GDC: The expo floor

OK, you're thinking, enough about the sessions, tell me something about what's going on with the Expo itself.

Fine, here are my thoughts on the expo:

I've been to the expo floor each day since it opened and decided to put a summary here on the last day so that it wasn't scattered throughout the GDC comments. So, forgive me if this is rediculously long, but it was a pretty big show floor.

The floor is structured into three parts: the ExpoSuites, where companies like Microsoft have rooms for discussions with game designers about publishing and technical information; the main expo floor, which contains all of the conventional show booths for companies trying to sell things to people; and the recruiting area, where companies of all kinds have areas set up to recruit new employees and provide information about their companies.

Since I wasn't looking for a job, I didn't spend much time in the recruiting section. Since I don't have a relationship with any publisher at the show, I didn't spend any time over at the ExpoSuites.

Apple was annoyingly absent from the show. You would think that if they really want more penetration, they'd get on the ball and get some people at the show to do some work trying to get people to pay attention. Most importanly, a vendor-sponsored session or booth presence would at least provide them with an opportunity to woo individual developers and designers even if they couldn't grab the big publishers. However, it is not to be. Silly to see the State of Maryland here and not Apple.

BigWorld (MicroForte) has a larger booth than last year's and is showing mostly the same things. They do have a contract with Microsoft now to provide a platform that will accomodate X-Box, but I've yet to see the announcement of any titles using the system. For those unfamiliar, BigWorld is an MMOG platform with server and client components.

NVidia and ATI are both showing new cards, each of which are running very fast, very hot, and with lots of texture memory. They are also each showing how well they can handle DX9 shaders.

The folks from NDL (maker's of NetImmerse) have released Gamebryo, which is the next version of the NetImmerse engine with support added for detailed shader management. The demos look very slick.