Yesterday we had our first update from the five games teams who we sent to San Francisco's Games Development Conference.
Today, they're back with more news on how they've gotten on at one of the world's biggest gaming events. Read on for more details...
On Tuesday I met with some some people at Apple to discuss technical improvements we are making to our game. The calibre of technical expertise that we accessed was incredibly high, and was a very rare opportunity for us. I also caught up with several of their UK staff who had helped set up the meeting and communicated our plans to them.
That evening I met with a group of companies accessing the same investment fund as us, along with one of our investor partners. Speaking face to face with our investor partners is rare and we discussed future funds and titles we are planning to create together.
I also met with Enzyme Labs, briefly exchanged cards with an Amazon business development manager, and bumped into various other developers during the day.
I got up reasonably early to watch the Unity announcements live, as a Unity developer and a vocal supporter for a number of years, it's great to see them so successful on such a big stage and offering so much back to the development community with the new features in Unity 5 and the wealth of potential offered in the free, personal version of the engine. With Unreal Engine and Source 2 also becoming free to developers, there's a huge amount of potential for new games and ideas to come out where a few years ago it simply wouldn't have been possible.
I spent the rest of the morning checking out games at the Xbox One booth, particularly enjoying Clusterpuck99 (http://store.steampowered.com/app/337960/) ahead of a meeting with a small, but exciting upcoming publisher who is a really good fit for SkyScrappers so hopefully that's a conversation that will continue when I return. I managed to bump into Colin MacDonald (head of game at Channel 4) - we've worked together in the past, but it was good to catch up and see how things are going over a grilled cheese sandwich in the park.
Later I was a guest on One Life Left's Official GDC podcast, alongside fellow Brit, Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris, which was fun, but over far too quickly. Finally, in the evening I eschewed the various parties and enjoyed a quiet(ish) drink with a few of the more... let's say... veteran games devs who were tooling around and we comprehensively put the world (of games and beyond) to rights.
The majority of my day was spent within the Level Design in a Day talk room. While the speaker line-up included Brendon Chung, Jake Rodkin, Steve Gayner and more, there’s a hidden value to be found in attending the lunch time portfolio reviews. These reviews can showcase some great up and coming talent, many business cards were exchanged here.
During the evenings in San Francisco, GDC attendees slip into networking overdrive. Taking myself from the IGDA party, to the offices of ChartBoost and even sneaking myself into the invite only Humble Bundle party, my feet are now well and truly sore.
An interesting day today met with an audio agency from Vancouver regarding their rosta of composers who have worked on some great mobile titles for EA, Square Enix and independents. Met with Adrian Cook, who runs a design advisory service and Tag Games. Thanks to Creative England also met Matt Hatherly from Amazon. The great thing about GDC is the random people you get chatting to that lead to other meetings. Had a few of those today.
In the evening had some drinks with our investor who is supporting us with our current project and was also introduced to some of the other great people that our investor is involved with. Some really interesting people and projects are being supported. Then off to catch the end of a pitch night for european devs.
On Monday I had had to make the choice between seeing an array of presentations or dedicating myself to a single workshop. I chose the former but I had started to wonder I had missed out by skipping day one of the two-day Game Design tutorial. Despite there being an array of interesting and no doubt useful presentations to attend, I decided to commit to a full day workshop and see how much I could learn. I was not disappointed, “Better Storytelling in a Day” by Evan Skolnick was exactly what I needed. I really needed some guidance on taking an idea for a story and fleshing it out for a computer game. Evan is a great presenter and I have come away with a bag full of tips and tricks that I am very happy with and that are sure to have a great impact on our game.
Read Monday's GDC Dev Diary here.
Our GamesLab team are looking for an industry professional to deliver a programme of activity across the South West. For more information and to apply head here.