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The Best and the Worst posted 3/17 at 10:52:08 PM PST by Dave Astle

Best Lecture: Dr. Frederick Brooks' programming keynote. I didn't attend a lot of lectures this time and didn't see any real losers, but this did have something that the others didn't --stuff that I took home with me. Even though he's about as "old school" as they come, his comments were very relevant and there's a lot folks can still learn from him. - John

Worst Lecture: No real losers this time save for the portion of the 8-hour lecture on brainstorming where Noah Falstein and a couple of other game programming luminaries did a one-hour "live brainstorming" session for the audience. Much of it came off like bad improv-comedy, resulting in about the worst game idea we'd ever heard of -- a virtual prayer simulator. All was not lost, though, as it gave TANSTAAFL and me a chance to design "Steve Versus the Zombie Kittens". While TANS designed the game board, I came up with the back-story and a suitably scary model of the Queen Zombie Kitten (made out of some wadded up paper and TANS's cell-phone). - John

Best Graft: The toy Samurai swords Testing 1,2,3 was giving out. - John

Most Convincing Proof that TANSTAAFL is the Antichrist: The serial number of his free-beer coupon at the Premier Press dinner. - John

Newest up-n-coming tech on the Expo Floor: Cell phones and stuff to develop for 'em. - John

Fast Becoming Extinct on the Expo Floor: Motion Capture suits and force-feedback peripherals. Two years ago, they were everywhere. Nowadays there's barely a whimper from 'em. - John

Completely Extinct on the Expo Floor: Macromedia and Apple. - John

Most cloaked on the Expo Floor: Microsoft. In the past they've been a big glitzy presence with a two-story booth and free lattes for folks who sat through a VC++ mini-tutorial and free beer for whomever could wheedle a coupon out of a DirectX luminary, now they're off to the side in a couple of large "invitation only" private booths. They took up as much space as before, but this time you're just not allowed to see 'em. - John

Biggest Booth: Intel. No contest. - John

Smallest Booth: WildTangent. In years past, WT had big 2-story booths with skits and glitz to pass around. Nowadays, though, they're just a table in the Intel megabooth. There were other minibooths as small, but none that had been so big in the past. - John

Place where you could actually SEE waves of hatred: Between the ATI and nVidia booths. - John The funny thing about this is that they cohosted the Advanced Direct3D and Advanced OpenGL tutorials the first two days, and acted as if the two companies lived in perfect harmony. But get people from either company alone... - Dave

Best Lecture/Roundtable: GarageGames's Quit Your Job Fair - awesome indie info from real indies - Drew

Worst Lecture/Roundtable: Programming Tricks of the Trade (Day 1/3) - it actually wasn't that bad, I just went in with high expectations and came out slightly disappointed. - Drew

Best Swag Item: The blinky lightsaber keychains from LucasArts (great raving lightsticks!!) - Drew

Worst Swag Item: ATI's white t-shirt. Dumbest catchphrase/image ever. (the black one was way cooler) - Drew

Best Expo Booth/Suite: NVIDIA - hot fairy chick and awesome Cg user manuals - Drew

Worst Expo Booth/Suite: Epic Games - the lady wouldn't let us in to check stuff out even after Cliffy B himself told us to go in! Hmph! (Cliffy B is still cool tho, lest there be any confusion) - Drew Every other year we've been there, they sent us a personal invitation to stop by, but not this year. Where's the love? Why the hate? - Dave

Best Female-Staffed Booth: Close tie between Rockstar and LucasArts - Drew And the usual nod to Criterion/Renderware and Premier Press is in order as well. - Dave

Best Suite (Suite Night): AMD - they had such a kickass party it was insane

Worst Suite (Suite Night): G.A.N.G Awards - not to knock recognition for good audio work, this just went on waaay too long. It was like the GDCA on crack but without the hype. - Drew

Best GDC Moment: Tie between meeting Alex Garden and Cliffy B - Drew

Worst GDC Moment: Saturday Evening, March 8th, 5:00pm PST - realizing the conference was over :P - Drew

Best Party: ATI's Radeon 9800 Release, aka Title Club. Despite the acting portion of the presentation being a bit cheesy for my taste, the presentation itself was pretty damned impressive, and *great* party afterward. Besides the food, alcohol, and girls dancing on platforms, they actually figured out that turning up the music so loud people can't hear each other is a bad thing. - Kevin, Dave

Biggest Party Animals: Premier Press. Even on the last day of the conference when everyone else was worn out, the girls and guys of Premier Press were up to going out. The girls even bribed a guy to grope them so Kevin and I would "protect" them. - Kevin, Dave

Best Game to Play on the Expo Floor: It's a tie actually. Battlefield: 1942 at GameSpy (and possibly other booths, but that's the one I kept going back to), and that racing game at the Dolby booth that I can't remember the name to right now. I must have gone back to that one 7 or 8 times a day. - Kevin

Most interesting personality at the GDC: The 85 year-old man with the walker who talked to TANS, Mason, and me at Denny's on the last night of the GDC. That night we were all relaxing after a long day of finishing the GDC and driving all over San Jose to find an Office Depot. While enjoying our cheese-fries, the three of us got on a long pseudointellectual tear about physics, thermodynamics, theology, gnosis, and why the Zombie Kittens would be motivated to attack Steve in the first place (turns out the Queen Zombie Kitten convinced them that Steve is really a piñata full of Sweet Sweet Milk). Anyway, after about an hour of this, the guy from the table behind us got our attention as he readied himself to leave. At first we thought he was gonna gripe at us because we were being extremely irreverent, but he surprised us by saying how much he enjoyed hearing people who were obviously smart but didn't take themselves very seriously. He went on a bit long about his own adventures being a Professional Engineer before there was even such a thing as an engineering degree, but I forgave him of it because he was obviously excited to find someone with whom to talk on a level higher than last week's episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond".

After he left, we all agreed that we had just seen ourselves about fifty years down the road. - John