GDC ’10

Filed Under (About Me, GDC) by Nathan Schwermann on 15-03-2010

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What to Expect

I really wasn’t sure what to expect while attending the Game Developers Conference, as a first year attendee I had heard quite a bit about the conference but you can never really know for sure until you make it there.  I was actually expecting for the conference to be much more centered on heavy talks about programming, designing, etc but I was rather surprised to see that the GDC is more focused around networking and connecting with others in the industry.

Jack Palevich schools the crowd on how to port native code to Android.

I had bought the summits and tutorials pass because I am really interested in mobile phone development, especially Android and there was a handheld summit this year featuring speakers from Google’s Android team.  I wasn’t fully aware that the summits were over after the first two days and I would be locked out from any future sessions once the expo opened.  However it wasn’t a complete loss, while there were a handful of talks and tutorial offered only to those with a main pass I found there was still plenty to see, do and learn on the expo floor.


When traveling to GDC it is important to pack light, or better yet bring an extra empty suitcase. From what I understand this year had a relatively low amount of schwag density compared to previous years. Never the less I couldn’t walk more than 15 feet without someone, from somewhere, trying to give me something. I literally had to walk back to my hotel on the first day of the expo just to unload my bag so I could refill it with more glorious crap! It isn’t all crap as you can plainly see there were some gems mixed in with the various coasters, stickers, bad shirts and bottle openers.

The Schwag, not just the name for a crappy Grateful Dead coverband from the midwest.

When it came down to it though I had to make the decision of what stays and what goes. I left many soldiers behind in my hotel room after carefully and craftfully packing my bag to fit as much as humanly possible. My bag was literally bursting from the seams, and while it fit in the overhead compartment on the way to GDC and I was flying on the exact same model of jet on the way back my bag would sadly no longer fit in the overhead compartment. I embarrassingly had to lug it up to the front of the plane and ask the stewardess to stow it beneath. Actually, I wasn’t embarrassed but rather proud of my ability to pack a suitcase so full it actually grows in size.

Invaluable Advice

While the core benefit of attending GDC is centered on networking, for me as a student with a few years left to go I found the advice I received from those gracious enough to give me their time in the career pavilion to be the most valuable part of my trip.  While some of the constructive criticisms I received on my resume and portfolio may have been harsh I found them to be the most valuable part of my trip.

Christian Allen giving very valuable networking advice.

One industry veteran was kind enough to snatch a resume out of my hand saying “I’m sure it is crap but lets take a look” after a 5 second glance he said, basically said my resume was horrible, nothing on it was interesting.  He didn’t care what languages I knew or what schools I attended.  “What is it that you have done? You need to list your projects and say exactly what it is that you did on them.  You need something on your resume that is going to make me interested in you.”  I was quick to tell him I have a portfolio for that online, but he asked; why would he waste his time looking at my portfolio when there was nothing interesting on my resume to begin with.
Last but not least was the Game Career Seminar, I had really wished I had booked a later flight because I had to miss the last few sessions but I found each of those sessions to be extremely helpful as well as highly entertaining.

In the End

I can’t recommend enough for anyone interested in getting into the game industry to make the trip out to GDC every year. It is by far one of the best investments I have ever made in my future. You can spend all of the money in the world on a college education but it won’t make a difference if you don’t know what your future potential employers are looking for. I am glad I could make it out my first time this year and I look forward to my many returning trips in the future. Hopefully someday I’ll be giving the advice.


GDC 2010 Album


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