E3 – Day One
By Burt Carver

The eyecandy was everywhere in the conference center. Upon entry your senses are assailed by the colours and the spectacle. The smaller entrance at the West Hall featured an enormous screen belting out clips from Lucas Arts. Multi-storey banners proclaimed the goodness of upcoming titles, and everywhere you turned was an advertising opportunity for a company.

Originally, the floor was supposed to open at 9 am for journalists, but they decided to bump that back to 10 o’clock with the general public. Fortunately, the security on one side was unaware of the change and let through about 50 media badged people before the flood was stopped. I was one of the blessed few journalists that slipped through at the false start, getting into the cavernous South Hall an hour before everyone else. Had I been thinking, I would have taken the opportunity to take unobscured video of the show floor with nary a person in sight, instead, I stood there, mouth agape and marveled. It seemed that the goal of each individual booth was to drown out the surrounding developers, and the success of each was dependant on the wattage of the speakers.

Needless to say, conversation was almost impossible in some booths and many exhibitors were finding their voices leaving them after a couple of demonstrations. Russobit-M, a development company out of Russia and the Ukraine, had some interesting titles on display (Kreed, Xenus, Lethal Dreams, Golden Land, Firestarter). In addition, Dreamcatcher Games has several titles it is featuring that should make a mark on the market (Painkiller, for exemple).

Stay tuned for comprehensive breakdowns of the games displayed at E3!

E3 – Day Two
By Burt Carver

The assault on my senses was continued today with the games flashing before my orbs like a slide show. The big news of the day was Half Life 2, featuring the all new Source Engine. Unlike the Doom3 engine, the engine made by Valve has a huge focus on object interaction. The physics are truly amazing, and the use of pixel shaders has moved gaming to a new level. In one scene an entire rock face is bump mapped and the effect is amazing. In another scene, and likely a first for computer games, a television camera is manipulated by the user and the output is displayed on a screen. This may not seem like a big deal, but the programming behind that is amazing. The engine would have to calculate the field of vision from the front of the camera, then the image in the cameras field would have to be overlaid onto a portion of the screen. This happens real-time, and must involve a tremendous number of calculations. While it wasn’t demonstrated, it would be interesting to see what happened if the camera was trained on the video screen. I am sure that would tax the processor a hair as an infinite number of images would be displayed.

Expect more News from E3 in the coming days!

E3 – Wrap up
By Burt Carver

This being my first E3, I can’t comment on how busy it was compared to past years, but the number of games announced is astonishing. It will be interesting to see how many actually make it to market, as the sad truth is that many of the working titles at E3 may never see the light of day. There is a finite market for games, and the publishers make money off picking the sure winners. This leaves some of the more innovative titles struggling for funding, and games that are virtually completed can sit unpublished. As all things in the tech industry go, there isn’t much of a shelf life for games as the technology moves at such fast rate.

Some games coming up are sure winners, such as Half Life 2 and Doom 3. There was not much emphasis on Doom 3, as it was announced at last years E3 and Activision decided that it wanted to focus on more current titles. Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines looks promising as it offers several gameplay elements. Your character has to interact with NPC’s, and sneak around at times. In addition your character advances in abilities as the game goes on, and you can select specialized abilities at the beginning of the game. Combined with some areas of all-out fighting this game promises to deliver something to everyone. As the game is not complete, there is no indication what the focus will be on, but with the numerous vampire classes and abilities there should be decent replay value in the game.

Gamershell has actually already covered a number of the games unveiled at E3 through both interviews and previews. As more information comes out on the various titles, check back to GH as your source for game related news.