If I say ‘it was exactly like I expected it to be’, that sounds underwhelming – but I’d spoken to enough people about GDC beforhand that I knew what to expect from my first time attending, and it was really good. It was nice not being one of the people reading about it all happen on Twitter for a change.
I tried to go to a variety of talks, ones that would be better seeing in person than watching on the vault, though I didn’t spend too much time in these since I can watch them later and wanted to do a variety of things with my time. There were several good ones on math for games programming, although calculus at 10am on a Monday is pushing my concentration limits! Liam‘s panel on networking was really good, as were some of the talks on diversity, such as Rami and Farah‘s panel on Muslim representation in games. I loved Nina Freeman’s talk on her game Cibele, which I’ll have to try properly sometime soon.
The timetabling was a bit confusing – the way the sessions were organised seemed to be different each day with stuff happening all over the place, and it was a bit tricky to work out my schedule sometimes. There were just so many talks happening at once all the time that it was almost overwhelming, and it seems like it might be tough to decide and schedule if one were attending without vault access!
Earlier this month I travelled to San Francisco with Aspen for GDC. We allowed five days before the conference and three days afterward for sightseeing (and getting over jetlag). The flight over was pretty empty, so we had entire rows to ourselves to sleep on.
We had initially booked a hotel quite a ways away from the conference centre, and somehow didn’t notice until two days before leaving that it’s an unsafe place in an unsafe neighbourhood. Thankfully we were able to get a refund on that, but the only decent places available on such short notice were really expensive. So we just had to suck it up, and ended up in a four-star hotel half a block from the conference… our bank balances are not happy about it but at least it was a nice stay in a convenient spot.
I’m not sure exactly what I expected from SF, but it’s a nice place. It feels quite similar to Melbourne (much moreso than London, which is the only other overseas city I’ve spent significant time in), except the buildings are bigger and everything’s a bit more epic. The streetcars, variety of food, shopping, even the way people dress, were a lot like home. It was pouring with rain on the day we arrived, which continued right up until the start of GDC and resumed a day after it finished. So almost all of our sightseeing was done under umbrellas, but we planned out our days and made the most of it.
A lot’s happened over the last year – I’ve been working at Tin Man Games since April 2015, coding their biggest project yet. Tin Man is located in a Melbourne co-working space called The Arcade, and it’s been absolutely amazing to be there, getting to know the best local people in game dev.
Courtesy of the GDAA, I’m heading over to San Francisco in a couple of days to attend GDC and meet many more excellent people. Really looking forward to this.
I also started going by a different name a few months ago, and the people in the industry here have been so incredibly good and welcoming about it. After having worked at a cinema for a long time, it’s been great working in a place where I can completely be myself.
Hair’s currently blue and pink, so look for that if you wanna catch up at GDC :)