Ahhh Quakecon. There something special about it. It carries all the trappings of any other big industry gig. Open bar for press, vendors hounding you to sit through their demo. Yet, with all of its corporate facade, it's still a fan event. That's what makes Quakecon special.
Day 1 - Thursday, August 12 2004
Arriving bleary-eyed and tired at the ungodly hour of 2 P.M. Kaleb and I arrived at the Gaylord Texan (Note: seriously, that's the name.). Inside we saw the friendly faces of our people. Our gaming brethren were here. You don't know these people from Adam, but make eye contact for more than a full second, and you'll be in a conversation. That has half to do with the fraternity of PC Gamingdom and half with the friendliness of Texas. We inquired about the check-in, and were eagerly pointed in the right direction.
We gave our names, presented identification, submitted a urine sample (I kid, they switched to hair samples this year.), and checked in our hardware. I make this sound like an involved task, and it sorta is, but it's necessary to ensure that nobody walks out with your rig. Thankfully, our friends at GearGrip.com had outfitted us with case and monitor straps. Nothing kills your mood for LAN gaming like hauling 100lbs of equipment with your bare hands. We found a couple of open spots amongst some internet friends of ours, introduced ourselves, and hooked up our boxes. It was time to get down to some gaming.
If a multiplayer game is popular at the moment, or has anything to do with Id Software, there's a server up for it. Quake 3 Arena always had 50 or so servers online, both QC and attendee operated, for base, CTF, Instagib, and any of a dozen popular mods. Quake 2, UT2K4, RTCW/ET, BF:1942/Vietnam, and of course Doom3 were all up and awaiting our connection. We booted up our favorites and took part in some digital frolicking among the thousand plus people playing at any given time. I immediately jumped into some fast-paced Q3 Instagib while Kaleb opted for some Doom3 DM.
At 6 P.M. we headed to the kickoff ceremony. Inside the walls were lit in a fiery orange, and Doom 3 was being projected on two 15' screens. Tim Willits and another Id team member whose name escapes me were dazzling us with a real-time demonstration of the dark and creepy depths of Doom 3. Kat Schwartz of TechTV fame presented us with Todd Hollenshead, CEO of Id Software. He spoke about Doom3's launch, how great Quakecon would be this year, and introduced us to the head honcho of design over at Nvidia. We were pleasantly surprised to hear the announcement of the Nvidia 6600 line of video cards. The product supports all of the newest APIs like the 6800 GT, and carries all of its features as well. According to Nvidia, it is just an underclocked 6800, but I'm sure other details will be revealed as the product gets closer to retail.
After the presentation, Kaleb and I wandered upstairs for Nvidia's press reception. Good food and free drinks were in attendance, and we had a wonderful time schmoozing with other industry members.
After our stomachs were filled and our buzzes were in full effect, we headed back down to the BYOC floor. We joined our buddies in a rousing game of ReVolt, and gamed well into the night before heading to our hotel room for some well-deserved sleep.
I'll have many more musings on the event that is Quakecon tomorrow. Stay tuned.