Mental dump of the GDC event last week:
While I have learned quite a few things concerning the game development process, these were to two that stands out technique wise: Software matters – a lot, do not believe the words of the salesperson who claimed that polys are free with the next-generation hardware, for literally every single pixels matter in the optimisation of the game. There are a plethora of ways to scale down on art assets to increase performance, ranging from converting 3d models to voxels and back to remove invisible vertices to atlasing all textures onto a single map when possible to reduce draw calls, most of these do not even require the advertised tools to achieve. Elsewhere, I have also learned a great deal about character animations and cinematic, using terrains to funnel players into just the right place to start a cutscene or by using the camera to greatly enhance immersions. All in all, there were many more experiences, perhaps too many to list on a single page. Still, these experiences were primarily relayed to us by a varied group of talented people.
Within the confines of the Moscone Convention Centre, I have met an indie developer by the name of Chris De Castro, a generalist of a sort who has decided to move away from the field of filming. The meeting with this individual and many others there suggested that track specialisation is more favourable in larger, more organised studios such as the one that we have, and these generalists reminded myself of how it was to work alone before EAE:MGS… Outside, there was a Benoit Alain of the Sauropod Studio in the Humble Bundle party, he is of Canadian origin and the creator of Castle Story, a sandbox game now available for purchase on Steam. He was… a bit of a free spirit, a living nod to the comment “what do you mean it was not made on drugs?” for some of the more unique titles in the industry. Nevertheless, this individual provided valuable feedback, even while in his mentally altered state.
If there were any disappointments during this expedition, career opportunities would take the cake: Indie developers were unfortunately less open to taking in new blood due to their limited workspace and budget, leaving only triple A corporations or non-developers as our choice this season. Possible employment opportunities include a temporary QA jobs from Disney Interactive here in Salt Lake, as well as open positions for Senior Tech Artists
at Certain Affinity. Indeed, the creative landscape of the video game industries have changed in the last decade, for better or worse.
Students from C6: the best advices and feedbacks happened to come from the experts, even intoxicated ones – do not shy away from alcohol soaked gatherings, and approach individuals boldly, chances are some of the stragglers that are leaning against the table with a drink nearby is a fellow developer. Second, invest in a smartphone or some other digital device that can display the map of the city, or at least hold on to a friend that has one with dear life! There were few things more awkward on this trip than walking for a whole hour only to find oneself on the wrong side of the city due to its eldritch layout.
End mental dump.