Sunday, March 26, 2006

Post-GDC Notes

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Game Developer's Conference (GDC). This was my first professional conference, excluding a MacWorld expo I visited in the mid-late 90's, and was also my first time arranging my own travel plans (in regards to airline tickets, hotel reservations, etc.) Here are my notes, roughly in the order I could think them up:

  • The Lua roundtable on Thursday was excellent. There was a wide range of people there, from console developers looking to shrink the Lua runtime down to well under 100k, to those who were just curious about what Lua was. Some had modified the language and runtime itself (supposedly, it's fairly easy), others had connected Lua to C/C++ in a myriad of ways (either using custom bindings, or SWIG.)

  • Microsoft seems to have good momentum in regards to XBox Live Arcade.

  • Some of the conference rooms were way too small. Room A1, you suck.

  • The Minna Mingle party was a lot of fun. The company I work for, Funkitron (who paid for the trip, thanks again Dave!), had a table there. It was in a weird spot though, on top of a stage in a reasonable-sized auditorium. Well, not quite an auditorium, more like a fancy restaurant from the 20's. The type where gangsters might hang out. Anyhoo, the table's spot seemed to scare people off. Some sort of stage fright thing I suppose. That and it was somewhat separate from the other tables. The party did gave me some time to hang around with Darius Kazemi, who I hope was able to get some good rest over the weekend. Oh, and to whomever brought the copy of Blokus (I think it was Garage Games), you rule.

  • The Shockwave party was cool too. Got to play some Poker for a bit, which isn't my strongest suit. Thanks to Ion Hardie from Reflexive for giving me a few extra poker chips.

  • The burrito place near the Santa Clara hotel is awesome. Props to Slingo's Mike Sweeney for recommending it. I wish I remembered the name of it though. They had some of the best burrito sauce I've ever tasted.

  • Losing my cellphone sucked. I think that a better system of pants pockets and/or a belt clip of some sort will fix this next time around. To note, 1-800-CALL-ATT allows calls to be placed from pay phones using major credit cards. 1-800-COLLECT also works, but they don't accept Mastercard (1-800-CALL-ATT does.)

  • The keynote from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was sweet. Every attendee got a pre-release copy of the new DS game, Brain Age. The new, 2D-styled, Zelda-for-DS game they're working on looks to be good.

  • The new Super Mario Bros game for DS looks nice, although I wish I'd spent more time playing around with it at the booth. Speaking of which, Nintendo's booth was sweet. Most booths were just a few guys sitting around demoing a product, which was helpful in a lot of cases. Nintendo's was the most fun though, and consisted of nothing but DS after DS, all of which were the new "Lite" models. Sony's booth was alright, and they had a lot of PSPs there. It never seemed as crowded as the Nintendo booth though, although that could just be the fanboy in me filtering out information.

  • In terms of luggage, pack light! Or pack an extra piece of luggage. I ended up running out of space and had to toss some of my conference swag (various magazines and t-shirts had to get sacrificed to the hotel trashcan gods.) In retrospect, I probably should've just gone out and bought a cheap duffle-bag right then and there.

  • If you're gonna stow away luggage at the conference center, do it early in the day, especially if its the last day of the conference. I was lucky enough to get there when there was still room to do so, but they ran out of space shortly afterwards (at 10:30, according to one of the attendants.)

  • When calling a cab, if they take your name, don't expect them to wait around very long for you, if at all.

  • Sugared cola, bad; coffee, better; water, best. Furthermore, if you're used to one source of caffiene (in my case, coffee), don't switch to another while at a conference. Relearning how tired sugared cola makes me really wasn't one of the things I wanted to get out of the conference, but it was.

  • The Will Wright talk was well done and interesting, although not for everyone. His talk came off like that of a college professor, specifically the excitable and bright, but absent-minded type. For the WPI people here, it was a bit like listening to Mike Ciaraldi talk, in that both seem to distribute information on a fast-paced and slightly random manner. (I mean this in the best possible way, BTW. It's the sort of ADD thing that makes TV shows like Robot Chicken really worthwhile.) I don't think many suits stayed around for the whole talk though. The crowd that left was decidedly more geeky looking than the crowd that came in.

  • Some Californians can't seem to take the cold. For all week, it was in the 60's and was sunny. I recall hearing one cellphone-using woman mention how cold it was.


Darius Kazemi said...

La Victoria is the burrito place. Which Sweeney recommended to me oh so many years ago.

David Ludwig said...

Oh yeah. They sell the sauce by the bottle too, although it supposedly doesn't travel well. I kinda wish I had tried anyways.

I wonder how long a thermos would keep something cold...

David Ludwig said...

Thanks for the name of the place, BTW. :-)