For one week every year, game studios and publishers converge onto San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference (GDC). During that week, developers, designers, and artists, famous and indie, can be found around the Moscone Center, and it makes for a very entertaining, exciting week. For years now, RIT has had the honor of sending members of the Interactive Games and Media (IGM) faculty, with this year including our Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity (MAGIC). Each year, students save up to attend this experience of a lifetime, to learn about the newest technologies and games, and network with the best that our industry has to offer.
For me, GDC was a real learning experience. As a first time attendee, it was magical being in San Francisco and seeing my idols in action. In attendance were John Romero, one of the creators of Doom, Cliff Bleszinski, the mastermind of Gears of War, and a whole slew of other major players in the industry. I had the chance to meet Warren Spector (who had previously come to RIT to speak), who was the brilliance behind Deus Ex, along with my adolescent YouTube idol Seananners (https://www.youtube.com/user/SeaNanners), who had his start in the Call of Duty series.
GDC has a lot of different pass options for different attendees that cater to their needs and price points. I managed to acquire a Summits, Tutorials, and Bootcamps pass, which allowed me to attend various talks on Monday and Tuesday, along with the Expo floor for the rest of the week. It presented me with the opportunity to connect with various members of the industry that I may not have otherwise met. I had a chance to learn about how being a Producer works in the industry, and the various issues and necessities of mobile game development.
On the expo floor, I got to experience first-hand the new Oculus headset, dubbed “Crystal Cove,” and witnessed the power of the new Unreal Engine 4. Sony unveiled their new Virtual Reality headset, dubbed Morpheus, and I had a chance to play some of the Independent Games Festival winners and finalist games. The Independent Games Festival Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards, the industry equivalent of the Grammys or Oscars, left Papers, Please, an indie game, with four awards for the night and Last of Us, the PS4 game by Naughty Dog, won game of the year.
The conference allows our professors and faculty to brag about us, the students, and is a really great chance to showcase all the talent that comes from this school. Sometimes, we even get a chance to brag about ourselves, giving us opportunities to interview with SpaceX or to talk to members from Facebook, 343 Studios, Rockstar Games, and whatever other major studio you can think of. This year, a record-setting 24,000 people were in attendance, and the future of the industry is very bright. Who knows? You might just run into an RIT alum when it’s your turn at GDC!