Written by Danny Kelleher, Laced Music.
The Game Developers Conference, or GDC as it is otherwise known took place in San Francisco last week. The event, now in its 25th year boasted an attendance of over 25,000 game developers and vendors hailing from all corners of the globe.
Laced, the latest edition to the Cutting Edge Group were on-the-ground meeting all the developers and trying out some of the new tech.
Virtual Reality at GDC was once again a hot-topic with Valve (best known for their Steam platform) unveiling their Vive VR headset produced in partnership with HTC. The industry behemoth also showcased prototype VR controllers and ‘steam link’ a system for in-home streaming.
Sony’s Virtual Reality Project ‘Morpheus’ continued to push forward with an announced release date of 2016 and newly disclosed technical specifications.
Oculus, arguably the VR industry’s biggest player showcased a spectacular tech demo of their newest prototype (complete with 360 spatial audio) including content from Epic Games, NVidia and Crytek. It seems seeing, really is believing with Oculus’s new technology as their recent upgrades to resolution, tracking and audio lend to a much more immersive experience than previously realised.
The expo floor hosted numerous VR interaction and control solutions such as omni-directional treadmills, haptic body suits and hand-held control devices. That said we’re still not convinced this is how we’ll all be choosing to spend our Saturday nights in a couple of years time.
VR aside, technology for the industry as a whole continues to push forward as Epic Games make Unreal Engine 4 available free for anyone to use, (the revenue share of 5% of sales over $3000 per quarter still applies). Never the less, we believe it’s a model that more technology providers should adopt as with fewer barriers in place, innovation within the industry is sure to increase.
Unity also released their long awaited engine update – Unity 5, which features a host of new features that we’re sure will prove popular with mobile developers.
GDC 2015 was a great year for the UK industry as over 35 companies joined the UKIE stand on the show floor and at their wonderful event at the British Consulate, (the cocktails crafted with British spirits were a nice touch). It seems UKIE’s effort to attract investment, promote UK companies and to generate business for British firms certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.
All in all, GDC continues to move from strength-to-strength and solidifies its position as the yearly destination event for games developers. With this year primarily focused on VR and production tools we’re very much looking forward to the months ahead where we hope to see a stream of new content and games taking advantage of these recent technical developments.