The After GDC Glow

Last week I attended my first Game Developers Conference, and I guess the best way to start the recap is to say that I had a blast!

The Independent Games Summit was full of different groups of indies. Some knew each other from TIGSource. Others have been around forever. And since we’re all indies, we each had our own unique story and reason for being there. Even so, it felt as if everyone knew each other and were fairly supportive. It was like a very odd yet loving family.

I only had a Summit & Tutorials pass since it seemed to be in the sweet spot between the too-expensive All Access Pass and the “let’s hang out with people who want to find a job at the Career Pavilion” Expo pass. While I couldn’t attend a lot of the cool talks and panels in the later half of the week, I was still able to attend any of the summits.

At one point, I skipped out on the IGS summit for an AI summit talk on pathfinding. James Anhalt of Blizzard talked about the pathfinding problems of StarCraft 2, Alexander Kring of Nihilistic focused on Heroes on the Move, and Nathan Sturtevant from the University of Denver worked on Dragon’s Age: Origins. They each gave a glimpse into the tech behind the games, and the Q&A session at the end made me laugh because it was almost all complaints about StarCraft.

If I would have attended the Google Android Day tutorials, I apparently could have received a free Google device. I didn’t, but I got to see the long line for the tutorials that morning. It’s kind of the same, right?

On the other hand, I did sign up for an Intel AppUp event with Mike “PoV” Kasprzak and Phil “philhassey” Hassey and received this baby:

My New Intel-provided, Meebo-based Tablet

It’s a Meebo-based EXOPC Slate! I finally got a cool consumer electronics device!

The best part of GDC was meeting everyone I’ve only ever spoken to on IRC or on web forums. Whether I was having lunch, standing in line, or walking to a session, there was always someone’s name to call out to and say “Hey! I recognize you from your online avatar!”

I briefly met Leigh Alexander, Drew Sikora, Ian Schreiber, Noah Falstein, and Derek Yu. I met game developers I’ve talked to on the Indie Gamer forums and in the #ludumdare IRC channel. I met game developers I’ve only heard about in passing.

The IGDA booth with Corvus Elrod and company!

And I got to hug Corvus Elrod of Zakelro! Don’t forget to vote for the 2011 IGDA board!

The Ludum Dare meetup was fun and had a good turnout:

Ludum Dare meetup

Ludum Dare meetupLudum Dare meetupLudum Dare meetup

There were so many of us, we needed multiple tables!

And here’s a link to a bunch of us wearing LD48 shirts.

And one action shot of PoV eating:

PoV eats!

I was finally able to attend the Independent Games Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards.

The IGF/GDCA at GDC

Congratulations to Mojang for winning five awards between the two events, including the Seamus McNally Grand Prize in the IGF!

At the end of the week, we had the Ludum Dare Jam at Noisebridge, a really cool hacker space.

Ludum Dare Jam at NoisebridgeLudum Dare Jam at Noisebridge

And an action video of Phil Hassey sleeping:

I had to leave the jam early and get on a plane the next morning, but I definitely want to do GDC next year! Heck, two days into it, I half wanted GDC to be over so I could get back home and make games sooner!

In the meantime, what was your favorite part of GDC?

This post was scheduled to be published at a time when I will not be able to access the computer. I’ll respond to comments when I return at the end of the month.

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