Top Takeaways from GDC 2012

by Mark Gerhard

TurboSquiders Matt Hales and Mark Gerhard at GDC 2012

Last week, TurboSquid’s VP of Creative, Matt Hales, and Certification Director, Mark Gerhard, paid a visit to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. First stop was the Autodesk booth where the focus was on the new GameWare products. Autodesk has an expanded line of game development middleware that includes products for artificial intelligence and mobile development. With Shawn Hendricks performing emcee duties, the main stage showed off several new products as well as enhanced versions of previous offerings, all within the context of a game that Autodesk actually created (thank you Frank Delise) titled “Hyperspace Madness”.

The UI for the game was created using Autodesk Scaleform, the assets modeled in 3ds Max, animated in Maya, sculpted and textured in Mudbox. Two new products Autodesk Cognition and Autodesk Population, plus the enhanced Autodesk Kynapse were also demonstrated. Cognition adds AI, Population creates and manages character crowd behaviors, and Kynapse is used for 3D realtime pathfinding. Human IK was used along with MotionBuilder for character rigging and animation. The game used Autodesk Beast for Lighting setup. TurboSquid fans will appreciate that Autodesk chose a mechanical squid (Killamari) as the worthy opponent in the game.

You can get all the details about these products on the brand-new Autodesk GameWare website.

Beyond Autodesk there was a plethora of companies showing various solutions for mobile gaming with a heavy emphasis on mobile transactions. Smartphones and tablets were everywhere. Probably the most forward looking device on the show floor came from a company called Neurosky, selling a software development kit for a product dubbed Mindwave. A headset that includes a sensor pressed against your forehead, this device reads your brainwaves and translates the changes in those waves into actions. Booth demonstrators were wearing cute kitty ears that perked up when they focused their minds, and drooped down when they thought relaxed thoughts.

Ears up at GDC 2012Earsdown at GDC2012

 

Expo goers donned these devices and watched a movie that changed based on their mental reactions. Say goodbye to carpal tunnel and repetitive stress syndrome. We predict hands-free computing is in your future.

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