Thursday, August 18, 2011

GDC Europe Sum-up

Me, Marc and Jens got back from GDC Europe yesterday so thought I should write a small summary of the trip.

First of, some thoughts on the lecture:

My talk was scheduled the first day and was the first time I have ever had this type of lecture so I was quite nervous. This meant I had a bit of trouble relaxing and enjoying the other talks before mine. Also, the night before I had had the final practice round for the lecture, making my dreams that night filled with nothing but fragmented sentences from my script, which of course tainted the next day too. My head contained little but the lecture.

My first plan had been to learn the entire lecture and not use any notes, but during practice I always managed to miss something and felt having some kind of notes was more secure. As the lecture slides was pretty much void of text and the actual images often not very descriptive to what I said, I had to keep everything in my head. In the end, I am happy I made the decision of having notes as I did get lost a few times, but could quickly get back by a glance. Hopefully nobody noticed anything.

When it was finally time for the talk I was really worried if any of the videos would work, as there had been numerous problems when testing at home. Fortunately all videos showed perfectly!

Overall, I think it all went quite well and the audience seem to enjoy it too. There are summaries of the lecture at Gamasutra and Gamespot, and I will see if I can get the script up too later on.

I was also involved in a panel with some other people. My five minute presentation was pretty much an extended version of an old blogpost.

Once my lecture was done I could finally relax and enjoy the various lectures a bit more. As always there is a great mixture in quality and content. My favorites were probably a lecture about RPG mechanics, a talk on horror by the developer of the upcoming Silent Hill Downpour (even though I disagreed with plenty) and a talk about performance capture (by one of the founders of Ninja Theory).

Apart from the GDC stuff, we also attended something called the NotGames Fest. It was an exhibit that showcased a bunch of games that did not have a big focus on "fun game mechanics", and Amnesia was one of these. It was all much more nicely setup than I thought it would be. Visitors had to enter a atmospherically lit, cave-like room built up from cardboard. It was quite moody and fitted the exhibit perfectly. I really liked how it contrasted the normal, ear-deafening, sensory overloading exhibits videogames are normally shown in and had a very calm and serene feel to it instead. I hope that there will be more game exhibitions like this!

At the evening the exhibit also had a BBQ featuring hot-dogs in round buns, which was felt a strange (but still tasted good). Jens told me this some German tradition. Anybody know anything more about this strange way of hot-dog consumption?

Also like to note that two guys form the Italian company Santa Ragione gave us a free copy of their horror board game "Escape from the Aliens in outer space". We tried it while waiting for our plane to take off and even though we were probably a bit too few it was really nice. Will definitively play it again.