GDC 2010 report

Just returned from exciting (and exhausting) trip to Game Developers Conference 2010. Random notes:

Unity

It seems that everyone is talking about Unity this year. At GDC 2009 some people have heard about us, some others were “where the f*** this came from?!“, and some had no idea what Unity is. This year it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t heard about Unity. I was surprised by number of AAA developers who are playing around with Unity internally (for prototyping, mobile & whatnot) and/or are big fans of Unity. I like!

We had a cool booth that was very busy at all times. As a bonus, the Unity chairs could be used as weapons!

Awesome quote: CEO of censored (competing middleware company) said: “yeah, Unity is going up, we are going down”. This is taken completely out of context of course.

We were busy demoing upcoming Unity 3 which I think will be quite awesome. Three days before the conference were spent crunching on the demos for GDC :)

Cool Stuff

Only managed to go to two sessions :(

Stephen Hill’s “Rendering Tools and Techniques of Splinter Cell: Conviction” had interesting bits & pieces of stuff. Nice work on hierarchical Z occlusion and ambient occlusion fields! (probably first time I see AO fields used in actual game production)

Mike Acton’s “Three Big Lies: Typical Design Failures in Game Programming” was entertaining. Content wise I pretty much knew what to expect. If you aren’t following Mike - do it now! Talk slides are at Insomniac’s site.

RAD’s Telemetry profiler looks totally sweet. I think they acquired this one and improved it. Some very good UI ideas in there. On a related note, Scaleform’s new profiler looks… kinda inspired by Unity’s (comparison: Scaleform on the left, Unity on the right).

Fun Stuff

Managed to sneak in some fun (dare I say “social”?) stuff.

Rendering folks dinner (thanks Johan!) was awesome, even if it made me feel kinda small & stupid among those super smart guys & gals. Shadow algorithms on receipts FTW! Middleware Meetup (thanks Dan!) was full of friendly competitors :) #gdcdrink tweetup _(thanks Mike!)_ had lots of war stories, PS3 talk and how to do fluid simulation on 360’s pixel shaders.