Virtools Meeting, and some other stuff posted 3/26 at 2:08:39 AM PST by Nick
I had a meeting w/ CAT today about their 3DSMAX plugin; unfortunately, I couldn't find their booth, and Dave A. was nice enough to cover for me, even though he's not an animator (thanks Dave!).
I DID manage to find the Virtools booth, however, to see what they've got going w/ the new-ish Virtools v3.0 - an what they've got going is a tool that makes it even easier for artists/game designers with a bit of a technical background to prototype games - including shaders, in the new version, on PC, Mac AND XBox - with absolutely no programming. They've also got multiplayer and physics add-ons (using the Havok physics engine) so you can include physics in your prototype. The cost of the package may be out of the range of many small developers, but they made it clear to me they're willing to work w/ developers to get them using Virtools, which is nice. They'll be sending along a review copy, so expect to hear something soon on its true usefulness for prototyping gameplay and graphics.
And speaking of physics, I met w/ a company from Sweden (I think) that's got a physics engine (including water, which I don't believe Havok does) for a tenth of the price of a Havok license. I watched their demos, got a chance to play w/ it a bit on both the PC and the PS2 (XBox version coming, I believe), and was summarily impressed by the speed, stability, and most of all REALISM and ACCURACY (which, for those of you who have played Max Payne 2 and/or the horrible travesty known as Deus Ex 2, know is a bit of a problem w/ ragdoll stuff using Havok, occasionally), which seems to be at least somewhat better than the competition - and even though I'm an artist and impressed by shiny objects, I was still impressed enough by their programming hoodoo to give it a mention. Their name is Meqon, which I'll assume means something in Swedish, and you can check them out at www.meqon.com.
And last but not least, I had a chance to talk shop w/ Ed Logg, creator of Gauntlet back in the day. He's doing mobile (cell phone) development now, and apparently in love w/ how much like the old-school gaming hardware of yesteryear working on them is. Needless to say, one of my lifetime goals of meeting Ed Logg has been fulfilled - and I managed to do so w/o kissing any toes. Ed's new company is GenPlay, and you can see what they're up to at www.genplay.com Go Ed!