GDC Diary (part 3)
Friday March 4th – Interviews, Secret Talks & Pure Entertainment
Thankfully we had a quiet night on Thursday because Friday was a media onslaught with every interview on camera! First up was News 10 from the ABC network. They were meant to be doing 3 interviews over the course of an hour, but as the other devs didn’t show (not any of the guys mentioned in part 2 by the way), Nic had a full hour with them! Not only did he showcase escapeVektor and Spirit Hunters Inc, he did an additional interview on the madness of Australia not having an R18+ rating. We’re looking forward to that coming out!
Next up were Gametrailers, followed by our favourite interviewers of the week, a couple of guys from a US entertainment show called Electric Playground. Bear in mind that this was the end of GDC and everyone was getting jaded by this point, press and devs alike. These guys wandered in like it was their first interview of the week! Huge levels of enthusiasm and cracking jokes left, right and centre, almost a mini entertainment factory all on their own. The show is also available in Australia on Foxtel’s Sci Fi channel (keep an eye out for Jose Sanchez) and the great news for us Aussie devs is that they’re opening up an office in Australia soon.
Things were a little more subdued once the EP guys had left. All of the devs in the hotel suite were interviewed in a round table format by Develop Magazine about the state of the Australian games industry. The view around the room was overwhelmingly positive about the opportunities for smaller indie developers, many of which are being set up as a result of the closure of large studios. It was refreshing to hear such positivity given the current state of the global games industry. Very much a spirit of “Seize the Day!”
Nic and Bruce had to leave before the end of the round table discussion for one of their most important meetings of the week – a meeting with Nintendo of America. We had sent them a build of escapeVektor the previous week and brought to the meeting the latest version of Spirit Hunters Inc on a DSi test kit. Both were very well received, with our contact at Nintendo addicted to the escapeVektor build we had sent him and determined to finish all of the levels. We discussed our plans for the games and were updated on the development characteristics of the Nintendo 3DS (including some top secret info which, if we told you about, we’d have to kill you). There was so much to talk about we over-ran by almost half an hour and had to rush back to the hotel for Nic’s next interview with Nintendo World Report.
Luckily for us the NWR team were late too. They filmed and recorded Nic’s interview using the video function of a standard digital camera for the raw interview footage. Both the escapeVektor and Spirit Hunters Inc raw footage has been posted to Youtube by NWR so if you are interested in getting an insight into what a GDC press meeting is actually like, here are the escapeVektor: Chapter 1 and Spirit Hunters Inc interviews. Bear in mind that the video footage is not what will be used in the final NWR previews (we hope).
As Bruce went back to our hotel to pick up some more press DVDs and grab a couple of sandwiches for lunch (at 3pm!) Nic started the final 2 interviews with Gamespot and Gamereactor. We were done by 4pm and headed back to the hotel after saying our goodbyes to our new indie dev mates.
Meanwhile, Steven was at “one of the best presentations I have ever seen” – a classic game postmortem from Sim City creator, Will Wright. Will was talking about his experience in creating Raid on Bungeling Bay, an action/strategy title for the Commodore 64, NES & MSX. The whole audience was mesmerised by his tale of how making this game made him realise that building cities could be more fun than destroying them. The rest, as they say, is history. Not only was the talk filled with amazing anecdotes, Will’s presentation made it feel like you were attending a show. If you ever get a chance to see him talk then grasp the opportunity with both hands. I can guarantee than no-one feel asleep at this talk, not even our very own intrepid coder!
After a quick freshen up at our hotel, we all headed off the the Thirsty Bear bar to meet 2 old friends of Nic & Bruce’s who had recently moved from Sydney to San Francisco. After a couple of drinks we headed off to a restaurant in the Mission District for a great relaxing night out and a catch up with our old buddies.
Saturday March 5th – Finished for Another Year
Time for a little shopping before heading off to the airport and home. Of course, heading west, we lost a day because of the time difference. We boarded the flight on a Saturday and arrived in Sydney on Monday morning – what happened to Sunday? We’ve got to plan this flying thing better next time!
This year’s GDC was better than we could have imagined. The amount of press we received for our new games was awesome, something a small indie dev studio can only dream of. We know that not all of the interviews will actually appear on the websites or TV shows given the amount of content recorded over the week of GDC. However, just as important were the new press contacts we made. We now have a load more contacts to send any new press releases and game assets to. Needless to say, whichever interviews are published will be posted on this website.
From a team motivation perspective, GDC was also great. Sharing insights, stories and game-developing experiences with the other indie devs was a real highlight for us and catching up with some old friends was just icing on the cake. We’re also glad that Steven was able to catch up on some much needed sleep, although next year he’s promised to wait until after the talks have finished before nodding off!