My Top Ten List For GDC 2013 — Part 2

Games Development Conference 2013

Welcome to Part 2 of my GDC Top 10, featuring moments from the great, but exhausting, 2013 Game Developers Conference.  You can read Part 1 here.

But before I begin, here’s a photograph I’d like to dedicate to Bren Lynne, our programming instructor!

John Romero! …And some other guy!
John Romero! …And some other guy!

#5 Meeting Industry Heavies

You never know who you will bump into at GDC. I found myself riding the escalator next to John Romero, the designer of the original Doom. Doom was a very influential game for me personally, as well as a landmark in the history of games. It’s nice to meet someone you admire, and GDC has an atmosphere that makes it easy to approach anyone and start up a conversation.

 #4 Unity on the Wii U!

I was surprised and delighted to find the Nintendo booth being attended by Unity employees. In what might hopefully be described as the dawn of a new era of communication between Indies and Corporate, Nintendo has thrown open the door to indies. This is a pretty exciting sign of the times. For more information, check out Unity3D or these details from the Nintendo Unity session at GDC.

Hey, you can’t go to San Francisco and not get a shot of Chinatown. This would be a great road for a driving game!

#3 The IGF Awards Show

Tim Schafer hosted the 2013 Independent Games Festival Awards show and he was in top form. The clear star of the night was Journey (the game, not the band, although they also put out a video game in ‘83… ) winning Best Audio, Best Game Design, Best Downloadable Game, Best Visual Arts, Innovation and Game of the Year, Practically sweeping the awards. It was also great to see Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk, the founding Doctors of Bioware, get well deserved lifetime achievement awards. I believe they may very well be the first Canadians to do so.

The other Journey game is good too.

#2 Joris Dormans’ Machinations

I am a designer, at the end of the day, and Joris Dormans’ PhD. Project is downright exciting! It’s a development or analytic software that allows users to visualize feedback loops and complicated dynamic systems. Imagine Visio with a ‘Run’ button.

This is what the feedback loop of Starcraft looks like in Machinations.

Another great thing is that it’s free to use. Another great thing is that it lets the user do multiple runs and graph the results. Another great thing is that there are already plenty of examples to help get you going. Did I mention it’s free? If you’re into game development, check it out here …..that is, after you read my #1 most best thing at GDC 2013… Drumroll please Ringo!

#1: Team Pixel Pi!

You might know them better as the team behind the indie darling project called Pulse. Team Pixel Pi are five VFS grads that have pushed the envelope of what a student game is supposed to be. They won Unity’s Unite award in 2012, they were one of the 10 IGF finalist student games, they showcased their game on the GDC show floor AND they successfully completed a down-to-the-wire KickStarter, earning over $80,000 to help them bring their project to the masses. Go ahead and buy yourselves that ice cream maker, team — you’ve earned it! You can follow Team Pixel Pi’s adventures on Facebook — And you can download the student version here on Arcade!

Now, check out this picture: I happened to bump into them as they merrily hung out together as buddies at GDC. Maybe what I love the most about these five is that they really exemplify what you can accomplish when you Don’t Stop Believin’!

From Left: Richard Harrison, Leanne Roed, Maxwell Hannaman, Lala Fuchs and Michael Cooper.

Andrew Laing teaches Game Mechanics, Presentation Skills, Game Design and Post Mortem