Lessons from the GDC

Well I have been home for a week now so I guess its time to write a summary of things that happened at the GDC, things I found interesting and so on.

While at the GDC, I attended their physics workshop.  I learned a lot about collision detection and I think it will be very useful for me.  As I write this I’m coming up with ideas on what to do for my course!   More of this in a future post I think.

As with many conferences some sessions are definitely better than others.  Some were just neat and plain fun.  For example, the game design challenge session where I got to see the maker of tetris in person and the concepts in game design session where they showed some really neat innovative game designs out there.   Lots of neat ideas for games for sure.

I think that one of my favorite sessions though was the one called “structure vs. style”.  Basically the session talked about how in games, most elements have a fundamental structure that defines it.  For example for graphics its the textured triangle.  You need only x, y, z, u, v (5 numbers really) to represent a single triangle but with it (well a lot of it) you can build all these fancy models.   The thing that you build with it is the style part.  The style is separate from the structure (Games look different but in the end if you break down the graphics component you end up with the textured triangle).  The main idea that was thrown out there at this talk was that most things in games have this structure vs style decomposition.   The thing that really doesn’t is AI.  One of the underlying themes of a lot of talks that were given at the GDC seem to indicate that there is a need for better AI in games and that it seems to be the next big problem to solve.

While at the GDC, I also went and walked around the career pavillion.  What I noticed was this:

  • There were quite a few companies that were looking to hire
  • Most of the companies were based in the US but you could apply to them via their web sites.
  • The thing that they wanted most from a programmer, the underlying theme to most of the recruitment positions was… C++.  Nearly every single company that was looking for programmers wanted someone who could program in C++.

so there we go… a little thought for when we talk about our curriculum.


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