Gamer's Day Report: Big Screens and Fast Machines!

Gamer's Day Report: Big Screens and Fast Machines!

I chugged down to Dogpatch Studios yesterday for HP's Gaming Summit -- a wonderful mix of free food, ass-numbing presentations, and awesome technology. In terms of the former, the event had a pleasant mix of mini-cheeseburgers, mini-meatballs, and other press-junket delicacies that were delightfully fulfilling for their tiny proportions. You bet!

But the real meat of the evening (ha-ha-ha) came during a presentation given by the ever-eclectic Rahul Sood. The former leader of VoodooPC waxed poetic about Voodoo's new place amongst HP's computing division -- at the top -- while teasing about a fancy new stratification plan to-come. Whereas now, Voodoo rides above HP's general computer line, which rests on top of the widely distributed Compaq line, Sood chatted about HP's plans for expansion into a new gaming market -- one that isn't quite HP general, but not as flashy as Voodoo. And that's as specific as it gets, folks.

Following a brief-but-really-not-brief-at-all panel discussion, which quickly veered from a chat about demographics to "oh em gee, console versus pee cee," the assembled journalists, bloggers, video bloggers, video journalists, multimedia content producers, writers, and human-themed content delivery systems all trotted upstairs for HP's projection-based pony show. But as much as I jest, the three research designs they were showing off were pretty sweet. Super-sweet, even:

Pluribus

In a delicious bit of irony considering the evening's prior discussions, HP had an Xbox 360 providing the gameplay for its Pluribus technology. In short, Pluribus allows you to connect a number of projectors together to seamlessly create a huge-sized viewing screen. It's very similar to the Panoply technology you'll soon be reading about, with the slight difference that Pluribus allows you to smack multiple versions of the displayed images on top of each other. With each projector you add to the mix, the brightness of the picture increases to what can only be described as "awesome levels." Seriously. While HP was rocking a super-bright 12-projector setup, you can totally game on half of that without too much of a loss in levels.

According to Some Random HP Guy I Talked To Whose Name I Did Not Briefly Get, configuring the projectors requires one to submit to the "eyeballing it" approach, which I found rather strange. While the resolution you rock at depends on the quality of said projector, I cannot for the life of me see the fun in trying to perfectly align an image off of multiple projectors. Surely, there has to be some loss in sharpness no matter how keen your vision or how steady your hand. Still, HP's demo looked quite flawless. I was bummed they were playing a boring soccer game, though, as opposed to something far more entertaining.


See that? One seamless image; two projectors; three thumbs up.

Panoply

Not only is this the most fun name ever to pronounce -- say it slowly now. PAAAHN-OHHH-PLEEEEE -- but the technology is remarkably interesting as well. Using Panoply, you can set up a number of projectors to create one giant, seamless image of virtually anything you want. HP was rocking the Quake 4 in a... well... I guess it would be a 2048x768 resolution of-sorts. Keeping in mind, of course, that the individual displays are still set to 1024x768. I relish the day I can throw down on a high-resolution, 180-degree display, and Panoply looks to make my little dream come true. And according to The Other Random HP Guy I Talked To, you can allegedly set up a number of separate monitors within the display itself. So don't worry, Supreme Commander nuts; you can still two-screen to your heart's content.

Misto

I didn't get as much (re: any) hands-on time with Misto as I would have liked, for some random website was filming some news spot about the device. Still, what little I saw was pretty impressive. It's not quite Minority Report, but the Misto-enabled coffee table HP was showing off was akin to a marriage of IKEA and Apple. The giant touch-screen panel, built into said coffee table, allows you to manipulate images, pull up music, and do a variety of simple tasks using... your fingers! I don't even want to envision the eventual price point for this one...

Funny Moment of the Day: The Nvidia guy on Sood's panel, who used "STALKER" as an example of how all the various partners could have worked closer together to create great marketing for the game. Because we all know how well Microsoft, Nvidia, and THQ did with the Vista Quality Assurance part...

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