really talk and debate about techniques that worked or didn't work for us.

Oh, and the hard candy the hotel folks put out on the table for us was really good. :)

More Advanced Hardware Rendering Techniques posted 3/27 at 12:07:50 PM PST by Dave Astle

Mark Kilgard of NVIDIA followed up on his presentation from last year, discussing bump mapping and stenciled shadow volumes on the GeForce 2 & 3. The good news is that both can both be achieved using a single pass each on the GeForce 3, making them practical for real-time applications with phenominal results. Rather than go in to the techniques here, I'll refer you to the detailed slides posted on the NVIDIA website's conference presentations page.

Shattered Galaxy posted 3/24 at 2:36:08 PM PST by TANSTAAFL

Mason and I ran into the Shattered Galaxy people today. In case you didn't know, these are the folks that scored the big prize, the Seumas McNally award for Game Development Spiffiness.
I got to bask in the 1337ness of two of the ShatGal folks for a bit. They were pretty cool, if a bit pale.

The Coroner upon them Sat. posted 3/24 at 2:30:34 PM PST by TANSTAAFL

Don't mind the title. Its from this silly poem I learned back when I was in 8th grade. I don't remember any of the lines except for the last one.

So, the festivities are winding down, and the press room is kind of bare. The people at the show are trying to unload their items so that they don't have to pay to ship them back home.

Apparently, my book has done pretty well at the GDC bookstore, selling 15 copies in just a few days. That's a good feeling. Aparently, the book doesn't suck as much as I thought it did while writing it.

I watched Ernest Adams (damn, he IS short) talk about computer games being art. He made a pretty bold statement that I felt I should share. Art is not necessarily fun, and if Games are going to be art, then they don't necessarily need to be fun either. It's something I'm going to give thought to.