So this year I was very lucky because I got to attend GDC as an indie developer, and as a writer for GameDevTuts+. It was a very fun year where I got to catch up with a bunch of old friends, and learned a lot of awesome things from some very talented people.
My favorite part of the conference, as always, was the Summits and Tutorials, where I got to hear a bunch of different AAA and indie developers talk about what they learned over the past year, or from their most recent projects. One of my favorite talks was Warren Spector’s talk about writing in games. I had originally gone into this talk expecting to hear a lot of great tips like you usually do, but this wasn’t exactly how things went. Apparently he didn’t realize when writing his talk that he only had 30 minutes. Upon discovering this, not long before the talk itself, he decided he would just do his best to say everything he wanted in the 30 minutes he had. The talk was still great despite him having to rush through it, and he talked a lot about pacing and characterization. The talk also ended up being very funny because he wasn’t fully prepared to squeeze everything into the measly 30 minutes he had, and he wasn’t exactly shy about commenting on this fact. The funniest moment was definitely when he was talking and in the middle of his sentence he looks to the guy in the back of the room and says “5 minutes? I seriously only have 5 minutes left? Well that’s just not happening.” Then a minute later, when the man inevitably tried to tell him he now only had four minutes left, he of course said, “I already told you that’s not happening” and declared his victory when the man walked away.
Overall I probably learned the most from all the indie talks and the inspiring stories the developers told. If you want to see some of the best lessons I took away from the talk, check out this article I wrote for GameDevTuts+. The article acts a recap of 9 lessons I thought were really important for indie developers, and covers stuff in the design, development, and business aspects of being an indie dev. While the article is a bit longer than I had intended, I’m very happy with it overall.
I also wrote one about 5 tools/applications I found at GDC that I thought looked very promising. You can find that article here. I’m also really happy with this one and I got a welcome surprise a few days after publishing it when I received the standard post-GDC-mailer from one of the companies which I mentioned in the article, and it included a link to the article. The really awesome part was that neither I nor my editor had mentioned the article to the company, which means they found it and included it in their mailer completely on their own.
Hopefully a job will come of GDC this year, but even if it doesn’t I definitely think this was the best GDC I’ve been to so far since I learned so much. I also got a lot of inspiration from this GDC and hopefully I will be able to put it to good use in the coming months, so keep an eye on the blog and I’ll put out another update soon.