13th May 2010
I know it seems like a long time ago, back when flares and moustaches were in fashion, but I thought it would be worth writing a word or two about our trip to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Covering the whole week would be something of an epic undertaking so I’ll just keep it to a couple of the highlights.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this several times before, but this is what it’s all about. Seeing people take the controller, play the game and genuinely enjoy themselves. Particularly those who begin with ‘this game isn’t for me’ but who inevitably don’t put the controller down for half an hour, then return later with their friend to play splitscreen. As a programmer in most companies this isn’t something you typically get to see. You work for however long at a desk to create a game, then it magically appears in shops. There’s no point at which you witness total strangers (i.e. not your friends being polite) playing the game you’ve slaved away on for so long, and actually having fun!
This was immeasurably encouraging for us – it confirmed that we were on the right track, that people do enjoy the game and that we aren’t just crazy. These are the people that you don’t get to see – the people you’re making it for, the people that are one day going to appreciate all that effort. Hopefully.
The Award Ceremony
The awards ceremony was fun and it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. But then having not read anything about the IGF award ceremony itself prior to going I’d been expecting something akin to a school hall with a cardboard box for a stage and a tramp giving out the awards. Turns out the IGF awards were the precursor to the Game Developer Awards so it was all very fancy; suits, massive audience, enormous screens, free wine. We were way out of our depth and we stuck out like a sore thumb. Except for me. I fitted right in. No I didn’t.
What really terrified us was when Joe Danger was announced and came up on the big screens. That was the moment that I think we were all secretly hoping that we wouldn’t win and have to get up on the huge stage in front of hundreds of people who had absolutely no idea who we were. But everything turned out ok because we didn’t win.
Then there was this:
The crab feast. This is like, 600 crabs. Sean had to face off against them in an arena and fight them to the death. How different things could have been.