So, you’ve made the decision to attend GDC, but now what? Planning effectively is crucial to success, especially in the game development industry. The annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) is no exception. As one of the premier events for game developers, it’s an opportunity to connect with other industry professionals, learn about new opportunities, and represent your company to the fullest. And as someone who has attended GDC in the past, I have some tips to share on how to make the most out of your time at the conference.
Networking events are a great opportunity to connect with others, so make sure to attend as many as possible. These events can take many forms, such as receptions, meetups, and parties, and are often hosted by companies, organizations, and groups within the game industry. Take advantage of these opportunities to expand your professional network, learn about new opportunities, and gain insight into the industry from a diverse group of people.
These are typically evening events that are held at a hotel or conference center such as The official GDC Mixer. It’s a networking event that takes place during GDC, it’s a great opportunity to meet other industry professionals and make new contacts. They often feature food, drinks, and music, and provide a relaxed and social setting for attendees to meet and connect with other game developers.
These are informal gatherings of people with similar interests or backgrounds. They may be organized by an individual, company or group like theInternational Game Developers Association (IGDA) and the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG). They can take place at a hotel, restaurant, or other location. Meetups are a great way to connect with people who share your interests or challenges in the industry.
GCC parallel events
The Game Connection America is one of the most popular 3rd party events that takes place during GDC, it’s an international business event for the video games industry where developers, publishers, distributors and service providers can connect and make deals.
These are typically larger events that are held in the evening and often feature music, food, and drinks. They are often hosted by companies or organizations in the industry and provide a more festive and social setting for attendees to connect with others.
One-on-One Meetings at GC
Many companies, studios and developers schedule one-on-one meetings during GDC, this can be a valuable opportunity for attendees to connect with industry professionals and explore potential business or job opportunities.
Company sponsored events
Some companies host their own events, these events can be a great opportunity to learn about the company, its culture, and its projects.
Host your own company-sponsored event at GDC
If you want to maximize your impact at the event, hosting your own company event at GDC is a great way to attract developers, acquire customers, and connect with existing customers, and potential business partners. There are a variety of venues that can be used to host these events, from restaurants, and bars, to escape rooms. But regardless of the venue, it’s important to make sure it’s a fun and enjoyable place that people will want to attend.
When it comes to venues, restaurants are always a great option, especially in a city like San Francisco with its diverse culinary scene. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your company’s culture and create a memorable experience for your guests. Bars are also a great option, offering a more relaxed and casual atmosphere, perfect for networking and socializing.
Escape rooms are a unique and fun option, they are a great opportunity to build team-building and problem-solving skills and best of all, gamers love them! They can also be a great icebreaker and a way to break the ice with potential partners or customers.
Ultimately, the key to hosting a successful event at GDC is to make it fun, enjoyable, and memorable. A well-planned event can help you to stand out and make a lasting impression on your guests. With a little bit of creativity and planning, you can host an event that will be talked about for years to come.
Plan your GDC agenda
First and foremost, it’s important to have a plan. Before you even set foot in San Francisco, take the time to research the conference schedule, attendees, and events. Identify the people and companies you want to connect with and reach out to them in advance. This can be done through email or social media, and it will increase your chances of getting a meeting or a one-on-one conversation.
Keynote speeches These are presentations given by industry leaders on a variety of topics related to game development. Attendees can gain valuable insights into the latest trends and best practices in the industry.
Sessions and roundtables These are interactive presentations and discussions where attendees can learn about specific topics related to game development, such as programming, art, and audio. Attendees can also ask questions and network with other developers.
Expo Floor This is where attendees can see the latest technology and tools for game development. Attendees can also meet with representatives from companies and organizations in the industry.
Independent games festival and Game developers choice awards These events showcase and honor the best games and developers of the year. Attendees can learn about the latest and greatest games and get inspired by the creativity and success of their peers.
The GDC Game Career Seminar An event that focuses on career development for game developers, it's a great opportunity to get advice on how to advance your career, connect with recruiters from game development companies, and learn about job opportunities.
The GDC Game Design Challenge An n event where game developers compete to create the best game prototype in a limited amount of time.
The GDC VRDC (Virtual Reality Developers Conference) An event that focuses on the development of virtual reality games and experiences.
he GDC Game Narrative Summit This is an event that focuses on storytelling and narrative design in video games, it's a great opportunity to learn from experienced writers and designers in the industry.
The GDC Esports Summit An event that focuses on the business and development of esports, it's a great opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the industry and network with other professionals.
GDC Play An event that runs alongside the main conference, where independent game developers can showcase their games to industry professionals and publishers.
Indie Games Festival (IGF) Another event that takes place at GDC, which celebrates the best in indie games.
GDC Pitch is an event for indie developers to showcase their games to publishers and investors.
Enjoy the city
But GDC isn’t just about work, it’s also about play. And San Francisco is a city that offers plenty of opportunities for both. When you’re not at the conference, take some time to explore the city. Whether you’re a foodie like me, or a history buff, or an outdoor enthusiast, there’s something for everyone in San Francisco.
For the foodies out there, San Francisco is a paradise. The city is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, serving up everything from classic American cuisine to world-renowned sushi. My personal favorites include Zuni Cafe and Slanted Door, but there are countless other great options to choose from. And don’t forget about the street food, the city has a great selection of street vendors that serve delicious food.
For the history buffs, San Francisco is a city steeped in history. From the iconic cable cars to the famous Painted Ladies, there’s plenty to see and explore. And let’s not forget about the famous Golden Gate Bridge, take a walk across it or take a ferry ride under it, it’s an experience that you will never forget.
And for the outdoor enthusiasts, San Francisco has plenty to offer. From hiking in the beautiful Golden Gate Park to taking a stroll along the waterfront, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty of the city. And if you’re feeling adventurous, take a day trip to nearby Muir Woods to see the giant redwoods, or to Half Moon Bay for some great coastal hiking.
In conclusion, GDC is a valuable opportunity for game developers to connect, learn, and represent their companies. With a little planning, preparation, and an open attitude, you can make the most out of your time at the