Summary: In his final GDC 2006 reporters notebook, JCal discusses Will Wright's keynote address, then checks out Crysis, Ritual's Sin Episodes, and finally Novint's Falcon controller.
No Spore Gameplay For You
The keynote had Wright chatting a mile a minute while moving through an on-screen PowePoint presentation that covered not just how he created the concept for the game but also the extensive research he did into Astrobiology, the science of life on other worlds. Wright mixed and matched his chats on the creation of Spore with all of the facts he learned about the science behind it, which included everything from calculating how many inhabited planets there are in the galaxy, to how Earth's solar system is a near perfect place for life to evolve, to the secret armed Soviet space station that the country kept quiet about for 20 years (that last bit was, as Wright admitted, totally off-topic). The keynote was an excellent way to learn about how a game actually starts at the concept stage.
For some reason the construction site and the office building we played later in the demo have a lot of barrels and gas canisters that can blow up. The gas canisters can set enemies on fire but the barrels emit a green gas that slows both enemies and yourself down. The game also looks great thanks to Valve's Source engine, and Ritual's art team has done an excellent job with character models and wall textures that sometimes have some funny signage. Overall SiN Episodes is shaping up to be the follow-up that people who played the original SiN have waited eight years to enjoy.
More on Novint Falcon
Yesterday we chatted with a rep from Novint who discussed their Falcon touch-sensitive PC controller. At the Novint booth during GDC we actually got a chance to try the Falcon in action. The device is actually bigger than we imagined, which is a little bit smaller than a soccer ball. The "ball" has three flat strips that come out of the top and two sides and connects to a central ball with some console controller like buttons. With the Falcon we actually felt how a simulated ball on a PC screen can be made to feel like different textures, from molasses, to ice, to sandpaper. We also fired a bow and arrow into the target and "felt" the tension in the bow as we pulled it back on screen. Finally we "caught" a simulated baseball with a glove and felt the impact. It's clear that the Falcon is still early in development but it certainly has some potential, especially in arcade style games.
That's it for the third and final part of my GDC 2006 reporters notebook but that's not all the coverage we will have from GDC. I got to play a number of upcoming games in detail and will be giving my thoughts on them next week along with my review of the Video Games Live music concert.
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