So I guess first thing is my long-overdue annual GDC Postmortem!
San Fran felt a lot more familiar now having been around the block (so the saying goes) a few times back in 2005. Our hotel was pretty much across the street from the one we stayed in back in 05 so walking to Moscone was the same as well.
GDnet Gum FTW!! The gum was a great success at the conference (pats on the back, hugs and applause to Melissa). Coincidentally, 1UP.com included little Jelly Belly packets with their logo on it as well in the conference bags. So it became a battle of Gum vs. Jellybeans. I was running a tally based on asking people around the conference but lost track later on in the week, still I know that Gum was the winner.
Since we just had a kiosk this year instead of actual booth space, I threw together this video highlighting the features of GameDev.net. It was originally supposed to be a slideshow (like PowerPoint) but when I started it I realized it would be better suited to a movie. Of course I had to realize this like, one week prior to the conference!! :P With input from Seyi and Kevin I was editing to the 11th hour and my laptop has heat issues and would switch off halfway during render of this thing (even with a chill pad on under it). So I threw a towel over the keyboard, wrapped ice in a plastic bag and sat it atop the laptop to let it render overnight on Tuesday! I woke up and the video was done, the towel was soaked but it managed to hold enough of the water that I just flipped my laptop upside-down to dry and I haven't had a single issue with it yet [smile] *phew* (BTW the video you'll download will have some small tracking issues - black lines - because the resolution it's rendered in for this smaller size isn't a proper pull-down of the original 1280x1024 resolution. Ooops :P)
Getting to use Lissa's Canon Digital Rebel XT was amazing. I so love that camera and it's too bad Lissa had her eye on it closely or it would have so come home with me [grin] Since we finally had some awesome photos from the entire conference (not to forget DavidRM's wonderful photography at the GDCA's last year) I chose to take the time to organize them all into groups based upon who was in the photo and send them out to each individual person/group. I had around 60 people/groups to send pictures too!! But it was so worth it, I got emails back from everyone thanking me for the pics and promising to credit and link back to GDNet when they use them.
The conference as a whole this year was made so much better by being able to book the entire Moscone Center. Whereas we were jammed into just the West hall in 2005, this year we had the run of West, North and even South (tho just the massive Esplenade Ballroom for keynotes and the GDCAs). The walk between West and North/South is equitable to the walk from the San Jose convention center to the Fairmont Hotel, in fact probably a bit shorter, so it felt right at home.
One more special mention for the GDCAs, because they did a fantabulous job with the ceremony this year - great venue, great production values, great show overall.
Oh and kudos to The Senshi (Ian Overgard) and Washu (Sean Kent) and Rafael Baptista for coming out and helping us with the coverage this year!
I realized this year that, sadly, my days as a hardcore GDC reporter are finally over. I've always been looked to as the high bar in terms of posting articles and pictures covering the conference the same day I wrote them, but this year I wasn't able to do that, and it's thanks to my new duties as Executive Producer. I've realized that I can't hole myself up in the Press Lounge or even at a table out in the concourse (tho that is better since I can still see people) anymore because I need to be out walking around and meeting people and reforging relationships that I can leverage for the betterment of GDnet. In fact, next year I'm probably going to propose that the only GDC coverage we post during the conference itself are pictures and blogs, and the actual session coverage (since that's the hardest part of it all) will come in the week following the conference.
Although having the Rebel XT was a blessing, it was also a bit of a curse. I have never used an SLR camera before and even with Seyi's expert tips (he owned a Rebel XT himself) I still managed to fuzz up a lot of shots thanks to my inexperience. Worst of it is the fact that it's impossible to see on that tiny screen whether or not an image is fuzzy (unless it's horribly out of focus). At the GDCAs especially I lost a lot of shots to focus issues because the animated backdrop behind the speakers/recipients caused the auto-focus to have fits. I should have thought to set it to manual but like I said - inexperience.
The only thing I can really call Ugly this year was the blasted internet, as usual. For crying out loud press people need good connections to do our jobs! Give us our own link with a WEP key so that we aren't bogged down by general conference attendees. I don't mean to sound elitist but if you want your conference covered let us be able to do our jobs huh?
What I Did Right
Well I realized that sitting on my ass writing up coverage was costing me the ability to meet new people and reforge old relationships with regards to my new position at GDnet. Once I got the hang of that I was running all over the place bumping into people I knew and meeting for the first time with people I didn't.
I also like my idea of sending out images to people, it's something I plan to continue doing in the future
What I Did Wrong
I didn't take the time to prepare my coverage pages (like the IGF and GDCA coverage) prior to coming out to the conference, which is a mistake I've made before, and so as such my IGF coverage wasn't posted until like the last day of the conference and I was forced to separate my GDCA coverage into two parts, the article and a separate photo gallery, which is a first for me and at first made me feel like I was falling off on my coverage until I realized the point I made above.
What I Want To Do Next Year
Like I said, move focus away from real-time full coverage so that the staff here is less stressed and more able to relax and enjoy the conference while still getting enough cool stuff online to keep you all happy until the session coverage the following week.
What I'm Looking Forward To Next Year
Well, GDC is in February next year, so that by itself is going to be interesting, especially since if the IGF doesn't move up it's submission and announcement deadlines I'm going to have significantly less time to complete all the IGF finalist interviews before the conference.
Next subject to write about is the progress of GDnet from the editorial front. Well I'm happy to say that although you guys are suffering now from lack of articles and content thanks to our ongoing server maintenance, that I'm stacking up quite a queue of interviews, articles , event coverage and reviews to give us a nice lead time as we search for more content after things start getting posted up again. I have people from several big studios interested in writing articles on all aspects of game development, I'll continue to work these contacts to produce some quality content for you all to enjoy. Good stuff I tell you, good stuff. Stay tuned!!
And now a bit of the personal life. Got a new hobby, rock climbing. Well it's not really a new hobby but it's now one I'm able to be much more active in thanks to my friend Angela, who works at a rock gym and has been instructing me in climbing. I've been at it every Friday (sometimes Saturdays too) for the past month or so and I'm already starting to work on 5.10 routes. For reference, the routes start off at 5.5 and progress up to 5.12. Being a gymnast has granted me a great head start, but I still have to get my hand/finger strength caught up with the rest of my body. It's a ton of fun, if there are any fellow climbers out there chime it, I'd love to hear from you.
Still progressing on Guitar Hero II. Have 4 songs left on Medium to complete at 100%, and I'm slowly getting more stars on several Expert songs that I still need to overcome. I've also started getting back hardcore into Flight Simulator, just ordered some Saitek rudder pedals to go with my Saitek x52 Flight Control System and I'm also purchasing a bunch of add-on software over the next 2 months to add more value to the sim. I'm starting to think once again about getting my Private Pilots license.
And that's all for this catch-up folks. I can't say for sure whether I'm back to my regular almost-if-not-daily posting habits, but I'm certainly trying now that things are starting to finally smooth out once again. This past week off from coaching for Spring Break really helped me to pause and slow back down. Be seein you around!