I forgot to mention the IGF in my last post! Essentially it was the Indie Games Festival awards. It was pretty cool to see indie developers getting awarded for their hard work and dedication and always makes me want to aspire to get on that, or a similar, stage one day. I think all the awards were well-deserved. I disagreed with the winner for one game; I can't remember what it was now. Overall, everyone loves Mincraft and Amnesia!
Now the above image may look scandalous, but the dancers at the PlayPhone Social, which closed my first night at GDC, were wearing less. I guess diversity is important in the game industry after all, right? The real problem for me was the open bar, which, let's just say, I definitely partook in. I learned a very important lesson that night -- stop at midnight!
Anyway, because of the prior night's social, I slept through my first GDC talk of that day. I didn't really have one planned for that morning that I was dying to go to, so I wasn't too upset. After waking up and recovering from my hangover, which didn't last very long, thanks to my late-night ingestion of a Snickers bar, I went to a very interesting talk given by Dee Jay Randell of Capcom Game Studio Vancouver (formely Blue Castle Games) entitled 1000s of Zombies, 1000s of Problems: The Dead Rising 2 Multiplayer Experience. I liked it because it was rather high-level and didn't get too deep into any code, it was well-delivered, and it was about Dead Rising 2, which I really enjoyed. It was essentially a postmortem about the networking implication in Dead Rising 2. One important tidbit I left with was that if you are doing a networking game, you should test every feature both on and offline before continuing with production.
After this, I went to get lunch and explored the Expo floor some more, even stopping by CGSV's booth and telling them I was impressed with the talk I just went to. I even got a free Zombrex pen and Dead Rising 2 shirt; can't complain about that! I explored the Indie Games a bit more this day. Though Hohokum didn't win best art, I really liked it's style and it's non-intrusive approach to instructions and gameplay. Octodad was there too, making me laugh with its bizarre, physics-based gameplay. Eventually, someone even dressed as the main character and went around the Expo floor!
Anyway, after lunch and my most recent expo exploration, I went to a talk entitled -- it's lengthy -- Adaptive Order Independent Transparency: A Far and Practical Approach to Rendering Transparent Geometry given by Marco Salvi of Intel Corporation. It explained new ways of deriving transparency in games, which is more difficult than I first thought. The method came down to getting each pixel and ordering it in a list and blending all those colors, which someone in the audience had a problem with apparently, someone with a near-heckler-like attitude.
After learning about transparency, I went to my second day of the Casual Roundtables. This time we focused more on social games, and again, I walked away thinking that social games is a term that shouldn't really exists, but instead be replaced with the concept of "social aspects" in games such as leaderboards and online play. It was good overall, but I decided to not go to the third day because there was a talk at the same time I wanted to go to.
I ended day two of GDC 2011 with the Microsoft XBLIG Meet-And-Greet. I met a lot of cool Indie Developers such as Soul Caster's Ian Stoker and XBLIG reviewers like Dave Voyles of Armless Octopus. It was neat to meet someone who recognized my game, Battle High: San Bruno, and enjoyed it as well. I also learned about an interesting facet where I may be able to distribute my indie games in the future called Indie City. Overall, this get-together made GDC 2011 way better than 2010, and immediately made me not regret going and wanting to go to the 2012 GDC.
In my next post I'll talk about my third and final day at GDC 2011!