The School of Interactive Games and Media (IGM), home to New Media Interactive Development (NMID) and Game Design and Development (GDD) (so many names and acronyms), does something pretty awesome every year. The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is hosted in San Francisco, CA, and members of the IGM Community, faculty and students, always have an opportunity to attend. Students save up and organize to buy passes, fly out, and find some place to sleep for a whole week. This year GDC will be during the week of March 17.
It’s probably one of the most exciting opportunities that I’ve decided to attend in my three years of being here. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a round trip flight for under $300 and a cheap/free place to sleep for a week. Costs do add up, so you always have to make sure that you have more than you think. Luckily, IGM does offer discounts for the various passes available, so you could pay a significantly cheaper price than the norm.
First and foremost, it’s probably the best way to meet those companies that you’ve dreamed of working for. The expo floor is your time to use that 30 second personal pitch, impress people, and hand them your business card or resume. Among various companies that are attending this year are Riot Games, Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft, Insomniac Games, and many, many more. More often than not, they’ll say they are looking for full-time positions or to apply online, but the main point is that you are associating a name to a face, making real connections with people, and possibly giving yourself the inside track when you do need a job.
On top of that, it’s an amazing chance to learn how the industry really works. The first two days are devoted to various summits in the gaming world, along with tutorials and bootcamps possibly hosted by one of your favorite developers. A personal favorite of mine this year is Ray Wenderlich, who has great tutorials about iOS games. You can also have a chance to see postmortems from games that finished the past year, or in the case of this year a postmortem from Lucasfilm Games, which closed down last year. There are also various talks to go see throughout the week that can span from Programming, Design, Production, and anything in between. Among a few revered speakers this year are Tom Abernathy, Senior Narrative Designer at Riot Games, Johan Andersson, Technical Director at DICE, and Michael Condrey, Studio Head of Sledgehammer Games. To finish off the week, every Thursday of GDC, IGM hosts an Alumni Dinner, where students and alumni in attendance can go and meet up with old friends and now industry specialists.
So, in these last few days before the event, students will be crunching their way with final alterations to their business card, making their resume as bulletproof as possible, and creating portfolio websites to show off some of the awesome content that they’ve made in their years here. It’ll be an exciting, exhausting series of days in sunny San Francisco, and I’ll try to keep you up to date with all the cool stuff to see.
To catch my live tweets, you can follow me on Twitter @CarlFlamingo
To see my Instagram photos of the event, follow me @wtfninjas
For more info on GDC: http://www.gdconf.com/