We drove down Saturday. Our hotel was The Westin, right by the show – in fact, the closest I’ve ever stayed. In the past I’ve done GDC on the cheap by staying at a distant hotel and walking ten blocks past hobos and sex shops. IMHO, you’re better off staying close and being there fewer days if price is a concern. You save a lot of time and pain by being close.
Flash Gaming Summit was cool. It was great meeting most of the players in the Flash space under one roof. Major props to Mochi Media for putting it on – Ada Chen especially was great (she even got me in at the last minute – thanks Ada!). Unfortunately, the format and talks were a little limited, especially from my perspective as a Flash technology guy. Greg McClanahan from has a great post on some problems they ran into in terms of content. I hope next year has multiple tracks and a little more coverage of the hows of Flash game dev.
After FGS, we had a gap of several days before GDC really got swinging. I don’t buy GDC conference passes – it’s a lot of money for the two or three talks I really care about. What I said above about cutting costs by staying fewer days? Broke that rule. 😦 Tuesday ended up just being an expensive way to write code in downtown San Francisco.
Since PushButton Labs is a little tiny startup, we didn’t get a booth. My first few GDCs, I worked the show during the day by standing at a booth. You get great exposure here and if you can make the upfront investment of time and money, it can pay off pretty well. If you’re just one or a few guys, you work the show at night during the parties and at the suites. You also set up as many one-on-one meetings as you can. Go where the volume is low enough to communicate, and talk till your tongue dries out. Have a lot of business cards.
The most striking thing at GDC was seeing the job market totally packed, and the show floor with big empty spaces where they couldn’t fill in with booths. End of the world? No, but you could tell that people are doing business a little differently.
The second most striking thing was OnLive’s game streaming/cloud service. Smells like snake oil to me, but Dave Beermann from Sharendipity wrote up a great analysis of the service. Dave actually spent several years in academia working on very similar technology, so give his post a read.
We left town Thursday morning. I would have liked to have stayed for Thursday night, but we had already spent enough time at the show – in fact this time was the longest I’ve ever been down for GDC. That’s not saying much, but Jeff has been going for twenty years and it was the longest he’d ever been down, too!
Spent most of Friday recuperating – GDC is hard work! But I’m glad we went, and I’m pumped to get back to work on the PushButton Engine. Did you know it’s in open beta now? Check it out – PBEngine is under the MIT license, and ready for you to download!