GDC 2016


Just a few random things from GDC 2016

The most impressive thing at GDC 2016 for me was Dreams by Media Molecule.

That video unfortunately doesn't really do it justice.

I have no idea if the game of Dreams will be any good. The thing about Dreams that's so impressive is how quick they are able to create content. All the content in Dreams is created in Dreams using the move controllers. They're using a new rendering technique using signed distance fields and particle splatting. I don't really even care about the tech as it seems to have it's limits. What I care about is how fast they can create content. Far far faster than 3dsMax, Maya, MudBox, Z−Brush and yet they can still get amazing detail

Since Signed Distance Fields are implicit surfaces they can be resolved to any desired level of detail. Here's a mech that was created in Dreams and then the data was exported and 3D printed.

The move controllers (and I assume the Vive controllers) make a huge difference in speed as does the tech enabling that level of detail at 60fps while editing.

My excitement is that I hope someone comes out with a PC based 3D modeller using the same tech. I can then pick whatever resolution to turn the result into polygons and import that content into other engines (Unity, Unreal, ...). The hardest part of making 3D is content. If something like the tech in Dreams can solve that problem that's a HUGE!

This game, Schlicht caught my attention for it's sharp visuals.

This game, Zero Reflex as well

Birdly which is a platform you lie on to pretend you're a bird looked pretty awesome. You flap your wings to go faster. It's even got a fan to simulate the wind.

I guess I can add that to the required list of stuff I have to buy for VR. $2000 PC upgrade + $400−$600 for VR helmet + $200−$300 for input devices + $300 a month for extra 15x15 sqft VR room + $5k for Birdly ?

I didn't actually try it. I refuse to put on VR helmets that have been worn by 1000 previous people possibly all sick. Yea, I HATE GETTING SICK! Didn't help though, I still caught a cold from some GDC party ?

Next up Push Me Pull You

Lands End which I hadn't seen. I guess I need a Oculus.


There were several large universe games. Of course No Man's Sky is coming out but at the show were Universim and Everything which unfortunately I can't find any links to 😎 It didn't really seem like a compelling game but you could go all the way down to atom size up to universe size. Kind of crazy.

The Lyst Summit sounds interesting. It's a summit about Love, Sex, and Romance in games held in Norway in June.

There was one talk that really stood out for me though. It was by Michael John, who is now a professor at USCS.

It started off with him describing an experience where several smart institutions contacted him and wanted to talk about game design. He didn't really get why they wanted a game design person but he went with it. IIRC they believed the threat of nuclear attack is very serious and no one is doing anything about it. They wanted to brainstorm a way to make those in power take the thread seriously. He walked them through some game design exercises and they came up with the following idea

It was, if you're super rich and you want people to take this threat seriously then using your money buy some nuclear bomb materials, make a bomb, set it off in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maryland to prove the threat is real. According to MJ the people in the room claimed this was a totally real and actionable plan. Super scary.

Michael made the point that games, better than many other mediums, can cover and help explain complex topics since they make it easy to explore multiple approaches to a problem. The rest of the talk was about getting involved with various non game initiatives that want games and/or game design input. There's a summary here.

Dynamic Typing > Static Typing?
Crunch in Games