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fitbabits
08-07-2006, 09:18 AM
QuakeCon 2006 - A First-Timerís Perspective, Part One
Editorial by James A. Young (aka fitbabits)

Rather than list off my activities one-by-one, I thought it would be more interesting to compose an all-encompassing editorial in order to hopefully convey to our readers just what it was like at QuakeCon (QC) 2006 for a first-time attendee.

Iíll begin this then where it all began for me Ė loading my pickup truck in preparation for the 13+ hour journey from Denver, CO to Dallas, TX. My Mapquested route was to take me through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and finally finishing in the Lone Star State.

The journey to QC was fairly unremarkable, but I would be kidding myself if I didnít convey to you the one question that I repeatedly asked myself: What the hell is it with Kansas? Seriously, I have seldom been so offended by what I saw at the side of the road on billboards or heard on the radio while scanning the channels for some decent talk shows. There was so much conservative and fundamentalist Christian propaganda that I was forced to listen to Lamb of God just to cleanse myself! Easily 90% of the AM channels I scanned contained either some evangelical nonsense about letting God back in the classroom/your life/the Whitehouse/whatever, or some diatribe on how Liberals were trying to ruin the US of A. I wish I was exaggerating, but sadly Iím notÖ

Anyway, my problems with Kansas are best left for another day and another thread Ė this is supposed to be about QC 2006, so without further ado:

I arrived in Dallas at approximately 11:45pm Thursday, after the aforementioned Monster energy drink-fueled drive, and I was shattered. I quickly checked in to my room and hopped in the shower before hitting the sack.

Friday morning, then, and it was time for me to make the five-minute walk from my hotel to the Hilton Anatole Hotel where QC 2006 was being held. After picking up my press credentials, it was time for me to venture downstairs and finally sample the delights I was sure awaited me.

They say that first impressions last, and I believe that to be the case. You can imagine, then, how unimpressed I was when I walked through the doors and realized just how small the exhibition space looked. Granted, Iíd never been to any of the previous QuakeCons, but I was still taken aback at how small it all seemed. I talked to a few of the exhibitors and they each said the same thing Ė this QuakeCon was smaller than in previous years. Thatís not to say that what was on display was any less impressive, not at all; Iím merely saying that I expected something more grand in scale!

After taking in the size (or lack thereof) of the exhibition space, I proceeded to head straight for the main attraction Ė Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. I stood opposite the bank of high definition displays with my mouth agape while the lucky few were putting the latest build to the test. To say that it looked wonderful would be a huge understatement. I did get a chance to have a hands-on with it, but youíll have to wait for part two to find out if it I thought it played as well as it looked.

I picked my jaw up off the floor long enough to head deeper into the cavernous room, passing by booths by nVIDIA, Intel, Enermax, CPU magazine, to name but a few. I then spotted some funky-looking green nVIDIA-branded chairs which were set up in front of a big TV where Doom (the movie) was on repeat play! So far, so goodÖ

On to the demo kiosks and my first chance to play the likes of Call of Juarez, Lego Star Wars 2, F.E.A.R.: Extraction Point, Just Cause, and Flatout 2. First up was Call of Juarez and I was terribly disappointed on what I played. Perhaps the code wasnít fully optimized, but it ran like crud and looked as dull as ditch water. The frame rate will no doubt be polished before release, but I left the game thinking that more was needed here than just some spit and polish. And Iíve not even mentioned the lackluster level design. It was a real shame as I was genuinely looking forward to getting my hands on this title and seeing what all the fuss was about. So just what was all the fuss about?

My mood was greatly improved, however, by getting some play time with Lego Star Wars 2 (LSW2)! Iím happy to report that fans of the original should have no fears where the sequel is concerned Ė itís more of the same great gameplay, this time based on the movies that started the Star Wars phenomenon and therefore so much more relevant. It was odd playing it with the mouse and keyboard set up as Iím so used to playing games of that ilk with a joypad, be it on PS2, Xbox or whatever.

Next up was F.E.A.R.: Extraction Point, the hotly anticipated expansion pack for many peopleís 2005 Game of the Year. As with LSW2, itís definitely a case of more of the same with this episode, but when the sibling is of the same high quality as the parent, thatís seldom ever a bad thing. The first thing I noticed was the bump in graphical quality. This bump may not be as apparent to those who played the original on a top end rig, but holy macaroni Ė the visuals really did sparkle on the test machine. The level layout on EP seemed tighter as well. Oh, and then thereís the blood and gore. One other thing worth noting was the sound design Ė it really was stellar! The sound heard when firing the weapons on offer was so beefy I couldnít believe it. I was pumped for this expansion before I played it and Iím now even more so after sampling the delights of the demo.

My QuakeCon adventure was now positively looking up after my initial disappointment and I still had Enemy Territory and John Carmack's keynote address to look forward to...

...which will be revealed in part two, hopefully some time tomorrow!

Varsity
08-07-2006, 09:38 AM
Seeing as you asked for constructive criticism: that's a whopping 247 words of throat-clearing! Just lop it all off and the text will be far more accessible. :)

mikeohara
08-07-2006, 09:54 AM
glad to see you enjoyed QCon fits ... I've had to miss out the past few years because of one thing or another happening.

fitbabits
08-07-2006, 10:03 AM
Seeing as you asked for constructive criticism: that's a whopping 247 words of throat-clearing! Just lop it all off and the text will be far more accessible. :)
Um, eh? :confused:

Oddmaker
08-07-2006, 10:06 AM
From what i hear its been a disapoitment so far.

Sloth
08-07-2006, 10:08 AM
QuakeCon this year was smaller, and they didn't have as much free stuff as last year. I only got a pen and some posters.

However the games on display were good the problem was not enough opportunity to play because of the samll size, the games are the only thing to do and most people were lined up to play them.

I think what Quakecon needs is more events like the bawls chugging competition otherwise its just alot of standing around waiting to play games.

I attended the PhysX seminar, which I thought really needed more multimedia to it. The first half hour was just bullet points on a power presentation. I mean we're talking about a physics card, if you want to sell the idea of games using physics, show us what the card can do. They had some media for Hard Rain and football collision physics, but i'd like to see just what the card is capable of, doesn't have to be games in development. Dazzle me.

The best part of the Physx presentation was thanks to a modder who took the time to make a replica of the QuakeCOn presentation hall in the Cell Factor engine. That was very cool, but otherwise the PhysX demonstration lacked the juicy visuals to really sell their product.

Varsity
08-07-2006, 10:28 AM
Um, eh? :confused:
"Rather than list...without further ado:" is pointless throat-clearing that buries your meaning and puts people off.

A quick Google brings up this (http://nhumanities.blogspot.com/2005/09/writing-idea-eliminate-throat-clearing.html).

zrikz
08-07-2006, 10:28 AM
Hmm I am very much looking forward to Fear and quake wars, if only time would go a little faster. I have always wanted to go to a QC, but seeing as its a long ways away and apparently was not all that amazing, I guess Im glad I did not go.

fitbabits
08-07-2006, 10:31 AM
"Rather than list...without further ado:" is pointless throat-clearing that buries your meaning and puts people off.

A quick Google brings up this (http://nhumanities.blogspot.com/2005/09/writing-idea-eliminate-throat-clearing.html).
Ah, gotcha! And duly noted.

phantomhitman
08-07-2006, 10:39 AM
did you hump gamergod fatal1ty?! or did he even show up for this?

SamBishop
08-07-2006, 10:53 AM
Nice read, fits, and I'm glad to see you survived (mostly) intact when driving through Fundie Country. Though it's not a true road trip without the state-to-state band scan, this kind of thing is exactly what iPods are for. I'd love to hear what you thought of Just Cause running on a nice machine. The whole jungle sandbox thing sounds like a great idea, and those Avalanche cats have a pretty impressive engine on their hands.

It sounds like the show was a little more back-to-basics in approach this year; scaled-down, less publicity events, and more about the id showcase that it's become. Can't wait to read your impressions of ET!

Asmodan
08-07-2006, 10:54 AM
What exactly is the point of your bashing of the religious/policital leanings of the states you drove through in an article about QuakeCon?

I mean, you're entitled to your opinion of course and all the cool kids on the intraweb are bashing on those 'hard core far right neo conservative religious Jesus freaks' so there is always that. But given you're trying to write an informative piece on your opinions of a given event at the best it's irrelavent, at worst you're turning off a good portion of your readers before they even get to the real meat.

If I want politics I'll go read NRO or Salon, I'd prefer my video game related media politics free unless it is directly tied in somehow (another moronic senator trying to make another law regarding gaming).

phantomhitman
08-07-2006, 11:25 AM
What exactly is the point of your bashing of the religious/policital leanings of the states you drove through in an article about QuakeCon?

If I want politics I'll go read NRO or Salon, I'd prefer my video game related media politics free unless it is directly tied in somehow (another moronic senator trying to make another law regarding gaming).

i would actually second this. liked reading about the convention, not so much about religious rants.

Draft
08-07-2006, 11:27 AM
Tell me how awesome that Quake Wars presentation was. I mean, I watched the video, but I bet it was even cooler in person. Iron sights, bitches! GOTY!

DoubleUranium
08-07-2006, 11:55 AM
I like hearing about the propaganda being put on the airwaves in Kansas. It's informative.

Nameback
08-07-2006, 11:57 AM
i would actually second this. liked reading about the convention, not so much about religious rants.

I'm from the other side of the perspective, I like hearing about all of his trip. Gives it a more human feel then just talking about the games I think.

Nameback
08-07-2006, 11:58 AM
Tell me how awesome that Quake Wars presentation was. I mean, I watched the video, but I bet it was even cooler in person. Iron sights, bitches! GOTY!

Linky? Please

Sazime
08-07-2006, 11:59 AM
What exactly is the point of your bashing of the religious/policital leanings of the states you drove through in an article about QuakeCon?
It sounds like the most interesting part of the drive to me. I would be equally interested in the ramblings of athiests on public radio, but I don't think they do that sort of thing. BTW, parts of Oregon and Idaho are kinda like that. Just makes listening to the radio irritating.
I like hearing about the propaganda being put on the airwaves in Kansas. It's informative.
And now I'll remember to take my "God is Dead" bumper sticker off my car whenever I drive through.

Enjoying reading about the con fit. This is probably what will help me determine whether or not this is one of the cons I travel out of state for next year.

Draft
08-07-2006, 12:20 PM
Linky? Pleasehttp://www.planetquake4.net/download.php?op=fileid&lid=2333

fitbabits
08-07-2006, 12:24 PM
What exactly is the point of your bashing of the religious/policital leanings of the states you drove through in an article about QuakeCon?

I mean, you're entitled to your opinion of course and all the cool kids on the intraweb are bashing on those 'hard core far right neo conservative religious Jesus freaks' so there is always that. But given you're trying to write an informative piece on your opinions of a given event at the best it's irrelavent, at worst you're turning off a good portion of your readers before they even get to the real meat.

If I want politics I'll go read NRO or Salon, I'd prefer my video game related media politics free unless it is directly tied in somehow (another moronic senator trying to make another law regarding gaming).
In answer to your question of what the point of my bashing of the religious and/or political leanings of the states, I will say this:

It was part of the journey to QuakeCon and I was trying to give the editorial a more human approach rather than the typical fare you see. My point was not to bash any of the states.

And if people are 'turned off' by tales of my trip then there's nothing I can do about that.

fitbabits
08-07-2006, 12:25 PM
i would actually second this. liked reading about the convention, not so much about religious rants.
Again, it was an observation, not a rant.

Dr.Finger
08-07-2006, 12:27 PM
I just want to know if you had any good barbecue while in Texas.

Meusli
08-07-2006, 12:34 PM
I honestly think you should add more to it fitbabits and instead of being "turned off" you could do the opposite, perhaps have a clandestine love affair on the way there with a fire brand preacher guy. You could both grow as people the closer to the convention you got or something-- don't really know where im going with this--- but I think the article needs more sex and violence being a games player it the only thing I understand ;)

The Continental
08-07-2006, 12:51 PM
Suggestion 1: Pictures
Suggestion 2: Quake Wars hands on impressions, post-haste.

Borys
08-07-2006, 01:10 PM
I don't have much time now so one question to fit: is PC gaming, uh, deader or healthier after that trip in your eyes?

fitbabits
08-07-2006, 01:14 PM
I don't have much time now so one question to fit: is PC gaming, uh, deader or healthier after that trip in your eyes?
Well, after playing Call of Juarez, I would say deader than the mummified corpse of King Tut! However, FEAR: EP and LSW2 redeemed PC gaming. It's looking good, although I will say that PC gaming needs a large influx of innovation before I'll give it a fully favorable prognosis.

fitbabits
08-07-2006, 01:15 PM
Suggestion 1: Pictures
Suggestion 2: Quake Wars hands on impressions, post-haste.
1. My camera was stolen, so no pictures I'm afraid!
2. Patience...

Sazime
08-07-2006, 01:45 PM
1. My camera was stolen, so no pictures I'm afraid!
Oh, damn! That sucks man. That would be the single most irritating thing to have stolen, imo. And I had my car stereo stolen once.

fitbabits
08-07-2006, 02:03 PM
Oh, damn! That sucks man. That would be the single most irritating thing to have stolen, imo. And I had my car stereo stolen once.
Yeah, it really pissed me off, but it was only a camera. I still have my health, right?

I had just finished taking some snaps of this little kid (probably about eight years old) playing Lego Star Wars 2. He was actually standing on the back of his parent/guardian in order to reach the mouse and keyboard. It was an awesome sight. Oh, and the dad was reading CPU magazine while on his knees. :)

Soap
08-07-2006, 02:41 PM
Nice write up fitbabits, can't wait for part deux. For some reason the idea of having any type of Con in the middle of summer in Texas doesn't seem like the brightest idea. Damn Texas heat.

-But hey, at least it's a DRY heat right?

phantomhitman
08-08-2006, 05:51 AM
I had just finished taking some snaps of this little kid (probably about eight years old) playing Lego Star Wars 2. He was actually standing on the back of his parent/guardian in order to reach the mouse and keyboard. It was an awesome sight. Oh, and the dad was reading CPU magazine while on his knees. :)
this was at the event right, cause that is some weird after hours partying action if not.

fitbabits
08-08-2006, 06:58 AM
this was at the event right, cause that is some weird after hours partying action if not.
It was actually in my hotel room!

Asmodan
08-08-2006, 10:44 AM
Oh my objection wasn't so much to the content of the aside (though as I pointed out bashing religion is cool thing these days) it was more that your first six paragraphs have little to nothing to do with the actual content of the piece.

You're free to 'humanize' to your hearts content. But realize that a lot of people will begin reading an article on something they are interested in and after seeing the first half page of text has nothing to do with what they thought the article was about will stop reading. You might consider spreading out the off-topic stuff a bit more.

Montolio
08-08-2006, 11:46 AM
I enjoyed the story from fitbabits and just kept laughing more and more as I read through phantomhitman's posts in the thread. I needed that today.

BTW fitbabits, did you wear your kilt?

Be honest, is that why you were roughed-up and had your camera taken away?! I kid of course :) Thanks for giving those of us who couldn't go a peek inside good old Quakecon.