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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.
For those of you old enough to remember Flashback, this news might come as a surprise to you. France-based VectorCell is the work of Paul Cuisset of "Moto Racer" and "Flashback" fame. They have a new title in the works dubbed, Amy.
The world of "Amy" takes place in December 2034, when global warming has taken its toll on human life with the spread of disease and the occurrence of natural disasters. The game is set in the small Midwestern town of Silver City where players take on the role of Lana, who wakes up in the aftermath of a meteor strike.
WOW. That's all you'll say when you see the video below. This is where the teaser footage came from, but it full gameplay footage. The one thing in this video that brings a tear to my eye? A guy gets shot and from the your point of view, you walk up and pick up him to drag him to safety... this is where a WASD graphic comes up, telling you to press "S" (which is obviously, reverse/backwards).
Compared to the disappointing Crysis 2 PC demo, this looks absolutely, hands-down, new-pair-of-jocks worthy of your money. The video shows off the insane character models and movement animation, environmental and lighting detail (smoke and debris fly when bullets hit walls). I've been really pushing Battlefield 3 to crazy levels of anticipation, but believe me, I'll be taking the day off work when this puppy comes out.
Crytek and EA launched the Crysis 2 multiplayer demo yesterday and after playing it, I found myself quite under-enthused. It was okay graphically, but there are only a few drop down menus for graphics, no way near the customizability of the first. There's barely any destruction (which was a big feature of the first game) and no sound through my USB-powered Logitech G35's.
Motion blur is too annoying in the sequel, and it is only DirectX 9. News is leaking that the full game will ship with DirectX 9 only and DirectX 11 support will be added later through a patch. This is a very big blow as CEO Cevat Yerli has put his name on the line saying this will still be a huge hit on the PC and they have spent considerable time on PC making sure PC fans are not disappointed.