I've been home from San Francisco 3 days now, and I'm still in bits. My stomach is in knots and my sleeping pattern is completely messed up. But it was totally worth it :-)
It was my first time going to GDC, so I didn't fully know what to expect. Every time someone asked me what I was hoping to gain from it, I wasn't sure how to respond. I just said that I was hoping to learn a thing or two.
And I did. I learned a lot! My schedule for the first 2 days was packed with the talks I thought would be most relevant to me. Like the following, to name just a few:
- Practices in Procedural Generation
- Polishing the Boots - Designing 'Downwell' Around One Key Mechanic
- You Don't Need a F-ing Publisher
- Balancing Accessibility Against Depth in 'Assault Android Cactus'
Some were good. Most were great. It's a fantastic way to spend a week - learning and talking about your craft, with people equally as passionate as you.
It was inspiring too, in a very literal sense. The talk from the Downwell developer got me thinking a lot of Licky Lizard, and provided some solutions to problems that I'm not even sure I was fully aware of before. I'll go into more detail on the specifics of that in a later post.
On the 3rd day, the conference becomes a different beast all together. The big, AAA devs and publishers arrive for the Expo.
Here, I got to play some great upcoming games such as Abzû, Rez Infinite and Severed. I also got to try PlayStation VR for the first time. This was a real highlight. I've heard a lot of talk about VR in the last year, but it truly is an experience that you have to have first-hand to appreciate. I have high hopes for the future of gaming and VR.
Another high point for me was meeting and talking to some of the devs from Media Molecule. I've been a huge fan of their work since LittleBigPlanet, so it was fantastic to discover how down-to-earth and open they were. Whether I was asking them about their previous work, or probing about Dreams, they were always courteous. And Dreams also looks like it's going to be another classic. I can't wait.
At the GDC Play exhibition, tons of indie devs got to showcase their games. Including a whole section dedicated to games with weird and wonderful input devices.
It was hard to return to the "real world". The whole week was truly an eye-opening experience. And it leaves dent in you. "The post-GDC blues", they call it. I can't wait to go back next year :-)