GDC Recap

by Darius Kazemi on March 15, 2007

in gdc

So, GDC was last week. It was great catching up with old friends, and I also thought that the sessions this year were in general much higher quality than they had been in previous years (probably the best crop I’ve seen since ’03).

I can’t organize my thoughts on the conference, so here’s some random GDC-related stuff.

Hocking on Exploration

Clint Hocking (Ubisoft) gave an amazing presentation on the state of, role of, and future of exploration in games. I’ve been to GDC five years running, and this is in the top 5 best presentations I’ve seen. Definitely the highlight of my conference. Fortunately for you folks playing at home, Clint has made the slides and accompanying paper available for download. I highly recommend you check it out.

Curriculum Workshop

The IGDA Education SIG (of which I am an officer) organized a two-day curriculum workshop for educators. Beth Dillon, another SIG officer, did some live blogging of the event. There was also some good coverage of Doug Church’s keynote for the workshop. The gist of the keynote was: the academy needs to meet the needs of industry, and industry needs to meet the needs of the academy.

Game Developers Choice Awards / IGF Awards

First off: many congratulations to Jon Mak, whose Everyday Shooter won three awards at IGF, for audio, design, and the top GameTap prize. Jon is a humble guy and a true artist, and I was really happy to see him take home those awards! Also, Everyday Shooter is my new favorite game. Check out the trailer on the site: Jon basically takes the best thing about top-down shooters (namely, the semi-meditative trance you enter while playing) and amplifies it 1000% by incorporating Steve Reich-influenced modal guitar composition into the gameplay. Fucking brilliant. I look forward to its release!

Also, Tim Schafer’s opening monologue about cavemen and their early attempts at video game award shows had me laughing so hard I was literally in tears. Holy crap, can that man deadpan.


I think I collected waaay more business cards this year than I have in previous years. At least 200, maybe 300. It’s going to take me a very long time to follow up on all these people. I’m trying to do 10 to 10 followup emails a day. We’ll see how many I get through.

Also, I was surprised to see that the room was packed for my talk on making yourself memorable at the Game Career Seminar. I estimated maybe 200 people (mostly college students) showed up to see the talk? It was a really fun session to give, probably the most fun I had all week!


As I get more and more industry experience, I get invited to more and more parties with open bar. I actually made a note to myself in my Treo which will show up a week before next year’s GDC:

Hey Darius: just because there’s open bar every night doesn’t mean you need to drink yourself silly every night.


It wasn’t really a huge problem, since I’m a pretty friendly drunk and mostly just ended up telling everyone how awesome they were. But man, this was the most physically exhausting GDC I’ve ever attended.

Also, Darren is an enabler.


Patrick March 15, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Dude, that was the most physically exhausting week since that time I slept on my musican friends’ floor in LA. And I mean that professionally.

Ian Schreiber March 16, 2007 at 1:55 am

Glad to hear I’m not the only one who was exhausted. Here I was afraid I was just getting old!

Gillian March 16, 2007 at 9:00 pm

If you were a starving artist like me, then you would realize that an open bar does demand that you drink yourself silly. It’s free. Duh.

Tyler March 17, 2007 at 5:15 am

How good was Greg Costikyan’s acceptance speech??

Damn good, thats how much.

Had me glued to my chair

Darren Torpey March 17, 2007 at 5:24 am

Just for the record: I actually took away at least two (potential) drinks from you at the IGDA party. =P

But yeah, you’re a very friendly drunk, and unless my drunk totally skewed my perceptions, no one seemed to mind the state you were in one bit.

I think they all enjoyed seeing you that way, actually. Especially your future business partners. =)

Jon Howard March 23, 2007 at 4:32 am

I had no idea about the drunken state of affairs at the CMU party! Though I did leave around 10…

Your note on the Exploration in Games talk got me thinking: I have two free mp3 downloads of GDC sessions, and I don’t know which to pick. Browsing through the list, they all look good. If you had to pick, say, your top 5 sessions, what would they be?

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