Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the premier event for game developers to exchange ideas, solve problems, and shape the future of the industry. The conference spans five days of education, inspiration, and networking, with attendees ranging from programmers and artists to producers and business leaders.
GDC has a rich history and has grown along with the gaming industry, now covering a variety of platforms such as consoles, mobile devices, online, and computer games. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of GDC and why it is a must-attend event for anyone involved in game development.
The History of GDC
GDC began as an informal gathering of 25 developers in the living room of game designer Chris Crawford. Initially focused on computer games, GDC has grown and diversified along with the game industry, and now includes a variety of platforms such as consoles, mobile and handheld devices, tablets, online, and computer games. In 2016, GDC commemorated the 30th edition of the conference. Year after year, GDC continues to define market innovations and provide insight into the future of games.
Features of GDC
The Game Developers Conference has a comprehensive selection of lectures, panels, and roundtable discussions that define market innovations and provide insight into the future of games. The GDC Expo showcases the latest game development tools and services from leading technology companies such as Amazon, Epic, Google, Intel, Nvidia, Oculus, and Sony. GDC also hosts semi-annual installments of the GDC Masterclass program, which is comprised of day-long or multi-day, small-group virtual workshops that deliver in-depth, hands-on training around some of the most important challenges facing game developers today.
Dedicated community spaces are available for GDC attendees to take a break from all the learning and meet new people in themed areas for playable indie games, retro games, alternative controllers, and more. GDC hosts two awards ceremonies recognizing the creativity, artistry, and technical genius of the finest developers and games: the Game Developers Choice Awards and the Independent Games Festival.
GDC Advisory Board
The GDC Advisory Board is made up of seasoned game and VR/AR industry professionals who volunteer their time every year to help construct the GDC conference program and sessions. Advisors work to ensure that GDC content is compelling, relevant, and timely, and their dedication is critical to the success of the conference.
Why Attend GDC?
GDC is a week-long celebration of the art, craft, and business of game development and represents a unique opportunity for developers to get up to speed on advances in the field. Attendees can connect with game dev friends (and reconnect with old ones), learn how other game developers make great games, gain insight into running a successful game dev business, build their game dev career, celebrate the accomplishments of their peers, and get inspired.
Who Should Attend GDC?
GDC welcomes a wide variety of professionals from the game industry, including game designers, programmers, business and marketing professionals, producers, visual artists, writers and storytellers, independent developers, sound designers, engineers and composers, virtual and augmented reality creators, game educators, career seekers, and vendor companies, sponsors, and recruiters.
Game Designers can learn about refining interactivity, implementing narrative, and shaping player experiences. Game Programmers can find out how fellow programmers solved their most challenging problems, from AI and math to technical talks. Business and Marketing Professionals can learn practical ways to find their audience and run a successful game development business.
Producers and Team/Studio Managers can learn about managing teams, project management skills, and solid production practices to keep games on track. Visual Artists can learn from leading artists with a wide variety of art styles and concepts, and explore the inspiration and process behind their work. Writers and Storytellers can learn about interactive narrative in all forms, from theory to practical case studies.
Independent Developers can hear from the best and brightest indie game creators, learn new tips, tricks, and techniques for creating, publishing, and promoting their independently developed game. Sound Designers, Engineers, and Composers can learn how other sound designers are finding ways to solve aesthetic, technical, business, and logistical problems specific to their craft.
Virtual and Augmented Reality Creators can find out how other AR/VR developers are tackling the technical and business challenges of this cutting-edge technology. Game Educators can discover the most innovative and exciting ideas in game education, gain professional development, and learn new experimental approaches and best practices to bring back to their classrooms.
Career Seekers can connect with recruiters and attend GDC’s Game Career Seminar to develop their careers. Vendor Companies, Sponsors, and Recruiters can showcase their products, services, and innovations and have access to some of the best talent in the game industry.
The Importance of GDC
GDC is an essential event for those who work in the game development industry. It provides an opportunity for attendees to learn from experts in the field, exchange ideas, and network with other professionals. With the game development industry constantly evolving and growing, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies. Attending GDC is a way to ensure that you’re aware of the latest advancements and best practices in game development.
GDC also provides a platform for recognition and celebration of the work of game developers. The Game Developers Choice Awards and the Independent Games Festival are both highly regarded events in the industry, and winning an award can be a significant accomplishment. Additionally, attending GDC can be a way to celebrate the achievements of your peers and learn from their success.
How to Get the Most Out of GDC
To make the most of your time at GDC, it’s important to plan ahead. Take a look at the conference schedule and make note of the sessions and events that you’re interested in attending. Consider what you hope to get out of the conference and prioritize your time accordingly.
Networking is also an important aspect of GDC, so be sure to take advantage of opportunities to meet other professionals in the industry. Attend social events, participate in roundtable discussions, and strike up conversations with fellow attendees.
Finally, be sure to take care of yourself during the conference. With so much going on, it can be easy to get overwhelmed or burn out. Take breaks when you need them, prioritize your sleep and nutrition, and remember to have fun!
GDC is a must-attend event for anyone working in the game development industry. It provides an opportunity to learn from experts in the field, network with other professionals, and stay up to date on the latest gaming news and technologies.