I am getting ready to head down to E3 in LA tomorrow. From all of the noise, it seems that the E3 of old is back, with the lights, noise, and spectacle. From the industry’s point of view, E3 is a way to get the main stream media’s attention. I have seen interviews and announcements all over the place from newspapers to radio. Add in the parties and it should be as crazy as ever.
This year is different for me, since I have meetings about my studio. Normally, I am there representing EA or Sony, so I am approaching things from the publisher or platform side, instead of as a developer. As it is, I have meetings every day, all day, which will make for a great E3!
I spent the last week with my co-studio head in the UK. We had lots of meeting and were very busy the entire time. We made a lot of progress on the game we pitching, justified our existence and funding to the board, coordinated IT hardware, and did everything else which a new games studio does as it starts up.
However, one of the coolest moments of the trip had nothing to do with the new studio.
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I am heading off for the next few days to an SPU seminar that I am running. At work, I spend a lot of my time dealing with the SPUs on the PS3. In fact, if you are using the libswcache libraries in your game, then you are using code that I wrote. The SPUs are interesting beasts for multiprocessor work. They are not as easy as the homogeneous multicore solution for the XBox360, but for raw processor power, not much can beat the SPUs right now.
My work tends to be around making the SPUs easier for developers to use. Software caching (like libswcache) are ways to deal with non-uniform memory systems and making the architectural complexities more transparent to the end programmer. I have a lot of experience with C++, so I have been looking at how templates and auto_ptr‘s can help. Libraries like these do not give you the peak performance, but it makes it much easier for the general gameplay programmers to work on the SPUs. I have found that game development is a constant trade off between easy to use architectures which any generalist programmer can code for and extremely high performance architectures which require a specialist.
I have noticed an interesting way that I play games these days. Keep in mind, I have children and interests outside of the games industry.
On my home consoles (which include a PS3, XBox 360, and Wii), I tend to play games which are pick up and play, usually with no story. This includes Boom Blox, The Last Guy, Eden, and Braid. Basically, all games which I can play for 15-30 minutes and then turn off the console. Also, I don’t have to worry about remembering some involved story to get back into the game.
On my portables, I am playing the long, involved story games. I just finished Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and it looks like I’m going to get back to The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass soon.
The interesting thing to me is this is completely backwards to how people are “supposed” to play games. My pickup games are on my home system with the big plasma TV, while the long session games are on my portable systems. It reflects my life these days…I have very little time at home to play games, but when I travel, I’m trapped on an airplane for ten hours at a time.
Last week I was in Roatan scuba diving.
While the diving was not as good as Curacao, it was a great vacation and a break from the game industry. I had no cell nor email access all week.
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Heading off for vacation in Roatan. Scuba diving for 7 days without cell phone nor email.
I am in Tokyo for a few days and I went to the Tsukiji Fish Market this morning. The market is the main place for all seafood for Japan…a giant warehouse of fish, crab, eel, and other sea creatures. Of course, the earlier that you arrive, the more interesting it is, so I was up at 5am to head over there.
After wandering around for a while, I went to get breakfast. The best breakfast around the fish market? Sushi! At 7am, I was eating maguro, saba, uni, and other wonderful raw food. Got to love Tokyo!
Today is my one year anniversary with Sony. A lot happens in one year…
I am insanely busy with travel right now. Currently, I am visiting developers and universities in Argentina and Brazil to talk about PS2/P/3. I am nearing the end of my trip, which is good, because I have eaten enough amazing meat to stock a butcher, at the cost of every one of my arteries.
Just arrived in Tokyo to visit SCEI last night. It is a short visit, only 2 1/2 days…and those days are completely filled with meetings. I did my usual run around the Residence of the President of the House of Representatives this morning. It is a very easy run along tree lined streets. I am looking forward to catching up with all of my SCEI counterparts. A lot continues to happen for the PlayStation 3.
We always stay at the New Otani Hotel. It is extremely close to the SCEI offices and I have a nice corner room with a view this time.