I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at a NDA-level game development conference in Bellevue. While 99.9% of what I saw at the conference was under NDA, there were some minor tidbits that aren't, and I'm going to quickly comment on what I can.
First off, it was great meeting a lot of the people at Microsoft who make game development on Windows such a compelling development environment. These guys were all extremely knowledgable about their craft and knew their stuff. Plus, it was great to be able to ask questions to the people who are actually developing their stuff.
Second, the most impressive demo (at least to me) was also (unfortunately) the most ignored one. All I can say is watch this space soon.
Third, I was kind of shocked by how much of an impression I've made. I met a few people who are now Microsoft employees working on various and sundry products who decided to shoot for Microsoft after seeing my presentation that I had made to the SIGDA chapter at the University of Utah. I met people who are still using tools I wrote three years ago. I met a good 40 people who knew about and read my blog regularly.
Fourth, if you haven't been using PIX for Windows, start. It's moved from being nearly useless to being almost on par with the Xbox version. Admittedly, the Xbox version can do some nifty things, but the Windows version actually gets some extra useful features.
Fifth, whoever was running up and down the hallway on the 20th floor of the Hyatt Regency pounding on the doors can kiss my ass. Actually, as far as prices go, even the Hyatt Regency can kiss my ass. Four dollars for a bottle of water...
Sixth, it was great going out to dinner with Andy from The Z-Buffer. Because my co-workers hadn't seen much of the area, he ran us around and gave us the 50-cent tour. In exchange, I treated him to a semi-decent dinner at a local restaurant. We didn't get to talk much about Managed DirectX, but we had a good chat.
Seventh, managed code and Managed DirectX are making headway in game development. I wasn't the only one asking questions targeted towards managed code and MDX development. There were several companies that have already moved large chunks of their production pipelines to managed code due to the speed of development and ease of maintenance, and some that were developing content creation tools using MDX. I'm currently using both managed code and MDX in the testing tools that I create.
And finally, a note to the conference staff: It's rather silly to give us the documentation in a physical format that was allowed to be disabled in a recent update to Windows.