GDC 2009: First Augmented Reality Demo at a Game Developer Conference

As soon as the exhibition floor opened today at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, I rushed to visit the Vuzix-Metaio booth to witness the first consumer-oriented augmented reality booth ever to exhibit at GDC.

I was not disappointed. Just watch this clip.

Stefan Misslinger (Metaio) did a fantastic job  acting it out, don’t you think?

Vuzix also had on the display the upcoming-anticipated-long-awaited-soon-to-be-released 920AV AR glasses. It wasn’t in working condition, but Vuzix promised it will be released this fall.

When the event kicked off, I offered to serve as your eyes and ears; Peter Milford took the offer and expressed his curiosity about the latest from Vuzix. This one is for you Peter: yours truly posing with the goods.


Now the key question is:

how would you rank the look of these specs on a dork-to-cool scale?

Is the Future of Games Lurking at the Game Developer Conference?

I am on a flight to San Francisco, barely dodging a thunder storm, for what I expect to be an inspiring week at the Game Developer Conference .
I have been to hundreds of conferences in my career – GDC is one that usually satisfies the crave for inspiration – big time.

Here’s what I’ll be looking for:
The Mobile Games Summit has a bunch of sessions focused on the iPhone such as “Why the iPhone just changed everything”. It also features probably the first major session about Handheld Augmented Reality in the history of GDC (can you believe that?). Blair MacIntyre is best equipped to shoulder the challenge.
You’ll surely find me at the intriguing session: “Beyond the Screen: The Principles of Pervasive Game Design“. Although when Markus Montola speaks about ARGs he means Alternative Reality Games – not Augmented Reality Games – I believe it will be a treat.

Other sessions serve as stepping stones in my pursuit of the ultimate augmented reality game:
Get Smart About Smartphones: Insight Into the Future of Mobile Gaming
Bringing Meaning to Mobile Entertainment
Getting Serious About Alternate Reality: Designing a Different Kind of ARG
The Human Play Machine

Experimental Game Play Session is always fascinating. I wonder what year an AR game will be featured.

Jonathan Blow, Clint Hocking  and Jesse Schell are among the top reasons I am here this week. They’re super smart, artistic, entertaining, yet humble. They remind me why I am so attracted to this industry.

I also wish to ask Will Wright after the session “Stretching Beyond Entertainment: The Role of Games in Personal and Social Change”  if he’s doing anything related to his (celebrated among the AR community) quote: “Games should increase our awareness to our immediate environment rather than distract us from it”

Of course, I’ll be looking for green inducing tips (not what you’re thinking) in sessions such as “Early Stage Funding for Video Game Start Ups”.

The exhibition area usually feels like a SyFy convention. I’ll be looking for the future AR hardware from Vuzix, Nvidia, Microvision, and other contenders (Microsoft?).

Most importantly, I wish to meet like-minded folks.
My first stop is an AR dinner (plotting next year’s AR-attack on GDC) on Tuesday.
I would like to think that among the more than 5,000 attendees, there are at least 50 with a strong interest in Augmented Reality Games. I’ll be in their pursuit…

If you’re at GDC – please give me a buzz.
If not – use me as you’re eyes and ears – what would you have looked for?

So Is the Future of Games Lurking at the Game Developer Conference?

We’ll find out this week.