About this blog
A brief summary of my experiences at GDC 2017
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To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the game we're modding, we are releasing video of the Internal ASI Alpha, and the rest of our animations. Which can be found here
Summaries of GDC from each of our perspectives are also given.
(I'll be writing an in depth article on my experience and preparation soon)
Left to right, Matt Ross (Fandore) Eric Chou (GeneralJist)
GDC Recap- Eric Chou (GeneralJist)
So, what a ride. I can easily say, one of the most stressful, rewarding, and exciting times I've ever had in my entire life.
Matt was here from 2/23/17- 3/5/17.
From meeting small indie devs to big brand industry professionals and everything in between, I learned so much about myself, the industry, and where our project stacks up in relation to everything else.
The main take away I had, was I didn't realize just how rare our situation was. Sure, we're successful, and sure we had experience, everyone there had to be some shade of both, but what really struck me was, there was no other project quite like ours. (I can say with 99% certainty that we were the only mod project there, especially with our level of passes, which were traditionally valued at ~2K a pop.) Nor was anyone else there likely representing an RTS, nor were there that many people who have been on the same volunteer project for 6+ years.
(We also don't quite fit clearly into the categories of "mod", "indie" or "industry", we seem to be in a grey mix of all three, challenging the limits and definitions of each.)
Every time I met someone from a company, especially a big company, I'd see them look at my badge, get interested in talking, but after I told them we were a mod, and after I handed them my card, they would get this really perplexed look on their face, essentially trying to figure out how someone like us were able to have the level of passes we did, and how we could seem so professional.
As I'm explaining the project, It seemed they would usually fall in to 1 of 2 categories.
Interested and really curious as to how we did what we did on passion as the primary motivator.
Intimidated/ threatened that we got our experience without going through the conventional system.
Despite this, most of the speakers seemed to respect our work, we actually got 15-20 minutes from the guy who facilitates indie dev communities from Amazon. He strangely just launched into how we'd be competing with the big brands, such as Disney, EA, etc. without asking what we did, which meant he somehow already knew.
With me networking with the project managers, and Matt networking with the artistic and technical leaders, we covered a lot of ground. I met managers from Amazon, Microsoft, Unity, Blizzard, Riot, Wizards of the Coast, and many other lesser known organizations.
For example, Microsoft wants us to publish on the windows store, which I'm not sure if it's even possible. Also, I've been getting regular calls from google affiliates, asking if I'm the business owner, to pay them to register our company profile, and feature us on all the search engines except Yahoo.
(Left to Right, Matt Ross(Fandore), Scott Reismanis(INtense!), Eric Chou(GeneralJist)
We met with our sponsor Kevin Hawkins (Khawk), chief admin of here, morning of February 28[sup]th[/sup], and he gave us a bag of swag. We also met with Scott Reismanis INtense!, chief of moddb/ indiedb, etc. nd we discussed ways to improve the platform and all the affiliates for everyone. I didn't realize just how big an impression we had left on him, which he describes on his own Blog.
We met with our Lawyer the afternoon of March 2nd, and we touched base briefly.
Now, I'm still not sure what I can say publicly about our lunch with Lou castle, but suffice it to say, we had a good conversation as to where C&C was meant to go under Westwood's direction. We only had 30 - 45 minutes, but we also discussed the ground-breaking nature of Legends of Kyrandia, among other things. We each left the meeting with a good sense of how we could potentially help each other out for future goals.
We got some great advice from all the sessions we went to, and are looking to apply them as we progress in development. It was great to get confirmation from so many diverse sources that we were on the right track, and we were doing things the right way. (I also got full access to GDC Vault, which documents all sessions for review, traditionally valued at $400 a year per person.)
As the week wrapped up, I got to show Matt the beautiful city of San Francisco. This small trip has had us redouble our efforts, and commitment to providing the highest quality product we can. It was great for morale, and great to meet so many people we've respected for years.
We will be soon registering as an LLC partnership, to formalize our future direction.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us to get to the present times, the wait is nearly over.
GDC Recap- Matt Ross (Fandore)
So, the conference....
Well, so much has already been said, and covered, but, one thing I thought was fairly interesting was this one guy I met, when I was heading to another session. He worked for EA, and use to work on C&C:3 back in the day. He talked a little about how he felt that EA was going in the wrong direction with the franchise, by trying to force C&C into a mobile form. He said this was a concern many of his fellow devs had as well, and that it should always be on the PC, for it to reach its proper potential.
We talked briefly about our project and our projected goals. he seemed fairly interested in what we were doing and said he'd spread the word back to EA. He actually told me he would like to meet my producer, and he thought we should all have a sit down with the higher ups.
Apart from that very interesting exchange, most of the time I was busy in conference sessions, with less than 30 mins to get to the next room. (Some of which, were on the complete other side of the convention center.)
While I was in one of the sessions, waiting for it to start, I happen to overhear the conversation of two individuals sitting behind me. They were wondering how someone like me (most likely my age) could be there and understand so much about the games industry. The guy sitting next to him spoke up and told him that I co-lead a mod team and that we had been going for 6 years without any monetary incentives. Initially the guy asking the question was a bit nonplused, and asked what was so impressive about that, and the other guy said, "hold on a sec, you have to see this." and whipped out his phone. The other guy just looked over at him. and said "That's not just dedication, that's drive."
It was really nice to hear we were getting props from total strangers at GDC, not just from my friends =), but heck, I don't do it for stuff like that, I do this because I love the work and I love the people.
Another major highlight was I also got to see many other Indie developers there, one of which I talked to a fairly good amount was the guys developing "The Nightmare from Beyond". We got a good chance to talk, though we mainly discussed internal team work and business structure, we did however get a chance to talk a little about the future of gaming in general.
Now, on to Lou castle, not only was it an honor, it was a privilege to speak with him. I asked him some questions about a very old game that was put together back when Westwood was still a fairly new company. The game Legends of kyrandia was a
point and click adventure game unlike any other of its time. it had great humor great art direction, and almost seamless reaction time compared to the storyline things just "clicked" when you played the game. I enjoyed listening to how the team from back then structured and developed the title and it was definitely a game enjoyed quite a lot from my childhood.
we also discussed the direction originally planned for C&C and what was intended for it at the time. though I unfortunately cannot go into too much detail either, I can say it is very interesting to see what could have been.
I want to thank our sponsor Kevin for allowing me to take part at this year's GDC, i also want to thank all the members who made the event possible in the first place. it was my first time in the San Francisco area and I had a blast! (I talked everyone's ears off for days after I landed back home...)
Sorry for not saying more, there were just so many things me and Eric did and talked about while I was there, that it's hard to focus on writing a public update. (I also don't usually write updates, so forgive me, I'm an artist....)
I learned quite a lot, and I look forward to seeing what next year will bring!
I also want to thank YOU, our community, this would not have been possible without you. the closed Alpha release is coming soon.
It's time to get back to work!