About Me

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Christian. (That means that I know that Jesus is Lord!) Programmer. Gamer. Weak 3D artist. Geek.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

GDC 09 - Sunday - Wednesday

Whew! A LOT has happened so far!

I arrived in San Francisco on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday were spent not working.
Wednesday, the conference (for me) actually started. (It started Monday for mobile developers.)

Tuesday night, my colleagues and I headed to a UK Trade & Industry bash at a brewery near the W hotel in downtown SF. It was a pretty cool party with games indsustry people standing around chatting and hanging out, free food and beer/wine.. but the conversation quite quickly dried up and we were all dragged a few doors down to the LucasArts/EDGE magazine party. Which was also pretty cool.

My disappointment with the EDGE party, whilst obviously high in budget and class - was the lack of real developers being there, it was mainly a PR exercise where marketing people get to stand around and wag their tongues about games they're not making.

But then came Wednesday morning. I was pretty tired after the late night before but head out at 9am for Satoru Iwata's presentation.

Iwata-san is the president of Nintendo Japan - so this presentation was a very big deal, the queue to get in went outside the Moscone Centre and down the street for quite a way!

In the queue I got chatting to the guy next to me who turned out to be a lead artist for Inis, and had developed Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents!

Anyway, the news about the new Wii SDHC support, the Zelda DS game, Virtual Console Arcade etc. is all heavily covered by news sites such as Kotaku so there's no point in me going over it here..

But what most sites didn't cover was that Nintendo gave every attendee a free copy of their new game 'Rhythm Heaven' - which was previously available in Japan as 'Rhythm Tengoku Gold', this was just amazing. Nintendo gave away thousands of copies of a game I was already looking forward to! Fantastic!

As I was leaving this presentation, I stood on the stairs sorting my bag out and noticed a man I immediately recognised.

Jaime Griesemer from Bungie, the designer of Halo 3.

There was no way I was going to pass this up, so in a moment that is amongst the many geeky things that I do in life - I had to go over and say hi, shake his hand and tell him that I really appreciate his work.

Jaime was a really humble guy and seemed really surprised and pleased to hear someone praising his work to his face - which I thought was great, I figure he must get that kind of praise all the time having worked on such a universally acclaimed title. It was a cool moment.

Anyway, the rest of the day I spent wondering around the expo, looking at all the cool new technology and chatting with representatives from various companies and attending some seminars.

Last night was another cool event for me too though.

In the UK, we almost never get to attend events where gamers are invited to an exclusive party where you can just sit around and play games, chat and win some stuff.

PlayStation.Blog had recently posted that they were having such an event over at the W hotel and I decided to head along.

They had some unreleased games on play for the gaming public such as 'Fat Princess' and 'Rag Doll Kung-Fu' - I particularly liked the 'Fat Princess' game, that's a guaranteed purchase from me. (Though I just remembered how cool 'Flower' was over at the PS booth in the expo - all this PSN downloading is going to get expensive!)

I took part in the Resistance: Retribution tournament too, as I'd brought my PSP along as per the instructions on the blog.

I think there must have been only 16 entrants but I walked away in second place winning a copy of the game and a poster. (I lost by 4 points.. :'( Could've won a Metal Gear 4 PS3!)

Given that I didn't know there were going to be prizes, I took my free Killzone 2 t-shirt and headed home extremely satisfied.

Obviously, I already own Resistance: Retribution so I'll be taking my US version to GameStop later today to trade it in - but that's not the point. It was nice to have walked away having won something :-) (The poster was pretty cool and tasteful too!)

Right, anyway, now it's time for me to get out of bed - I need to get ready to go to my first seminar of the day which is by the legendary Hitoshi Sakimoto, the composer of Final Fantasy XII! I can't wait!

See ya!

Monday, 23 March 2009

PSP Skype defeats my connectivity woes

Last night I arrived in San Francisco for this years Game Developer Conference. (GDC)

I found upon my arrival in the US of A, that I had been a forgetful moron and hadn't enabled international roaming on my cellphone contract before leaving England - which means that my mobile phone can't connect to AT&T or T-Mobile whilst I'm here.

This really bothered me. It meant I couldn't contact Jen (the girl who in a few months will become my wife), my Mum and Dad, work colleagues (I'm a little paranoid about getting seperated from them in a foreign country and not being able to reach them)..

So, last night, using my hotel room phone I called Orange's support line and found that obviously there was no-one there - it was about 4am GMT at that point, so I have no idea what I was thinking..

But this morning, when I woke up it was about 2pm GMT.
The problem was, I didn't want to use the hotel room phone and incurr all manner of phone charges for the company because I needed my cell phone to work.

So I called Orange using Skype on my PSP, through the hotel's free WiFi access.

Now, I've never needed to use PSP Skype to make an 'emergency' call like this - but man, it performed wonderfully.

The software even had a built-in keypad during the call so I could select the different functions I needed, you know, 'Press 3 if you are having problems making phone calls..' that kind of thing.

Within 10 minutes, Orange had setup my phone and it automatically connected.

Right now, I am a very happy man, able to now make and receive calls again, free Wifi in my hotel room (as well as a 50inch TV!) and my boss is taking me out for breakfast soon too.

I love my job.

More from GDC as and when. Keep watching.