I thought I'd post some of my thoughts on the GDC 2005 experience that Rob Russell and I had after having a few days to acclimatize myself to the still-shitty Chicago weather and the still-shitty job.

The Goods

  1. The exposure to games, development, technology. As always, getting into conferences like these really help to inspire you. It's a shame that feeling can't stay with us the entire year, but the day-to-day grind usually sets in.
  2. Networking. This year I did a little better. I chatted with some folks, I exchanged some business cards, I tried. Though I didn't do enough because I don't have much to show for it right now, unfortunately. Next year!
  3. California, in general. The weather, the attitude, the clubs...
  4. Seeing my cousin, Scott Schiller. It was good to see my younger cousin making his way in California, all growed up and living that Melrose Place lifestyle - though I can't say I'm not green with envy. The three of us had some very interesting conversations about web design, web development, search engine optimization, etc. Stuff only geeks could love, I guess. Anyway, he seems poised to take over the Silicon Valley singles scene, so watch out ladies...
  5. The Muir Woods drive and hike. Good times, I'll have to post some photos soon...
  6. Hot tubs.
  7. Good food, good booze, good bars. It was the first time in a long time for me that I had gotten out in a vacation setting to do a little innocent partying. It was a great time and a much-needed refresher. Now if I can only convince my wife to do the same thing with some of her friends.
  8. The planning for the trip kicked ass. We had decided to use a wiki to capture all our itinerary, places to visit, etc and it turned out fantastic. It really drove home how powerful a wiki is for collaboration of ideas, even with just two people.

The Bads

  1. Unfortunately we only got to attend three sessions on the pass we purchased (the Expo Pass), and while these sessions were very good in terms of what they presented, I really wish we had gotten to listen to some of the technical seminars. For this reason alone, I think next year Rob and I will be purchasing more expensive passes next time.
  2. We only went for two days (Thurs and Fri) and unfortunately this year they put the Game Developer Awards and GDC Booth Crawl both on Wednesday, which means we missed those important events. Next year, we definitely need to catch those.
  3. We missed the Embedded Conference. Somehow we got our signals crossed and didn't realize that the Embedded Expo ends Thurs at 2:00 PM (we stopped by at almost 4:00 PM and confused some security guards).
  4. Maybe it's where we visited, but to me, most of San Francisco seemed very ghetto. You know, the I-wouldn't-feel-safe-here-at-night vibe... While nothing untoward happened, I do wish we had seen some of the nicer areas (like parks or whatnot that I know must exist). We were at a GDC party on a 9th floor balcony and the city looked fantastic (unfortunately, I didn't have the camera), it's too bad that up-close it's a little smelly.
  5. We also had trouble navigating in San Fran, but I can only place that blame with us as we relied on Google maps and didn't bother buying a full-city map.
  6. It was overcast on Saturday, but I guess you can't have beautiful weather every day - even in California
  7. The flights to-and-fro. 4 hours in a cramped airplane is a bit of a pain for a tall guy. Especially when they play The Revenge of Bridget Jones...
§69 · March 16, 2005 · Games, GDC, Life, Technology · · [Print]

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