Jason and I are back from GDC and already we are planning our triumphant return! The event hosted about 23,000 successful and aspiring game developers and the environment was electric. We came back energized and full of ideas to make BBG a better all around company. Since our laptop broke on day two, we did not get to do any daily posts as promised, but I’ll recap each day here so everyone can experience the greatness that was GDC!
Day 1 – Denver 5am MDT – Time to get up and get going. We quickly headed to the airport for our 8am flight. We needed to arrive early because we were flying standby and our seats were therefore not guaranteed. (Big shout out to our dear friend Chris Combs who provided the passes! The trip would not have been possible without his help.) Arrival and security at DIA was uneventful and we reached our gate about an hour and a half early and checked in. The attendant told us we would be called when our seat was assigned. We grew nervous as they began boarding the plane and we had heard nothing as to our status. There was also a crowd of people standing around who looked like they might be on the standby list as well. After watching everyone else board, we started to talk about what to do… then it happened: our names (or at least my name and a horrible butchering of Jason’s last name as queens-something) were called. We were elated and quickly boarded and, on our way to the tunnel, we heard someone behind us ask about their seat only to be told that there were no more available; we nabbed the last two seats on the plane! Two hours of smooth flying later we landed in San Fran. We hopped on the next train to our hotel in Oakland (Another shout out, this one to Darrin Rosenberg, for helping us book an affordable hotel!) We dropped our stuff and headed back to San Fran and arrived around 1pm PDT. After a quick lunch, we grabbed our passes and began to soak in all the awesome! First stop was the expo floor where companies and developers could show off their stuff. We chatted with the Amazon Web Service people and got amazing help from one of their reps. We also grabbed some other flyers for stuff we thought was cool or could help us grow BBG. There was also the super packed IGF pavilion where all the sweet indie games that were nominated for awards could be played. Before we knew it, day 1 of the expo was over and we had about an hour before the Independent Games Festival Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards were scheduled to start, so we chilled for a bit and headed over to the awards. It was packed! We ended up sitting in the back but still had a great time watching some established and great up and coming companies win for their amazing work. Hosts Andy Schatz and Tim Schafer were entertaining and the ceremony was fun. On the way out we ran into our friend Dylan Jones and made plans to meet up the next day. Back to the hotel and sleep. Day 1 complete.
Day 2 – Up early and off to Frisco! We grabbed a light breakfast and then checked out GDC Play where some other indie games were on display. There was some cool stuff there to check out and before we knew it, it was lunch time. We met up with Dylan for lunch and chatted about everything GDC. Afterwards, we tried to plan what to do next. We were about to wander the expo floor again when Dylan texted us and said to head to the garden for some unorganized indie developer talks. This was one of the highlights of the whole trip. Since Jason and I couldn’t get into many lectures with the passes we had, this was a great opportunity to get to learn from some of the industry greats. It was a large gathering of developers who could sign up to talk for 5-10 minutes about anything they wanted. We got to hear some great stuff in a variety of topics. We spent the rest of the day there soaking up everything we could. Since there was no after GDC activity planned like the previous night, we decided to hang out and try to find one of the legendary GDC parties. While waiting to hear if we could make into a party we met a new friend Wilson Leong of Binary Rebellion. We spent the next hour or so chatting and sharing about our ups and downs as small time companies. We then decided to try and take the party situation into our own hands. The three of us headed to where Blizzard was partying and tried, unsuccessfully, to make it in. We took this as a sign and headed back to the Hotel. Day 2 Complete, almost. Back at the hotel room, Jason managed to bend a hinge on the laptop wrong and took out the screen. No more computer!
Day 3 – Day 3 was a little more laid back as everything was winding down. We slept in a little and planned the day out over breakfast. We discovered that there were actually some lectures available to us that day so we make that the plan of action. The first lecture was a how to get a game programming job workshop with a panel of people in the industry. It was cool to hear these people speak to their experiences and successes working as game programmers. We then hit the expo floor again, this time a little less overwhelmed, and made sure to converse more and grab up as much swag as we could to bring back to our Colorado friends. Unfortunately, being Friday, most of the good stuff was gone. Soon, it was time for the last lecture of the day: a super cool Post Mortem on three sweet indie games. Penny Arcade 3, Dys4ia and Ziggurat. Each developer took a turn describing their experience of creating a game beginning to end. It was super inspiring to see people who were where we are not so long ago, and just like that, the convention was over. We decided to take it easy and just grab a drink with Dylan after. During drinks we met another new friend Laurent Lavigne creator of McDroid. We had a great chat about our companies and upcoming games. It was a great way to cap the convention.
All in all we had a great time and learned a lot. Can’t wait to go back and experience even more!
Tony P BBG