Can't make it to the DIGITAL NATIONZ expo? We're updating through the weekend with pics from the show floor.
Can't make it to the DIGITAL NATIONZ expo in Auckland, or want to know what to expect when you get here later on? We're updating through the weekend with pics and comments from the show floor. Follow us on Twitter ([[xref:http://twitter.com/nzpcworld|@NZPCWorld]]) for update notifications and links straight to the latest images.
The VIP lounge, at twenty-to-ten on Saturday morning, is unsurprisingly empty. Though the event opens to the public at 10:00AM, VIPs had access from 9:00AM.
When the alcohol is flowing (it IS a bar, after all) and George FM's DJ is playing, we'd hope to see a bit of a crowd in here.
Before the doors opened to the public, we took a look at the little digital art exhibition that wasn't open when we [[artnid:527660|previewed the expo]] on Friday.
Art from several game developers is on display, but we were most interested in the 3D printed sculptures of characters and in-game models.
Forget DNA from mosquitoes trapped in amber, John Hammond. We'll just 3D PRINT ourselves a park full of dinosaurs.
Tiny, tiny dinosaurs.
It's a ship, of the space-faring variety. Pity pure-white objects don't exactly photograph brilliantly, or you could see that better for yourself.
Um... are you quite sure you're sufficiently well armed?
At ten, the crowd came streaming in. Well, 'streaming' might be a bit of an exaggeration. There were certainly people queuing outside, but it was no Armageddon. Small beginnings and all that.
The [[artnid:527667|History of Consoles/Computers]] area was getting a fair bit of foot traffic when we stopped by just after ten. Overheard was a mix of young voices perplexed by the older gaming systems and computers, and slightly older voices reminiscing over the tech, predicting what would appear further down the chronologically-ordered table, and offering explanations to the confused youngsters.
Saturday is a day for robot wars. Tomorrow, this space will be taken over by Kim Dotcom as he fights his own virtual battles. More on the robots to come.
The show floor is beginning to fill up, with the expected queues for hands-on time with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (extreme left).
Food choices are fairly limited to the less-fancy upstairs area, and slightly-fancier-but-pricey bar downstairs. Expect queues.
Yes, Red Bull is available at the usual extortionate $5 per 250mL can.
Feel like getting yourself scanned via a Microsoft Kinect (the PC dev kit variety) and then 3D printed? The same setup seen here was used at Microsoft's TechEd conference earlier this month, and the results are startlingly good.
We're not sure what it takes to get yourself immortalised in plastic here at the expo - details to follow.
That [[artnid:527667|History of Consoles/Computers]] exhibition we did a whole slideshow on yesterday? Yeah, the queue goes 'around the block', so to speak. You made it popular online, and today we're finding it's even more popular in the flesh. Well, in the plastic and silicon.
The queue into Microsoft's R18 game zone at the Xbox One display is truly fearsome. The R13 zone's queue is similar in length. Be prepared for a loooooong wait.
Sony doesn't seem to have drummed up quite the same queue for the PlayStation 4 as Microsoft has for the Xbox One, but there's not really that much in it. Not enough to decide the latest-gen console war, anyway.
Robot wars: one of the ball-collecting contestants out of play.
Robot wars: competitor on the workbench. Roboticists sure come young these days, but we can't argue their competence.
The robots in use here are all built from generic metal stock: will 3D printing offer a more flexible, customisable alternative to hobbyist and student robot builders in future?
The VIP zone is nearly empty, but the arcade machines are getting a good workout and for the 18+ crowd, there's beer on tap.
George FM is providing the beats for the VIP ticket holders, organisers and media, with an on-site DJ.
Robot wars in action: battling for balls.
Robots must collect the small balls and drop them into the clear tubes, as shown extreme right (see three blue balls in a stack). A larger ball can be placed on top of the tube for bonus points.
The competing robots are remotely controlled by human operators, one team shown on the left.
Dotcom vs. 100 commenced at 9:15am on Sunday, 45 minutes before the expo opened to the public. This gave VIP ticket holders (who could enter at 9:00) an early chance to face the CoD:MW3 megastar.
Three VIP players chat whilst waiting in line to face Dotcom in CoD.
A crowd quickly gathered around the Dotcom vs. 100 stage. Note the dividers between screens to prevent screen-watching. Only players, staff and media were allowed on-stage, so all pictured here fall into that category somehow.
Dotcom provided opponents with a tough challenge, despite his marathon gaming session of 9:15am to 5:45pm with only a single break to appear in a discussion panel.
Note the mega-gamer's substantial candy supply (top of frame).
The line to enter DIGITAL NATIONZ was impressive when the event opened to the public at 10:00am on Sunday, though it was a slower start than Saturday.
Kim Dotcom in his element, with [presumably super-comfy] gaming chair and lap blanket.
Attendees at DIGITAL NATIONZ got to see a different side of the megapersonality, who is most widely known in New Zealand for his involvement with Megaupload and now Mega, rather than his history as a world-champion Call of Duty player.
Just after opening proved a good time to check out the Telecom-sponsored 'homegrown games' stand, where New Zealand developers were showcasing their products and projects.
It's amazing to see the quality and range of games coming out of our own backyard, particularly in the mobile (tablet and smartphone) space.
The Dotcom vs. 100 area (shown to the right) was barricaded off from the general audience, thanks to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's R16 classification.
\Attendees wishing to view the action could climb up into the stands behind the stage, to watch Dotcom and his opponents' screens. We did see a few decidedly-not-16 fans in the audience, but we assume they were all accompanied by an adult guardian.
All of the Dotcom vs. 100 matches were recorded, with video cameras trained on both players.
The view from the stands was great - we took this shot from the Dotcom side as the seating to our left was packed, but patient fans could find themselves a seat over to the opponent's side or in the centre between the two.
It's clear after just a few minutes (and moreso after a full day) that Dotcom's skill with an Xbox controller is legendary.
Disclaimer: Author is a PC gamer, and exhibits as much finesse with a console controller as a cat does with a plastic bag.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 stands both enjoyed large Sunday crowds - choosing not to capitalise on our media pass out of sympathy for a couple of non-media chums, we waited 40 minutes in line to watch a short gameplay demo of the upcoming Watch Dogs.
Though displaying the occasional frown of concentration, Dotcom played most of his hundred-plus games with a gleeful smile.
Telecom's Troy Rawhiti-Forbes, formerly a prominent games journalist for The New Zealand Herald, takes on Dotcom and, like the rest of the megalord's competition, is summarily slaughtered.
Quite the queue developed around Dell's Alienware stand, where several gaming laptops and the company's 'Alienware Pod' were set up as a playable display.
We didn't catch anyone falling over or becoming violently ill when exposed to the Oculus Rift VR headset, but this one chap did have to grab the table for support when riding a virtual rollercoaster.
An unidentified player takes on Dotcom from the opponents' chair.
Though the day full of 1v1 (one-versus-one) games were played on the smallest maps available, most of the gameplay still involved one player finding the other.
Another Dotcom vs. 100 opponent tries his luck.
Mega concentration from both players, but once again Dotcom proved the victor.
Later in the day, megapopular gaming commentator Craig 'Arseynimz' Nimmo took the stage behind Dotcom to provide a lively commentary.
Serious concentration from the final gamer to face Kim Dotcom as the expo wrapped up on Sunday.
The last gamer of the day, presently known only as Caleb, provided stiff competition and ultimately defeated Dotcom during a rematch from a tied game earlier on Sunday.
Dotcom congratulates the winning player, who walked away with an LG television and entertainment system. According to an event organiser on Twitter today, the winner is still owed an Xbox One "+ more".
Caleb, the winning player poses, with Kim Dotcom. The challenger stated he had been training for two weeks for the competition, which fell on his birthday.
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