Many of you may have returned, some have taken a few days to continue visiting. In my return to Uruguay, I am still thinking how it can pass, so fast and so intense, five days like these. For those who did not have the opportunity to be, I would like to share what was my experience on my first GDC.
The first moments in GDC are lived with much anxiety. One feels overwhelmed by all the things you can see and do. One must familiarize as fast as possible with the event, talks, key places, etc. It feels like the first time a child visit Disney.
The best for someone who starts at GDC, is to reduce the anxiety as fast as possible. Walking and recognize the Moscone Center and visit some of the stands to remember what is in each place. To warm up, the best is to exchange some cards(no matter with who), to then take it more relaxed.
As Fritz Benedict mentioned in this article, the GDC is a "long marathon" and not a "race", so do not despair wanting to go to every place (is practically impossible). Even the parties after the days of the event, you don´t need to go to all, every day. Stay resting for the next day is not at all a waste of time.
It is very important to make a good research prior to the event. Maybe take time but it is better to invest it before than losing at the time of the event. There are very interesting talks and several coincide in time, so if one does not has decided before, time is wasted in choosing and find out where it is. For these cases it is best to made a list with a first filter previously of talks you want to go and then choose one of those. Always look for losing the least time possible to be unconcerned about these things. It is also important to have a schedule with the talks that interest you and combine them in your own agenda with the previously coordinated meetings. That way you avoid missing interesting talks.
With te "all access pass" one has access to recorded talks but it is always more interesting if you make time and be present directly. Even at the end of each talk, one can exchange your personal card with the speaker to keep in touch or to expand more information. All speakers are always open to stay chatting with you after the talk.
But it is not only important research work by itself. In my case I have the luck of having learned experiences of my mentor Fernando Sansberro of Batovi Games, a developer with over 10 years experience in the video game industry. I also had the chance to share the stay with the developers of Kef Sensei Games Studio (now in its 5th consecutive participation in the GDC). Learn from the experiences of the experts, for those who started in this industry and do not have so much path traveled, these learnings from experts are invaluable, both of them, as other colleagues you meet at GDC.
One of the most interesting advice I received, was one of Rami Ismail, during his stay in Uruguay, and is that "if you wake up at 3 in the morning with a bucket of ice water, the first thing you have to say is the pitch of your game in three sentences". From that advice, I had not stop practicing and repeating myself all the time my pitch. It seems obvious, but I have had the chance to hear some pitches that delayed at least 10 minutes to explain.
On of the major achievement, in my first GDC, had the opportunity to Touch Arcade make an article about the game we are developing "Disco Party".
Another great thing I checked, is the ability to make new friends and contacts due to the good availability of all. I doubt there some other industries exist such kind of availability either, developer, artist, investor, publisher, etc. I have to hear one of the most rare and excellent icebreaker someone told me when recharged my battery cell in a corner, "Hey, you're from China?". Taking the case, that there should not be a place farther than Uruguay from China, I have to mention that my eyes are really big to be from China, but despite my negative answer, it was inevitably end up talking and exchanging business cards. So for the next occasion you not be encouraged to talk to the guy is next to, you are wasting your time (and money). On the other hand, there are also those parties, where drinking many beers ends up being counterproductive. Nobody wants to to talk with someone passed drinks. At the end of the day you go with the aim of achieve a network of business contacts. With one drink is more than good.
I think it is more than obvious that the GDC is the place where you must pilgrimage once a year if you want to be a professional game developer. So I am definitely have to go the following year.
I probably forgot to tell about several topics about my experience at GDC but I would like to know how was your experience! See you next year!
GV Game Developer