GDC ’13: First impressions of San Francisco

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.

By Stephen Chalker, senior software engineering major

I am not a morning person. There I said it. Unfortunately for me, our flight to San Francisco was at 5 a.m. and I had to be up at 4 a.m. To be honest, I didn’t sleep at all that night partly because of excitement for the week ahead and partly because of nerves knowing this week has a huge impact on my career and life.

After the early wake up call it was a quick drive to the airport and then the 6-hour plane ride to San Fran. We landed at about 11:00 a.m. in the morning, and I was immediately happy. Not because of what I saw, but because of what is didn’t see. There wasn’t a single snowflake in sight. It was 65 degrees and the sun was out, pretty much the complete opposite of the climate in Erie.

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Since we had such a an early flight we had the whole day to tour the city. We quickly went towards the water and walked along the coast until we hit the well known Fisherman’s Wharf. The pier is full of very touristy shops and restaurants including Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company and a shop that sells items for left handed people called Lefty’s.

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After walking around the pier for a little longer we made our way into the midst of the city. After walking for a bit and up some steep hill that would put Jordan Road to shame we came to the famous Russion Hill, a.k.a one of the most winding streets on the planet. Why anyone would make a road like Lombard Street is completely inconceivable to me as it makes six hairpin turns that you have to take at five miles per hour or you risk not making it. We took a street car from the top of the hill, then walked to the convention center to pre-register and get our passes. This marked the end of tourist time and the start of Game Developers Conference.

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There was a pre-GDC get together at a restaurant where we were able to mingle with a few of the organizers of GDC. Business cards were passed out, networking happened, and fun was had by all. The beginning was over and soon GDC would be upon us with all of it’s glory.

— 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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