Recently I attended GDC Next—an annual event held in LA—as a Conference Associate. GDC Next is a spin-off of the Game Developer’s Conference held in San Francisco every year in March. The LA convention was catered more specifically towards app developers as compared to GDC Main, but still featured speakers and attendees from all across the industry, including both indies and larger companies like Unity.
I went in having little idea of what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised with my experience over the two days. I had a chance to attend and learn from a number of panel discussions. The presentations were about everything from how to foster a loyal community around your game and capitalize on in-app purchases, to insights on designing virtual reality games for modern VR devices like the Oculus Rift.
There was also ample opportunity to mingle with the many guests and everyone is very friendly. The various attendees and speakers all had a wide range of backgrounds in the gaming industry. It was great fun to be at an event where we all shared a common enthusiasm for games and were excited to meet each other.
There were also a host of game demos on display, particularly a number of cool new indie games that will be available on Steam.
The developers of these games were often on-hand to answer questions about their development process and design ideas. I particularly enjoyed Magnetic By Nature, a very fun—and pretty—platformer in which the player uses magnetic powers of attraction and repellence to navigate levels and solve puzzles. After playing I had a great chat with two of the members of Team Tripleslash, the developers, who clearly shared my passion for platformers. Magnetic By Nature was just released on Steam about a week ago, and can be found here.
While I personally had a great time and met a number of interesting people, nearly everyone I met spoke even more highly of GDC Main, and insisted that it’s an absolute must for developers.
So if you work, or want to work, in games, and find yourself in the Bay Area this March, I highly recommend—on behalf of the many people I met—looking into GDC.