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It seems a little late, but I'll be posting wrap up reviews and cool things we found on the Expo floor at last week's GDC, including video and more photos.
The Nintendo section was almost entirely devoted to showcasing the new 3DS. The active 3D engine was pretty impressive, and the 3DS has an adjustment slide that lets the user decide how much he or she enjoys it or finds it necessary (which for the most part, I didn't). No offense to the good people at Nintendo, I just find active 3D disorienting and just a tad bit gimmicky. Luckily, the 3DS didn't sacrifice or slack on any of the other features in the wake of 3D, and all I saw at the booth were wide eyes and smiles. My own eyes and smile were added to that mix when I tried out two of the augmented reality games that come preloaded on the system. Nintendo uses marker-based AR technology to run their games, launching the AR experiences from a small card (cARd? No? Okay, I'll stop) bearing the familiar Nintendo Question Mark logo. The user orients the 3DS camera toward the card until it recognizes it, and then a variety of things happen depending on what game you're playing.
Owners of Bulletstorms "Epic Edition" get access to the Gears of War 3 beta coming on April 18 - those without Bulletstorm get access on April 25 if they pre-order Gears of War 3 at GameStop in either standard, limited or "epic" edition form.
The beta wraps up on May 15 giving players a month of multiplayer thrashing, there's a tonne of content to unlock in the beta. Below is a list of what is able to be unlocked to those who have access to the GoW3 beta.
Rovio has been enjoying their sky-rocketing success lately and have TV/movie spin-offs happening but also a new 'collaborative' Facebook game coming out. Currently the PS3 has a version of Angry Birds out on the PSN with Wii and 360 getting their shot soon.
The Facebook version, "there will be completely new aspects to it that just haven't been experienced in any other platform," said studio boss Mikael Hed, who confirms that due to the social site's 'collaborative nature', "the pigs will have a more prominent role". Launching in a few days is "Angry Birds Rio" which is a tie-in with a Fox movie and swaps the evil pigs for monkeys.
I'm here at the last day of the GDC in dowtown San Francisco, hanging out and checking out the cool tech. Most of the things I'm going to see here are demonstrations of products and games that everyone already knows about from former press releases and the like, but it's still going to fun to play around with it. I wanted to get a first hand look at Nintendo's much-heralded 3DS, especially the AR interface, so my first stop was the Nintendo booth.
The Nintendo array is great- demos of many games including the new Zelda. A very helpful 3DS rep named Jamie introduced me to the AR games. The 3DS uses marker-based augmented reality, meaning the the images and experienced are anchored to a physical object, like a sign or a barcode. In this case, Nintendo uses a small card with the familiar Nintendo Question Mark logo.
The GDC is pumping out some great content today with Epic Games using the show as an opportunity to show off some updates to their Unreal Engine 3. The engine is now capable of DirectX 11 tessellation, subsurface scattering on characters, depth of field with bokeh effects for lights, fully modeled hair, and a new reflection effect that add a veneer of realism to the rain-soaked streets depicted.
The results of these additions are some very impressive looking screenshots, but for now the updates are near useless until we get some DX11-based next-gen consoles. The second we get next-gen consoles, I feel there will be an absolute explosion of graphics, right now we're very much held back. The tech and software is there, it's just a matter of time.
During the PlayStation Network Analysis panel at GDC, SCEA digital distribution manager Pierre Gravereau announced some platform stats to attendees, revealing that worldwide sales for the PlayStation 3 console sat at over 41.6 million.
More than 80-percent of consoles are connected to the internet and from those users, 70 million PSN accounts (obviously some people use duplicate accounts, one for proper play, one for OMFG HACKS YOU *enter all profanity here*). gravereau boasted the success of PSN in 2010 by saying that the PlayStation Store saw increases of 60-percent compared to 2009 whilst Sony saw a 70-percent spike in revenue.
Minecraft cleaned up last night at both the International Games Festival (IGF) and Game Developer's Choice Awards (GDC), winning no less than 5 different categories, including the Seamus McNally Grand Prize and Best Downloadable Game. Indie sensation Minecraft, developed by Mojang, has enjoyed a huge success in mainstream and independent gaming communities alike.
Quite a short story, but we'll update it as we get more information.
At the GDC 2011 this afternoon here in San Francisco, Crytek and EA let event-goers test their upcoming FPS Blockbuster, Crysis 2, out March 22nd.
Another portable/tablet device (re: iPad 2, Xoom, 3DS, Galaxy Tablet, Playbook) announces Augmented Reality capabilities. Yay. The Sony NGP unveiled some AR demos at the GDC 2011 in San Francisco yesterday. This bit of exciting news also got lost in the iPad 2 Internet Frenzy Of 2011.
[UPDATED WITH VIDEO]
Amidst the craziness that was the iPad 2 announcement yesterday, Nintendo's exciting news about their own portable device may have been obscured. President of Nintendo Saturo Iwata took the stage at the San Francisco 25th annual Game Developers Conference yesteday to deliver a keynote in which he spoke about the history of Nintendo and his own career.