Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
JackOfCandles

Would it be worth it to attend GDC, or would it be a waste of money?

This topic is 955 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I am determined to get a job in the industry. It's my singular focus right now, I've put all other personal goals on hold. I'm wondering if attending GDC be a good idea. I've obviously never attended GDC so I really have no idea what to expect. Are there opportunities to meet people who are looking to hire, or would this be a huge waste of time and money? Looking at the prices page, the only option in my price range is the Expo pass. I'm not sure if it matters but for a bit of background, I'm 32 and I currently work as a developer for a company that creates software for law enforcement agencies. In my spare time I like to work on a homebrew game engine I wrote for fun. I've always wanted to work as a game developer full time, but until recently I was never in a position to make the career change. Now that I'm able to do it, I want to take a shot. I've heard the sort of "horror stories" about what a demanding job it can be, and that doesn't bother me. I'd rather be working harder/longer on something I love than working less on something I don't. So that's about it. Am I being realistic? Would this be a good idea for someone in my situation, or would it be 200 bucks down the drain?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

There's an extensive array of job recruitment/meetup events at GDC, and a million people trying to get in on them. Seriously we're talking lines out the door and people waiting for on the spot preliminary interviews. It is simultaneously the best and worst thing for getting a job. Personally I'm not terribly fond of the whole idea - being part of a massive crowd vying for attention doesn't seem like the way to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I've learned during all the conferences and trade shows I've attended all over the world, searching to break into the game industry, is that you would be sorely disappointed if you think that attending one developer's conference (even if it is the biggest) is going to immediately result in gainful employment.

 

The reason I do keep going to these events, aside from the fun I have playing games and collecting swag, is that it is an excellent opportunity to make new contacts and stay in touch with the friends you make during these events, who all share a similar passion to be a part of this industry in one way or the other. I know that others broke using such connections, and I hope it works out for me someday too. 

 

Don't forget business cards, portfolio, and the right attitude. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jack, networking is a vital part of the breaking in process. At GDC you can make tremendously important connections, even if none results in a job right away. As much as I think GDC is of enormous value, though, it sounds like you're not ready yet. You wrote, "In my spare time I like to work on a homebrew game engine" - which is not the same thing as making a game or a proper portfolio of game projects. GDC will be more beneficial to you when you've done more to prove that you should be hired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the advice! Very helpful.

 

Jack, networking is a vital part of the breaking in process. At GDC you can make tremendously important connections, even if none results in a job right away. As much as I think GDC is of enormous value, though, it sounds like you're not ready yet. You wrote, "In my spare time I like to work on a homebrew game engine" - which is not the same thing as making a game or a proper portfolio of game projects. GDC will be more beneficial to you when you've done more to prove that you should be hired.

 

How much would you say is sufficient for a portfolio? Should it consist of only large projects, or should I include smaller things I've done? I've written some small projects like an android game created with Unity, and some simple Flash games (though Flash seems to be pretty much dead at this point). I'm just trying to get an idea in my head of a road map of how to get from where I'm at to a career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


How much would you say is sufficient for a portfolio?

 

It should contain evidence that you can do the job.  It should showcase highlights from your career.

 


I'm just trying to get an idea in my head of a road map of how to get from where I'm at to a career.

You said above you are 32 years old and are already a professional programmer.  

 

Find game studios in your area (see gamedevmap.com and gameindustrymap.com) and start applying.  If none are in your area, unfortunately you'll need to move.  Make friends with people in online communities to build and leverage social connections. One hour of working social connections in a job hunt is usually equivalent to about ten hours of more traditional applications. You still need to do both and more besides, but working your social networks is usually the most efficient use of time.

 

Also, I recommend reading the book "What Color Is Your Parachute?" that has many helpful guides about transitioning your career. The book is updated every year, libraries and used book stores have copies from recent years if you don't want to pay for this year's full-cost edition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much would you say is sufficient for a portfolio?


My previous assessment that you're not ready for GDC was based on what you said in your first post. Now you've added:

I've written some small projects like an android game created with Unity, and some simple Flash games


If you'd led with that, I might not have said you're not ready. But since you express doubts as to the readiness of your portfolio, maybe you really aren't ready.

I'm just trying to get an idea in my head of a road map of how to get from where I'm at to a career.


There isn't one road map. Everybody blazes his own trail. As frob said, it wouldn't hurt to go ahead and start applying locally (you have to apply to companies within daily commuting distance of where you live - see the FAQs).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!