I’m just going to preface this with the most important thing I learned at GDC this year:
If I do nothing, then nothing will happen.
-Alexander Bruce, Anitchamber
I had three goals for GDC this year – Get a copy of Unreal 4 to play with for our game, make sure the U’s booth is the most popular, visible and exciting place to be besides the IGF pavilion, and to go to as many panels and workshops as humanly possible. I succeeded in all of those things, but not in the ways I expected.
Epic announced at GDC this year that Unreal 4 would be available that week and for $20 a month for schools. So that was cool and saved me from having to cry at their booth. Kidding, I had this elaborate pitch to give them about the U and UDK and how exciting we are, blah blah. Unnecessary, but it is still awesome to be able to use the new version and it’s features.
The University of Utah booth was one of the highest traffic booths around the IGF pavilion, much to the chagrin of the other schools at the event. Our booth was vibrant, colorful, bright, and teeming with activity, mostly due to Cyber Heist and their IGF Student Showcase win. We had a steady flow and the students were great and handled the people like pros. I didn’t have to be there much, and actually mostly stopped by to grab people for lunch or other events, then took off. So congrats to my cohort, the Cyber Heist team, and a big thanks to Corrinne and Hallie for letting me come and go during the expo.
I was able to attend pretty much every panel and presentation I wanted to, I went to a bunch on design and the indie scene, a couple art ones, and of course, Roger’s Panel:
Probably the most important presentation I attended was by Alexander Bruce, the developer of Antichamber (and the quote above). The presentation was about how Antichamber had been in the making for about 9 years and almost killed him. He described how many conferences and competitions he went to, the people he talked to, the feedback he received, the iterations, the madness, and the reward. There were times when Bruce became very emotional about the process but it just showed how invested he is in the game and the community. It was very moving and very motivating. I’m going to make my team watch the full presentation when I get back.
The main point that I got from the talk was the phrase that kept coming up – If I do nothing, then nothing will happen. It was kind of like a light shattered in my head (I know that is a mixed metaphor, but that is kind of what happened). Ever since I was diagnosed with chronic illness way back when, I’ve had a different outlook on life, but this was something different. I’d been looking at having a life without fear, hence the major life changes I’ve made including coming to grad school to make games. But that phrase added a new component to my motivations – Life is about action, not just overcoming fear. I don’t have to overcome something in order to do something. It may seem pretty obvious to some people, but it was kind of revolutionary to me. No more reaction, only action!
So that was a cool moment. Other highlights from GDC was the IGF awards, where Cyber Heist was up for best student game.
I thought I was going to pop I was so excited. And then I vowed that I would be in that same place next year with my team. Even though the team didn’t win, they still had a great time and it was amazing to even be nominated.
Many shenanigans were had, people chatted with, parties attended, drinks consumed (so many drinks), meetings, meetings, meetings, and risks taken. End of story? I did something, and everything happened.