I had some non-GDNet items on the agenda (I do have a day job that relates to GDC), but I did spend time on the Expo floor talking to some companies and taking photos, before attending a session given by the GM of EA: Tiburon - the studio in Orlando, FL that makes Madden, Nascar, NCAA Football, and Tiger Woods - about how they manage to pump out a hit game every year.
The session was interesting. I actually have a lot of notes, but frankly Tiburon doesn't have any special recipe to their success. It's all basic project management, but the one key thing that separates them from others is that they are very disciplined about how they manage themselves. Most software companies don't have good discipline to maintain best practices, but Tiburon excels at it.
And despite the bad things you hear about Tiburon regarding working hours and conditions (which actually sounded better than I had heard), you have to applaud them for their disciplined approach to making a hit game every year. These guys have a 3 month concept, 6 month development, 3 month final release cycle in a day and age when most games have at least an 18 month release cycle. They are doing something right, and it should be recognized.
I have pictures to post. I'm just not sure I have the energy to get them up. I'm ready to crash. Tomorrow is the last day, and I want to make sure I get some good coverage in. I've been teasing Drew that I'm going to kick his a** in coverage this year. It seems to be a tight competition so far, although he was able to catch up to me today. :) Also, I have a small writeup about Drew that has never really been shown or discussed before, but I'll try to post that in the morning.