Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

GDC Highlights from a Sick, Sick Man

Posted by Trixter on March 18, 2007

(This post is a week late, but posts are usually better late than never.) I went to GDC the first week of March, and although I was incredibly sick the entire time and missed 90% of the conference, I did manage the following highlights which made it all worthwhile:

  • Finally met Mike Melanson, reverse-engineer virtuoso of video and audio codecs, because he lives in the area. Went to dinner with him and the local MobyGames crew (Flipkin, Ron, Tom Servo) and had great food in a great bar called The Chieftain. (Despite the name, it was an Irish/California-themed bar.)  I quickly lost my voice, but it was worth it.
  • GDC awards ceremony. Graeme Devine presented a community award to The Fat Man; Lord British awarded lifetime achievement to Miyamoto, who accepted in person; some Sam & Max jokes; great fun. Presented by Tim Schaefer who cracked jokes. Excellent vibe. That was the only time I saw Simon Carless (on stage) as he was too busy to meet with anyone during the event. Our MobyGames intern rushed Miyamoto and shook his hand as he got off stage. Whore :-)
  • Later that night, we went to a bar looking for food and I quite literally bumped into The Fat Man by accident and we talked for 10 minutes. He loves Moby; I love his music; it was something I always wish I could have done and now I have. That guy deserves more work.
  • Thursday I met Chris Hargrove (Kiwidog / Hornet) and some other sceners. Chris was this chance thing — I literally screamed to him from the booth when I recognized him. Hadn’t seen him since he crashed at my place a decade ago. We talked about why Duke Nukem Forever has been delayed for so long; caught up on other stuff; he gave me the skinny on what finally happened to Tran. Nice catch-up.
  • Thursday went to the programmer’s challenge and got a few right (to myself — the gameshow was for the super-talented panel) .  Some questions/answers were played for laughs. Some scary smart people on that panel…
  • Friday participated in a game preservation roundtable sponsored by IGDA and am now a member of the group (!).
  • Met Jeff Roberts of Rad Game Tools and expressed my appreciation of his Smacker video codec, a low-resource codec used in hundreds if not thousands of DOS games. Always wanted to do that.

Sick, sick, and more sick, had three fevers, just now this week getting over it. Because of fever I was in the hotel room half the time, only saw Miyamoto at the awards and missed his keynote. I also had to leave Friday afternoon and missed the demoscene party that Pyro throws every year after the event… Still, I’ll never forget it and am glad I went.

5 Responses to “GDC Highlights from a Sick, Sick Man”

  1. So what DID finally happen to Tran?

  2. Trixter said

    Ok, be ready to sit down for this. This was how it was explained to me, so if Tom Pytel is reading this, don’t blame me, blame the person who explained it to me. Here goes:

    Tran works for 3drealms and works on the software-rendering 24-bit engine. Project falls apart, he leaves.

    Tran joins a little company trying to broker cash transactions between individuals. Gets in the ground floor. Company becomes paypal. Tran walks away with high 7 digits in cash.

    Tran leaves the country and goes to, I believe, South America. Fights alongside the contras. Lives a life of hookers and blow.

    I swear that is what I was told. I do know that his email was tom@paypal.com at one point so I’m leaning toward “true”.

  3. For lack of a better, uh, exclamation: ho-lee-shit. That’s one of the coolest “eccentric brilliant programmer turned nutcase” stories I’ve heard yet :-)

  4. Idetrorce said

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  5. […] of the lead developers of PayPal (yeah, that Paypal). What happened next? Well, read comments for this note :P. Bookmark […]

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