The (Very, Very Long) Wait Begins
QuakeCon 2012, known as the biggest LAN party in North America, brings thousands of gamers from around the world to Dallas, Texas every summer. From the massive bring-your-own-computer event and colorful attendees to the game reveals and panels chock full of industry veterans, this is unquestionably one of the summer's marquee events, nestled nicely between E3 and PAX Prime.
Go To QuakeCon, Win A Mustang
PC hardware and peripherals aside, everyone at QuakeCon wants to win "the big prize," which is always a performance car provided by Ventrilo. Valued at nearly $60 000, this year's prize is a 2013 Ford Mustang GT500.
John Carmack's Annual Keynote
The highlight of every QuakeCon is John Carmack's opening-day keynote. id Software's technical director takes a few hours to talk tech, games, and programming, with this year's keynote focusing on VR headset technology (more on that later).
Panel On Looking Glass Studios
The event isn't all about Carmack, however, as there are plenty of other panels to attend over the course of QuakeCon. "Looking Back at Looking Glass" was a retrospective on Looking Glass Studios, which produced classics like Thief: The Dark Project, Thief 2: The Metal Age, Terra Nova, and Ultima Underworld. From right to left: Harvey Smith (Arkane Studios), Emil Pagliarulo (Bethesda), Tom Leonard (Valve), and Austin Grossman.
GameTrailers TV Bonus Round
Although there's no official outlet for QuakeCon, GT.TV did do a live Bonus Round during the event. The panel focused on the most-anticipated titles expected to launch in what's left of 2012, including Halo 4, Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed 3, and Dishonored. The panel was comprised of (left to right) Arkane Studio's Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter, Penny Arcade Report's Ben Kuchera, and GT.TV's Geoff Keighley.
Virtual Insanity: Discussing VR And Video Games
Perhaps the most hotly-anticipated panel during the show, Virtual Insanity focused on virtual reality, where it has been, and the direction it will (hopefully) go. Palmer Lucky (Oculus), Michael Abrash (Valve), John Carmack, and id Software President Todd Hollenshead discussed the failures of VR during the 1990s (awesome movies like The Lawnmower Man aside) and why now is the time to embrace the technology.
IT'S BACK! Rise Of The Triad Remake, Revealed
My favorite panel, however, had to do with the revival of a game many of us played in the mid-90s called Rise of the Triad. Apogee Software and Interceptor Entertainment are bringing the H.U.N.T. team back for late 2012/Q1 2013, using Unreal Engine 3 tech and the PC as the exclusive platform. The panel's primary message: remaining faithful to the original game is a top priority, Excalibat and all.
John Carmack And The Oculus Rift Prototype
The Oculus Rift VR headset prototype was the crown jewel for QuakeCon 2012. Oculus hardware, paired with John Carmack's software and programming know-how, is a match made in gaming heaven.
Oculus Rift: A New And Amazing Way To Play Games
This prototype, which is one of the few out in the wild, pairs a Logitech headset and a wired Xbox 360 controller. It's recommended that you stand while using the Rift, hence the lack of a keyboard.
Prototyping With Duct Tape
It's a prototype, alright, Oakley headband, duct tape, and all. The internals are a bit more impressive, including pro-grade lab optics and a six-inch 1280x800 LCD display. There are even bits and pieces of a Razer Hydra motion controller in there.
Active Shutter-Free 3D
The Rift uses two images side by side, with no polarized or active shutter glasses, to achieve its aim. The headset's optics send one image to each eye, so the 3D image is as about as natural as it gets. Some folks will still get headaches, but this isn't 3D Vision or HD3D by any means.