GDC ’10 – Sony Booth and Everything Else

Apparently, there was a Game Developer Conference in San Francisco last week.

Apparently, some organisation decided that it wasn’t worth going.

Apparently, I got my hands on one of the many expo tickets they were giving away for free on the last day of the conference. Voila! Last minute GDC 2010 report in the house!

[b]Sony Playstation[/b]

Sony’s Playstation booth took the front seat of the entire conference. Positioned right beyond the entrance, it was hard to miss.

First up, I gave the Eye Toy motion sensing stick a try.

I’m guessing pretty much everyone has seen the demonstration of the device, so how well does it perform with the stick in hand? The technology behind the motion sensing is pretty remarkable. I found the sensitivity to the tilts and rapid hand movements rather satisfying.

Unlike the Nintendo Wii’s Wiimote, the objects on screen actually responded to my movements almost instantaneously. I’m pretty sold on this alone. Alas, there’s still room for improvement for the stick. While playing around with EyePet, I found that the gauging of the distance between the stick and the screen to be kind of inadequate. It gets rather confusing as to where the position of the stick should be.


EyePet is what I call a novelty trap. It is an application created solely to exploit all the features of a new technology without any serious innovative implementation. Just like Wii Sports, it started out interesting enough. Once the novelty of being able to move objects on screen with a stick wears off, the player becomes stoned.

For EyePet, you get to wash the weird ass monkey, shampoo it and blow it dry. You get to draw toys for it to play with and you could wave the stick around for the monkey thing to jump about, or just slap it about with your hands. Yeah the application actually allows interaction with your bare hands. Impressive stuff.

However, I wouldn’t call this a game, it’s a chore application. You’re not having fun. The monkey thing is. For the normal person, the kind who buys a Wii, plays it once and leaves it rotting on the shelf for months, my advice is to stay away from this fancy schmancy tamagotchi.

I asked the guy for more pet options than a creepy looking chimp. Apparently, there are no plans for more as of now. Buy this game only if you’re into tickling chimps.

[i]The Playstation Motion Wand Demo[/i]

Looking past the tame EyePet section, there was a demonstration on the capabilities of the EyeToy wand. Players get to calibrate with dual wands and play a game of table tennis. The other side had a demonstration of swordplay combat.

As mentioned before, sensitivity to tilts and movements was impressive. The wans actually allowed ball flicks and spins. It actually felt like my hand movements had something to do with the ball action on screen rather than the random nonsense I experienced with the Wii. I can’t wait to see what would the final product be like. Hopefully, the depth issue can be resolved by then.

[b]Playstation Home[/b]
There was a tiny section in the booth with Home on display. Booth dude was going on about how original content and worlds may be created for Home users to roam. I asked him if it allowed user-created content like that of Little Big Planet and disappointingly it doesn’t. Only commercial entities may register with Sony for a Home development toolkit. They get to design a world meant just to advertise their products. I can see how this is going to fail. It’s like walking into the telemarketing call centre asking to be directly spammed with advertising.

Unsurprisingly, the Home environment on display was totally empty, void of any trace of another user.

[b]Sony in 3D[/b]
At the corner of the Sony booth was a large screen with blurry images on it. Placed on the counter were a few pairs of 3D glasses. The results were stunning. The screen felt like a portal I could venture into and the added interactivity using the controller made the experience much more immersive. I would credit it to the large screen which probably largely attributed to the awe.

[b]ModNation Racer[/b]
Create a race track in record time and do a Mario Kart on it. That’s what ModNation Racer is about. The game plays just like Mario Kart crossed with Little Big Planet. Quirky little dolls grab power ups along the way and blast the competition away while racing for first place.

The controls were really sensitive, either that or I am just bad at racing games. Long story short, check out the gameplay video.

[b]All The Other Booths[/b]

Intel had a bunch of games on display, most notable of all, StarCraft 2. I didn’t manage to get a chance to play with the nerd horde queueing up for it. But hey, the beta’s out so you guys could just check out the gameplay videos on YouTube.

[i]XBox 360[/i]
Microsoft had a really tiny booth and displayed almost nothing at all.

As usual Crytek had a mega boasting session of its awesomest game engine. Nothing much to see here, I grabbed a 10 year anniversary Crytek T-Shirt and left.

They were giving out lime green thunderstix with serial numbers printed on it. Find another person in the hall with the exact same number as you and both of you get a prize. The result was a bunch of weirdos with green rocket boosters protruding from their backpacks. I had a couple too, but with no where else to store other than having it jutting out of my bag, I pretended I was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

[i]Brainwave Gaming Company Whom I Forgot The Name[/i]
These guys had a booth with this futuristic looking headset that monitors EEG waves during gameplay. I was eager to try out the headset and see how fast I could start moving objects around the screen with merely my psychovirtualkinesis powers. It turned out that they were only collecting brain data from everyone to further calibrate their device. All I got to do was to click around a bunch of memory puzzles with the headset recording my attention/meditation brain waves.

[i]Hamster Ball VR Gaming[/i]
Somewhere along the development history of gaming, a company decided that people would totally buy a giant hamster ball and VR glasses to play shooter games. That idea never even made it to the arcades, let alone a living room. It’s still fun to observe gameplay though.

They had a row of couches for trying out their new Wii games, which included Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii. There were some free demo discs given out. I managed to snag one. For those Singaporeans reading this site, the boss of grabbed a whole stack of demo discs. I’m guessing he’s going to ship it back to Singapore for retail demo purposes. You can visit his store in a probably couple of weeks’ time to give it a try.

We asked the booth guy what’s the difference between the Wii and PSP version of the game.

“I have no idea, go ask the Capcom guys.” Or so he says.

Nothing to see but grabbing a bunch of freebies. I’ll be heading down to BlizzConn this year to cover more stuff from them.

That’s all for GDC 2010. Check out the images below if they remotely interest you. I’m still waiting for Matafleur to get my videos online.

Check back again for coverage on the upcoming E3.

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