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The Premier Booth posted 4/1 at 9:44:09 AM PST by Dave Astle

Considering how much time we spent at the Premier booth, it deserves its own entry here. In addition to the scheduled book signings, it was a good place to hang out to meet other authors, people who have read our books, or visitors to GameDev.net. Plus, we really like the people who work at Premier.

Jim Adams, TANSTAAFL, and myself

Jim Adams, David Franson, and myself. TAN in front.

TANSTAAFL, Mitzi, Lorenzo, and Emi



Booth Shots posted 3/26 at 9:55:44 PM PST by Dave Astle

Alias|Wavefront was promoting heavily again this year. In addition to the typical displays, they had presentations running all day long. Every hour, they had a developer who has been using Maya do a short presentation about the ways in which Maya was useful to them.

NVIDIA's booth didn't change much from last year; same location, same neon green arches. They had plenty of systems set up showcases their GeForce4 and Quadro4. They also had several other setups around the floor, including their job booth, and a booth where artists could compete with traditional sketches for a chance to win a Quadro4.

With XBox logos everywhere you looked, it was nice to see that Sony had a Playstation 2 booth this year. The only bad thing about it is that the way it was set up made it difficult to walk through. There was a chokepoint in the center, which meant that there were usually crowds of people just trying to push through.

Intel Stuff posted 3/24 at 12:25:11 AM PST by Gaiiden

Intel booth

I hung out at the Intel booth a lot, mainly because I was busy drooling over the system that they were giving away. It was an Alienware 2.2GHz P4 with a dual head Radeon, two NEC Multisync 21" monitors, and a Klipsch 5.1 speaker system. These were the obvious specs just from looking at it. I forget the rest because they were all on the entry form I handed in. My God it was beautiful. Unfortunately my karma wasn't up to it by the time they drew the winner Saturday afternoon. My karma was still pretty good - the winner was from New Jersey. So close :P

She could have been mine... *sniff*

Anyways I also checked out a 3D system Intel was helping to develop. The neat thing was they had 3 ways of doing it. The first method was stereo projection, which uses normal 3D glasses like the ones you get in 3D movies. Then they had two examples of 3D with a single display. The first was drawing every frame and a half, offsetting every other frame - you needed a second pair of glasses for this. The third also required another pair of glasses, these had shutters in them that took the 2D image and made it appear to be 3D. The exact mechanics are beyond me but the results are cool as hell. It seems that true 3D gameplay may not be far away, as these methods don't have that much of an impact on frame rate as previous ones.

The big screen was stereoscopic, the other two were one image

I also checked out two programming services, the Intel C++ compiler and the VTune performance analyzer (both of which can be found at this address). The C++ compiler is a optimization over the VC++ compiler, it comes as a plug-in and the demo I was shown had quite an increase in frame rate. It's around $400, but according to the Intel rep, academic pricing was like 75% off. The Vtune performance analyzer demo I got was cool as well. The guy showed me how Vtune can recognize various programming hazards and tell you how to fix them. For instance he ran the program and showed me the graph of all processor and memory usage, what functions were called the most, how many times each function was called, how much time was spent in each function, and more. He showed me how Vtune spotted a direct array copy and suggested that you use memcpy() instead. The IGDA has a discount on VTune for its members. If you dig performance, check this tool out - it'll kill those bad programming habits in no time.

C++ Compiler

IGF Booth posted 3/22 at 4:16:11 PM PST by Gaiiden

The first stop I made upon entering the Expo floor was to head on over to the IGF booth and meet the guys I had chatted with online. I managed to catch most of them at their little booth - here's the pictorial.

The IGF booth

George Fan and Tysen Henderson (Insaniquarium)
Lonnie Flickinger (Pencil Whipped)

Joshua and Daniel Goldstein
(Kung Fu Chess)

Ahmed Siddique, Bryan Stephens and Tim Spanjer
(Ace of Angels)

Mick and Ted Skolnick (Bad Milk)

Where's the MoCap stages? posted 3/22 at 12:10:32 PM PST by Mason McCuskey

Hey, I finally figured out what was missing from the Expo this year. There are no motion capture stages! Stunned nerds everywhere wander the expo in search of something else to gawk at and drool over. The whole spirit of the place has been thrown into a tailspin by the lack of the GDC staple "Motion Capture Babe."

Weird, isn't it?

Mason McCuskey
Spin Studios

XBox Mania posted 3/22 at 8:55:02 AM PST by Dave Astle

p>Microsoft apparently decided to make the GDC its bitch this year. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting something with "XBox" written on it. From the bags given to all attendees, to the steps leading up to the main conference floor, black and green could be seen whereever you looked. They even had four consoles set up just outside one of the lecture halls (replacing the perenially dull Lava Lounge). TAN and I got into quite a few games of Blood Wake.

Dave playing some snowboarding game that he really sucked at(click to enlarge)

TechTV posted 3/22 at 8:54:38 AM PST by Dave Astle

Overlooking the floor from the Microsoft booth(click to enlarge)

Kate Botello and Adam from TechTV's Extended Play were all over the expo floor. We keep trying to get them to put us on TV, but so far, no luck.

Expo Opens posted 3/22 at 8:54:07 AM PST by Dave Astle

All hell broke loose today. In other words, the expo floor opened. The expo actually seems a little smaller than last year, but with the usual neon glow. We'll be taking shots of the more interesting booths... and, of course...