Sunday, February 27, 2011

GDC, Day 1

Well, let's start with the basics. GDC stands for Game Development Conference. It happens once a year for various regions of the world. The one in San Francisco is a big deal. Thousands of people go each year. A week pass to the event costs about $4k dollars, so it's not for the light of heart either. But if you want to make contacts, this is the place for that.

How the heck did my broke ass get in? Well, I offered to volunteer a month ago. I didn't think much would come of it and I eventually forgot about it. Then I got told the day before, there was one spot left if I wanted it. Not being an IGDA (International Game Development Association) member, I got last priority. So I jumped at the chance for the last spot.

After crunching numbers on gas vs bus vs BART vs train and every combination of those, I just decided to bite the bullet and get a hotel in the middle of down town San Francisco within walking distance. So I packed as fast as I could, and got in my car.

Tonight was just the orientation meeting. Or it would have been, had I not missed it. So first off, I settled in at my hotel room, set up my computer, etc. Hey, how do you think I'm typing this? Then I figured 15 mins would be plenty of time to walk there. My first problem, aside from forgetting the printed out map of the area at home, was that my sense of direction was all off. I knew I needed to go South East of the hotel, but I didn't know what direction that was. I walked out of my hotel, made it almost half a block before getting solicited by a prostitute. Yeah, I was in SF alright. A few more blocks, and I saw a woman that looked like her body was sculpted in a lab. She had a skin tight, sequin dress that barely covered her thighs. She was really tall, so instantly, I considered the possibility it could be a man. I dunno. It was weird. S/He just looked like someone you only see in movies.

The more I walked, the more I took in the diversity. It's 8 o'clock at night on a sunday and there's old people walking down the street, young / student looking people, people walking their dog, homeless / crazy people yelling at invisible people, and a lot of women that looked like prostitutes. I also noticed how many people looked like they just walked off the set of an 80's hair metal band video shoot. I don't just mean their had spikes hair or a leather jacket with chains. I mean the whole freaking package down to every detail.

So I finally had to break down and ask for directions. I asked the lady sitting behind the counter at the hotel I was staying at. Yes, because I walked in a circle.

So I followed her directions and found the Mascone building. Cool. Um, only, the Mascone building is MASSIVE. Like, you could a big rock festival there, in each of the several floors. So I wondered around in there for a long time before finally having to ask the only two people in the whole building I saw. They said, "This is Mascone West. I think you want Mascone North. It's the next building over. God damn it! I HATE being late.

So I go across the street... um, I still don't see it. There's a bowling ally / arcade / hockey rink building and on the other corner, a massive theater complex. I couldn't believe the streets of SF. You could see a pizza shop, laundry mat, sex shop, and high classy bar, all right in a row. And everything was packed with 30-80 people in view at anyone time walking the streets... even at 9pm at night. Damn, it was 9pm already. Ok, now I'm starting to narrate this like my character Elaeria from my novel.

Blah, anyways. So I'm really frustrated. I have NO idea where to go or what to do. I think about packing up and just driving home. I'm never going to find it. So finally I ask this woman on the street. She pointed which was to go and said I couldn't miss it. I told her my powers of missing things knows no bounds. She either thought that was funny or felt sorry for me. She offered to show me. So she walked with me for a block and showed me. Um, that's NOT where Google Maps said it was supposed to be. It was passed the movie theater and bowling alley thing. As in Marcone West and Marcone South and Marcone North had other buildings in between them. They weren't *right* next to each other. How confusing! I thanked her for her time, and went inside to look for them.

Anyway, so I showed up right as they were wrapping up. They asked me to join in a group photo, so maybe I was just in time. The coordinator was really nice. She gave me the condensed speedy version of her speech and a three sheet long print out of everything she said anyways. So, maybe it was no big deal I missed orientation.

Well, everyone seems nice so far. This is all about networking, so everyone's trying to make friends and be friendly. It's an interesting vibe. I need sleep. Tomorrow's going to be a very long day.

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