Although Screen Burn Arcade officially opened its doors today, Saturday is when attendance is expected to blow up. As one exhibitor said, "Today is for setting up and testing everything for tomorrow."
The event, which is housed at the Austin Convention Center on 500 E. Cesar Chavez, is open from the public from Noon - Six both Saturday and Sunday and is definitely worth checking out if you're interested in learning about local development studios along with experiencing some of the more interesting aspects of digital media design (read: The Art Department exhibit on the Massive Black stage).
I stopped by earlier this afternoon to meet some of the exhibitors and get my hands on the various technologies on display at the Screen Burn Arcade. Here's a list of the must see exhibits.
Axelo Bat controller - This is probably going to be a fan favorite and get the most attention out of the local exhibitors. The Bat is the world's leading motion sensing controller for PC gaming and is capable of being used in place of a keyboard and mouse when paired with the proper program. David Murray of Axelo Inc. was kind enough to give me a display of their hardware on the big screen and I'll admit, turning an actual game controller (not a Wiimote) brought a smile to my face. Axelo is running a special SXSW promo through the weekend on their webpage. By entering the code X43B9 you can get two Bats for the price of one (retails for $99.99) or buy one controller for $69.99 if you pick it up at the Arcade exhibit.
Platinum Life: Web Edition - Local developer Heatwave Interactive is showcasing their new facebook game Platinum Life and giving out goodies including a mixtape of featured artists and exclusive SXSW in game content if you create a character in person.
Iverse Comics - Created locally, this app is taking comic books and placing them into your iPhone and other portable devices. The system works very similar to iTunes making it very easy to navigate owned comics and works surprisingly nicely on the iPhone. Iverse Media has working demos on both the iPhone and PSP at the Arcade.
3D Squared - Local educator Spencer Zuzolo has an informational booth set up to showcase information of his summer Game Camp! events (for profit) along with Digital Worforce Intensive and Capstone Conference (not for profit). The gist of this is simple, use video games to teach people how to make their own games and about the creative process surrounding other media outlets. As Spencer said, if you can make a game you can make a webpage or a movie. If you have any interest in game develop this is a booth you definitely want to spend some time at.
Game Salad - The local team from Gendai Games is set up giving demonstrations on how anyone can use Game Salad to create their own games. Make sure to ask them about success stories, it might just be the motivation needed to spark some new one-man studios here in Austin.
Rock Band Network - Harmonix, the company who created Guitar Hero and Rock Band, is showcasing their newest console endeavor The Rock Band Network which allows musicians and bands to upload their songs for anyone to play on Rock Band. This will probably be the most frequented exhibit as patrons can take the stage and rock out to all the songs they love and those they've never heard of.