Party queues, entry refusals, retina displays, journalism and thanking Meggan
Last night's Pocket Gamer Awards was a very slick affair at the ROE Nightclub. There were deserved wins for Swords & Sworcery developer Capy as well as Halfbrick, the Australian team behind Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. A few of us cruised from that over to the righteous indie crowd in the Marriot lobby for the Touch Arcade party, before going back to the ROE for the GREE bash.
GREE, who absorbed OpenFeint recently, clearly have a lot of friends as the queue for entry was around the block and the venue was at capacity. I was outside for around 15 minutes before blagging entry, which is testament to the event's popularity.
Today started with the Flash Forward talks at the South Hall of the Moscone. A huge hanger in which speakers took to the stage to pimp their talks in 45 seconds. The talks ranged from the weird to incomprehensibly technical. The cutting edge of ambient occlusion programming to the low-fi of a man making car sounds with a drinks can.
A mere few meters over the road Apple was announcing the next iPad, demoed with a new Infinity Blade from Chair. Reaction has been that it's a little lackluster on the hardware. As much as Apple can never win against the hype, I am disappointed that there was no major leap other than the retina screen, which will up production costs for a lot of developers.
A truly universal app will now need four sets of assets for each resolution, but Apple's concession here is that over-the-air downloads will be upped to 50MB from the current 20MB. This may seem like a trivial change, but relaxes the waist band to those cramming their apps so as not to lose sales, which we have had to regularly do.
The first talk I saw was Zack Karlsson, VP of biz dev at Capcom, on the art of deal negotiation.
This session was all business in both style and content, but was thoroughly enjoyable despite no massive insight or controversy.
Karlsson, having sat on both sides of the developer-publisher table, suggested preparedness and attitude is everything in the road to finalising a deal. Know your business and your backed in profit whilst always aiming for fairness between the two parties.
The session I was most excited for was Mare Sheppard's Why I Hate Women in Games Initiatives, but unfortunately, with such a punchy title, the session was full. Gender equality is something close to my heart and would have been interested in the argument behind the headline.
I can see the point of view that gender-specific groups are at nature promoting the merit of gender over the merits of the individual and that this damages the cause, even though I strongly disagree, so I was disappointed to have missed it.
Not wanting to be burnt twice in one day I arrived at Notch's fireside chat with Chris Hecker 15 minutes early. However the room didn't manage to fill out.
Sat aside a pixel art fire the pair discussed mostly the thinking behind the design of Minecraft and the emergent behaviour within it. The most interesting topic came right towards the end. Notch, like myself, believes in the lost sale fallacy, that is to say that when a player has pirated your game you haven't lost a sale or had something stolen from you, but instead that at worst you have gained less.
This is my final blog in the series. The one thing that I have learnt from the process is that writing a timely piece to high quality is hard work.
Journalists, which I am most certainly not, deserve a great deal of respect from our industry.
Yet the job I think must be even harder is organising an event the size and quality of GDC.
The staff and all the speakers have been excellent, which makes it understandable that this is the biggest and best conference for games.
A huge thanks goes to Meggan and the team.