Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 5, 2012
It’s GDC week this week. This always makes me a little sad. I miss going, even though it’s been over a decade since I last attended. One day I’ll go back. Maybe when Rampant Games is making enough money to justify the trip.
I don’t know if I’d even recognize GDC from what it was in the 1990s. It was transforming a lot in the 1990s as well. It seemed like my first GDC, in the spring of 1995, was something of the tail end of a transformation into something different. That was the last year it “felt small” I guess. After that, the “hospitality night” of suite-hopping died out, and the expo floor became a much bigger deal instead.
I commented to a colleague once that GDC was 10% educational and 90% inspirational. It was a great chance to meet up with friends in the industry, and to get an idea for what direction the winds of industry and technology were blowing – since stuck in our cubicles we sometimes had trouble seeing what was beyond the latest Playstation dev kit update. At the time I didn’t think I was learning that much that was truly ‘brand new,’ but many of the panels really helped me open my mind up to different approaches to doing what I was doing. The inspiration was what pushed me to learn more, long after I’d returned home. The inspiration often came from just chatting with people on the expo floor instead of in the lectures.
And really, GDC was exhausting but just a lot of fun. I’m pretty much at the mid-point on the introversion / extroversion scale, so the big crowds really don’t thrill me much. But hanging out with people who were just as passionate about making games, and even more knowledgeable than I am – THAT is what was always so exciting for me.
We’ve talked about doing something with the popular Utah Indie Night group to create our own mini-GDC with an indie twist. Something like a single day of talks / workshops. I’d love to see that. But as these things go, if you really want to see something like that, you also have to be willing to ante up and do the work required to make it happen. I haven’t done that yet. But reading about how the GDC got its start, it doesn’t seem like it needs much. And honestly, I think I’d prefer a smaller and more intimate setting. Indie nights help a lot (the next one, BTW, is March 29th, Utah readers!) to scratch that itch, but I would like the feeling of something with a more professional slant.
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