GDC Diary (part 1)

We know you enjoy keeping up to date with what we’re working on and checking out what we’re up to when we attend conferences, so we thought we’d give you an insight into what exactly we got up to when we went to GDC in San Francisco. Here’s a little run-up info followed by a day by day account of our fun but hectic trip.

The Weeks Before – All systems Go

We were told a few weeks before the event that GDC interviews with press were being set up by the Game Developers’ Association of Australia and our initial plan was to talk about Spirit Hunters Inc to journalists, showing them our latest build of the game. But as the conference drew closer, we realised that escapeVektor: Chapter 1 was in good shape and took the decision to launch the marketing for the game before the conference and then showcase the game at GDC alongside Spirit Hunters Inc. Talk about making last minute decisions!

The last 2 weeks before GDC had now become manic, working late nights and weekends to fix bugs, prepare the promo video and write a press release for the game as well as make sure that Spirit Hunters Inc was in the best shape for the conference. We launched the escapeVektor marketing the week before GDC so it wouldn’t get lost in the barrage of GDC news releases which always happens during the week of the conference.

Next, we made DVDs for the press, each containing our 2 dev diaries and a new promo video for Spirit Hunters Inc, the promo video for escapeVektor, the latest press releases and a load of screenshots for both games, some background on the company and our contact details. GDC is as mad for the press as it is for us so it’s best to help them out as much as possible. Handing them a DVD when we meet them means they have plenty of additional information to take away with them after the interview.

Getting the message out - press DVD

We packed up all the equipment we would need for showcasing the games, including Wii and DSi test kits, Wii controllers, cables, chargers and a whole heap of business cards, and we were ready for the adventure…

Tuesday March 1st – Time Travel, that Scottish Feeling & Nintendo Indie Bonding

The weird thing about traveling to the west coast of the USA from Sydney is that the local time when we landed in the US was about 5 hours before we took off in Sydney! As Sydney is currently 19 hours ahead time-wise and the travel time is about 14 hours, I suppose this makes sense. Still feels weird though! So we had 2 Tuesdays – one in Australia and one in the US. Next time we should travel on a Saturday! We’ll pick 2 Saturdays over 2 Tuesdays any time!

We arrived at San Fran early afternoon, so after a quick freshen up we were ready to set up for the next day of interviews. Off we went with our gear to the hotel where the interviews were being held, set up the TV to play escapeVektor and ran into Mark Serrels, editor of Kotaku Australia who had just popped along to the press suite to say high to everyone. It turned out he was also doing interviews so Nic was right in there to tell him all about our new games. As Mark is Scottish (as are Nic & Bruce) there was no need for a translator!

One quick interview later, we headed off to the Moscone Center to pick up our GDC badges and check out the venue. The Moscone Center is a massive labyrinth of passages, corridors and halls, perfect for such a huge event as GDC. There is so much going on, so many people wandering around, so many meetings, talks, seminars and lectures taking place that it certainly feels like the centre of the video games universe for that week.

Nic & Steven - passes on and ready for action!

But there was no time to hang around. Our bodies were wondering what time it was and were demanding food, even though it was only about 5pm. We decided eating was a good idea, especially since we had arranged to meet up with a load of fellow Nintendo indie devs at 6pm for a few beers. While we were waiting for a table at a local restaurant, we bumped into one of Nic’s old colleagues from a Scottish games development studio they worked in years ago in Dundee. It was weird, we were in San Francisco for the biggest international games conference in the world but we kept bumping into Scots. It’s a small world!

Next, on to the meet up with the other Nintendo indie devs. We’d set this up so we could all share our experiences of developing for Nintendo hardware and generally get to know each other better. It never hurts to meet new contacts in the industry at these events – you never know what might come out of it. Shooting the breeze, drinking beers and talking about developing games for Nintendo with the guys from Gaijin Games (the BIT.TRIP series), Broken Rules (And Yet It Moves), Intrinsic Games (Divergent Shift) and a few other devs is as good as it gets!

Coming in part 2 – Frankenstein nunchucks and jet lag embarrassment.

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  • Team Wiiloveit

    Great read, thanks so much for keeping the community informed. Sounds like you guys had a blast! 😀