Five Of The Best News Stories From The 2014 Game Developers Conference

It's been a few days since the 2014 Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco drew to a close. It was a big year this time around, with a whole host of awesome announcements, keynotes, and revelations. Now that we've all had a few days to process the conference, why not take a look back?

Here are some of the most interesting innovations, exciting stories, and quality keynotes from GDC 2014. 

Sony's Project Morpheus and the Virtual Reality Push


Probably one of the biggest announcements was Sony's announcement of Project Morpheus, a virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 that was more than three years in the making. With this, the studio revealed that it's taking the plunge into the world of VR; Sony and related developers will be making a concerted push in the coming years to make games more realistic, more immersive, and as a whole, more entertaining. The head-mounted unit looks sleek, smart, and impressive, and could actually give the Oculus Rift a run for its money, if Sony plays their cards right. 

I think they will - apparently they've been working with NASA to develop Morpheus. 

Speaking of the Oculus Rift, Oculus VR released the final development kit for the product, the Rift DK2. What this basically means is that we're going to be seeing consumer models of the Rift hitting store shelves within the next several months. Awesome, right? 

Lastly, a whole host of organizations within the gaming interface space formed the Immersive Technology Alliance, an organization from which Oculus VR curiously abstained. 

Valve's New And Improved Steam Controller

Although it's nothing terribly new or revolutionary, Valve debuted a tweaked model of its Steam Controller, packaging it with a bunch of new features (and removing a few others). Most notably, the peripheral no longer has a touchscreen. though it's retained the dual touchpad controllers. I've included TechRadar coverage of the controller above, for anyone interested in having a look. 

There's A Game Buried Somewhere In The Nevada Desert - And It's Not E.T.

Somewhere in the Nevada desert is a game designed by Jason Rohrer- most recently known as the developer of The Castle Doctrine - that no human being has ever set eyes on. It's buried deep beneath the desert's sands and engraved on high-quality, durable titanium. No one knows what the game consists of except Rohrer, who designed and playtested it using rudimentary AI processes. 

What we do know is that after his winning Game Design Challenge presentation at GDC - where he defeated the likes of Will Wright, Richard Lemarchand, and Harvey Smith (all legends in their own right) - Rohrer distributed hundreds of pieces of paper, each one with hundreds of different coordinate locations. That's over one million different sets of co-ordinates - and only one will yield Rohrer's game. Not even Rohrer knows which it is. 

Depending on how devoted each individual participant is to tracking down the game, it could take centuries - or even several thousand years - to track down the game. That's assuming everyone checks all their coordinates, too; there's an equal chance that someone gives up and the game is lost to time forever. 

Direct X 12 And Unity V Are Ready For Production

The Unity V Engine wasn't the only new piece of software to make its debut at this years GDC.  Microsoft also took to the stage last week to announce the next iteration of DirectX: DirectX 12. Unity aside, this is easily the most exciting piece of news for anyone who's ever played a game on the PC. While DirectX 12 doubtless brings to the table an incredible set of technical features and improvements, the one everyone seems most excited about is its capacity for low level graphics programming. I'll spare you folks the technical details, and simply say that this is something you should definitely be excited about, as it basically means your systems graphics performance will go through the roof.

DirectX 12 has a targeted release date of Christmas 2015, about a year and a half away.  Look forward to it, folks.

Keynotes And Interviews Worth Watching

I'll leave you all with a short list of the most fascinating, enlightening, and well-thought-out keynotes featured at this years Game Developers Conference. If you're an innovator in the video game space - an aspiring designer, developer, or programmer - you owe it to yourself to read up on at least a few. A full list can be found here, in addition to some of the videos shared below: