GDC is over; I'm over my cold; it's now spring break. Time to finally talk about what happened!
At first I was really stressed out about GDC and having to work all week at it as a CA (Conference Associate). This is my last semester at school so I have a poop load of things to do. I have my thesis that I have to finish, my Spring Show submissions, and I'm working on 7 separate productions (hey, that's 5 less than last semester!). I did need a week to get away from it all though so even though I was freaking out, GDC was perfect.
GDC was amazing. While CTN is great for inspiration, I felt that GDC was super amazing for networking. Part of it was because GDC is a week long conference and is located in downtown San Francisco so there would be a bunch of after parties and such where you can go and meet people. The other part is the Conference Associate program, that I attended GDC as, where the 400 people who volunteer to work the conference are also professionals in the industry and really love being a CA due to the conference and the community that it has created. It also helped that I said "screw it with shyness and comfort levels, I'm going to go meet people" and since I knew practically nothing about game development and I would just go "I know nothing, tell me everything about you and what you do".
I've been wary of the games industry because it felt like another pipeline, another world, something that I don't quite fit into. It was amazing to see how the technology is developing, as I sat in a panel about Unity and global illumination and rendering, and it was exciting to hear that studios are beginning to look at lighting as a separate position instead of something that an environment artist does. I learned that I would fall into either a character artist or an environment artist category. I learned exactly what localization does and it is beyond just translations.
I met so many awesome people. My fellow CAs were all great and it was amazing getting to know them on a personal level as each night we would all just hangout in the lounge chatting or playing games. I got to play a lot of Super Smash, I learned how to play Witch Hunt and Joust. I particularly enjoyed that people know what I'm talking about when I say Munchkin and I don't have to explain that it's a card game parody of RPGs.
One of my favorite parts of GDC is that it's not a bunch of animators! Love you all but I want more variety. It is especially interesting to see that in games animators aren't the kings of the pipeline, instead they're just like everybody else to serve the game design.
I initially signed up for a bunch of after parties but I really only went to handful of them. Free food and open bar! The most important ones that I went to was Riot and Blizzard. I got to talk to some awesome people there and really network.
I used up the last of my business cards at GDC so it's time to design some new ones!
I was hoping to come away from GDC being even more inspired and create more work, which I kind of was, but I am more so now impatient to graduate and get a job in the industry to work with such amazing people.