Even though the trip to our first GDC didn’t start out as expected, thanks to the never-to-be underestimated luggage delivery rate at the LAX, it turned out to be an amazing journey into the heart of gaming industry. During the week we got to experience, chat and meet with a variety of the developers behind the top-selling, innovative, and unique games that we have been experiencing throughout our lives.
With the IGDA Scholar -badge hanging around my neck, the overall experience of the GDC2013 was exponentially lifted compared to what it might have been without it. Just to pick out some of the best moments from throughout the week, from which I own a big thanks to my mentor Sheri Rubin for making them happen:
- Meeting one of the former executive directors of the GDC and getting a personal advice from him in things related to our first game in development and how to move forward with it. It was surprising to realize that he found our game to be a brilliant approach on a known genre.
- Having lunch with one of the original Westwood co-founders and the lead designer/producer behind an all-time favorite game of mine: The Blade Runner from 1997. That game is still an engineering masterpiece from the storytelling point-of-view.
These two meetings were just the tip of the iceberg. As I was sitting in the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony on Thursday I suddenly realized that some of the people on the stage being awarded were the ones who sat with us scholars on a lunch on Tuesday on the Scholar/Mentor Lunch. The host of the awards was Tim Schafer himself, who gave us a Q&A at the tour on his studio couple days earlier.
Just some pictures along the way
Of course one of the main things about the GDC is the sessions themselves. We each managed to catch a good amount of them and found them to be extremely interesting and inspiring. Just to mention a few of the best:
- Jesse Schell was on fire telling about the future of storytelling
- Scott Campbell from Double Fine turned a lecture into an interactive character design drawing contest
- Telltale Games told interesting facts about the way players made choices in their award-winning The Walking Dead
- Evan Skolnick gave a full day bootcamp on game narrative, which will most definitely prove useful later
- The importance of live instrumentals alongside with virtual instruments are a great way to enhance the musical experience
These are just to mention some of things that left a mark in our simple minds.
Overall, our first GDC turned out to be even greater experience than we could have ever imagined. We all made some really cool connections and I would definitely recommend the IGDA Scholarship for anyone who dreams about being a game developer or an entrepreneur in the industry. The connections and friends I made during the week are certainly worth the sweaty and restless trip of 38 hours it took us to make it to San Francisco.
Finally, a small piece of advice for the future first time attendees: choose your parties carefully based on do you want to party in a fully packed and earsplitting night club? Or do you want to be able to talk to people? We tried both and decided to focus on latter one from now on. Or perhaps we are just getting old 😉