GDC ’13: “Today was probably the greatest day of my life to date”

Dr. Matthew White, lecturer in game development, and student Stephen Chalker, a senior majoring in software engineering, are currently in San Francisco, California, attending the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the world’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event. They’ll be reporting back to the Penn State Behrend community through this blog.

2013-03-27 09.36.26

By Stephen Chalker, senior software engineering major

Today was probably the greatest day of my life to date. I heard a talk that made me want to leave and immediately go to work on a new HTML 5 game, I saw all kinds of new tech on the expo floor, and I got an invite to a private party being put on by one of my favorite companies.

Going in to the actual start of the conference I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have never been to a major conference and I wasn’t sure what it would be like. Before hitting the expo floor of the conference, there was a presentation by Mozilla, the company that makes Firefox web browser. They talked about a way to develop very high quality games for the web by programming in C++ and compiling it into Jscript using a program called Emscripten. Essentially what this means is that you can create triple A titles that run in a web browser without any plugins or a high end PC. This will be a huge step forward for developers as they would be able to get their product to a large market with little effort. I am very interested in this new technology and will find a way to work with it soon.

After the first talk, I had some time to hit the expo floor. The floor was an explosion of sound, all the exhibitors were talking about their tools. Some of the tools we saw included Unity, which we use almost exclusively in the game dev program, and Autodesk which donated their entire suite of programs to Penn State Behrend last fall.

For about an hour, Dr. White and I went around to different companies to talk about Penn State Behrend and make sure they were aware of the graduates the school has to offer. We hope to start seeing some of these companies at our career fairs now.

After that, I went off on my own to check out the HR booths in hopes of findinga job. I handed out a few resumes to various companies which showed some interest but they pretty much told me to look at their jobs page online. However, one of my favorite companies showed enough interest to invite me to their private party. Working for Riot Games, which makes the multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends, would be an absolute dream, and I can’t believe that I will be enjoying a few beers with a few of my heros.

Tomorrow will be one of the most important days of my life as I try to make an impression on a company I would love to work for. The next two days will continue to be filled with interesting lectures, exciting new tech, and new opportnities.

— Stephen

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About the conference

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the world’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event. The GDC attracts over 22,500 attendees, and is the primary forum where programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, business decision-makers and others involved in the development of interactive games gather to exchange ideas and shape the future of the industry. The GDC is produced by the UBM Tech Game Network.

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