SIGGRAPH 2011

If you live in Vancouver, this is an exciting week for those who have an interest in computer graphics and/or video games. SIGGRAPH is holding its annual conference in Vancouver. This conference is the most high profile for those doing computer graphics work. For the first time in its almost 40 year history, the main SIGGRAPH conference is being held outside of the United States and Vancouver was the lucky city selected. It is a testament to the Vancouver”s draw as a destination city and the important of the computer graphics work being done here both professionally and academically.

Though I work in the video games industry, computer graphics has never been one of my strengths. Other than some introductory CG courses I took, my understanding of all that shiny stuff is rudimentary. Like most of you, I just get impressed when I see the pretty pictures on screen. From a professional standpoint, conferences like GDC are much more relevant to me as they deal with the other technical aspects of gaming making. Having said, that I certainly jumped at the chance to receive a free pass to SIGGRAPH 2011. Through the fine folks at Autodesk, I got a free ghetto “exhibits”-only pass. This is the most basic pass and you can’t see any of the cool stuff in the conference theatre nor can you attend any seminars or courses. It gets you into the convention centre and you can stroll through the exhibits hall where vendors, schools, and companies have set up shop to get you to notice what they’re trying to sell.

Though the exhibits hall only opens on Tuesday, I went to register and get my conference pass today as it was the first day of the conference and I had time on my hands. I know I paid the low, low price of free for my pass but I got absolutely nothing else with it. At the printing station, they printed out a few things with my registration. One of them was called a “merchandise ticket” with a bar code on it. I saw all these other conference attendees walking around with conference materials so I thought maybe even my own ghetto pass had some free stuff with it. Throwing caution to the wind, I lined up for about ten seconds in the “merchandise” line. When it was my turn, the dude at the counter looked at my ticket and said, “Um, you don’t get anything with your pass.” It was kinda awkward but without missing a beat I said, “Ok then!” and walked out of the registration hall.

I regret nothing.

I’m looking forward to going back on Tuesday and strolling through the exhibits hall.

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