GDC Recoup

GDC was crazy this year. Although many people – myself among them – thought that GDC would be a bit down in attendance, it sure didn’t appear that way. Everywhere I went was total chaos. I’ve never, ever seen a line for a keynote at Moscone like the one for Iwata’s speech. If my personal observations are useful as a metric, it seems GDC had a good year.
I’ve been focusing a lot on the game engine space lately, and the show saw really strong showings from a number of middleware companies. Crytek’s CryENGINE (in their booth) and Digital Extremes’ Evolution Engine (behind closed doors) have really come out fighting to take some market share from Epic’s Unreal Engine. (And I assume Id and Valve were both having conversations about their technology behind the scenes!) Emergent’s Gamebryo Lightspeed, Trinigy’s Vision, Terminal Reality’s Infernal Engine, and Vicious Software’s Vicious Engine are battling it out in the middle-priced tier. And Unity and Garage Games’ Torque both came in with strong low-cost solutions. Other companies showing their products in this space that I got to look at were Dassault’s 3DVIA Virtools, Digini’s Blade3D, and Terathon’s C4 Engine. I’m sure there were more… and that’s not even counting the MMO engines like HeroEngine and BigWorld, or the vast array of middleware libraries and tools!
I spent more time on the expo floor this year than ever, and I still didn’t get a chance to see everything. If you saw anything you thought was particularly cool, I’d love to hear about it! I am very excited about the evolution of tools and services available to game developers. But now I’m wondering… how can anyone keep up with them all?