GDC Diary (Part 2)

Thursday March 8th – the Joy of Jetpacks and Videoing Vektor

The second day started with one of those meetings we can’t talk about at the moment, but which could lead to an interesting future development. This is one of the things we love about GDC – there are so many industry people there to meet and talk with about potential opportunities. Of course, if anything does happen, we’ll let you know right here on our blog.

Then it was off to more presentations. Nic attended a couple of design-based talks. The first was a Nintendo presentation called Thinking in 3D: The Development of Super Mario 3D Land by Koichi Hayashida who was the Game Director on the project. Koichi discussed some of the ideas Nintendo had for the game, including some of the rejected ones (Tall Mario anyone?). He also discussed how they implemented the 3D depth which has recently been a subject close to our heart. We have spent a lot of development time with escapeVektor on the Nintendo 3DS to get the depth just right so that there is little to no ghosting or eyestrain. Being able to listen to someone from Nintendo’s senior development team talking about how they make games is always great and very educational!

The second presentation was from Sony Computer Entertainment America called PlayStation Vita: Developing for a New Handheld Console. This talk was really great for us as it covered some of the areas we are going to encounter when developing for the PS Vita. The presentation was essentially three small talks in one; the first discussed core things you could do on the PS Vita and what to look out for; the second was by a ModNation Racers team member who looked at some of the practical issues and solutions they had to deal with when making this launch title. Finally the last mini talk was regarding Augmented Reality. Here we saw all the different AR solutions for the PS Vita including a very new one which requires no cards and builds up a 3D map of your environment as you move!

Bruce went to see Luke Muscat from Aussie developers Halfbrick. Luke was presenting on the making of Halfbrick’s latest iOS hit, Jetpack Joyride. It was interesting to see how an initial 4 week side-project ballooned into the most ambitious iOS game the studio had made so far. We have experience ourselves of how flexible a studio needs to be when projects take longer than expected. Our own Spirit Hunters Inc, which is still in development, has taken much longer to develop than we initially envisaged. However, as Luke pointed out in his presentation, there is no point in bringing out a game if you are not completely happy with it. If that means taking longer to get the gameplay and polish right then so be it.

Aaron from NWR videos Nic playing escapeVektor on the 3DS

We then had a chat with Dan Chiappini from GameSpot Australia. We talked about what we had achieved at the conference so far and also discussed where we are with our current games in development. We then talked about an idea Dan had for an article while listening to Luke’s talk on Jetpack Joyride. He wanted our input for his article once we returned to Sydney. Keeping in touch with journalists is a really important part of our job. You never know what can come out of a casual chat at a games conference!

Next it was back to the hotel to meet up with Aaron Kaluszka from Nintendo World Report. Aaron was keen to see our latest build of escapeVektor on the Nintendo 3DS. He wanted to video some in-game footage for an article. He did the same thing at last year’s GDC when we showcased the WiiWare version of escapeVektor: Chapter 1 and Spirit Hunters Inc on the Nintendo DSi. We liked what he did last year so we were happy for him to get a video exclusive to film the first in-game footage of escapeVektor on the Nintendo 3DS.

Coming in the final instalment of our GDC Diary – we interact with a convict and hear some awesome video game data.

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