Tech.Ed ‘05 is going hoff, and I’ve had so many great conversations over the past three days, I wish I had a permanently embedded podcast recording device in my head!

But among all the exhibition booths with perfectly manicured sales reps and impressively complicated yet visually engaging flow charts, I found two dudes who blew my mind; Dustin Hulm and Tim Grant, from team Dystopia.

Dystopia is a multi-player PC game based on the very popular Half-Life 2 game engine; to try and do the game justice on my blog post would be lame, so I encourage everyone to check out the teasers, and give the demo a test drive when it’s released.

But what I really got from Dusty and Tim was their immense sense of enthusiasm. I mean, Dusty quit his job and has been working on Dystopia full time for two years (or more) and Tim recently did the same. These guys aren’t getting paid phat cash (they’re not getting paid full stop), aren’t recognized by any cool awards, don’t have a parking spot in a tier one office somewhere, but put massive hours every day into developing Dystopia. Why do they do it? Because they love it!

And what’s even more impressive, past the sheer coding wizardry these guys are able to conjure within the IDE, is the way they run their distributed development project. They have a team that is truly global, yet manage to release a new build of their software daily for testers to perform UAT, while maintaining a 24/7 revolving code base!! Unreal! As I said to them, commercial developers and games developers have so much to learn and share from one another!

Being a Developer Evangelist though, I was popped to hear Dusty say he used and loved Visual Studio to do his development; being someone who appreciates the effort these guys expend on this kind of development made me proud they use our tool to do the damage!

The other thing I got from the guys was how evolved the whole games publishing network has become. They explained the steam concept to me, and how buying your games via steam on-line actually results in better remuneration for the developers, again, awesome!

So make sure you support these guys; their enthusiastic, their motivated, and they’ve made a ripper of a game, and for $15 you can download it from steam! What more could you want!?