Last year I bought expo pass which means I missed almost all the technical talks. This year I bought tutorial pass so I can listen to most talks I’m interested in.
After these days, I felt the independent developers are more willing to share their experiences. The big companies only give a brief talk about their technology and most time indie developers will give you the detail about how do they do things.
I also met some students from other universities so I had a chance to compare our program with theirs. The ETC program from Carnegie Mellon University is all about project. They don’t have much class and almost all their time is spend on projects and they do have lots of projects. But from what I heard, they are more willing to spend time on their own projects than those university projects. The University of Southern California is more like us. They have different classes and they also have to finish a project. The New York University is very different from others. Their program is for designers and they will learn art and programming as well. I cannot tell which program is better but if your goal is to become an indie game developer, NYU might be a better choice because they teach you how to design your own game.