Day 1: SimHQ at E3 2013

by Erik “EinsteinEP” Pierce

It’s only the end of Day 1 of E3 2013 and it’s already been a completely amazing time.

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Connectivity at the event has been horrendous – bad wifi at an Electronic Entertainment Expo seems unfathomable, but Chunx, SeanManly, and myself were fathoming with our mobile devices all day trying to get “live” tweets, pics, and vids out to our folks.  Between the spotty signals and gazillion users all trying to cram into what little wifi/3G/4G bandwidth was available, just sending a simple tweet was like pulling teeth.

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E3 spreads across all 720,000+ sq ft of the LA Convention Center with booths, kiosks, galleries, stands, posters, and displays of all kinds.  The displays are almost like an arms race – each vendor trying to out do the other in terms of visual and aural assault on the attendees.

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It’s not all just fluff, though.  This year, both Microsoft and Playstation announced their new consoles (Xbox One and Playstation 4) and real hardware was on the floor to see and try.

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Vendors pull all sorts of tricks to increase attention to their products.

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Although the E3 floor was more or less dominated by mobile games and hardware, there were more than a few exhibitors we wanted to get in touch with.  Due to the vast expanse of the show (did I mention it was spread over 720,000 sq ft?), we focused on the West Hall today, and had three meetings.

505 Games – Takedown: Red Sabre

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TAKEDOWN: Red Sabre’s Creative Director Christian Allen took time to meet up with us and discuss this latest tactical shooter and it was apparent, from the start, that he has a sincere and deep passion and excitement for this game and this genre.  TAKEDOWN: Red Sabre isn’t a Call of Duty or Halo style shooter – a single round can take you out or seriously injure you.  Rounds don’t just penetrate some materials (like that wooden wall), but different rounds have different penetration strength.  Cooperative team play is key to the game and the missions are designed for squad-based operations.  It’s not clear, yet, what the final AI will look like, but Christian repeatedly assured us that quality was his priority.  TAKEDOWN is currently planned to be released on Steam, no word yet if there will be other distribution methods (like direct download).  Christian also gave us feedback that his Kickstarter event was what allowed them to build their game.  Very cool to hear a success story like this one.

Playseat

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Next we met with Justin King of Playseat who walked Chunx and SeanManly through the Playseat Challenge – a deceptively simply looking gaming seat that’s easy to setup and teardown.  Photos simply don’t the chair any justice – the materials are all very high quality, the chair is extremely sturdy, and, while it may look cramped, is actually quite roomy and comfortable.

I lamented that the chair was obviously designed for racing games and Justin and I got into a great discussion about their Playseat Air Force seat for flight sims.  They didn’t have a model on the floor to look at, but I was able to see some pics of it.  I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if the bolt pattern on their joystick base matched up with the Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS and Justin said he’d meet up with TM to check it out.  It just might be time to reorganize the “man cave” to make space for a gaming seat!

MadCatz

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We had the privilege of sitting down with Mad Catz VP Whitney Peterson and Project Manager Tom Di iullo to chat about their controllers.  We touched briefly on their new mobile controller (looks just like an Xbox 360 controller but works with mobile devices) and their gaming keyboards and mice, but talk quickly turned to flight controllers.  They less than subtly hinted that they have a collective controller in the works (omgomgomgomg) but also subtly hinted that they have some other new and exciting items coming.  I wasn’t able to press them into giving me more details, but I did press a bunch of my business cards in their hands.  I’m hoping we’ll hear more soon.

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Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

 

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