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GDC Day 7

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Well, GDC '08 is officially over, and it made a good run. Obviously I totally dropped the ball on the whole running-journal-updates thing. This is for three reasons:

  • I made The GDC Newbie Mistake and stayed at the hotel that's infamous for not having free Internet access. (Curse you, Westin Hotels and Resorts! Curse you and your greedy, creaking bones!) So the only intertron hookup I had was from the conference itself, and getting access to a power plug is pretty much equivalent to getting access to the Crown Jewels, except harder, and more people are fighting over them.

  • I'm a lazy bastard.

  • I was pretty much here for work rather than GDNet coverage, so most of my time was spent in sessions and furiously writing up notes while the session content was still somewhat fresh in my brain. After that, I rarely had the energy (or laptop battery time) to do any journalling.

Everyone else's journals pretty much covers the highlights, though. The GDNet mod/staff dinner was great, despite waiting an obscene amount of time for our (supposedly reserved) tables to open up. We got our revenge by staging a minor coup and moving from the two booths they gave us (seriously, WTF - 10 people in 2 booths??) and pushing together some full-size tables.

The other big highlight was the AI developers dinner on Friday night; there were quite a few big name guys there and it was excellent fun to talk to them about various things and technical trends.

There may also be some cool upcoming developments regarding the Epoch language project, but that depends on a few factors, and I don't want to say too much in case it doesn't work out.

In my Day 0 writeup I mentioned that every trip involves taking a shafting at least once. Well, Shafting Number 2 happened today, although it's actually turned out to be a bit of a blessing.

My original itinerary was to leave San Franciso at about 11PM and fly overnight back to Atlanta; due to a general lack of anything better to do, I arrived at the airport around 11AM and found out there was an opening on an earlier flight available. (This was surprising and should have given me serious pause, since all around me people were dealing with flights that had been delayed due to bad weather.)

The flight was supposed to go to Charlotte, North Carolina and then connect back to Atlanta. A little ways in, though, we suddenly turned around and made an emergency stop in Las Vegas because someone on board was having symptoms of a heart attack. (Turns out he had massive heart problems anyways and was actually in the ER a couple days ago... so why the hell he was on a plane in the first place is beyond me.)

Initially, we thought we could make a quick turnaround and keep on going, without disrupting connecting flights too much. Then we learned that the pilot had exceeded his legal limit on flight hours and couldn't continue, so a new crew would need to be brought on.

After waiting about half an hour or so, we again learned that there was a problem. This time, someone had "neglected" the fact that a new crew has a legal minimum 2 hour turnaround time, so there was no way anyone with connecting flights in NC was going to make them.

At that point, everyone piled off the plane and started fighting their way to the ticket counters to try and get alternate arrangements made. By way of placating the seething masses, the airline handed out meal vouchers for a whoppingly generous... $10. If you've ever been in an airport, you know that this is roughly equivalent to the price of a ball of lint from the carpet, plus a droplet of spittle from the abusive mouth of the cashier. If you time it just right, you can use the spittle to wash down the lint - it does tend to stick in the throat a bit.

The final arrangements I made got me in to Atlanta at... more or less exactly when I was going to arrive anyways. So there was no net change, and instead of spending several hours with nothing to do in a cramped corner of SFO, I have several hours with nothing to do while surrounded by exorbitant video poker machines making irritating noises. At least it's less boring.

So it seems that travel arrangements were the only less-than-enjoyable bits of GDC 2008, at least for me personally. There were a couple of instances where I thought I would be forever lost in the darkness of downtown Frisco (sorry, Graham!) but clearly everyone survived.

Look for article writeups of the stuff I covered beginning soon(TM).
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augh, sucks about the travel snafus. I had my flight delayed by about 30 minutes but that was all, and I still got in only a few minutes after my originally scheduled arrival time.

BTW I added you to the coverage admin so you can actually post articles and your blog will appear on the page

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