GDC 2014

Outside of my hotel in Union Square San Francisco preparing for the first day of GDC 2014
GDC is by far my favorite game show/convention. Unlike E3, TGS and PAX which are media and marketing focused, this is an event dedicated specifically to the game developers themselves, all though announcements are made at GDC sometimes, the event’s main objective is to have all game developers from around the world meet up in one city for a week, network, and trade industry experience. 
We were fortunate with good weather in San Francisco this year
Last time I was at GDC was in 2007, however back then the company I worked for had a project that needed a publisher, so my week at GDC then consisted of meetings from 8:00 AM till 10:00 PM, I’d be exhausted by the end of the day and sadly barely saw anything on the expo show ground. This time however I was there for the main event – and all the parties that came with it. So needless to say I had a great time and managed to take in all the sights. 
String quartet performing video game music before the gamer choice awards.
My schedule was still packed however, I wanted to attend as many game design sessions as possible, attend gamer’s choice awards, see what’s going on in the expo hall, go to the after show parties and catch up with all friends and colleagues that I haven’t seen in a while.
Full House at the IGF and Gamer’s choice awards ceremonies 
2013-2014 was a good year for games, and I was happy with the list of nominees and winners. Lucas Pope – of the Papers Please fame – cleaned house winning more than 5 awards that night. You can find a full list of all winners and nominees here.
How to turn a new leaf in Animal Crossing, Nintendo Session 
All though it wasn’t my intention, most of the talks I attended in the first two days were postmortems. Starting out with the Animal crossing New leaf postmortem i saw talks about games such as Shenmue, Final Fantasy 14, Symphony of the night, Puzzles and Dragons, Guacamele, Journey, The last of Us ..etc 
Those are exceptionally valuable since they give a great insight into development methods in other studios, it is always refreshing to see how other people handle issues that you encounter yourself and take a look into how the resolve them. 
 This year, 24,000 game developers attended 
Death Match with John Romero, he was playing for hours
The highlight of the expo hall for me was the chance to personally try out the steam controller, I was intrigued by the concept and was really looking forward to it. However, after trying it myself I found that it’s tricky to perform accurate actions using it, particularly in games that require fast eye-hand coordination such as platformers. I still want to try it for different Genres – FPS and RTS games to be exact – before I can pass final judgement.  

In 2007, after receiving his life time achievement award, I managed to shake hands with Shigeru Miyamoto; That was a profound moment for me and the only time I remember being truly starstruck. He was super friendly and seamed like a genuinely nice guy. 

He wasn’t at the show this year, however I still managed to meet and have a chat with some game designers that I greatly respect and who I grew up playing their games. 

Koji Igarashi, Director of Castlevania Symphony of the Night 
Myself with Keiji Inafune, Megaman Creator
Valve also hosted a world premier for their documentary movie “Free to Play” focusing on the lives of three pro Dota 2 players, the movie was pretty good and it gave us the opportunity to meet some of those players ourselves. 
With Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin

To end it on a high note, on the day I fly back to New Zealand I decided to pick up a Playstation 4. Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes and Infamous second son came out while I was there, It was roughly $100 cheaper than the prices in Oceania, so I went for it. I’ve been playing infamous for the past week and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. 

There’s something special about getting a new console, an awesome feeling and now I’m looking forward for the rest of the PS4 line up that’s coming out for the remainder of the year. 

After such an awesome time, I’m looking forward to GDC 2015. Considering presenting, but I’ll wait till we ship our projects in development first before I decide.