Why in God’s name they have to hold the thing in San Jose or Santa Clara every year I’ll never know. One year they did hold it in Long Beach and that was at least different. But in any event, it’s that time of year again. If you’ve never been to one, you really should, particularly if games are of professional interest to you. This year’s should be particularly interesting, NVIDIA is going to unveil the GeForceFX (wait – didn’t they do that at Comdex?) (Thursday night at the Fairmont – let’s see if they can party like ATI can!), Microsoft is having an High-Level Shader Language workshop – it’s first come first serve for these two-hour sessions, register here. If you want a more general introduction to shaders you might try Wolfgang Engel’s session on Friday at 10:30 am. Things I’ve heard but haven’t confirmed are the announcement of DirectX 9.1 from Microsoft and the announcement of the next generation of ATI cards based on the R350 chip. Of course you don’t want to miss Suite Night at the Fairmont, Friday, 7:30 pm. (Hint: about 9pm wander the stairwell peeking out on each floor, listening for those loud, private parties, or see if you can score a suite party list.)
While there’s no doubt that the GDC is a money-making interest (the top-shelf VIP pass is a staggering $1975) it’s the only games-dedicated conference around (There’s a GDC Europe as well later in the year).
Those you you that have attended a Game Developer Conference, Meltdown, Siggraph, etc. or frequent the directx-dev list have seen Richard Huddy in action. DriverHeaven has posted an interview with Richard in which he talks about his move to ATI, his job there, and why he and nearly all of the NVIDIA European Dev. Group left the company. It’s got some juicy quotes like this:
Huddy:NVIDIA used to be a technology company pure and simple but has recently allowed itself to become led by marketing. To give two straightforward examples of things it has done wrong, it produced a product called the GeForce 4 MX, which is clearly a GeForce 2 class piece of hardware, and it spent almost a year too long producing the GeForce FX. The first costs the trust of buyers everywhere, and the second cost them the lead in a very competitive race.
Yes, all the Code Mafia guys could see this kind of thing happening at NVIDIA. We fought these errors from inside NVIDIA but the management didn’t agree with our judgement about what was wrong – so we agreed to part company. We actually left on really good terms – but I admit that they weren’t too pleased when we signed up with ATI!
An NVIDIA press release announced that they had reached an agreement with Microsoft over the pricing dispute of the GPU (graphics) and MPU (audio/networking) chips that NVIDIA manufacturers for the XBOX. NVIDIA president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, states “This is a win for both companies, and we couldn’t be more delighted with the results, NVIDIA and Microsoft can now take our partnership to the next level and focus our substantial resources to maximize the full potential of Xbox game console.” which is seemingly some happy-happy joy-joy speak if you’ve read an earlier report from The Inquirer that NVIDIA “will not interfere” with Microsoft’s arbitration attempt. We speculate that they reached some happy arrangement about NVIDIA manufacturing chips for XBOX II and that NVIDIA is firmly entrenched in the XBOX II camp, willingly or not. This is an about face from earlier this week even though there were rumors of Microsoft courting ATI from last month. Given that XBOX has only sold about 8 million (compared to PS2′s 50 million), this might not be a good deal for NVIDIA, especially if it turns out that they have to manufacture the chips at a loss for Microsoft. Reuters reported that NVIDIA claims that Microsoft owed them $46.2 million back in July, NVIDIA’s fiscal Q2.Details of the exact agreement are due out at NVIDIA’s quarterly conference call Feb. 13th.