GDC ’13: Happy to have beat the crowd

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

The last day of GDC (Friday, March 29) was actually pretty calm. The few talks that I went to were informative and the expo floor was packed with students so I really couldn’t get around to see the things I missed the past two days. While uneventful it was still a good day to end on.

The first session was a 25-minute talk on creating a game with audio-only mechanics. I didn’t even know the talk was going happening until the night before, but I am glad I found it.  I was excited because a few friends and myself designed a completely auditory game for Global Game Jam recently. It was really cool to see another project taking on the same challenge we were. I learned that having high quality sound is imperative for making an auditory game and you can increase and decrease the difficulty of the game by changing the properties of the sound. It was very informative and I am excited to apply the concepts I learned to our game.

The second lecture I went to was part of the career seminar on how you can make games with all kinds of free tools. There are free programs to help you do art, such as Blender, and free tools to help you program, such a Visual Studio Express Edition. There are also free game engines, including Unity and Gamemaker, with which you can make any game you want. All in all in the main theme for the lecture was just to try new things and to always be making stuff. Use the tools and the knowledge available on the internet to make games – any kind of games – to gain experience.

The rest of the day was spent on the expo floor trying to see everything that I missed before. Unfortunately, the floor was packed with new folks with the student pass. The student pass is the cheapest pass you can get for GDC, but you only get Friday to explore the expo floor. This means the floor was packed with hundreds of students looking for jobs.  I am thankful to Penn State Behrend that I was able to get in on Wednesday to get my resumes out before the crowd arrived!

— Stephen

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All in all it was a slow relaxing day to round the week off. I have really enjoyed my time in San Francisco and I learned a lot. Next week though will be just as crazy as I send out follow up emails and send more applications off. But now its time to go back to Erie and get to work.

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