Zach and I woke up, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and began walking for the Moscone Center. We were eager to get good seats because the presentation was a speech given by Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo. We arrived 30 minutes early, just in time to watch an ocean of people pretend to be with the press so they could get in before us. We get our seats just in time for a brief introduction, followed by Iwata coming to the stage. His topic of choice was a reflection of the industry has grown and developed in the past 25 years, and his thoughts on the future. The pace switched up a little when Reggie Fils-Aime came out to discuss the Nintendo 3Ds and some its features (such as recording videos in 3D and having some GameGear titles for sale), but went to Iwata so he could finish up the keynote.
After that came the fun part – networking. After letting the initial splendor of the Expo Center set in, I set off to meet get to know as many people as I could. Everyone was hear, from game developers answering questions for students and just interacting with other developers, to developers of development engines like unity and HeroCloud, even including booths for things such as a motion tracking studio. I focused on talking to designers while I was tour the booth since it’s what I am interested in eventually doing. I was lucky to run into designers from varying company sizes, specializations, and each with some slightly different advice on things to work on while in school.
At about noon-ish, Zach and I went to the IGDA VIP lunch session to grab some food and get to know some more people involved with the organization. We ran into quite a few executive members and industry veterans, as well as a certain networking guru whose website we both learned a fair bit from. The lunch session actually had people seated at random seats in order to promote meeting new faces, which I did rather enjoy.More networking and free food is always a plus, and hearing a bit from veterans about the IGDA didn’t hurt.
Back at the main building, I realized that my pass did not get me into any the lectures of worshops I was interested in, so back to the Expo Center I went, however, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I still had the opportunity to meet new and interesting faces, quite a few of which being from my home state of Georgia. The original reason I left Georgia to go to school was because of the lack of jobs and education in the field that came up during my research as a high school senior. Now a college sophomore, I go to GDC to find a few organizations dedicated just to expanded the game development industry in Georgia, numerous developers, and some very impressive students. One gentleman met set me up with a one-on-one conversation with the executive producer of rather impressive studio in Georgia tomorrow morning. Sweet!
We ended of the evening with accepting an invitation to the 6th annual meeting of the Blacks in Gaming, an organzation focused on creating opportunities for African Americans in the game development industry. Now, I honestly this to be an informal gathering of 10-15 game developers giving me advice, including the man that invited us. There had to have been over 100 people in that room! I got to know quite possibly the most impressive people I’d encountered at GDC in that room. There was a girl my age who had her own game company which she had been running by herself since middle school, a multi-millionaire who used to be a started the game design program for a school, the director of the IGDA, and high ranking people from impressive companies like Electronic Arts and Namco! We were there well into the night talking, laughing, getting to know people, and dining on fantastic beef ribs (free beef ribs, I might add.)
Zach and I returned home with our pockets full of business cards and new contacts, proud of a good days work. After a of bit going over the business cards and sorting them out, we finally turned it in for the night. And to think, we still have Thursday and Friday left for GDC!