This morning kicked off the first “official” GDC sessions, and I was there bright and early at 9:00 AM with Sateesh and Rajshree from Intel for the session going over the Intel Laptop and Mobility TDK.
First, Rajshree talked about the challenges and needs of gamers using laptops – how to know when your battery is going to run out, when your wireless signal strength drops, etc. And more importantly, what you can to to improve the game by eeking out a little more battery life, smoothing the transitions, etc. She shared a lot of research they’ve done on just how much of a difference various measures can make – slowing down the CPU, lowering the “eye candy” levels, capping the framerate, etc. In every case, it was clear that there are steps a game could take to be better behaved on a laptop system.
Then Sateesh went over the Intel Laptop Gaming TDK – Technology Development Kit. Basically, this is a set of freeware (but not open source) libraries that you as a game developer can use to make your game more aware of being on a laptop or other mobile platform, and implement changes to make the game experience better. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward bit of code you can include so your game can know things like “Am I on a laptop?”, “how much battery is left?”, “is the wireless signal strength changing?”, etc. What you do with that information is up to you, but the tools are avaialble now to make your game work well on mobile systems. Go get it and start playing around with it.
I also got a video interview with Rajshree and Sateesh after the session is over, which I’ll be editing up and posting soon, probably after I get home from GDC. HD video, I’m learning, is just as simple to capture and edit as regular SD DV, but it takes a LOT longer to encode, and I’m still playing with different sizes and settings to find the sweet spot between quality and file size. So keep an eye out for that.
Am I just sounding like an Intel shill for saying nice things about the Laptop Gaming TDK? I hope I don’t come across like that. Yes, Intel sent me to GDC, but I wasn’t given any specific instruction on what sessions or people to cover. I decide which sessions to go to based on how interesting I think they are, and how interesting I think they’d be to the people who read this blog, and the developer community at ISN. The Laptop Gaming TDK is a really cool tool that’s available, and I think the need for it is going to become more and more apparent as more people start using laptops as their primary systems. I know that a laptop has been my primary computer for quite a while (at least the years I’ve worked at Intel), and I’d love to have games with features built in like the ones that the Laptop Gaming TDK makes possible. So, if that makes me sound like a shill, then sue me. 😉