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While the general public wandered the show floor, industry professionals and the media gathered for a series of lectures and discussions concerning a wide variety of topics. Keynote speakers included Jason Della Rocca of Perimeter Partners, Harmonix design director Chris Foster, Ubisoft Montreal’s Clint Hocking (pictured at left), and Richard Rouse, a designer from Kaos Studios and THQ. Their topics included innovation in global gaming, communication in game design, realism and its effect on immersion in games, and the origins of game concepts.
Panel discussions followed the keynote addresses, and their subjects ran the gamut of game development, business strategies and new technologies. One of these sessions gave attendees the chance to participate in the creation of a pen-and-paper RPG, while others discussed the implementation of ragdoll physics, the creation of dramatic structure in games, the process music composers use to write game scores, and the structure of the relationships between publishers and developers.
The GameX show floor was a combination flea market, performance hall and fantasyland. You could take lightsabre dueling lessons, buy and sell games from all console generations, cheer on the brave souls participating in the daily Rock Band 2 competitions, or play Counterstrike: Source or Team Fortress 2 on one of the 100 Alienware desktop gaming PCs in the show’s LAN area. Also featured was a unique contest: aspiring designers were given 48 hours to build a new game from scratch. In this area was a section containing blankets and sleeping bags; some of these folks obviously never left the building during their 48 hours.
The producers of the GameX show tried to bring several aspects of the industry under one roof, and for the most part they succeeded. The forum sessions were informative and well attended, the public areas were filled with gamers of all ages, and the show managed to attract a surprising number of industry heavy hitters. There were a few glitches here and there, but if the show was a financial success, it could grow into a significant event that east-coast enthusiasts can attend without having to book five-hour flights.
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