Landed Monday night, straight to sleep, up Tuesday for a full day of presentations, meetings, setting up demos and then off to the pub for a swift half. Wednesday through Friday included booth appearances, two speaker presentations, meetings and of course a quick tour of the EXPO floor to see what's hot in 2014.
V.R NETWORKING AT THE IMMERSIVE TECHNOLOGY
ALLIANCE MEETING ON TUESDAY (http://www.ita3d.com/)
I think this picture sums up my GDC week very well. One the face of it, it looks like Lee checking out the latest V.R experience, a wires-free peripheral vision virtual reality running Android OS with full calibration-free head tracking all the way from London (amazingly had to fly half way around the world to check out tech from my own backyard).
On closer inspection though, you will see that Lee is drinking a virtual beer. The combination of cool future tech and the perfect beer is very much the take-away from GDC 2014, and I was greatly honored to be part of it.
Made most of my social feeding on Twitter which meant my blog was pretty silent for the week I was away. Naturally no development was made, but plenty of testing was done on several Ultrabooks plus a snazzy new device which was the size of a box of teabags and contained a full PC with Iris-Pro graphics. This little brick ran my Reloaded demo at super fast speed, even though it was an integrated graphics device, and I was quick to learn that Intel are now dedicating about 75% of their available silicon on the latest processors to graphics!
For Reloaded this means we are really hitting the mark when it comes to performance, and being best friends with integrated graphics means we are also best friends with low-end graphics cards too!
As much as I enjoyed my time talking shop during the event, I also enjoyed my occasional stroll around the EXPO floor looking at the amazing tech and learning of the incredible announcements. Had a chance to meet some of the guys and gals at PrioVR and try out their body suit, which in my humble opinion is a game changer you can only appreciate by using it.
The announcements from CryTek and Epic are set to once again to transform the ecology of game making solutions, and probably giving Unity developers something to think about too :)
New hardware devices are coming thick and fast, and I managed to check out three new VR headsets as well. Wanted to try the Sony headset but the cue was a mile long, but by all accounts is as good as the new Rift DK2. I put my order in for DK2 as soon as I got back, and will be watching and waiting for what the Sony VR device does.
I don't want my blog to decent into a GDC report as I am sure you can check out the news from dedicated bloggers. My personal impression was that GDC represented some of the best stuff happening in the games industry right now and it's cool to be part of it.
My own GDC demo could have been better I felt. The visuals needed to be a few notches higher, it had some stability issues on my older Ultrabook and my new voice-control system suffered from the overall 'noise' of a large conference style event. The introduction of effective noise-cancellation technology would to wonders to improve that scenario! Amazingly I felt the performance was fine during my demo, but I did notice something very strange which meant even though 'mouselook' was silky fast, the 'move player' stepping was very stuttery. I suspected the physics coding was to blame, and will be something to look at when it becomes an issue for the community.
I did return to a nice surprise in the form of a new 'grass system' which eliminates the CPU stall issue and increases overall processing speed. I also got some free shader tweaks as well, and it looks as though I get extra speed with no visual or functional drawbacks. I will be pouring through the code once I have cleared my not insubstantial email mountain.
My attention was given to a forum post which raised issue over the lack of feedback during GDC week, and the lack of a beta to replace the last one which left many users without a stable version. Hopefully I have addressed the lack of info with this blog and I will be looking at the second point this week. I should get back into the coding swing of things from Tuesday but I have meetings Wednesday and Thursday so expect this to be a slow week for development progress, but I will still blog for you, even if it's a picture of the juicy steak I ate Wednesday night ;)